From the monthly archives: July 2011

It can be funny to complain!

Last Thursday, in another event “Service Design Drinks Porto”, we have proposed “Turismo em Portugal” as the context for our talk.

Our purpose was to promote the connection and collaboration between the people present there through the identification of problems experienced in that context.

The environment generated initially was, as could be expected, the chaos with some discipline, translated into complaints and motions, mixed with reviews and comparisons of situations out of context.

After this initial divergence, very similar to a basketball game, and already in collaborative phase, more serious, it was possible some convergence, because after all the purpose was to connect and collaborate.

The early stages of our conversation made me reflect on the attitudes of people when reporting less good experiences and to what extent we, when we identify problems, confuse complaints with unmet needs.

An assumption or maybe not: the complaints stem from expectations frustrated or unmet needs by manipulation of customers’ emotions.

People believe that claim can make them look more intelligent, that is, anyone who is smart would not be happy accepting poor quality of goods or services acquired without complaining.

Some people when they reach a saturation point exaggerate the negative assessment of things or overvalue their need of them.

There are people who like to complain, because it gives them reason to talk, others who believe that if nobody complains nothing will change and even some who sometimes like to complain, because it can be funny.

When we talk about consumer or users of innovative products or services we are talking about customers and potential customers and in this sense, I think we can understand complaints at least two different viewpoints:

-Complaints that represent a break in the link between the client and the company and that put their relationship in crisis or in a state of alert. In these moments it is necessary to demonstrate the skills and care to treat the rupture and overcome the crisis, in order to make the relationship stronger, through a significant increase of trust.

Trust is the support base of loyalty. If we rely on one person or one company to resolve a crisis, we tend to feel more friendly because it was proven a good confidence level.

-Complaints, claims or demonstrations that something is not well or does not exist to meet the real needs of people and that must be overcome through new products or services. At these times we identify real problems watching and asking people about their unmet needs, not articulated and hidden needs and there is not a specific destination of the complaint or manifestation.

For this we need to keep a constant empathetic attitude while we investigate these needs. This empathy demonstrated will establish an environment of trust that provides transparency and realism in the manifestation of “complaints” or “claims”, identifying clearly the problems.

This transparency is necessary because we often present a complaint by a bad service, but what we seek is just presenting our solution to solve a problem that is often systemic, i.e. we are the victims, after that, persecutors and finally the saviors.

Trust and empathy move together around complaints and unmet needs and can allocate more or less significance to the behaviors of the complaint, i.e. to demonstrations by people that something is not right.

Dissatisfaction serves as motivation for behavior complaint and is the main source of complaints. This dissatisfaction may vary according to the situations:

Unsatisfied people can objectively assess the extent of the failure, the costs and benefits of the complaint and the probability of success, and then decide whether or not to act on the basis of that evaluation.

Everything depends on the weight that we attach to economic benefits, to our perception and the seriousness of the failure or problem.

People, depending on the type of people that are, can inhibit and do not act on the complaint, but this may not prove lasting.

Everything depends on demographic, psychological condition (emotional) or personality, social, cultural and previous experiences.

Is the purpose of repairing failures experienced by consumers or users, is to identify unmet needs, it is important to clarify what gave rise to the complaint or denunciation and in that situation (context) occurred.

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Not have certainties is not insecurity

When we think that we are certain about something that happens in the world around us, we feel that we understand things and we believe that we can predict what will happen.

It does exist in those times a feeling of control so “real” that we believe we are in safety.

To maintain this security we usually seek control of things through understanding, that is, we seek to understand in order to predict and thus ensure a secure future.

But is this really possible in an environment of constant change and increasingly diversified and interactive?

The certainty is a feeling of comfort, often translated into assumptions, presumption or even unshakable knowledge.

The certainty is the result of an extrapolation of events or experiences of the past applied to the future when the conditions in which they occurred are repeated without the slightest change.

To be sure that something will happen is to deny the complexity and prevent that simplicity incorporates the solutions of the problems we face.

To be not sure is uncomfortable and creates tensions that motivate us, though not always in the right direction, when we want to make decisions.

In “traditional” thought people believe they can see the “true reality” in any situation and that any view that opposes them is not reality.

