From the monthly archives: April 2011

The expansion of interdisciplinarity in innovation

Today more than ever, build effective contacts with the other company’s employees and a diversity of people outside it is essential to grasp the business opportunities and turn them into sustainable innovation.

To be persuasive, be able to influence for the collaboration, without using the power or money is necessary to develop skills of communication and relationship with other people with knowledge in other domains than our own.

We will have an effective work only if we can with support and willingness to collaborate with other people inside and outside the company.

A few years ago many of us thought that the future of our work will be a large specialization and preferably almost exclusively and in fact were so for some time. Good salaries, bonuses, promotions and most important jobs were absorbed by people shaped “I” (specialists). Now T-shaped people tend to absorb these places and if we are not yet there is time to get to tread the path to get there.

But not only are employers who value interpersonal and communication skills, together with the technical and strategic thinking and project management when it tackles the issue of innovation.

Henry Chesbrough says: “In a world of open innovation, specialists are available for collaboration through a variety of mechanisms, such that they need not be part of your payroll in order to help you innovate…

In a world of open innovation, where there are a wealth of useful ideas and smart people, the ability to integrate these available parts into effective solutions that deliver value is tremendously important…

Develop a culture that seeks out and rewards those managers with integration skills, to make the most out of both internal and external ideas.  This is the key talent to fight for in a world of open innovation.”

Open innovation is an interdisciplinary process that requires experts of various disciplines to work together throughout a project.

There are some good examples, see Elsevier, for reflection on how this approach must be made and how interdisciplinary teams have shown effective. At the bottom is an approach to diversity that requires some attention.

An open innovation project needs a leadership capable of driving a holistic vision in creating value for the consumer and at the same time be aligned with the competencies and strategies of the organizations involved.

This means that, for example engineers or other specialists in specific areas should have a basic knowledge of adjacent fields or to be good partners and collaboration partners, both inside and outside the organization.

“The value of multi-disciplinary thinking is one that many have touched upon in recent years. That includes the T-shaped thinkers championed by Bill Moggridge at IDEO, and the I-with-a-serif-shaped thinker introduced by Microsoft Research’s Bill Buxton, right through to the collaboration across departments, functions and disciplines that constitutes genuine cross disciplinary activity. This, I believe, is the way that innovation will emerge in our fiendishly complex times.” Helen Walters

Think about T-shaped people to interdisciplinary innovation is a perspective appealing to employees of companies as well as an obligation for innovative organizations.

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There are times that I failed, but this is not serious!

How many times we surprise ourselves when we want to answer questions and show our knowledge or try to find a solution to a problem and we find blocks.

The anxiety created makes feedback and increases tragically our silence leaving our response to latest increasingly. Often, not always directly responsible for this failure is the environment where we are inserted.

We cannot forget our past and when the environment brings us less good images of the past, our tendency is to react inappropriately.

If we want to be creative and find a solution to a problem, we give a jump to a favorable environment.

The environment can be support, but can also be an obstruction, and we can deliberately create an environment full of creative stimuli, or at least only very relaxing.

Creative environments can vary with the people and mindsets, so that we may want to experiment with how we feel and see if we build an environment, the most effective possible.

People are by nature highly social and we as a people easily react to the presence of other people and even, I think that someone can see us, we get blocked.

Competitive society that we are part, is fertile in judgments and can easily lead us to evaluate others and their ideas, even when we are aware that the procedure is not correct.

We ran to the other with psychological security when we accept the person, when we use empathy and not evaluated. But we also have psychological freedom of thinking, feeling and contribute fully.

Basically, we are ourselves, which gave rise to most locks, specifically our subconscious, when not in the alert to the traps of conventional thinking, drawing us the freedom to create.

It is our past banned signs distinguished builder of red and yellow lights, which prevents us from drive the road of imagination and creativity. There are rules, standards and other inconveniences that if by one side they are good constraints by the other side inhibit our creative ability. It is the logic over emotion and intuition.

The locks are all internal, but we know that the environment, including the people who surround us, especially those that emotionally affect our lives.

At the end of the thing creativity as the most often accept is an illusion. We tend to accept it as an activity very own when it is the result of social interactions.

