Tag: Design Research

03
Aug

Making Sense of Design Thinking

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Making Sense of Design Thinking & “Agile” Method

Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter just published another post in his popular ongoing “Making Sense Series.”

“Many organizational leaders have become a tad confused as various parties pitch methods in a competitive marketplace that now includes the graduate business schools and graduate design schools seeking to reposition themselves as innovation advisory consultancies..:-)”

“In this brief post, with an objective towards advocating clarity, we share how, from a practice based methods perspective, Humantific differentiates between Design Thinking methods, Product/Service/Experience Design Thinking methods and Agile methods. While they all add value, they each add different forms of value applicable to different contexts.

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Read the post on LinkedIn here:

Related:

Making Sense of “Why Design Thinking Will Fail.”

Building Strategic Innovation Lab Capabilities

Enabling Organizational Ambidexterity

11
Nov

Making Sense of Strategic Design 2015

Talking up SenseMaking

[Part 2 of 3]

Ana Barroso in Conversation with GK VanPatter

Ana Barroso: Welcome back to Part 2 of this conversation GK. Here in Latin America we are seeing rising interest in the subject of sensemaking, maybe because we have a lot of complicated things going on here!

One of the layers of findings you apply to the NextD Geographies framework has to do with the toolboxes that are increasingly more complex and cross disciplinary in Design 3 and 4. What skills does it take to conduct a visual sensemaking process? Do you believe a non-designer, without formal academic training, can make a good 3.0 or 4.0 design thinker or sensemaker? Can you describe the process of capacity building Humantific does in its innovation capacity programs?

Continue Reading..

27
Oct

Humantific & the City of Austin

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The Humantific team is excited to be back in Austin, Texas this week to work with the forward thinking City of Austin’s Civic Innovation Team on building adaptable civic innovation leadership capacity.

Many cities are realizing that there is a role for city governments in inspiring, supporting and leading innovation in their local communities. One result is significant interest from city government leaders in acquiring next generation innovation leadership skills for the specific context of complex civic challenges.

Continue Reading..

11
Nov

The OTHER Design Thinking

Call For Participants:

Humantific CoFounder Elizabeth Pastor presented The OTHER Design Thinking for the first time last week at the Design Thinkers 2013 conference in Toronto.

In the presentation Humantific points out what realms of knowledge are now being blended in practice today as well as 10 differences between Mainstream Design Thinking and The OTHER Design Thinking.

It is becoming clear to many that the era of assuming that all wicked social problems can be solved by creating more products and services is over.

Part of the presentation is an invitational call for submissions in reference to inclusion in our next virtual book entitled The OTHER Design Thinking now in progress. We are looking for 3-4 other leading innovation practices already engaged in The OTHER Design Thinking and interested in appearing in this book along with Humantific.

If you are operating a practice where you begin all projects with the built-in assumption that products, services and or experiences will be outcomes [Design 1 & Design 2] so sorry but this is not a project for you. That circle of mainstream practices has already been widely covered, over and over again in the mainstream business media, in mainstream design media, mainstream design thinking movies, in mainstream books, etc.

This project seeks to give voice to a different circle of other emerging practices that make no such up-front assumptions. [See “10 Ways its Different” on pages 77 to 99].

If you are engaged in design thinking oriented innovation practice and have already been operating beyond the “Crossover Era” for at least 5 years feel free to contact us if you would like to be considered.

Email expressions of interest to: kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com

This project builds on previous work.

Related:

Innovation Methods Mapping / Preview

NextDesign Geographies
Making Sense of Design 1,2,3,4
Understanding The Future That Has Already Arrived

NextD Reality Check

When [Old Design Thinking] LOVE is Not Enough

24
May

Humantific Returns to BBC London

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The Humantific Academy team returns to London this week to do back-to-back skill building workshops for the BBC Customer Experience Group.