These people think that there cannot be a better model, because they have the certainty of how things are.

But when we are faced with a new mindset with more opening, more curiosity and creativity we see that there is another view of reality because:

The existing templates do not represent the “reality”, but are a construction and this construction is often made in elaborate prejudices in learning and acculturation.

With this approach, the traditional thinkers consider that any contrary opinion must be crushed and seek to simplify the issues to avoid complexity, making their choices quickly and with decision-making character, avoiding tensions.

“Of all the headwinds we face as decision-makers, the power of one overshadows all others: our need for certainty. It is typically more important for us to feel right, than to be right — a difference that didn’t matter much in the lives of our ancestors, but now matters a lot…

Our physiology is geared to move us quickly to eliminate the uncomfortable tension of not knowing — the mild stress response our bodies trigger when we perceive that we have lost control because we don’t understand. It is this tension that motivates us to figure things out like the mysterious rustle in the bush, the confusing betrayal of a friend, the promotion we didn’t get — all the minor and major problems that confront us every day.”– Ted Cadsby

The lack of knowledge or uncertainty about certain subject creates tensions and these tensions that are uncomfortable have been up to now been resolved with the demand for an increase of knowledge that will lead us in security on the heights of decision-making.

One of the forms of protection that we have found to ensure the success of our predictions is the use of metrics and a deep analysis of massive data sets and their relationships with past facts.

This option could be to exceptional if there were no change. It would be a clear replication of the past at some point in the future.

But it is not, the change is there!

“They had no way at all of predicting change. Their core conception — “If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t count” — precludes them from demonstrating to themselves that the future will be anything but an extrapolation of the past. Note however, that it is a prison that they have built for themselves. They build it, lock themselves in a cell, throw away the key; and then complain about being unfairly locked in a prison cell.

We need to get away from all those old sayings about measurement and management, and in that spirit I’d like to propose a new wisdom:

“If you can’t imagine it, you will never create it.” The future is about imagination, not measurement. To imagine a future, one has to look beyond the measurable variables, beyond what can be proven with past data.” – Roger Martin

Now we have to imagine a world where the assured is only confirmed by the past when we are on security in the future.

Our greatest security is being able to imagine solutions to problems and use uncertainty as a constant for questioning assumptions. 

The uncertainty can be a lever for creativity and innovation.

Do you want to comment?

 

Small and big crises

Today, Umair Haque put a question on twitter that made me remember some common observations when we are faced with a problem:

“Are we still of the belief that “if you have no solutions, you should keep your mouth shut”? Is that a wise idea for learning and knowledge?

And what about, if facing a problem, we start by postponing the trial of ideas, and we launch into the air, along with others, a reasonable number of new ideas?

So maybe, in a conversation at a time and visualizung those ideas we can build something new based on ideas of others but keeping us on the topic of the problem.

Ah! And already now encourage wild ideas, crazy and nonsensical because the solution can be there!

Now that the time has come to select ideas, let’s use contrasting selection criteria in order to preserve innovation, that is, so we don’t end up only with safe bets or long-distance guesses, but with a combination of ideas of what is possible with a view to the future.

-“What can we do with what we know or what we did before, that may have value?” Lavoie

-Certainly it is not to stay with the mouth closed!

We know that businesses and society generally, like ideas ranging from A to B in a logical sequence of reasoning where uncertainty causes headaches though it is a fundamental characteristic of the days in which we live.

So we must think in provide persons and organizations, systematic ways to search for patterns and relationships in a large number of different variables, including conflicting data, ambiguous or even paradoxical.

I think it is important to create white spaces where all people in an organization can open his mouth even if that means throwing the uncertainty.

Using the patterns and relationships found in the diversity of ideas presented in an organization or ecosystem it is possible to generate a set of principles that increase the likelihood of success when we face challenges that seem to shake for being complex or because their dynamics and so strong that we see as ambiguous.