I leave here a bit of a story that still lasts, for reflection on the environment and expectations in relation to our role, withdrawal of “John Maeda Mulls RISD’s Backlash Against His Cyber-Style Leadership”:

“Maeda has scaled back his blogging. He accepts that the big Samsung screens he installed as a way to bring students together digitally, by allowing them to post new work, notices of events, and messages, never caught on. “Technologists believe that if they impose a solution, people will adopt it,” he says. “But buy-in can’t be bought.”

“It’s like Elmer’s Glue and toothpicks versus spray glue,” he says, in a typical Zen-like riff.

Instead, he says, he’s going about leading in the old-fashioned way: building relationships one at a time, having coffee with faculty, jogging with students late at night, offering free pizza as an inducement to get them to show up and talk. These interactions are time-consuming, high-bandwidth, interactive, fiscally expensive for a busy president, and unscalable.”

This experience that still stems gives food for thought! Don’t you think?


Search for and identify problems


Imagine that the transformation is needed in our world of the  XXI century seems to be a constant challenge every time that a solution to a problem is presented and back with a series of problems to solve.

Some time ago I wrote about the “undesirable consequences on innovation” and I wondered “How can we prevent this?”.

One of the best ways of prevention is to find problems, not to create conflicts, but rather seek to be able to identify and find creative solutions.

To look for problems is to identify the present and future problems requiring a solution.

“Problem generating does not come easily to many people. People tend to wait for others to find problems for them to solve rather than take the initiative to seek out, or anticipate problems, changes, trends and opportunities for improvement or innovation. Perhaps in a large part, this is due to the fact that managers find their desks loaded with problems every day, making it easy for them to be reactive rather than proactive. Research into this has argued that the tendency to avoid proactive problem finding represented an organizational form of Gresham’s Law, in which people prefer to solve the problems that find them before working on problems they find for themselves. The attitude is so prevalent that some researchers have deemed the activity of problem finding to be an extra-role behavior – one that requires individuals to go beyond the boundaries of their jobs to bring about positive change ( taking charge ) or an operant behavior, which has been suggested is developed through actual practice.- Min Basadur

With ease, in an organization, we recognize employees who are constantly seeing problems everywhere and although we seem a pessimistic behavior, this can be translated into a major activity in identifying problems.

This is a reality and reality has so much bad thing that it does not deserve our “respect”.

Let reality stand with her grey face and let’s give wide imagination.

Let’s try to find problems in the future and imagine that there are solutions to those problems.

Let those beautiful shapes of deductive reasoning based on past experiences and break creating foundations still not designed for the construction of a possible balance between what is achievable and what is desirable.

What problems do we find?

And, if so, let’s temporarily forget what we learned, dipping into collaboration and seek to identify the problems that are common to all people in our ecosystem.

What is the probability that someone else is doing the same we do?

To not lose a single point of observation we must look with a 360 perspective of the world. Each angle can be a different perception and transform it into various problems.

Listen to what hasn’t been said because it means anticipating and a a prominent place in innovation.

Learn to observe is as important as to be noticed! After all we and they are a part of the same world!

Want to comment?

(Inspired by App The Innovator’s Killer)


Why ask questions?

Questions are a good instrument in processes of integration and generalization but it is important to understand under what conditions is that if you ask questions.

I don’t like “FAQs”!

When I have a doubt about the operation of anything and looking for information I often arises the “FAQs” and are the most frequent means that there is a reasonable set of people to do them.

Then what happens? Because there is a known issue that involves asking questions frequently and is still not resolved?

Where the “creative problems solving”? Where is innovation?

Almost all of us accept that internally we put questions and expect a response from ourselves. And I say almost all of us, because there are people who insist on not accepting it as an excuse for a state not conscious.

At school we are rewarded for giving answers according to what is understood to be the truth and not for asking questions. And as we spent some time in our life in this environment often we think that give responses is the healthiest and rewarding behavior.

But innovation does not follow this path. Innovate means creating something new with value and if I have the answer to the problems, whatever the merits of my memory or by merit of the manual accompanying the product or service I’m just providing knowledge transfer.