Many Humantific clients are interested in how we do what we do and seek knowledge transfer. Inside Humantific’s Complexity Navigation Program we teach advanced skill-building in Strategic CoCreation, Design Research and Visual SenseMaking. Combined these are next generation innovation leadership skills.

Last summer we introduced the program to the BBC and they asked us to come back to London to do another round of skill-building in a series of back-to-back Strategic CoCreation workshops throughout this week.

Many experience design groups are seeking to add additional upstream value in their organizations by upskilling in the direction of Strategic CoCreation. They want to be able to go out into their organization to help other groups with all kinds of innovation and change related challenges not just experience design related challenges.

Related:

Humantific Teaching MBA Students at ICADE Business School

27
Jan

Innovation Methods Mapping Coming Soon!

Two + years in the making, Humantific, in concert with OPEN Innovation Consortium will soon publish a new book: Innovation Methods Mapping / DeMystifying 80 Years of Innovation Process Design.

OVERVIEW

This workbook presents a new kind of methods analysis framework applied to 50 innovation process models spanning a period of 80+ years. Embedded in the framework is a new form of innovation process literacy, designed to enhance understanding of historical and current process models, as well as inform future process design.

PROJECT PURPOSE

This study has been created and shared for educational purposes.

This book is designed to fill what the consortium perceives to be a void in the field of innovation process knowledge.

As an OPEN Innovation Consortium initiative, the goal of this book project is to help move the art, science and design of innovation process modeling forward into the 21st century.

ABOUT OPEN INNOVATION CONSORTIUM

Open Innovation Consortium was founded in 2009 by a diverse group of seasoned co-creation professionals from numerous organizations operating in several countries. Our mission is to advocate, contribute to and inspire the ongoing evolution of innovation process design and innovation related tool-making in a continuously changing world.

PREVIEW EDITION BUZZ

”A masterful piece of work.”

Dr. SID PARNES & BEA PARNES
APPLIED CREATIVITY PIONEERS

“It seems every new decade sweeps in a new wave of design methods, the latest wave bringing design frameworks of scale and social complexity. The Innovation Methods Mapping is perhaps the first organized effort to demonstrate the relationships and patterns over the historical timeline. The work reveals the underlying inspirations connecting early creative processes to systems thinking to service and organizational design. The Mapping glues these together with a consistent design language that expresses the fundamental patterns in elegant simplicity. This design language enables the reader to select the right methods for complex situations or to develop consistent applications across methods. Few other resources – if any – give designers such an expressive capacity and understanding across methods.”

PETER JONES, PH.D.
FOUNDER,
REDESIGN

“This book opens up and incredibly clear and useful framework for exploring a fascinating world systematically. It helps you make sense of a rich treasure of creative work. Methods Mapping revealed for us new patterns that helped us connect our ways of working with similar methods and inspired us to venture in creating new ones. More than mapping, it is also a recombining machine for your own creativity processes.”

RAMON SANGÜESA, PH.D.
PARTNER,
COCREATING CULTURES

“This book serves one important purpose – it provides documented evidence that design thinking and innovation process can be framed and facilitated in multiple ways. At the same time the book is structured to help readers consider a great variety of frameworks through a template for comparison. The book will serve as an important reference resource for those involved in educating clients of design and innovation at the fuzzy front end.”

UDAY DANDAVATE
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO,
SONICRIM

“Innovation Methods Mapping provides a long-overdue guide to the diversity of methods and methodologies developed spanning more than 80 years in the related but often disjointed fields of creative problem solving and design. The collation of 50 distinct innovative thinking methods is reason enough to read this book. However, the unique contribution of this study is the multi-perspective analytical framework that enables comparative analysis of innovation methods. Itself an embodiment of the principles of information design, the analytical framework displays a rich ten-dimensional visualization of each method, enabling the reader to rapidly make sense of the purpose, scope, strengths, and limitations of each method. This allows the reader to move beyond the superficial similarities and differences in the way different innovation methods are visually depicted, to appreciate more fundamental differences in values, roles, weight of effort, and embedded assumptions. The subsequent analysis yields important insights for both the practical application of innovation methods as well as the future of design thinking and innovation.”