“In order to achieve a balance of resources that lends itself to dealing ably with uncertainty, businesses need to have the flexibility and creativity to adjust, to renew their market position, to fund intangible values that shore up the human intelligence that drives their enterprise…

Uncertainty is important, because it is not always what it seems. The instability it seems to suggest can also be an opportunity for growth, evolution, innovation. And a shifting landscape of influence and competition can allow for concurrent evolutions and innovations that support and sustain one’s own new models and methods…

Diversity of resources and of opportunity must be one of the assets built into any successful enterprise, along with the intellectual and strategic agility necessary for keeping afloat in periodically rough seas.” – Joseph Robertson

In a sea of uncertainty, where diversity exists it may be the best way to express new ideas and create new knowledge and encourage learning.

If we do not have solutions we need to ask “what if …”?

If we do not have solutions we must abandon the certainties and embrace the doubts!

If we do not have solutions we must question the assumptions!

If we do not have solutions we must meet with people who think different from what we think!

If we do not have solutions we must re-examine the problems!

If we do not have solutions we must identify that actors who are manifested in the problem and what is after all their roler!

If we do not have solutions we will work seriously and  hard to the find it!

If we do not have solutions we can’t ignore the problem because this is the best way to turn the complex into complicated!

 Do you want to comment! Thank you!

 

The interaction and the discovery of connections

 

When we try to be creative and innovate, that is when we want to add value to our new idea we must interact with the world around us.

The interaction that we look for can be to start a search process, to clarify concepts or refine prototypes or even to test. This can be done at home in the garden or in the kitchen or at work, be it a software company or an insurance company.

What happens at these times is that if in fact we are committed to the success of these achievements, we see that it is partially derived from relationships with other people, through which we have access to knowledge and skills beyond ourselves.

Often some of our ideas seem to be of a complexity that we do not covered by inadequacy of resources and expertise but they can be exceeded over a network. In other words, is not only important what we know, but is also who we know.

Some time ago I watched on Talk 2.0 a presentation of “adventure” of a young Portuguese man in London about the success of a musical production. It was noted that there are two important things:

-Success depends on the team, and not of individuals, and passes through collaborative networks, to produce successful innovation.

-It is the intersection in collaboration that the new knowledge emerges.

This new knowledge occurs when a casual association during, for example, a research work, results in a shortcut within the set of representations that we have at the time. This causes arising light needed to understand a series of connections that until then could not make sense. It is as if I could find the right direction in the middle of a route, is the cut path.

Our ability to reasoning, in a world in constant change, causes so many results and so divergent that the world of creativity seems unlimited.

I think that our experience shows us that creativity, often happens when different ideas, stimuli and materials are put together through new combinations. It is one of the positive aspects to retain with the experimentation and even to fail when converted to learning is beneficial.

For example, when we experience an intersection of fields or disciplines or even cultures, it is possible to combine existing concepts and create countless new ideas of high value.

This concern with the intersection of ideas is not a concern now. To attract talented people from various disciplines and different cultures, the Medicis caused the meeting between artists and “scientists”, which led to exchange ideas, and discover the intersections that allowed for giant leaps in creativity and innovation.

In other words, enabling search and find the connections between different disciplines and cultures, led to an explosion of exceptional ideas.

To find the intersection between seemingly unrelated ideas, it is necessary to acquire the habit of observation. We must be constantly on the lookout to find connections.

“Instead of thoughts of concrete things patiently following one another in a beaten track of habitual suggestion, we have the abrupt cross-cuts and transitions from one idea to another, the most rarefied abstractions and discriminations, the most unheard of combination of elements, the subtlest associations of analogy; in a word, we seem suddenly introduced into a seething cauldron of ideas, where everything is fizzling and bobbling about in a state of bewildering activity, where partnerships can be joined or loosened in an instant, treadmill routine is unknown, and the unexpected seems only law.”– William James

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A new role in the evaluation of ideas

When we talk about creativity, we talk about the emergence of a new idea, whether inside an organization or in another environment where we can possibly make part.

Creativity is the process that we have to bring something new to our life and requires passion and commitment when, as authors, we intend to bring our idea to its successful implementation.

This idea brings to our consciousness what before was not visible and this can happen when we collide other ideas or they woke up at a given time of observation.

When we talk about innovation we talk about the implementation of the idea, converting this into a successful business or in resolving a problem.