Know where to put memory any response that it finds. But the memory is obsessive enough to not pay attention to information if such information is not an answer to any question that can save itself. 

There are three types of questions that the memory likes:

The first arises when a person has a goal and need some information to help achieve this goal.

The second is the intrinsic interest, i.e. people may just want to know something, because they are curious about this thing.

The third is the failure of expectation based on explanation. How many times, we see the failure and seek explanations for what happened, in the hope that does not happen again. Our friend memory is there to help us.

Not have the habit of asking questions takes almost always worthless knowledge storage and lifeless.

Inert knowledge is simply the knowledge that is poorly positioned, and the only way to create indexing something useful is, ask questions. These situations arise when studying a subject and not questioned the subject’s links with other issues or cases.

Through our own experience we see easily that a part of our reasoning is based on cases and not based on rules.

When we solve problems, often we remember previous problems we faced. And what we do in these cases is to ask to the repository, where there are in the stock.

Many organizations have a repository of “frequently asked questions” on their site and many people think that this is a good choice to serve customers.

Wouldn’t it be more useful to allow the creativity to prospective customers of the organization and allow questions not asked?

Dare you and ask questions! And now unleash the imagination and ask: “what if …?”

Provide beyond immediate needs

When we talk with someone, we hear or read news, often we find that many people expresses needs unmet, but these are just the visible part of the iceberg.

Below the waterline there are many other needs that people still do not have or have not yet been identified because these people have not yet been confronted with environments that require more of themselves.

For example: I feel the need for a mobile phone with internet access because people that are part of my ecosystem “require” it, that is, if I intend to communicate with my partners and friends it is important to me to be a user of certain technologies and their applications, otherwise the communication becomes difficult.

This means change!

Observe the behavior of people in their environment to understand the interactions person/environment is one of the best ways to start a desirable process of change.

The change in people always implies an acceptance more or less difficult when this change does not arise on its own initiative, that is, to leave the comfort zone without resistance people have to seek a greater comfort.

I think that if people cannot follow the principle of pleasure, and the reality they require an effort, they will spend the least effort possible.

So in order to decrease the resistance will change we need to observe the daily life of people and analyze the interactions that people do with their environment and determine the limits of intensity of change that we believe will be acceptable.

Until what point can I promote change without creating rejection?

The paths for finding solutions to the problems of people start with the observation of interactions and these problems may be unmet but clearly identified, unarticulated, difficulty in framing context or difficult to verbalize and hidden needs that may not be experienced today but exist as a result of something introduced.

To observe the people’s needs is not restricted to the identification of the products or services, it is also to observe the behavior of people when they interact with their environment, and the only way to get a result that satisfies our intentions is creating empathy with people we want to observe.

To facilitate the observation of these interactions questionnaires and informal conversations or even auxiliary frames with relevant items may not be enough.

The capture of information transmitted with the aid of new technologies, videos and other type of records becomes crucial for obtaining good results, because this allows the preservation of natural environments, i.e. environments not filtered by our intervention, in addition to allow viewing through different angles (different observers).

However these comments have some limitations:

-Are limited to data with visible features or behaviors.

-Require more time to capture sufficient information to draw conclusions.

For its part the use of questionnaires limit the spontaneity of whoever responds.

Understand and observe potential users of innovative products and services that solve many of the problems of people requires an interdisciplinary work and lots of creativity because solutions must be desired by consumers/users, and must be achievable and economically viable for whom provides.

These solutions are found in the universe “what could be” and not in the universe of “what is”.

I think observation has two important moments in the course of developing an idea, the observation to nurture the creation of a solution and the observation of the interaction of the person with the prototype of the solution.

It is in this second journey into the world of interactions that may arise some questions:

Will the product or service created fully meets the needs of the people?

The solution founded doesn’t bring undesirable consequences?

The proposed solution is just the beginning of a big change?

Once in interaction with the solution which is desirable and consequent behavior?

The extent to which the observation held allows me to predict future behaviors?

What charge of intent did I put into solution proposal beyond the first interaction?

We know how important it is the notion of conformity bias in people and what is the weight that culture has on the choices, so, for this here is the question:

Will the proposed solution, that we see often are in fact the solution for the problems or just part of a journey to a destination suggested by others?