ALEX J. RYAN PH.D.
ASSOCIATE, BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON
CENTER FOR THE APPLICATION OF DESIGN

“This well documented and insightful collection of innovation processes fills a gap in the body of knowledge around the innovation discipline. It is a homage to all those involved in having shaped this practice, but also as a tool to enlighten many future practitioners. Knowing where we come from allows us to understand where we should be heading towards.”

LUIS ARNAL
MANAGING PARTNER,
INSITUM

“What a fantastic and successful effort in bringing together the many-fold strands that form our understanding of innovation today…A must-have for anyone who wants to make sense of the dispersed, disparate, and ever-growing landscape of innovation ”

DR. BETTINA VON STAMM
DIRECTOR & CATALYST,
INNOVATION LEADERSHIP FORUM

“Innovation Methods Mapping is a valuable companion for the creative, design or process expert as well as the prospective client or stakeholder community for innovation methods. This beautifully designed, easy-to-read book demonstrates both the common core of activities that are essential to any innovation or design process, as well as the great diversity of methods available to practitioners. Most importantly, the authors recognize that there is simply no “one size fits all” silver bullet, enabling the reader to consider which methods are most appropriate for their specific needs and context. A welcome addition to the innovator’s bookshelf, and also an important first step in rethinking design and innovation themselves for our hyper complex, 21st century global challenges.”

DR. ROBIN WOOD
PRESIDENT,
THE RENAISSANCE2 FOUNDATION

WHY THIS STUDY IS DIFFERENT:

Includes original process drawings rather than redrawn depictions.

Includes 10 part analysis framework to help others look at process models in new ways.

Analysis framework is based in real world practice experience not academic theories.

Presents a view across multiple fields of knowledge.

Spans an 80+ year period.

Unpacks and defuzzes graphic depictions of innovation process.

Introduces next era innovation process analytics such as Language Mode, Roles, Starting Points, Values and Behavior considerations.

Presents 10 views that are key to moving beyond superficial understanding of innovation process construction.

Is focused on de-mystifying innovation process landscape
rather than promoting one process over another.

Includes Terminology Analysis.

Includes Innovation Balance/Emphasis Analysis

Presents 25 Key Findings.

Includes summary of Design Implications.

Presents possibility of combining knowledge from various fields.

Is part of an ongoing stream of innovation research.

Intends to be inclusive.

PREORDING THE BOOK

If you would like to express early interest in purchasing this soon to be published book feel free to send an email to: programs (at) humantific (dot) com with Methods Mapping Book as the subject.

To receive information on other Humantific projects, events and initiatives feel free to subscribe to Humantific Quarterly.

27
Jun

Thinking Made Visible Research

We are delighted to see so much interest in Humantific’s Integrative Thinking Research Initiative. Much to our surprise viewers of the Design Thinking Made Visible Project story have exceeded 15,000.

Posted for public viewing the research outcome included these findings:

Integrative Thinking Research: 10 Key Findings:

Finding 1
This research predates and debunks the widely publicized 2009 academic theory that thinking attributes (reliability & validity) can be rigidly pre-assigned to individuals or teams based on discipline labels such as design, designer or business, business manager. (This is a nice way of saying this was already known prior to 2009.)

Finding 2
Some students of design schools have the same thinking preferences as some students in business schools and vice-versa.

Finding 3
Professors and students are generally unaware of how radically different design process approaches are from one person to another.

Finding 4
Many students of design/innovation are not accustomed to externalizing their thinking process.

Finding 5
For numerous students in this study design thinking jumps off from a framed problem defined by a brief. Often there was no process activity upstream from the brief.

Finding 6
Design Thinking processes often appear very different visually while similar fundamental steps can often be found within. Some steps appear universal, other situational.

