Tag: Adaptability

15
Mar

GK VanPatter in Transformations

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Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter was recently interviewed by Emma Jefferies and Joyce Yee, authors of the new book: Transformations: 7 Roles to Drive Change By Design.

Question 3 of 10: “Emma & Joyce: Our book is premised on the idea that design creates value, and specifically we are focussing on how it helps organisations innovate and transform (Design 3.0 based on the NextD Geography framework). In your opinion, what role does design play in this context and what is its key contribution? For example you talked about the importance of helping people become more adaptable. How does design help in this case?”

“GK VanPatter: Adaptability remains one of the most enduring goals in organizational readiness and transformation. As a need and a goal adaptability has endured through the ages across many generations.

Charles Darwin is credited with famously saying: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Certainly the organizational leaders working with Humantific recognize that static entities tend not to survive in continuously changing environments. As a goal adaptability keeps getting creatively repackaged by each generation. As a business need it has certainly increased in importance in a now continuously changing world.

To put this in popular business media context: A few cycles ago Fast Company published, with considerable fanfare, an issue heralding in what it depicted as the arrival of “Generation Flux”. Take a wild guess what that was all about?

Readers who were aware of innovation dynamics history would recognize that adaptability, flexibility, agility, “fluxabilty” are all different ways of saying more or less the same thing and that thing as a capacity for organizations has been a recognized need in American business organizations since the 1950s.

Adaptability and efficiency are recognized as too very different things. Efficiency is about doing the same thing better. Adaptability or agility or “fluxability” is about continuously identifying and actionizing how the organization needs to change…and changing it.

In terms of innovation and transformation, there is today an added wrinkle in play that adds to the complexity and that many organizational leaders want to do both. CEO’s seek to make the most of what they presently do while simultaneously creating new paths and possibilities. Many leaders have come to the realization that one or the other is no longer enough.

In the management literature this dual engine strategy has been framed as ambidexterity as in Ambidexterous Organizations. In that stream of literature the two dimensions are often described as Exploration and Exploitation. Currently the CEO community has considerable interest in enabling this dual engine strategy. This is essentially where Humantific operates.

What Humantific does is bring the Ambidexitious Organizational strategy to life as human-centered, inclusive innovation. Everything we do syncs with a visualized ambidexitious model of innovation, rather then the more traditional single engine model. It is true that to realize that ambidexterity model we make use of tools, behaviors and dynamics from design as well as from other discipline expertise that all interconnect with ambidexterity in one way or another. It is literally how we redefine human-centered innovation today.”

See the other 9 questions & answers in the book!

Other “Expert Interviews” in the book include:

Peter Coughlan: Consultant / USA

Mark Vernooj: THNK/ The Netherlands

Mariana Amatullo: Design Matters / USA

Brenton Caffin: Nesta / United Kingdom

Christian Bason: Danish Design Center / Denmark

Beatriz Lara Bartolomé: Imersivo / Spain

Transformations / 7 Roles to Drive Change by Design.

11
Jun

Accelerating Civic Innovation


Ten Key 2015 Considerations

Building on our work in progress Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter shares insights on operationalizing civic innovation capacity building today. Humantific is proud to be a founding member of HumanCities Collaborative a new multi-firm consortium created to help civic leaders operationalize human-centered civic innovation in tangible, understandable and scalable ways. Continue Reading..

24
Dec

On-Boarding Advanced Problem Solving

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We are always happy, happy, happy to see writers and organizations setting aside the often appearing verbal volley-ball around terms such as problem finding/problem solving and instead return to recognizing the value of such skills in the context of the challenges being faced today by organizations in every industry. Michael Skok modeled such a return recently writing in the Harvard Business Review blog entitled: “Amazon Turned a Flaw into Gold with Advanced Problem-Solving”

In the Amazon story, problem finding, problem solving and the orientation of seeing problems as opportunities play significant roles as does the turning of a specific internal situational solution into an external global solution offering.