There are many environments where the generation of ideas can happen and also many processes and actors to pass of creativity for innovation. Perhaps one of the most common in organizations is the participation of employees in generating ideas and their consequent evaluation.

In fact, has given much emphasis in organizations, and well, to the process of generating ideas, but little attention to transpiration by which we must pass to reach a successful business.

“Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”-Edison

Perspiration is the result of an additional effort in our usual pace and this effort is due often to the obstacles we found in the development of ideas.

How can we minimize these efforts?

“Try to imagine what a democracy of ideas would look like. Employees would feel free to share their thoughts and opinions, however politically charged they might be. No single gatekeeper would be allowed to quash an idea or set the boundaries on its dissemination. New ideas would be given the chance to garner support before being voted up or down by senior execs. The internal debate about strategy, direction and policy would be open, vigorous, and uncensored. Maybe this sounds hopelessly romantic, but such a thoughtocracy already exists—not in any big company, but on the web.”– “The future of Management”-Gary Hamel

I have verified that in many organizations, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises the ideas of the employees jump to “arena” with enthusiasm in the initial phase but tend to dissipate with time.

Even with the aid of good tools for collection and dissemination of these ideas there are many times killed without communication between those responsible for the treatment of these ideas and their authors. Sometimes it seems that the “gatekeepers” are on vacation and have not been replaced.

The motivation of the collaborators, authors of ideas, present to participate in the challenges of organizations is often injured by silence and goes quickly to disinterest and lack of confidence in the processes and people.

An idea without implementation has no great value in the context where it arose, but can serve for other externally run, that is, an idea not used remains full of potential.

In the absence of internal competence to implement ideas organizations can always resort to consultancy and there are already good examples of these attitudes by companies.

But first, let’s lead, motivate and train teams to learn how to analyze problems and opportunities and turn them into tangible results for their business in a sustainable manner.

One of the purposes of creativity is to unite the existing features to creating new value, which does not mean that, once by another, there may be a need to bring in some assets abroad to complete the project.

A few days ago, in a conversation about some difficulties in understanding the treatment of the ideas suggested by the employees of a company and facing complaints that heard about the silences and lack of discipline in the appreciation of the ideas came to me the idea to propose the figure of “Godfathers of ideas”.

In some cultures the godfathers have as mission to replace parents (when absent) in monitoring the education of children and usually accompany the life of godchildren with great affection.

As in the social life, the father of the idea (in the context of my proposal) would invite some of its partners work to support the development of the idea and simultaneously collaborate on the project’s author, technically, motivationally and in communicational way.

This way, from the moment that an idea has godfathers, and is expected they fulfill its role, the ideas would be lost in “suggestion box” because they, somehow take care of the visibility of its affiliates.

The great advantage that I see in this new figure “Godfather” are:

-It creates a positive emotional field to the author of the idea.

-It can supplement the skills of the author in the development of the idea.

-It keeps the journey from idea visible and establishes communication active and open.

-It increases the credibility and the possible value of the idea.

-It develops the participation of more collaborators on creativity and innovation.

This was a different approach to traditional evaluation system of ideas in an organization against the silence of the “evaluators”. It is possible that there are obstacles or less beneficial consequences in this proposal, so I invite you to share your opinion.

Thank you!

Build creatively in the tension of ideas

A reflection on various approaches to the role of intuition and affects in decision-making, can lead us to better understand the environment of innovation.

The choice of “good” or “less good” ideas implies a decision (evaluation).

The ideas will follow the path traced by the decision-makers and reach or not to the level more desired, the innovation. These ideas can be selected by a personal choice of company decision-makers, or may arise in seeking resolution of a problem identified or simply can arise in a hallway and consider relevant.

In any case the ideas must be aligned with corporate strategy.

It is not surprising then that thousands of ideas just some or only one reaches its destination.

But the choices made by holding the power of decision are not only supported on databases and tables of well-designed demonstration, they also involve emotions that are often responsible for large positive changes for the company.

And these emotions in decision making are a function of information on pleasure and pain that do not involve cognitive assessment of the situation.

The emotions also communicate information to other people and provide us with information about our environment preparing us to act and thus experience deeper lived.

But how do these emotions convey the energy required to move from idea to implementation?

