British painter, David Hockney used the pandemic to focus his artistic expertises on his local landscape in Normandy. Being unable to travel and find sources of inspiration, David looked out the window and made it his masterpiece. Disruption might change our itinerary but it does not keep us from asking, ‘how might I….’
Comparing our effort to others may create an interesting mindsets. If it helps us perform better and prepare for the next session, then comparison might be valuable. If it becomes crippling and takes away motivation, it may not deliver the results we are seeking. It is important to know what metric we are using. In these days of virtual competitions, we may not know what is taking place on the other end.
A collapsable bike helmet constructed from recycled paper and plastic employing a honeycomb design. Obvious, right? Now that we mention it, of course it exists. Except the EcoHelmet didn’t until 2016. Nothing in the design and materials is a breakthrough of science or technology. The barrier was our way of thinking. Our inability to think about the application of these materials in a new way.
Those working in the social sector are addressing problems that are so large and complex that they cannot easily monetize. Our environment is ripe for prototypes of all kind. If we fail, it is expected. If there is an easy solution it would have been employed already. Each program, hire, budget, donation is a protoype. It is a micro-effort to do the work that matters. We need to remind ourselves that we are in the design thinking arena. We each present a vision to put ourselves out of business because we solved a problem. Perhaps we should be protoyping everyday, and wary of iteration.
How does a single point of view carry the day in a conversation amongst intelligent, articulate people? How does a way of thinking rise to the top and sweep away doubt and unaswered questions? Too often we forego a culture of inquiry to adopt consensus. It feels good to be on the same page at the end of a meeting. Tension and stress are relieved. However, we may be missing the greater opportunity to broaden our understanding of the place we occupy. To consider multiple routes to the same destination.
This morning I read that the Good Design Award for 2016 was being presented to the Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance. Their innovation? A new world map that better represented the land masses of earth. Since 1569 humanity has accepted the Mercator projection as the best two-dimensional representation of our planet. Other models exist, but change has been rejected. We are working with flawed data, and yet we hold tight to what we know. Reimagining representations of our globe on paper is not radical technology, but conventional wisdom persisted for centuries.
What have we accepted that would benefit from desging thinking? What is our Mercator projection?