Finding 7
Most Design Thinking processes seen here have assumptions embedded that outcomes will be product or service creation.

Finding 8
Most design thinking process models seen in this study contain no reference to behaviors.

Finding 9
This research makes visible why the orchestration of design innovation work remains complex and a key challenge for teams and organizations.

Finding 10
This research suggests that real tools and visually sharable results are extremely useful in moving understanding of Integrative Thinking beyond stereotypical notions of design thinking and business thinking.

You can see these findings on pages 119-129 inside the Design Thinking Made Visible Project.

For “What is Integrative Thinking” see page 13-29
For “Humantific’s Innovation Harmonics” see page 18-29
For “Integrative Thinking in History” see page 131-135

Humantific has numerous streams of Thinking Made Visible Research in progress. Not all Humantific research is public. We often work with business leaders seeking to create private internal research projects focused on better understanding various aspects of their organizations “Innovation Brain”.

If your business organization or school would like to participate in one of our public or private streams of Thinking Made Visible Research send an email to thinkingresearch (at) humantific (dot) com.

27
Jun

Humantific at the BBC

Bringing Complexity Navigation Skills to the BBC in London

Humantific is working with the BBC bringing Complexity Navigation Skills to their User Experience & Design senior leadership team this summer and fall seasons.

Humantific’s Janet Getto and Elizabeth Pastor spent a week in London this past June with BBC’s User Experience & Design senior leadership team. The Strategic CoCreation program was focused on learning cross-disciplinary innovation process skills. The team was very engaged and enthusiastic and gave the whole experience a 9.1 average rating (over 10). Adam Powers, Head of User Experience & Design for Branded Experiences, had great things to say after the experience:

“Humantific were hired by BBC UX&D to deliver a four-day workshop. I am not overstating things when I say that Janet and Elizabeth’s work was transformational for the fourteen people that attended. Seismic organisational changes in BBC UX&D meant that all attendees were particularly open to new ways of thinking, problem solving and collaborating, but Humantific gave us shape and extraordinary focus. We left with practical tools and felt empowered to use them, along with a sense of shared purpose that unified a previously disconnected bunch of creatives. Many organisations can provide training in this Design thinking /Innovation space, but Janet and Elizabeth bring unique insights and approaches – and what’s more, they bring themselves. Inspirational.”

Humantific’s Elizabeth Pastor and Michael Babwahsingh will be back this fall for the second part of the program focused on Visual SenseMaking. Stay tuned!

22
Jun

NextD Workshops Registration Open!

New York City: July 26–29, 2011 (9am-6pm)

Register on nextd.eventbrite.com.

WorkshopONE: Exploring cross-disciplinary innovation now!
WorkshopTWO: Understanding cross-disciplinary innovation now!
WorkshopTHREE: Leading cross-disciplinary innovation now!

ARE YOU READY?
Are you ready to cut through all the baloney and hype around design thinking, integrative thinking, creative intelligence, and innovation? If you are ready to move beyond all the marketplace theorizing and get to work, NextD WorkshopONE is for you.

Open to professionals from all backgrounds, NextD Academy has offered WorkshopONE / Exploring Cross-Disciplinary Innovation, once every summer since 2002.

Sponsored by and taught by hybrid cocreation experts at Humantific’s StrategyLab WorkshopONE is focused on teaching fundamental skills needed to work in all cross disciplinary contexts. Humantific has many years of experience working in the trenches with organizational leaders to harness collective brain power, drive change and build sustainable innovation capacity. If you are faced in your workplace with the challenge of getting diverse disciplines to work creatively together on complex fuzzy challenges this workshop is for you. You will be introduced to a hybrid way of working applicable to all challenge types not just product or service creation.

This summer we have added the opportunity for deeper innovation leadership skill-building with WorkshopTWO and WorkshopTHREE.