When we feel that something is a “job to be done” we exploit emotions towards demand for objectives, it is a feeling that is oriented to the future and is imbued with progress or development.

This feeling that we call intuition is linked to decision-making to leverage ideas through a chosen path and that is not always equal in an organization it is also very tacit knowledge.

When I speak of intuition, I think it can be neither entirely conscious nor totally unconscious.

This means that if the intuitive signals are aware, they can be monitored and their influence on behavior can be controlled by the individual in a flexible and context-sensitive.

Intuition can be seen as the use of cognitive models (heuristics) par excellence, and are byuild as rules based on experience and planning replacing other based on algorithmic search solutions that reaches out to correct after you have combined the problem with all possible solutions.

They are the so-called sacred values that contain strong emotions and lasting.

Sacred values are the values that are seen as absolutes and non-negotiable and, consequently, are not allowed to be traded with other values. These values are not normative assumptions or customary practices and considered good, are the result of the incorporation of social values and experiences.

“The assessment of the financial statements and the subsequent decision to invest or not is full of emotions, physiological responses and heuristic.”- Dilip Soman and Rina Yoo

Most of the emotions are socially constructed, and one of its main functions is to regulate and coordinate social interactions, which most people dominate intuitively, for better or for worse.

The idea, of policy makers or decision makers isolated and rational, has been replaced by the idea, of decision makers as social beings that communicate with each other and experience many emotions in the planning and coordination of their actions.

“Aesthetics and Emotions cannot be separated into numbers, but are still important elements in decision-making” – Roger Martin

 

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There is no doubt that …

A postulate or a proposition taken are paths to not have traps, but does not indicate that we are on the right track.

Transforming assumptions on hypotheses is the path of exploration, creativity and innovation and this must be the mindset of a leader in innovation.

Almost always a leader differs from a manager by the use that they make of assumptions because while the first questions the assumptions and seek to do the right things the manager in an incremental way tries to do things right, that is, follow the standards and company policy.

Of the many obstacles to innovation, the ones which are most dangerous are the assumptions because in addition to being a bad habit, alone opening blocker, they are often insidious and invisible or consciously concealed.

The assumptions inhibit the future while pure potential. The future builds on our creativity.

Often we have seen efforts of managers looking for better this or that part of the Organization on the assumption that this will be the best the Organization as a whole, but this may be false, because it often creates imbalances. The Organization must be seen as a whole, i.e. including the connections between the parties.

Ackoff says: “This is based on the false assumption that improving the performance of the parts separately necessarily improves the performance of the whole, the corporation. That is a false premise. In fact, you can destroy a corporation by improving its individual parts. Try putting a Rolls Royce engine in a Hyundai…this requires the design and drawings that require creativity.”

People make assumptions about their bosses, about the company culture, management etc., and also make assumptions about opportunities or about the problems which often affect the way they look for solutions.

To Ackoff’s creativity involves a three-step process:

-Identify the assumptions that prevent us from seeing the alternatives to those that we see at the moment. These are self-imposed restrictions.

-Deny embarrassing assumptions.

-Explore the consequences of refusal.

The assumptions on innovation are a problem and as such must be identified.

WE may have several names like mentality, blind spots or sacred cows but in fact are a set of assumptions and hidden regulations that govern the behavior of managers which often lead to the use of benchmarking or other revenue saved for problem situations, to the detriment of creativity and innovation.

Professor Constantinos Markiders from the London Business School can give us a help in understanding this “phenomenon”:

“I have in mind an English word that has four letters. It is missing the first letter but I know it ends with the letters _any. Can you think of a word that fits this description? Please take 20 seconds to come up with one before reading further.”

Most people have no problems to find it, after a few seconds going through the alphabet they come up with the word many. Consider now this next problem.

“I have again an English word that has four letters. It is missing again the first letter, but I know it ends with the letters _eny. Can you think now of a word that fits this description? Please take another 20 seconds to come up with one before reading further.”

In this second problem most people fail to find a word even when they go through the alphabet placing letter by letter in front of the word, and they get somehow surprised when you tell them the word is deny. The reason is that they usually try to find a word with the same vowel sound as in many. As Markides concludes “if one word is enough to bias our thinking in such a way, imagine what twenty or thirty years in a given business can do”

There are twenty or thirty years hidden assumptions, many consciously other submerged unconsciously and difficult to identify with the naked eye.

