Posts in category: Creativity

Consumption and creation

We are so used to being in consumption mode – connected to the unending stimulation from television and the web. To be creative requires a conscious discipline to create. Not just consume. Writing a blog, drawing, playing music, writing, … these can be hard to do when...
The people component in complex problems

The people component in complex problems

Why do you think complex problems are complex? Are there common factors underlying the complexities? I am thinking of fundamental human behaviours like unclear thinking, faulty logic, black and white thinking, catastrophisation etc. What are the root causes of the...
Snow White and The Dark Knight

Snow White and The Dark Knight

There seems to be two types of villains in movies. Problems in the real world can echo these types: Big bad villains who are clearly, unambiguously evil. Once vanquished, all becomes well and everyone lives happily ever after. There is much satisfaction in these...
A matter of will

A matter of will

A process of structured creative thinking (design thinking) + deep generalists is a powerful combination to deal with change. If we can consciously train people to use such a process, and value people who can think this way, then we can only be that much better...

Design thinking without design

Can we teach design thinking without teaching design? Is it possible to separate out the design thinking as a structured creative problem solving tool applicable to any and every profession, much like critical thinking, literacy and numeracy?
A limited definition limits the leverage

A limited definition limits the leverage

The conventional concept of Design (held by many designers as well as the general public) is a limited/stunted one – that of a profession of “making pretty”; and not much more beyond the more purely expression-focused fine arts; a sort of mass-producible art if you...
Doing the opposite

Doing the opposite

A fellow Design thinker wrote to me in the course of an email conversation: “One of the most influential moments in the last year was seeing Prof Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize winner and founder of the Grameen Bank, talk about how he set up the Bank, and the system of...
Dehydrating complex situations

Dehydrating complex situations

(Image from www.hungryharps.com) I love how simple hot water can instantly turn a dusty pile of crumbs and crinkled shreds into yummy miso soup. It is quite amazing how a complex mixture of ingredients, flavours and textures can be reduced into the essence of soup by...
Copyright and innovation

Copyright and innovation

If copyright is dead, will people still make cool stuff? Why do we do anything anyway? Is this just a question of reward –(copyright being a means to better secure potential rewards)? Reasons I would do something: Intrinsic satisfaction. Tangible rewards like money or...
Two Diamonds: Look deeper for better fit

Two Diamonds: Look deeper for better fit

Financial problem? We need an accountant. Data storage problem? Buy some network attached storage. Brand differentiation problem? Call a brand expert. This may seem obvious, but it can also be symptom-fixing. In not looking at a problem deeply enough, we miss...

Social drives evolution from within

Social connectivity (enabled by social media and 21st century global communications) disrupts silos and hierarchies. Social nets are woven through specialisation silos, over org charts, across geographically and socio-economically dispersed people. It is the mechanism...

Innovate “within” and “across”

Innovation is an attitude anyone can cultivate. I- and T-shapes (of I- and T-shaped people) define the gamut of possibilities; the size of the field on which innovation can play. An I-shaped deep specialist can be innovative – primarily drawing on the...
On the continuum of Do and Think

On the continuum of Do and Think

Consider the following continuum: Factories hire C. Unthinking doing (C) is useful and effective only when the environment is tightly controlled and not subject to frequent or disruptive change. IBM’s founder Thomas J. Watson knew back in the 1930s that thinking was...

Businesses don’t care. Individuals do.

In many countries, businesses (and other organisations) are legal entities like individual humans. Many have inspiring, socially-aware brand values, caring cultures and strict codes of ethical conduct. At the end of the day, however, the expression of caring comes...
Radical adjacent transformations

Radical adjacent transformations

“…the most successful companies right now are not only making adjacency moves … radical adjacencies. They take companies into entirely new markets – like Apple into music and video and mobile telephony, Amazon into devices and Cloud. They stretch the old idea of...

Rebooting Finland’s education system

Not focusing on excellence. Getting rid of competitiveness. Find your passion. Follow your dreams. Reduce testing. Kids should be kids. No private schools. Pay teachers a decent wage. Increase the prestige of being a teacher. It’s harder to become a teacher than...

What is Strategic Design?

The act of design can be divided into two broad parts: strategy and execution. Strategic design is the initial exploration, understanding and planning part. Executional design then follows to implement the final solutions. Strategic design sets the foundation for...
Strategy vs Plan vs Process

Strategy vs Plan vs Process

Strategy, Plan and Process are sometimes used interchangeably. But they mean different things, have different intents, and involve different tasks and activities. The typical progression is top-down. We create a Strategy in response to a challenge. From the Strategy...

Strategy formulation framework

Here is a visual summary of the key components that go into any strategy. This can be used as a working checklist and document framework, to ensure that key aspects of a strategy are considered and...
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