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Nicolae Halmaghi / BusinessWeek / Nussbaum on Design  Blog
Nicolae Halmaghi / BusinessWeek / Nussbaum on Design  Blog
Nicolae Halmaghi / BusinessWeek / Nussbaum on Design  Blog
Nicolae Halmaghi / BusinessWeek / Nussbaum on Design  Blog
Nicolae Halmaghi / BusinessWeek / Nussbaum on Design  Blog
Nicolae Halmaghi / BusinessWeek / Nussbaum on Design  Blog
Nicolae Halmaghi / BusinessWeek / Nussbaum on Design  Blog
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Nicolae Halmaghi / BusinessWeek / Nussbaum on Design Blog

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  • 1. Bruce, It is not Innovation that failed, and I don’t think Transformation will save us. These terms are way to broad and all-encompassing to deliver relevant insights into specifics. Everybody will to use them according to their level of understanding. General terms like “Change” had a huge impact in Obama’s campaign because they were general in scope but had specific mass appeal. Most people craved and shared at least some part of the Change. His campaign was designed more or less like a tapestry of changes that in the end amounted to massive change. The problem with Innovation was that people either abused the term, or assigned it only to certain domains, mostly science and technology. In the process they diluted the meaning. Transformation will have the same fate. It is a new buzz-word from the 2009 WCF in Dubai, that may have general applications to the world at large, but design itself is about transformation. It is not Innovation that failed us, it is Design Thinking that let us down. Five, six years ago we hailed Design Thinking as the new field that was about to elevate the design profession onto new heights. Sounded great…and it got even better. The Perfect Creative Storm blew in: • Richard Florida predicted the “Rise of the Creative Class” • Virginia Postrel hailed the “Aesthetic Imperative” • Dan Pink assigned new value and gave power to the right brain: “A
  • 2. whole new Mind” • Bruce Mau liberated design from its constrains in “Massive Change” • The Davos Conference asserted the “Creative Imperative” and proclaimed Creativity as the “Currency of the Century”. WCF, Davos 2006 gave us a blank check to innovate according to our way of thinking. Not only that, but we had one of the High Priests of Design Thinking, Tim Brown from IDEO as an advisor to the world. So, how far did we come? How much did we accomplish in this field? Did we optimize our potential? If this were a business venture did we meet our projections? I am not sure that we have done so well. Yes, we get articles in Fast Company. Even the New York Times writes about DT and yes, BusinessWeek truly believes in Design Thinking.But then again, after all these years, you cannot overlook the fact that an air of confusion and doubt creeps between the lines in most articles on the subject. What is DT, what exactly does it do, and how exactly does it deliver any value? Let’s ask ourselves some hard questions?How many schools (design or business schools) have adopted this new field? How many people are qualified to teach in this domain? How many top executives are really getting it? How many are interested in adopting the principles of DT? What exactly are the principles of DT? Is DT innovation?After five-six years, at what stage is DT? Infant, puberty, etc… Where should it be? What is the State of Design Thinking? In my opinion I think we need help:
  • 3. • When Tim Brown, the head of one of the top design firms in the world asks years into the process on his blog: “is there a definition of Design Thinking? Is it useful to have one?”• When John Maeda, from MIT Media Lab, now RISD president, one of the great thinkers, who is actively working on blurring the boundaries between science, art, business and design refers to Design Thinking in a recent article in Fast Company as ” …basically being able to make good PowerPoint slides, the quad-chard slide, the stakeholder slide”• When trusted design critics, whose passions and interests are to promote design in all shape or form, are now blaming DT for selling out to the business community, or how Maeda puts it “Drucker-up”.• When we shift from naming design conferences “ Serious Play” or “Design -Craft” to calling them “ Design 2.0, Design 3.1.” What the hell does 2.0 mean? Open source design? We went from clarity, meaning, poetry and metaphors to “2.9… the new and improved version”. The problem that has plagued Design Thinking from the very beginning is that there has never been a clear definition of what it actually is. “Rapid Prototyping, Ideation ”…and all other terms used to define it were just part of the machinery that drove the process…they didn’t constitute Design Thinking. By not taking the time to define this emerging profession design undermined itself and neutralized one of its most valuable assets; its uncanny ability to create clarity. If “Design Thinking” were assigned to a consultancy, as a new project to be launched, it would have failed miserably from the very beginning due to the fact that it never ever defined itself. We didn’t bothered to generate a crisp, clear “Brief”, the absolute key ingredient to the success of any project in the design world. The results are only