Do you want to comment?

At any point of contact!

I do not think that there is doubt that trust has a great importance in social interactions!

Trust is a psychological state that is related with our intention to accept the vulnerability based on positive expectations about the intentions or behavior of another person.

This assumes that there is a trust, a sense of competence from each other and our perception of the intentions of others and of his benevolence, that is, until the point I am confident that there is interest in my welfare or at least there is no interest in malaise.

These situations of confidence become relevant in business situations where trust is determinant in all interactions that represent the points of contact in the course of an idea until the final product or service.

But as our interests are interlinked with others, we also must recognize that there is an element of risk involved, often faced with situations that we cannot force others to cooperate or collaborate with us.

So what are the limits that I establish to the risk?

Normally, although this risk exists, we hope that everything goes well and we base it in the competence, integrity and consideration that we perceive in another person.

As much longer lasting is our relationship with another person, team or organization, the greater the degree of confidence that we built.

Business confidence is linked with many aspects that are, among others, the ability of secrecy or warranty service according to our most demanding needs and behaviors:

-“Accenture believes a vital component has been missing from the privacy debate: a proactive business perspective focused not merely on compliance with laws that protect privacy but also on the notion that companies can earn consumer trust. In return for access to information, the company that has earned trust can assure consumers and business partners that they will use that information responsibly to provide value-added services. Implicit in this response to privacy concerns is the belief that trust has an economic value to companies and that it can be used to win competitive advantage.”

In this sense, and although the privacy to be one of the aspects already much discussed, maybe not even with satisfactory results (“iPhone keeps record of everywhere you go“), it still deserves a lot of reflection and debate the development of services.

For many years I worked in insurance companies where it was easy to verify that the aspects related with trust were fundamental to the growth of companies that provide these services. Today more than ever, after seeing some major disasters, trust is a key factor in the creation of services in the financial areas.

Designthinkers made a presentation on 15 April at a Conference of Aegon, where they focused trust as a foundation for building good relationships with customers. These slides pulled out some suggestive phrases for reflection:

“A relationship based on trust begins with intentions.”

From this assertion with which I agree, I underline the importance of the fact that a relation, organization and clients, when constructed on the basis of confidence, necessarily imply in the internal environment of the Organization a high level of trust of the members of the teams between themselves and their leaders.

There is a need of balance between the teams or organization and the entire “design service” as is the case with all the players interacting in the service to develop.

Factors such as the behaviors of lack of confidence, perceptions about what is trusted, the perceptions of consideration and influence and cooperation that exist in the employees can help us to understand what level of internal trust exists in the organizations.

Confidence in leaders can also be accessed through integrity, consideration, the sense of opportunity and recognition of their competence.

And because trust is important I think we should remember Idris Mootee:

“Corporations are facing crises on several fronts, not only from low cost competition, economic and sustainability and social development: business leaders and governments are experiencing a profound crisis of trust and legitimacy. All or these triggered a loss of confidence in our old ways of doing things. The very core of many management theories are being questioned and “management ‘is close to a point of failure. People need to find something to make sense of what’s going on and organize for the future of unprecedented uncertainties.

Battered by system level economic failure, extreme uncertainties and the failure of traditional forms of leadership and management, many are gazing hopefully towards design thinking as a new management wonder drug that will help them make sense of what is going on and secure their next big bonus, election or promotion. Yes, design thinking is bringing a refreshing approach to management and strategic thinking, but it is far from a wonderdrug.”

Design thinking, or the necessary mindset to address service design is not actually a cure for all ills, but can help us to find our way, always inserted in a context, to the establishment of relations based on trust.

To start this way according to Designthinkers:

“Start small, give yourself time to learn and look to see what the customer is trying to do. Then help him to do it or develop tools to empower them”

“Develop them together, stop sending, and start interacting!

Facilitate the conversation. Open the doors, look for new collaborations both within and outside the company. Experiment. Don’t be afraid to fail, this is the only way that we learn anything new.

Practice what you preach so uou can preach what you practice and slowly start building a culture of trust to co-create real value with all stakeholders”

And because trust is also important here, feel free to comment!