If you are called upon in your work to help others frame fuzzy complex challenges and opportunities this advanced skill-building program is for you.

We find that many NextD Academy attendees are midcareer professionals who are encountering opportunities to lead hybrid teams in their work but lack concrete cross-disciplinary innovation skills. Don’t let that window close on you without success. NextD Academy workshops provide the skills to get you ready to help others regardless of challenge type and regardless of their starting points. With these advanced skills you are able to add tremendous value to any meeting, any strategy creation, any complex challenge situation.

You can register for NextD WorkshopONE or the complete 4 day program.
GET YOURSELF READY!

DESCRIPTION
WorkshopONE: Exploring Cross-Disciplinary Innovation
1 day workshop
WorkshopONE is both a mind awakening experience as well as a learning/skills development workshop. Exploring the language of innovation involves learning individual and group innovation skills at a tabletop level (i.e., the tools and behaviors). Participants experience the art and science of creative problem solving, and learn about their own individual styles. The skills learned in WorkshopONE are general innovation process skills.

WorkshopTWO: Understanding Cross-Disciplinary Innovation
1.5 day workshop
Designed to deepen your understanding of cross-disciplinary innovation and the toolbox introduced in WorkshopONE. Participants significantly advance their co-creation, creative problem solving process mastery in a positive, supportive environment. Master meeting roles and learn how to lead through process mastery rather than through content knowledge. Emphasis is on challenge framing mastery on the front end of complex multidimensional fuzzy situations.

WorkshopTHREE: Leading Cross-Disciplinary Innovation
1.5 day workshop
Designed to advance leadership skills in cross-disciplinary innovation WorkshopTHREE helps you put to practice all the learnings from WorkshopONE and TWO in a positive, supportive environment. Participants advance their skills regarding the facilitation of cross-functional teams and small groups. Includes practice of challenge mapping on real issues.

DURATION
WorkshopONE: One day
Full Program (WorkshopONE,TWO,THREE): 4 days

CLASS SIZE
To maximize learning of complex skills NextD Academy class size is typically small, most often less than 25 people.

PREREQUISITES
Positive energy and an open mind are the only prerequisites required for NextD WorkshopONE.
Completion of WorkshopONE is prerequisite for attendance of WorkshopTWO and WorkshopTHREE

 

LEARNING EXPERIENCE
All NextD workshops are designed as experiential learning journeys rather than lecture format. With the help of experienced instructors you work your way through a series of self realizations and concrete cocreation skill building.

WHY ATTEND?
It’s no secret that 21st century Social Innovation, Organizational Transformation, Innovation Acceleration all require high level mastery of cross disciplinary cocreation skills including upstream challenge framing visualization.
If you would like to learn how to work upstream from defined briefs where challenges and opportunities are unpacked and framed, this accelerated skill-building is for you.

WHAT YOU WILL GET
– Cocreation skill, skill, skill!
– Chance to learn form Humantific’s cocreation professionals
– Deeper understanding of integrative thinking, creative intelligence, cross-disciplinary innovation
– WorkshopONE, TWO & THREE Workbook
– Results of your Innovation Profile
– Innovation Toolkit pocket card
– NextD Academy Completion Certificate
– NextD “Defuzz the Future” t-shirt

FEEDBACK FROM PREVIOUS PARTICIPANTS
– “My expectations were greatly exceeded.”
– “NextD is the best articulation that I’ve seen of the future opportunity and challenges for the design professions.”
– “Had a lot of fun while learning many new skills”
– “Great experience…You have done an amazing job, and I’ve found it very inspiring.”
– “Real life examples”
– “Knowledgeable skillful delivery.”
– “I’d like to see my whole division sitting in this room and experiencing what it is to understand each other’s problem solving styles and the creative problem solving process”
– “A comprehensive approach to articulating the future role of design.”
– “I appreciate having one big conceptual bucket to help me think through all this stuff that I have been figuring out on my own.’
– “WorkshopONE provides valuable tools for tempered radicalism within a corporate culture.”
– “I learned new ways of doing and explaining what I do that I can use today.”
– “I appreciated the content, but also the opportunity to get a clearer sense of the context..”
– “WorkshopONE is a process for discovering your own process… brilliant!”
– “I appreciated meeting others working on Design 3.0, 4.0 and understanding their sense of where they are in the world.”
– “WorkshopONE solidifies concepts that I’ve explored and gives me tools to implement them.”
– “Served as both a catalyst to re-think my design approach, and as an opportunity to reinforce design principles that I hold dear.”
– “I feel a renewed excitement.”
– “WorkshopONE is essential for all teams of any discipline.”