There are often 20 or 30 years to construct a belief that by their nature becomes hard to deny and thereby difficult to achieve the second step in creativity as Ackoff says.

When they consciously used in a hidden way assumptions are however a clear demonstration of lack of cooperation and inability to lead.

It is a refuge to avoid acceptance of responsibilities in taking risks or face uncertainties.

 

What do you think of this?

Risk and uncertainty of contagion in innovation

Recently at a Conference that I attended on innovation and intangibles, was said by the speaker, an (Economist) and with high responsibility in banking, that companies and investors generally enjoy more talk about risk than about uncertainty, when it tackles the theme innovation.

I think, in this perspective, and because increasingly need to contextualize the fonts and their opinions that this means there is a kind of vaccine as defense for a possible contagion of innovation.

I say vaccine innovation and not against the creativity because the financial field unfortunately has been extremely creative but has no added value. On the contrary takes refuge in complexity to create products and services whose relevant content is difficult to understand.

But companies are not risk-averse, they are unprepared for the risks considered high when established by the calculation of probabilities, that is, funding a project will only be possible if it is documented and tried to disallow large failures.

The uncertainty for the lenders arises when an idea is considered promising when it admits that it is possible but the basic elements to infer or induce success does not seem satisfactory.

The analytical thinking, sits on two forms of logic, deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning, to set the truths and certainties within organizations and not only.

This way of thinking, when used consistently and exclusively reminds me of certain chronic health problems. We note that it exists, we have a proposal for treatment and we apply, but we do not resolve the problem, just treat the symptoms.

Many businesses and investors prefer to look for ideas and innovation as symptomatic cases of some change, but just look and don’t see can cause allergies and behaviors of rejection.

So it is important to change behavior and this can be done by contagion.

The behavior can be contagious as seem to point out the cases of civil demonstrations in several countries or in the treatment of obesity. These are social phenomena to a greater or lesser scale that can serve to reflection.

How to infect behaviors of innovation?

Sometimes there are small changes that have great effects!

The passage of a dominant and rigorous analytical thinking to a thought of balance between analysis and intuition can be done with small changes.

For example if we have as objectives the innovation and definition of directions we can use abductive reasoning thinking, that is, the “logic of what might be” instead of trying to “prove through observation that something really works” or try to “prove by rationale principles that something must be”.

Sometimes the changes happen suddenly.

A new practice that can be more collaborative, rather than overpower the power of creativity of individuals, makes us able to respond to unexpected opportunities and to seek an alternative to what “should be” at what “which can be”.

If we, in an organization do not look only to the needs of consumers, but also for their environment and culture we can find flaws in the systems and use creativity to fill.

A small change equivalent to a new practice can be supported and disseminated within the Organization, from bottom to top or from intermediate managers becoming a phenomenon of contagion healthy and simple.

But it can also be produced or accompanied by more complex infections through social networks, which are difficult to identify the paths that contagion travels or people who with their virus.

But who are the people who are available to launch these “epidemic” approaches?

They are the people that overflow curiosity, with ability to employ the tacit knowledge and develop the ability to be alert.

They are the same ones who have the ability to understand complex problems and to identify the roots of the same problems, anticipating and viewing new scenarios.

They are able to generate new ideals and to synthesize for resolving problems.

What do you think of this?

In innovation, what is shown and what it  is  really just depends on us!

Many times what an artist chooses to leave out is what makes art interesting.

Other times the artist leaves some of these things in grey areas to highlight the soul of his work.

For us, in this era of information overload and abundance of supply, who is going to get ahead in this walk for wellness, are going to be people who discover what they leave out, so they can focus on what is important to them.

We know that our dedication for something means letting other things behind or without necessary care, as well as we know that often the creativity and innovation are not coated of best intentions, purposes or meanings, because the focus is put on the maximum profitability of the product or service.

We know that things are interesting not only for the good experiences that we have already provided, but also by what we can still try.