What should we buy? – Features or possibilities?

When we talk about innovation sometimes I think in simple things that solve some problems.

The “term” simplicity may refer to a product in which the user model is very similar to the model of a product and that’s why the product is easy to use.

We may also use the “term” simplicity to refer to a product with nice visual aspect and that is a very aesthetic description.

Or we use the term simply because a product has a large number of features that allow us to use them when necessary, and without having to search for another product. It is simple because we use only one thing to realize a series of tasks, such as a “Swiss knife”.

There are those who advocate that complexity is beautiful and there are those who prefer the simplicity without being minimalistic. I personally admire complexity as figure exploring and enabling the curious observation of many details and even use varied features.

In my last post I was questioning our ability to handle multi-tasking that is suggested by products filled with features which we only use about 20% and eventually some of them are not advisable.

Are features! There are not possibilities!

I think that when we suggest possibilities we suggest not only a choice of usage or decision-making, but above all an opportunity to co-create.

“What happens if we stop trying to understand consumer needs, and we cultivate empty spaces where people can innovate for them?”

The ability of people to innovate for them answers many questions about the “term” simplicity since the co-responsibility is introduced in the creation of products or services, and exists:

-A decrease of risk of poor usability.

-An increase of the significance of things and interactions.

-A predisposition for learning and for maintenance.

The issue of lifelong learning is crucial to find meaning in innovation.

Otherwise when being confronted with innovation, even though it comes under the banner of simplicity, instead of having an instrument or how to solve problems we will have problems to resolve.

Tom Cummings (@ tomcummings) wrote an article “The Pigeon Thirsty in which he says: ” A friend recently informed me that her small non-profit organization had purchased several iPads as part of a new technology initiative.  Three weeks later, after several internal meetings and lots of research into the ‘best’ apps, she said they hadn’t figure out exactly how to use them.  She asked me what I thought they should be doing with shiny new toys.

I asked a simple question: Why did you buy them?”

This can be a good time to think, before buying, before producing and even before you create. Why buy?

The product concerned in spite of being a vehicle of possibilities shows that there is no doubt that the whole marketing campaign was well prepared to lead to consumption of these products, but certainly that was not expected that people are purchasing problems. Learning is a factor that is concerned.

Stay with some possibilities for reflection:

-The easiest way to simplify a system is to remove a feature. We must however be careful what we remove because the reduction has meaning if you keep the balance between simple and complex.

-An effective system of organization of things lets you pack up everything we need and dominates the complexity.

-Avoid waiting do not creates despair and everything gets simpler.

-Knowledge frees unneeded attempt tasks to use equipment or tools.

-Simplicity and complexity need each other! As the complexity increases, as is the case of technology, the more urgent is the simplicity offered to the user.

-The context is what makes the real simplicity.

-“It is simple, I like it!” and more than that, “It is simple, I trust”.

Despite this my dedication to things simple I know that there are things that can never be simple.

Simplicity consists of subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.

(Source: The Laws of Simplicity)

Don’t confuse complex with complication and embrace learning innovation.

Do you want to comment?


Pieces of articles

In the future, I imagine most flat organizations with its energy distributed by networks or communities, without the concern of the physical location and increasingly responses appropriate to the real needs of the people.

If this is true, these networks or communities will endure in increasingly sophisticated technology and centered on people.

Today, what were the certainties of the past was replaced by ambiguity, diversity of issues and opinions that arise in conjunction with an constant adaptation of behaviors.

Today we have new technologies for all generations and not just for the dominant generation in the world of work.

The differences between the various generations who live today in the world of work and those others who are part of our life, children and elderly, are probably larger than between what I think and what each one might think.

Today some people mistakenly think that it is capable of performing one thousand and one tasks simultaneously, or at least more than one!

Is it a matter of age?

No! It’s not a question of age or generations! It is a wrong thought according to “A recent Harvard Business Review post says that multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in IQ (Bergman, 2010).

People who multitask are less productive/efficient than those who simply concentrate on one project a time.

We don’t actually “multitask” because your brain switches rapidly between handling one task and then another.

Simplify your life and your tasks. Do fewer things — better.”

