Who Transforms in Transformation?

Peter Jones Transformation Design, Wu Wei

In the BusinessWeek blog, Nussbaum on Design packs all the goodies gathered over the years from “innovation” and drops them into “transformation.” This pronouncement led to well over a dozen responses in the Transforming Transformation Google groups, some of them pages in length. Comparing these responses with the replies to the cheerleading or briefer critical bits replied to Nussbaum’s original post, I’d say the value of an in-depth selective social network becomes quite clear. A position I take (though not a definitive one) is that innovation is something we do, a process we have some control over. Innovation can be managed as an organizational process. A person may be innovative in their practices and outlook, but innovation is a process of organizing and designing toward desired outcomes on a repeatable basis. “Big T” Transformation is not something we do, as a repeatable transformation process. But it changes who we are. We, as social human beings, are changed in any transformative outcome. I’m finding very little agreement on definitions of transformation though, so some rambling may follow. We should set the …

Goodbye to the Value Subtracting “Finance Economy”

Peter Jones Wu Wei

Happy End of 2008! As we pounded the year into oblivion, many of my  favorite blogs flogged the predictions for 2009. Normally, next-year predictions are a yawning so-what. Given the palpable trepidation in the cultural climate though, more attention than usual has been brought to bear. See, for example, the collection at Depression2.TV (as in, will not be televised). Mr. Nystrom called the end of the era almost to the day, when he shut down his contrarian econ-news service Bull/Not-Bull on August 21, 2008. He re-opened the old D2 site when the time was right. Reading some of the linked pages, some predictions are just bizarre, and many (especially the psychics) are just mundane, Among the dire calls are several salient themes – reinforcing the transformation of society called for by Yellow Springs friends Community Solutions, and the Pat Murphy book Plan C: Kunstler on 2009 Much of what has been lost in 2008 will not be recovered: enterprises, personal fortunes, chattels, reputations. Pablo Ouziel: Witnessing the Decay of Western Hegemony and the Role of the Organic Intellectual Dmitry Orlov …

A Note on New Year’s Socionomics

Peter Jones Wu Wei

Bob Jacobson (Total Experience blog) recently posted about the Madoff scandal, and I quote: “In every culture, the battle of the classes is so intense it overwhelms ethical considerations. Every apparent ally is lauded by those who constitute the culture’s moneyed class — and when the fraud betrays the ideology of wealth, it is he or she who pays the price, not those who enabled them to play their predatory games by idolizing them.” Our culture has enabled them at every turn, symbolically and materially, through a lionizing media, aspirational pop culture, and the continuation of a false American Dream we’ve been sold. We’ve lived the last two decades in an culturally inflated bubble that protected us from having to consider smarter alternatives. But during the good times, Madoff worked his community hard. It is during the so-called “good times” that people overly trust, and when hitting the bear market, they need cash and start to ask questions. Madoff was trusted because he represented a class and way of life people aspired to. In the spirit of irrational exuberance, he …

Making a Difference by Design

Peter Jones Innovation, Transformation Design

Like the onerously overused “innovation,” transformation may be getting a bad rap. Both are broad, overstated terms that mean very different things to people, depending on background, experience, industry. Both must be defined in their contexts of use before we can have any serious discussion. The wide range of meanings and uses of transformation should give us pause before going too far with the term in mixed company. But transformation (as in organizational) has been merging closer to design (as in envisioned, creative, structured changemaking and sensemaking). Time magazine may have just eased our quandary by making Humantific, and its transformation practice, a sort-of household term. People may know what we mean now.  In Different by Design, Time reports on New York’s Humantific, and the West Coast’s IDEO and Jump Associates. While we’ve seen tons of press on IDEO in recent years, the 3 paragraph exposure of Humantific (with a nice shot of GK and Elizabeth) was refreshing. The brief piece keeps it light, there was nothing mentioned about their practice areas or methods (Strategic Co-creation, Visual Sensemaking, Complexity Navigation, …