Tag: GK VanPatter

09
Jan

ISOTYPE: The Inclusion Factor

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From the Humantific Collection here are more early Isotype Institute visualizations. Today in some circles, these might be referred to as “data visualizations” or “infographics”, previously referred to as “statistical graphics”, “picture statistics”, “pictorial statistics”, “information design” and or “information visualizations”.  :-) No shortage of terms now in play. If we want to use such terms these might be thought of as societal context infographics made with a specific, very practical purpose in mind.

Close to our own Humantific work, in terms on social change-making intention, we have deep respect for the work of Isotype [International System of Typographic Picture Education] Institute. Led by Otto Neurath [1882-1945], Isotype was a pioneer in the realm of what we know today to be Social SenseMaking. In the tsunami of data visualizations being generated today it is important to note some fundamental differences.Continue Reading..

18
Dec

Another OTHER Design Thinking

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Here at Humantific we are always delighted to see design education community change initiatives inspired by The OTHER Design Thinking 2013-2014, Occupy Reimagining Design 2011 and the body of work within NextDesign Futures 2002-2014. Are you ready to be surprised?

Yes that’s right, there is Another OTHER Design Thinking out there, just announced!

Last week the academically focused PhD Design discussion list, well known in the transformation practice community for being slow to adapt, least effective, and often unfortunately down-right nasty when it comes to the subject of design futures made what was for that group, a big leap forward. A few of its loudest, self-appointed leaders announced in a 3 page manifesto posted inside their debating group and across social media that they were finally ready to recognize a multiple part change wave occurring beyond the confines of their circle.Continue Reading..

19
Nov

A Portrait of California 2014-2015

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Humantific for Good is delighted to announce the publication of A Portrait of California 2014-2015. This amazing series from Measure of America is transforming the role that data informed visual sensemaking and insight creation are playing in policy making and change making.

Since 2006 Humantific for Good has been working with Measure of America, an initiative of the Social Science Research Council.

“Portrait of California 2014-2015 brings together data, innovative analysis, the American HD Index and visual sensemaking to enable engaging “apples-to-apples” comparisons of California’s counties, major cities, 265 Census Bureau–defined areas, women and men, and racial and ethnic groups.”

Created by authors Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis, A Portrait of California 2014-2015 is part of Measure of America social sensemaking book series as well as related conversations and interactive tools.

CONSORTIUM OF FUNDERS

Blue Shield of California Foundation
California Community Foundation
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Humantific For Good
The California Endowment
The James Irvine Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
United Ways of California
Weingart Foundation

Key Findings in A Portrait of California 2014-2015:

“Income inequality is in the headlines these days. But to focus on inequality in income alone is to take a narrow view of the problem. Mutually reinforcing inequalities in health, education, environment, neighborhood conditions, wealth, and political power have created an opportunity divide that higher wages alone cannot bridge.

If California were a country, it would rank thirty-fourth in the world by population and eighth by the size of its economy—big enough for a seat at the G8. So what happens in California has national, and even international, significance.

This 2014–2015 update of the 2011 California report allows us to compare outcomes from one place to another and to look at changes over time. The result is a comprehensive reference tool and a critical starting point for informed discussions on change making policy solutions.”

Related:

 Breathing Life into Numbers

Portrait of Sonoma County Launches

SenseMaking for ChangeMaking

19
Nov

Making Sense of Next Design Frontiers

This month and next we are republishing some materials from the Humantific Archives related to early views into the subject of rethinking design thinking, the value of strategic design, rethinking design education, etc.

This interview with GK VanPatter CoFounder of Humantific and NextDesign Leadership Network was first published in 2005.Continue Reading..

23
Jun

Boosting Sid Parnes Tribute

 

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On Saturday, June 21, I attended the keynote “Tribute to Sid Parnes” presentation given by Teresa Amabile of Harvard as part of the closing events for the 60th anniversary CPSI 2014 conference at the University of Buffalo.

