I was pointed to an insightful article today: Innovation 101 by Carolyn T. Geer of The Wall Street Journal. Because not everyone can access WSJ material, I’ve included some excerpts below.
There are several takeaways worth mentioning:
- It’s never too late to rediscover your creative side (after all, it is the industry in which we work)
- Iterative problem-solving – aka iterative prototyping – uncovers the best solution (just because your first idea solves a problem, doesn’t mean it’s the most appropriate solution)
- Collaboration / teamwork really is required to come up with ideas and find the best ones
- Collaborators are all equal (until, of course, the decision-maker deems the best solution has been achieved. Otherwise, when would the prototyping cycle end?)
Anybody can be creative, says David Kelley. You just have to learn how.
Innovators aren’t exceptional as much as they are confident. So says David Kelley, the founder of the venerable Palo Alto, Calif., design firm IDEO.
Mr. Kembel says the learning experience at the d.school is centered on a few basic beliefs. One is that people learn by doing, so the more projects students tackle the better. The same goes for developing prototypes. Speed and quantity are encouraged in the hope that students will fail early and often. “If you go through lots of little tests, you learn more than if you just do one test,” says Mr. Kembel.
Another guiding principle is that people learn best by collaborating with others who have radically different points of view, so classes should be made up of students and teachers from a variety of disciplines—the more the better.
Moreover, “everyone needs to have an equal voice,” says Mr. Kembel, “because everyone in a sense is learning, even the faculty.”
To Mr. Kelley, that is the Holy Grail of design thinking. He says it is behavioral change that enables students to gain innovation confidence, something he believes is as important as gaining literacy skills. “For me this is a mindset,” he says. “It’s a way of thinking that you can use in every part of your life.”
(The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2011)