Design + Business as Agents of World Benefit

Peter Jones Transformation Design, Wu Wei

After attending a game-changing event, how do you share the experience so that a casual reader understands the impact? That, perhaps, there is a game being changed and that some projects we believed important before the event may appear less consequential after the event. The 2009 Global Forum, Business as an Agent for World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University created such an opportunity. The conversation challenged thinking about the fusion of design thinking with business education. For many of the management people in the room, I suspect the design side of the equation opened new possibilities for creative re-thinking their own commitments. But the “world benefit” theme blasted through my expectations. Speaker after speaker challenged us to realize the significance of the moment in history. After last year’s spectacular global failure of “business as usual,” a passionate group of influential thinkers are insisting that businesses do the right thing. A clear financial case has been made for sustainability; the most difficult changes remaining are cultural and social. Designers are also challenged to set aside their “known-knowns.” We like to …

Design Research – Techniques for Transforming the Context

Peter Jones Design research, Transformation Design, Wu Wei

Design is not a single discipline, it is rather a changing world of changing the world. And design thinking has evolved. But has design research evolved? Transforming Contexts: UC DAAP talk, May 8, 2009 View more presentations from Peter Jones. While the processes and perspectives collectively referred to as “design thinking” have evolved progressively in the last 10 years, design research thinking has not demonstrably advanced. It has largely remained instrumental, at the service to design outcomes, and has not taken its place to lead as an intellectual force. Research follows design thinking, and design thinking (very often) follows business thinking. Design researchers have added new methods to the collective roster, and we have seen development of venerable methodologies, such as ethnomethodology and contextual research. But do methods and tools collectively contribute to a new whole greater than the sum of the methods? Is there a substantive field of “design research,” and if so, where are we heading with it beyond the instrumental purposes of product and service design? We can observe a movement toward designing for organizational and social …

OCAD’s MDes in Strategic Foresight & Innovation

Peter Jones Transformation Design, Wu Wei

Toronto’s OCAD is seeking completing the intake for the first class of  students for the new graduate program, MDes in Strategic Foresight & Innovation. The inaugural class looks outstanding, as most are mid-career multidisciplinary professionals with experience in business and social innovation. They are as smart and experienced as many of the faculty, which helps accelerate the total creation of new knowledge and learning in a rapidly-developing interdisciplinary field. The OCAD site now describes the program as featuring a platform of social innovation: The Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation will graduate leaders in social innovation. Students will be encouraged to develop strategic innovations that create sustainable value, economically and ecologically, and that address pressing societal issues pertinent to their particular area of interest in the public, private or voluntary sectors. The program will enable students to: Explore and test new methods of organization, creation and production. Develop strategic, innovative and anticipatory solutions (strategic foresight) and implementation plans for design, business or policy innovations, or for organizational or infrastructural change. Navigate complex problems through the study of systems …

Innovation – Not Dead Yet!

Peter Jones Transformation Design, Wu Wei

By now, anyone reading Design Dialogues will have heard that Innovation (as a business concept) died in 2008. Bruce Nussbaum, who gets to decide these things, declares at the New Year: “Innovation” is Dead. Herald The Birth of “Transformation” as The Key Concept for 2009.  Scan among the 61 reader comments, and you’ll see today’s range of design thinkers, firm principals, and advanced students weighing in, mostly against. Hey, even Neil Young says “A perfect storm for innovation is gathering in Washington.” America now has a chance to lead the world in power and fuel efficiency. The Big three will still be looking for help at the end of March. As the major shareholder, the US government would have an opportunity to DEMAND the type of cars that will lead the world toward saving the planet for future generations. January 4th New York Times published TWO articles on the need for innovation (and design) in the current economic mess (are we still calling it a “crisis” now?)  See: Innovation Should Mean More Jobs, Not Less and Design Loves a Depression And …