  • 4. as good as the brief, and the brief is only as good as the people who think it through. The current state of DT reflects our situation. Within a few years I saw this movement go from something that was quite difficult to understand to start with, slip into something even more abstract, In the process we ticked off the design community and confused the business world. So the big question: Where do we go from here? According to the responses on your last posting on “Transformation” there seems to a huge interest and active participation on this subject. Why not start serious discussions on Design Thinking on your blog? Present DT topics that are DESIGNED to elicit and DELIVER VALUE. The concept by macro-economist Joseph Schumpeter of “Creative Destruction” may be the right remedy to the current economic situation as well as to the state of Design Thinking. In my opinion, this is what we need to do first: 1. We Designers and Design Thinking advocates need to RE- DEFINE and UNDERSTAND What Design Thinking is? 2. We need to be able to COMMUNICATE ELOQUENTLY it’s meaning so that even a five year old can understand it. 3. We need to SHOW HOW and WHY DESIGN THINKING WORKS and why is the BEST EQUIPPED field that can solve these problems: (a,b,c,….z)a. “Design is pictorial therefore not open to infinitive ways of interpretation” (Tim Brown)b. Design is of all creative disciplines the closest to the business worldc. Etc..etc..
  • 5. 4. We need to DEFINE WHERE it resides within the design domain as well as business field. 5. We MUST SHOW HOW Design Thinking delivers MEASURABLE VALUE to both, the business and the design community.6. We need to FORM a GENERAL CONSENSUS so that Design Thinking can be adopted as a valid CURRICULUM in business and design schools.(tailored accordingly) Since I have initiated this discussion I may as well start with my understanding of what Design Thinking is. I use these parameters it in my consulting practice, as well as part of the syllabus whenever I teach the course in Design Schools. Design Thinking is: 1. Mining and extracting the essence of ALL DESIGN disciplines 2. Using its inherent process of thinking and solving as a conscious tool to teach how to innovate. 3. Induces and elicits cross-pollination of creativities from different disciplines with different objectives. 4. Interprets and displays data, information and knowledge generated through Integrative Thinking. 5. Designs platforms that allow for the creation of contextual clarity between left and right brain thinking. The results generate communal sense-making. 6. Calibrates the level of understanding between participants from similar or opposing disciplines.
  • 6. 7. Manages the creative capital of ALL disciplines under one governing intelligence. Each of the above parameters MUST SHOW HOW and PROVE that it can deliver what it says it does. I think before we embrace another movement, we should start fixing and improving what we have already adopted and identified as being crucial to the innovation process. The quicker we put our collective mind to work, the faster we gain credibility in the design and business world. If we are not careful we may fall pray to the way Bruce Mau, in his SMLXL book defined Post-Modernism “…a moving backwards. It was a process that took from the original copies, copies of copies, imitations of interpretations, all timidly following the past. This not only ransacked our past, but more importantly robbed us of our present, obliterating our future. Lets make 2009 the year when Design, and Design Thinking emerge as valid, and credible forces. Formidable forces that improve lives, help a wounded planet, become vital, integral parts of modern business models, and will be adopted into forward thinking learning institutions. Sorry if this posting was too long, but I had to get it off my chest. Nicolae nicolae@nicolaecreative.com
  • 7. 7. Manages the creative capital of ALL disciplines under one governing intelligence. Each of the above parameters MUST SHOW HOW and PROVE that it can deliver what it says it does. I think before we embrace another movement, we should start fixing and improving what we have already adopted and identified as being crucial to the innovation process. The quicker we put our collective mind to work, the faster we gain credibility in the design and business world. If we are not careful we may fall pray to the way Bruce Mau, in his SMLXL book defined Post-Modernism “…a moving backwards. It was a process that took from the original copies, copies of copies, imitations of interpretations, all timidly following the past. This not only ransacked our past, but more importantly robbed us of our present, obliterating our future. Lets make 2009 the year when Design, and Design Thinking emerge as valid, and credible forces. Formidable forces that improve lives, help a wounded planet, become vital, integral parts of modern business models, and will be adopted into forward thinking learning institutions. Sorry if this posting was too long, but I had to get it off my chest. Nicolae nicolae@nicolaecreative.com

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