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