Anticipating a great tribute, I was surprised to see that while Amabile went into considerable detail regarding her own academic work, her presentation barely touched on Sid’s many contributions to the field. Teresa’s central message that Sid was a generous, open, visionary person missed all the important meat and potatoes. It was, to say the very least, a lightweight, not particularly deeply-informed treatment of Sid’s legacy.

Innovation methods scholars understand there is much more to Sid’s contributions to the Creative Problem Solving Methods field, the modern era of which has its historical roots in the 1940s and 50s. Sid Parnes was a central thought leader in that community for decades, ushering in numerous methodology innovations.

At Humantific we consider Sid to be one of our pioneering inspirations, and in the spirit of honoring him we decided to repost our earlier paper entitled Lost Stories Applied Creativity as a boost to his well-deserved tribute.

In this document, first published by Humantific in February 2012, we unpack in more detail a list of Sid’s key contributions. Much more than just suggesting that everyone had the capacity to be creative, Sid Parnes placed on the table beginning in 1967 what is widely considered to be the crown jewels of the CPS movement at that time, in the form of teachable exercises, orientations, methods, etc. By 1967, Sid was already in synthesized, codified knowledge mode, sharing and teaching others. Many have built on his foundations.

Those involved in innovation enabling practice understand that Sid’s contributions were not soft abstractions. Many of Sid’s contributions remain as foundational materials inside numerous innovation bootcamp workshops, and inside many subsequently designed process models active in the marketplace today including those of Humantific, IDEO and others.

Applied Creativity Lost Stories / Tribute to Sid Parnes

Related:

Origins of How Might We?

Who Owns How Might We?

Making Sense of Creative Intelligence

29
Apr

Data Visualization as Innovation Fuel

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Contributing recently to the Markets for Good blog, Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter wrote Data Visualization Meets CoCreation.

In this brief paper GK suggests to the philathropic community, taking advantage of what leading business organizations have already learned: that innovation involves equal amounts of challenge framing, idea-making and decision-making. Improving decision-making is not in itself, a formula for enabling cross-disciplinary innovation.

GK suggests moving beyond just data visualization and decision-making to utilize sense-making visualizations as fuel for cocreated innovation. In the organizations that Humantific works with sense-making visualizations are already playing key roles in every phase of the change-making process from the early fuzzy situation stages through to ideation and implementation.Continue Reading..

31
Mar

ReReThinking Design Education

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We were delighted to see Don Norman braving the political storms to join other practice leaders expressing concern about the current direction and change/adaptation pace of graduate design education in a rapidly evolving world.

Don Norman: “We believe that design thinking skills will be a key success factor for a new generation of creative leaders in technology, business, and education.”

“Design thinking comprises strategies for finding and solving problems by bringing an understanding of people and society to technology design, focusing upon finding the correct problem before rushing to a solution.”

“But design faces an uncertain future.”

“The traditional design fields create artifacts. But new societal challenges, cultural values, and technological opportunities require new skills.”

“Moreover, there is need for services and processes that do not require the great craft skills that are the primary outcome of a design education.”

See Don’s entire post on LinkedIn here:

The ReReThinking Design Education movement continues!

Related ReThinking Design Education Resources:

Occupy Reimaging Design [Education] / Interview with Humantific’s GK VanPatter

GK VanPatter 2011: “The difficult truth is, gearing up to educate a new generation for the Design 2 practice space is simply not enough to catch up to where the already reimagined leading practices were in 2003, let alone lead the practice community today…I am sure your readers can appreciate that design consultancy leaders are certainly not waiting around for the graduate design schools to reimagine design. With the students in mind, we advocate changing where the responsibility for adaptation resides, and this change of responsibility occurs in the direction of the program leaders.”