How can we design products that are not only focused on the need, but also focused on the use, taking into account how they can affect or change us individually and collectively?

Problems often occur when those who believe in technology as an order to ignore social and cultural norms of society in which technology is being introduced.

Can this be more unintended consequence of innovation?

Do you enjoy lunch with someone who is constantly checking or sending messages with a mobile phone?

Do you like to speak in public and check that who is there isn’t listening, but playing Tetris?

What is the first thing you do when you get up? Connect the computer? Taking breakfast?

Who you like more, yourself or the internet? 


Looking for new paths

Yesterday I participated in a great #innochat moderated by @DrewCM about the theme “Innovation’s Unintended Consequences” that you can read here and that made me think because this subject is so little discussed.

Drew starts his text with:

“The power of innovation is its ability to introduce change into stable systems. Sometimes that change will be fundamental and profound. When we work to design and implement our innovations how do we prepare for and manage fundamental and profound unintended consequences?”

There are some reasons that are stated to not be a wider debate on this subject!

There are questions of research because research into unintended and undesirable consequences is very difficult, very complex and there are no reliable methods.

There are political questions and eventually emotional because debate can include groups of interests of promoters of innovations.

I think there are always unintended consequences of our actions.

Sometimes they are beneficial and we think we are lucky people and sometimes the consequences are just a small annoyance. For example: Provide mosquito nets to protect children and ensure that they are used as fishing nets.

However, the consequences are often greater than the problem we are trying to solve.

Another example: A simple introduction of a law prohibiting the employment of young people in textile factories in developing countries can drag them into prostitution.

Those are just two examples that do not reflect the majority of cases where unintended consequences arise but that question us about how to avoid these consequences.

The big picture that emerges is currently about unintended consequences portrays all the innovation around technologies and follows similar pathways.

The consequences of intentional innovation tend to be concentrated:

-Desired and preferred.

-Lead to adaptation.

-Unlikely but possible.

The unintended consequences of innovation usually involve three potential unexpected results: Desirable, acceptable and undesirable. (Adapted from The Unintended Consequences of Technological Innovation)

“Technology all too often impacts our daily lives in ways that were unanticipated by the creators of the technology. An example occurs in biotechnology where the development of new genetic tests for disease is now coupled with a growing concern for how individuals cope with this information, how they manage their risk for disease given test results, and what kinds of defensive actions individuals take. Less dramatic examples occur with common artifacts, from toasters to computer keyboards, to software and video games, to automobiles and their components, even to spaces, such as homes and shopping malls.

How can the design of artifacts incorporate a perspective broader than the mere functionality the artifact attempted to address originally?

How can concerns over unforeseen use or unintended consequences of technology be incorporated directly into the original design thinking?

How can we design products that are not only need-focused but also use-focused, taking into account the way they may affect us or change us individually and collectively? – Design Science

Problems often occur when those who believe in technology as an order to ignore social and cultural norms of society in which technology is being introduced.

“A search for sources online using a search engine Google revealed thousands of headlines and news articles about technology, privacy and social change, such as:

• Arab countries prohibit cameras on mobile phones.

• U.S. Secretary of Defense prohibits camera phones in Iraq

• Japan bans cell phones in public baths

• South Korea requires “clicking sound and brilliant red lights” on all camera phones

• Judge prohibits the use of cell phones to capture images in courts, except in designated areas.

• Professors prohibit cell phones of examination rooms

• Imprisonment for men who surreptitiously use a phone with camera for photographing up women’s skirts (Japan Times)

It would be unreasonable innovate a product or a service suitable for each type of culture or specific environment but it is possible to predict that situations like the above will happen.

So how can we avoid undesirable consequences?

I think a process of innovation depends fundamentally on interactions as a way of obtaining new knowledge and abstractions as a way of establishing standards. It seems vital the existence of interdisciplinary teams to establish a comprehensive perspective of the consequences of the use of a product or innovative service.

So design thinking fits in the innovation process and goes further challenging the status quo because the design thinkers can solve the most delicate problems through integrative thinking in collaboration, using the logic of abduction, i.e. the logic of what can be and not what should be or what it is.