INSTRUCTORS



Elizabeth Pastor & Janet Getto
Elizabeth and Janet are the driving forces behind Humantific’s StrategyLab.

Internationally recognized for deep knowledge of hybrid thinking and cross disciplinary cocreation Humantific works with organizational leaders in many industries.

Elizabeth is Co-Founder of Humantific. Her work involves the art, science, design and business of constructing human-centered SenseMaking systems. For more than ten years her practice and research work has been focused on the bridge between SenseMaking and ChangeMaking in organizations. Her graduate degree in design is from Art Center College of Design in California. Prior to creating Humantific Elizabeth Co-Founded Scient’s Innovation Acceleration Labs with GK VanPatter.

Janet is Director of Humantific StrategyLab. As a master of Strategic Co-Creation Facilitation she has over 20 years of successful experience helping organizational leaders drive change, solve problems that are important to them and find emerging opportunities for growth. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Industrial Relations and is relied upon as an innovation process master, facilitator, trainer and coach for executives, and teams in many industries.

Moving beyond talk to action Janet and Elizabeth have years of hands-on experience working with leadership teams on complex strategic challenges as well as innovation capacity building. They are also experienced teachers.

Working together, Janet and Elizabeth will be drawing from experience rather than academic books to teach real world cross-disciplinary cocreation skills.

See a few of many, many Humantific events here:
– New Visions, New Leaders
– Humantific at the BBC
– Markets for Giving Workshop
– CoCreating Strategy
– Complexity Navigation Program
– Integrative Thinking Research
– Summer Session 2009 Wraps
– Future Envisioning
– Humantific at DD4D in Paris
– Visual SenseMaking for Leaders
– Sustainabilitys FlipSide
– WorkshopONE Summer Session 2007
– The Rise of Visual SenseMaking

CHANGES
We reserve the right to make changes at any time within one week’s notice to location, starting time, and presenters. We reserve the right to cancel a workshop in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. In the event of a cancellation, we will refund the registration fee only.

CANCELLATION POLICY
Cancellations can be made up until 14 days before the scheduled event date and will incur a $50.00 cancellation fee. Refunds or credits will not be issued for cancellations made within 10 days of the scheduled event date. Substitutions will be accepted any time prior to the commencement of the event. Refunds or credits will not be issued for no-shows or for those who begin a course but do not complete it. If the event is cancelled all attendees will be notified via email and a refund issued. Registered participants that do not show and do not cancel will be required to pay the total course fee.

QUESTIONS?
Feel free to contact us for any questions at vmiosuro (at) humantific (dot) com

NOT ABLE TO ATTEND AT THIS TIME?
If you would like to attend this workshop but have a schedule conflict let us know and we will keep you in the loop regarding future sessions in the United States and Europe. Send email to: engage (at) humantific (dot) com

WANT TO BRING YOUR ENTIRE TEAM?
Conducting NextD Workshops is only one of many work streams at Humantific. We are doing workshop based cross-disciplinary innovation skill-building on an ongoing basis with organizations in numerous countries. If you would like to consider bringing Humantific in to your organization to help with your innovation skill-building, innovation strategy creation, strategic thinking for leaders, feel free to let us know. Send email to: engage (at) humantific (dot) com

 

 

20
May

The Power of Your Mind 1952

We love and respect innovation history. In the marketplace, we see some experts running around claiming to have invented everything from integrative thinking to various forms of innovation. To us, such claims are nonsense. We all stand on the shoulders of many smart folks who contributed much before us. Let’s respect that.