We know that there are people who like to deal with their garden so that they can enjoy it at length and whenever they wish or that there are people who buy a painting or sculpture to be able to admire it when they want.

We know that there are people who do not resist the novelties and lose hours of sleep to be the first to purchase them.

Maybe we don’t know that it is good to stop once in a while and start sculpting what surrounds us like a block of marble, rather than being “sculptors” of construction or modeling.

Perhaps not a bad idea to do as Michelangelo: look inside, overcome obstacles and carve a life to believe in something more creative. He believed that, in each block of stone was hidden inside a figure, waiting to be revealed.

Sculpt a block of stone or a piece of wood means remove what is not useful to make it stand out what is important.

Similarly carve our storehouse of information and products, it also means that what we will be able to build an extension to our imagination and creativity and of others.

We find good examples of sculpture in information and technological products that allow us a creative activity when we supplement this information and these products or services with what is truly important to us.

Unfortunately most of what is being proposed to us are solutions that resemble a block of stone and it is not often marble. The content that is really the work we need comes wrapped in unnecessary applications or information that almost always hide the beauty (function) of the sculpture.

I think it’s not lack of creativity or lack of any other skill. What’s happening is that the hands and mind of many creators, not always follows the principles of simplicity and of meaning.

Vasari stated that: “… many painters … achieve in the first draft of his work, as if they were guided by a kind of fire of inspiration … a certain measure of courage, but then, to conclude, the daring disappears”.

While creative people that we are all initial ideas are promising but nearing the time of conceptualization easily confuse objectives with purpose.

But we also know that what is being proposed to us does not come directly from the hands and mind of the creator, that almost always is not the author of what is shown.

One of the most famous sonnets of Michelangelo, from the years 1538-44, begins with the lines:

“Not even the best of artists have any design which does not contain a single block of marble inside his excess, and that is only achieved by the hand that obeys the intellect”.

 

What do you think of this?

We and the others!

I think that when we want to accomplish a creative work with added value, we seek to provide satisfaction to people but also ourselves. We all like to be recognized by our actions and this implies that people, whom we direct our actions, are satisfied.

Therefore, the best starting point to innovate are people, not things, i.e. is not the technology or science or anything else.

We should start by studying people with an attitude of curiosity and deep understanding. We must try to see things as a whole and try to understand how these things could be otherwise.

When we observe when we do research of people’s behavior and their relationship with their world, we can make the mapping from the experience of people observed using the eyes of them, wearing their shoes or living in their environment, that is with a clear attitude of empathy.

However this is only possible when we abandon the certainties and start with the questions.

What has value here?

What creates and remove value from the experience of people? 

How would it be if I were in that situation? Will my emotional reactions to a situation be identical to those of other people?

Why is it that people feel that way and I don’t?

The best way to answer these questions is creating a map of the observations and conclusions that we reached. In this way we can confront our perception of things with what we had assumed as fact. To verify the reasons for the differences between what we thought and what we have seen is an important step in understanding the significance of the problems and therefore a good way to find the solution.

To find a solution it necessary to visualize all the ideas of new possibilities and business models, including the proposals of users or consumers. We may think that they only express wishes or dreams and not the solution that we believe to be viable and achievable, however, such wishes or dreams can be hidden needs that we not have detected.

The ideas we need to be worked through research to develop the concept of adding value.

What should work to succeed?

Do I need all this? Do I need less?

To seek solutions to the problems of people in a given context is an arduous task that requires constant energy. So it is precious that on occasion also ask ourselves:

I’m doing what I like?

Will be that I’m giving my best?

What about my team?

What’s wonderful in all this activity around looking for an innovative solution, in addition to a constant learning in a variety of disciplines including behavioral observation, is the possibility that we can quickly build prototypes and test its effectiveness, then refining and returning the test until the time of the launch.

This means that experimentation is a place of learning where to fail is not a tragedy but a lever for excellence that is reached with hard work and persistence but that ensures a sustained satisfaction.

If we have space for reflection easily we find that our satisfaction, while innovators, and the satisfaction of the people to whom we propose solutions with purpose and meaning depends on our ability to identify their needs, are they not articulated or hidden.

If the starting point are people the arrival point is our realization with satisfaction.

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