We can find a path through prototypes, where we can prevent many undesirable consequences of use or through the use of white spaces where we can combine solutions with culture where these products or services may be disseminated.

Design thinking seeks to discover unforeseen implementation challenges and unintended consequences, in order to obtain more reliable results of long-term success.

“The tools of external market analysis are fairly well known. However in white space mapping the objective is to approach the unknown. You could almost say the definition of the ‘white space’ is that there are few footprints in the sand.”- Idris Mootee

This is just a possible page on this subject. Do you want to leave some notes about what you think of this?

Thank you!

We need a conductor!

There has been a curious bustle on twitter about the assertion of Bruce Nussbaum that “Design Thinking Is A Failed Experiment. So What’s Next?. Well, this is not what worries me, because these assertions are made whenever someone is not happy with an orientation and legitimately is seeking an alternative. It already happened elsewhere with “Forget Design Thinking and Try Hybrid Thinking” or “Design Thinking is killing Creativity“, among others.

Those are naturally readings to make either about the pros and cons, because it is healthy when someone seeks to see something from a different angle!

What worries me was what I found, in an article by Robert Fabricant “Frog Design: 3 Things Wile E. Coyote Teaches Us About Creative Intelligence“, about the future of creativity and the relationship that this future can be with the human resources of companies.

Fabricant writes:

Putting HR in the Driver’s Seat

Why do I say that? Last fall, frog design had the opportunity to participate in the Economist ‘Ideas Economy’ conference on Human Potential in New York and I was able to observe firsthand, the dangers of this model of creativity. While the conference had the usual provocative speakers (Clay Shirky, Dan Pink, Dan Ariely) the audience leaned heavily toward HR executives.

The underlying message coming from Richard Florida, Vijay Vaitheeswaran, and others is that creativity should be viewed as a critical resource that is undervalued within most organizations and thus, represents a huge area for growth in the 21st century (hence the “Human Potential” referred to in the title). The corollary to that message was that HR should play a lead role in building and managing this resource like any other link in the corporate value chain. Again and again speakers fell into the trap of referring to “creativity” as a form of organizational capital just like finances, real estate, or energy. I found this very disturbing. And I worry that the concept of CQ will only play into HR’s hands.”

It happens that I have defended the need for convergence of business and Design Thinking and I believe that the Human Resources in organizations have a role to develop what seems to be a good way, i.e., seek to create interdisciplinary teams as opposed to an excess of traditionally analytical profiles.

This assumes, of course, the recruitment and training of persons targeted for creativity, activity normally associated with Human Resources departments.

It is a shame that in a number of large enterprises, “creativity” will be remembered only in Social Responsibility activities and festive meetings of employees.

The concern arises when one can guess a confusion of available profiles to fill seats and no ability to identify the real needs of organizations, i.e. when there is not a clear definition of what they want, whether they are “analysts, emotional, or solitary creative”, among others.

In my opinion, these people must be people specialized in diverse areas but with skills, wider interests and motivations, enabling them to build interdisciplinary teams and good communication and collaboration processes.

My concern is the return to super specialists, people who are in the Organization to resolve the problems concerning their discipline but are unable to collaborate to solve the problems of other disciplines.

Happening this scenario will be the Human Resources the responsible for accumulating discontent and eventual excesses in recruiting costs.

Organizations are dynamic and above all sustained in interactions. They do not live, generally of a genius asleep in any metal lamp.

Fabricant says:

Creativity is Driven by Social Dynamics

Creativity is the result of a set of relationships with strong social and emotional dimensions. It comes out of a collaborative environment (and this is where HR can play a meaningful role), hence the shift in focus toward organizational culture and transformation in design organizations.”

It seems to me that the focus on organizational culture is the big bet that organizations should do, reorganizing the human resources services so they are facilitators of cooperation and liberation of the existing potential.

Creativity is not innate; it can be learned and facilitated by favorable environments and appropriate recognition. It is often a matter of patience!

Human Resources managers should seek to be conductors and build an orchestra to the size of the company, where each contributor (musician) with its potential could perform an action worthy of applause.

As a good Orchestra needs a room with good acoustics an organization needs a liberating environment of human potential to produce good results.

The metrics, these apply at the end to account for the palms!