From NextD Academy:

When [Old Design Thinking] LOVE is Not Enough

Teaching CoCreation Now / Moving Beyond the Teach Each Other Model

 NextD WorkshopONE on the Road Since 2005

05
Mar

Data Visualization Meets Co-Creation

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The good folks at Markets for Good / A Social Sector Powered by Information recently invited Humantific to contribute to their exploratory conversation on the subject of Data Visualization in the social sector.

You can read the full unedited version of GK VanPatter’s contribution including references to deciphering your organizational challenges in this downloadable PDF: Data Visualization Meets CoCreation or read the short version on the Markets for Good blog.

“Time is flying by around the Big Data phenomenon so let’s shift gears and kick it up a few notches from what your readers might be expecting here… Big Data is occurring, not in isolation, but rather in parallel to numerous other paradigm shifts …Lets set aside the tactics of Big Data for a moment and consider the bigger strategic picture…What these new generation leaders have in mind looks more like data thinking meets complex problem visualization, data meets and informs strategic cocreation.” GK VanPatter

Humantific Survey / Social Sector Challenge Mapping

From the 10 challenges listed in the attached document choose 3 challenges that are most important to your organization right now and place them in chronological order of importance (with most important at the top). Feel free to post them on the Markets for Good blog or below. If you have another challenge not listed, feel free to add it to your list.  We will share the results.

Related Posts:

Markets for Giving Workshop

Markets For Good Heavy Lift

Mapping Markets For Good

25
Feb

ReResequencing Applied Creativity

If you are looking for an excellent plunge into the messiness, complexity and confusion that exists around the subjects of creativity and applied creativity today, such an opportunity was provided recently by a New York Times article and its accompanying reader comments. The well-meaning introductory article written by Laura Pappano of Wellesley College was entitled “Learning to Think Outside The Box / Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline”. In this instance the resulting multitude of comments posted by readers of the article are as interesting as the article itself. Intermixed with considerable good intentions, one can see numerous misunderstandings, assumptions, sequential omissions and misfires in the works, some posted with quite a sense of humor.

This Times article was pointed out to us by several Humantific clients so we thought it might be useful to our own audience to offer a few historical context clarifications. [See hand written notations in red above and Modern Applied Creativity Eras below.]

It is not difficult to see that part of the confusion around the article stems from the author, knowingly or unknowingly, intermixing two different subjects: creativity and applied creativity. This confusion is seen in the article’s subtitle, throughout the article text, and subsequently in the numerous reader comments.

In addition the article has an odd time resequencing orientation in that it positions numerous well-known applied creativity historical developments as if they are just now being introduced. Resequencing to suggest newness seems to be a common strategy or misstep (depending on your point of view), seen often in mainstream media with its interest in, and appetite for, depicting simple, excitement generating newness. Resequencing tends to work best in situations where readers have little or no historical knowledge. As evidenced by numerous reader comments, resequencing seemed to not work so well in this particular instance.

Some of the reader comments were downright entertaining.

“akrupat: If you define “creativity” as predominantly the ability to spot problems and produce solutions, you’ve defined it in a way that has nothing whatever to do with the production of literature, painting, music–of art. That kind of definition of “creativity” is about as good as Mark Zuckerberg’s definition of a “friend.”

 “Patrick Stevens: The mistake is that the authors of this learning process have confused creativity with problem solving. they may be related, but they are not the same. Problem solving can be taught. Creativity cannot. These instructors are simply giving students useful ways to reach solutions to complex problems. there is no creativity involved. Creativity is inborn and individually specific. It is finding your muse and conversing with him.”

“Wsch: This is America at its best. And I am envious. I have been told I am a very creative thinker, with pretty good critical analytical abilities. It is so nice to see a new genre of courses coming up in colleges called “creative thinking” and “creative problem solving…..”

“al7jj: PhD programs and the publication requirements for promotion basically ensure that creative people are unlikely ever to become tenured professors. Even if a creative person survived 12-15 years of competitive conformity to get tenure, the university environment actively stifles any type of original thought, which makes it ironic for universities to try to teach creativity. I am a retired professor and administrator from a research university, and can safely say that I have never met a really creative colleague in either role.”