Sure, we have updated, extended, and changed much of what was done historically, integrating new knowledge, methods, and tools to address contemporary needs, but there is a lot we can learn from the various streams of innovation history.

With so much hype around innovation and creativity today, we find it useful to be aware, at a deeper level, of the history of innovation, applied creativity, creative problem solving, and design thinking. There are many overlaps in the history that are quite amazing, in retrospect.

Pictured here is a gem from the Humantific Collection. This terrific, little booklet by Alex Osborn, entitled The Power of Your Mind, was published an astonishing 59 years ago, in conjunction with his book Wake Up Your Mind (also published in 1952).

In the historical publications, one can see early acknowledgement of numerous challenges that many organizations and societies still grapple with today.

Like time capsules, the early publications on the subject of applied creativity reveal the optimism of the post-World War II era—a focus on encouraging imagination, and the application of creativity in an American business context.

In 1952, Osborn wrote, “Exercise your imagination—the more creative you become, the more you will get out of life.”

It’s not difficult to see that, as early as the 1940’s, thought leaders were trying to make the case that American business schools, and schools in general, get more serious about teaching, and encouraging imagination and creative thinking. Evidently, many educational institutions, including the business schools, did not listen to that message for a very long time.

Also revealed in the historical creative problem solving materials are the societal stereotypes of that era. In the early publications, women were often depicted as housewives engaged in creative domestic work, while men were often depicted as business-oriented workers not making effective use of their imaginations.

“Many housewives work their imaginations more than their husbands do.”

Apart from the stereotypes that now seem comical, what is interesting to see is the view into a simpler world, the emphasis on idea finding in the context of product objects, and orientation towards engineering or science. Also fascinating to see is how little some of the problems around changing behaviors, in the direction of innovation, have changed since Alex Osborn, Sidney Parnes, and others began writing about the subject decades ago.

Today, organizational leaders face a vastly more complicated world in a state of constant change. Those engaged, today, in driving organizational change or innovation-enabling understand that many organizations have built judgment-dominated cultures, and simultaneously wonder why no innovation is occurring. How to create more balanced, more innovative cultures remains among the top ten most-encountered organizational business challenges even today.

Here is a small sample of Alex Osborn’s 1952 commentary on the subject:

“The thinking mind finds it easier to judge than to create. Nearly all of our education tends to develop our critical faculty. And our experience likewise builds up our judgment…The more we exercise our judgment, the less likely we are to exercise our imagination. By overuse of our judicial power we may even cramp our creative power.”

“Loss of imagination can be even more deplorable than loss of musculation… We can get along with less brawn in our later years but to surmount the obstacles which age piles in our paths we need more than seasoned judgment, we need well trained imagination.”

“When it comes to business, ideas are almost everything. Their value can often exceed that of any asset on any financial statement.”

Also, in the early 1950-era materials, one can see concern expressed that America was losing its creative edge—perhaps a timeless topic!

“There are many signs that Yankee ingenuity is on the wane — not because we are born with less creative talent, but because we no longer try hard enough to use the talent that is in us… Our softer living numbs our sense of enterprise and deadens our creative spirit.”

With the internet now enabling global interaction, and with it built-in judgment functionality, we are interested in how present-day and emerging technologies might serve to repair, balance, and address several deeply rooted human innovation challenges that have existed for generations.

Being aware of the history of education and innovation helps us and our client partners think about such issues in a context beyond the flavor trend of the moment.

Image Source: The Power of Your Mind. Chicago: National Research Bureau, 1952. Humantific Collection, New York.

(Originally posted in June 2009. Its a classic!)