Here are 10 things that we liked and agreed with in Skok’s post:

1.  “…make it everyone’s responsibility to solve problems at EVERY level in the organization.”

2. “Grass roots collaborative solutions are so often the best.”

3. “Some of the best solutions come from multi-disciplinary, multi-level, 
cross-functional problem solving.”

4. “Try even to engage your customers, partners and communities from 
outside the company. This co-creation often fosters trust and understanding.”

 5. “Encourage self-awareness and motivate people to ask for help to develop their weaknesses and team around their strengths.”

6. “Offer training and development for those who want to reach higher.”

7. “Recognize and reward progress up…problem solving [Skills Progression] levels.”

8. “Look beyond problem prevention – create new opportunities from continuous improvement.”

 9. “Taking this approach to problem solving will build both abundance and resilience on your team.”

 10. “I’ve found that the companies that attract, nourish and reward people with great problem-solving skills as a core competency get tremendous competitive advantage from it.”

Of course making it everyone’s responsibility to solve problems at EVERY level in the organization suggests the on-boarding of an adaptable skill-set that extends beyond product, service, experience and interface creation. Today most organizational leaders recognize that many types of challenges exist in their organizations in addition to product and service related creation.

Whether organizations choose to call what they are using to address such diverse challenges their innovation toolbox, problem solving toolbox or complexity navigation toolbox matters a whole lot less than what is actually inside it, what it is designed to help you do. Whatever you choose to call it we agree that having an adaptable change-making tool-set and skill-set applicable in multi-disciplinary contexts remains key.

Related:

ReAppreciating Applied Creativity History

 

 

14
Mar

Inspired by NextD Geographies

We are delighted to see many graduate and post-graduate students referencing and making use of NextD Geographies, a framework created in 2005 by Elizabeth Pastor and GK VanPatter to make sense of the design thinking community from a complexity scale perspective.  For many, that sensemaking framework has become a useful tool in their efforts to better understand the present and future states of strategic design thinking.

Perhaps a little like song writers seeing their creations adapted and interpreted by others, we might not always agree with every rendition of NextD Geographies, but it is interesting to see the various interpretations and applications across disciplines, geographies, and generations..:-)

Among the currently adapting post-graduate students is Jordan J. Lloyd, working on his PhD at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture, and is focused on “design-led approaches to managing large scale transitions in complex adaptive systems.” Jordan seems to be “interested in ‘developing a design methodology that utilises common threads between complex adaptive systems, then applying them to complex entities such as cities.'”

Of course, for us, Adaptability, Resilience and Adaptive Capacity building are not new ideas, but rather long-standing themes found in Applied Creativity history as early as 1950. What is most interesting to us is to see these themes being adapted to and imported into the rethinking of design thinking, as it continues to scale. The challenges of Adaptability have stood the test of time and remain at the center of many team, organizational, and societal challenges still today. Adaptability continues to be adapted! Friends of Humantific will know that it is the next-generation mechanics of Adaptive Capacity that we teach in Humantific and NextD workshops.

Go here to view the original NextD Geographies models.

Background Note:

Humantific launched the NextDesign Leadership initiative in 2002 as a community sensemaking and changemaking experiment outside of our practice. At that time, we viewed the traditional model of design leadership as a burning platform. Much change was needed, but existing conditions were not fully understood. Making them understood was part of the early NextD mission. Numerous frameworks, including NextD Geographies, have been published on ISSUU, and remain available for viewing for free in the NextD Archive. Some of the NextD models have been widely republished around the world, including NextD Reality Check. We continue to utilize those frameworks as NextDesign Assessment Tools when viewing design programs, faculties, leadership teams, program strategies, consultancies, innovation capacities, geographic region focuses, media focuses, design thinking skill-building programs, etc. On design thinking related questions, NextD Geographies continues to be among the most useful tools in the NextD toolbox.

To join the current conversations, go to NextDesign Leadership Network on LinkedIn. It’s an OPEN discussion group! You can follow NextD on Twitter!