 “Dan Styer: What confuses me is that this is considered innovative. I was taught creative problem solving in the physics department at Swarthmore College starting in 1973. I have been teaching creative problem solving since I started teaching at Oberlin College in 1985. This physics tradition extends well back into the nineteenth century (James Clerk Maxwell used it) and probably earlier.

 “jessica: Seems as though people have at least two concepts of creativity–the artistic kind and then the problem solving kind. This article has nothing to do with the artistic side, it seems to be purely about problem solving.”

“MW: One important caveat to this trend for all the professors out there: out-of-the-box thinking is often confused with bending the rules and operating in a dishonest way. I have noticed that some people who are anxious to be unbound by traditional ways of thinking have a tendency to think the normal rules of social engagement, laws, regulations don’t apply and are there to be broken. The importance of personal integrity and honesty should be taught alongside creative and innovative problem solving. As an example, the so-called “successful” money people at SAC Capital probably justified their unscrupulous behavior as being an out-of-the-box thinking.”

Ironically while this Times article points out the enduring applied creativity perspective regarding need for organizational adaptability in a continuously changing world, it completely misses the central point that rapid adaptation did occur in some academies decades ago, while slow adaptation occurred in numerous knowledge neighborhoods, including many graduate business schools. The fact that many universities have been slow to adapt, slow to integrate applied creativity/adaptability knowledge is a rather different, more nuanced, less politically-correct message than to simply suggest the knowledge has just become available…:-)

As is evidenced in the reader comments, anyone suggesting that applied creativity is just launching as a discipline today would cause considerable head scratching among already informed readers. Of course many seasoned professionals will know that an enthusiastic author’s arrival in a subject terrain is typically considerably different from the arrival of the subject itself.

Many of our Humantific readers know that applied creativity pioneer Sid Parnes *(P) began, decades ago, articulating the various development eras of the modern applied creativity movement. Building from where he left off, Humantific *(H) added some time ago several eras to update Sid’s Modern Eras list.

Modern Applied Creativity Eras:


1940s: Era 1: The Cry in the Dark Stage*(P)
1950s: Era 2: The Hope and Hunch Stage*(P)
1960s: Era 3: The Research, Replication and Report Stage*(P)
1970s: Era 4: The Widespread Application Stage*(P)
1980s: Era 5: The Mainstream Application Stage*(P)
1990s: Era 6: The Deepening Research & Innovation Stage *(H)
2000-2010: Era 7: The Rediscovery & Readaptation Stage *(H)
2011-Present: Era 8: The Global Collaboration & Readaptation Stage *(H)

Perhaps most unfortunately the dumbed-down resequenced approach seen in the Times article unfortunately leaves out the possibility to articulate/appreciate that the initial launch of applied creativity Stage 1 (1940s) was considerably different from what is going on inside Stage 8 (2014) today.  Such a resequencing misses that significant rethinking, and reinvention is underway inside the applied creativity community of practice, and that is where much of the innovation action is today. Practice leaders working on the front lines of real-world engagements well know that how smart organizations are rethinking innovation involves continuous adaptation. The newness of Stage 8 today is, and by necessity has to be, significantly different from what was once new in the now long gone Stage 1.

Underway for some time, applied creativity readaptation movement includes the addition of numerous tools, process redesigns, instruments, systematization to ecologies, culture building, enhanced skill-building programs, and the systematic integration of visualized data/information.

As per the earliest applied creativity eras, today often organizational leaders facing the very real need for timely change-making have the appetite for rapid adaptation and real meaningful action in advance of the slow-moving adaptation going on inside many graduate institutions.

Today leading applied creativity practices are moving into the future from Stage 8 not Stage 1.

Suffice it to say that today there is a lot more to organizations building capacity for “Learning to Think Outside the Box” than the resequenced and foreshortened picture created by this Times article!

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