Strategic Foresight for Building Civilization 2.0

Peter Jones Innovation, Strategic Foresight

Seeing and Shaping Our future: Becoming Better Agents of Change and Transformation Several grad students and faculty from OCADU Strategic Foresight & Innovation engaged in this two-day workshop held at the Design Exchange, conducted by Ruben Nelson of Foresight Canada. The opportunity was extended by The British Council for us to participate, and we joined about 15 members of the amazing Transatlantic Network 2020. My OCADU colleague Jeremy Bowes posted a great summary on this event on the sLab site.   See the photo album from organizer Leah Snyder, and her picture below of one of the breakout groups. The workshop sessions developed collective responses to envisioning an emerging future Canadian society, aligned with the vision for Civilization 2.0. This is the proposition that the next cultures of civilization are emerging now and are forming connections for future realization as mainstream society crosses over the bridges being built by this foresight. The workshop was led with a series of methods from envisioning desired futures to identifying the bridging strategies to span the horizons to get there: Generation of initial desired future …

What Jaron said …

Peter Jones Information Ecology, Innovation, Media Ecology

Today’s New York Times places Jaron Lanier as a central voice contra-pundit to the extremes of discourse in the SOPA/PIPA copyright controversies. I’ve posted my thoughts directly in response to other articles. Jaron’s is one of the long-range views that actually comes from insight into multiple industries and the effects of poor decisions made a long time ago. Essentially, yes, SOPA is bad and poorly written, as is all legislation in the Boehner house. What do you expect? To blame it all on “corporate evil” is misguided and hypocritical. It is easy for consumers demanding anything and everything for free , but free consumption has costs to producers. Jaron points out the devil’s deal the cheap consumer made a long time ago, and how that’s playing out now in the oscillation back to hard protections as encoded in these bills. I cite one quote in fair use from The False Ideals of the Web: The adulation of “free content” inevitably meant that “advertising” would become the biggest business in the open part of the information economy. Furthermore, that system isn’t …

Path Dependency of Innovation Platforms

Peter Jones Innovation, Strategic Foresight

In Creation Myth,  Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker article, we get an in-depth telling of the original story of how Steve Jobs gained access to Xerox PARC’s Alto project and re-engineered the concept for a mass market. The article doesn’t discuss the Mac,  but instead the story of Xerox’s internal dynamics that led to major inventions in their mainstream product line. Yes,  Xerox could have created the most successful WIMP (Windows-Icons-Mouse-Pointers) personal computer from the Alto and Star. “If Xerox had known what it had and had taken advantage of its real opportunities,”  Jobs said, years later,  “it could have been as big as I.B.M. plus Microsoft plus Xerox combined—and the largest high-technology company in the world.” This is the legend of Xerox PARC. Jobs is the Biblical Jacob and Xerox is Esau, squandering his birthright for a pittance. In the past thirty years, the legend has been vindicated by history. Xerox,  once the darling of the American high-technology community,  slipped from its former dominance. Apple is now ascendant, and the demonstration in that room in Palo Alto has come to …

Five Ways Design Firms Fail at Innovation

Peter Jones Design research, Innovation

I know HBR is about the success story, so we are all awkward when it comes to writign about failure, the focus of the special online issue. I wrote a book about organizational and product failure, in 2008, and was told by designers even in that golden year of failures that “fail doesn’t sell.”  But if we do not tell the truth, we anticipate and attend to the wrong issues that lead to failures. I admire the work of design powerhouse Ziba. But I find Vossoughi’s recent HBR blog article leaves out half the story of the failure of clients to innovate. In Five Ways to Fail at Design, designers blame the client for not following our wisdom and messing up their chances at innovation. It’s common to hear of companies hiring a creative consultancy, applying its recommendations, and yet at the end of the contract, seeing little or no return on investment. The majority of engagements that end this way have resulted in solutions that were never implemented, or were not implemented to their full potential. The design failed, …