Multidextrous Thinking

The story is that most peoples’ thinking is stuck at the 10K level of Foresight. This is what our education schools us for. It is doubtless an important cognitive strategy, but it is not the only one, and in isolation it is a dangerous one.

One could argue that the big problems of industrial capitalism today are due at least in part to overspecialization in Foresight thinking. It turns out that this kind of thinking is particularly useful for rapidly growing societies having rapidly expanding economies – like Western Europe and North America over the past 150 years or China and India today. But as population growth and economic expansion rates (e.g.: GDP) level off systemic distortions within the model come to the fore. Continue reading “Multidextrous Thinking”

Can We Design 2050?

Much of what I read warns that “green shoots” talk of economic recovery is feel-good propaganda, that the classic liberal economic growth model of industrial capitalism needs radical re-engineering, that Western-style production and consumption demanded by 9-10 billion people would require four to five Planet Earths to support, and that we are entering a period of calamitous social upheaval as a consequence.

When the drumbeat of dire prognoses becomes too incessant, alarm turns to numbness. The way designers deal with the anxiety of uncertainty is to start designing. We believe, like Herb Simon, that the way to work on ill-defined, “wicked” problems is what he first labeled Design Thinking … to begin doing stuff even if you are not sure you know what or why you are doing it. Just go in anywhere, says Simon, start working your way through stochastically, hypothesize and test, trial and error, and you will discover the shape and boundaries of the problem. Continue reading “Can We Design 2050?”

Innovation Diffusion and Adoption

User Pull vs Technology Push

We are very much focused on understanding demand-pull in the work we are doing with WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development.) There are a number of models for characterizing diffusion/adoption of innovation. One potentially provocative one is Geoffrey Moore’s version of the classic technology diffusion curve. While it is applied mainly for technology innovation, it also is useful for thinking about adoption of social innovation. Continue reading “Innovation Diffusion and Adoption”

Design, Learning and Cultures of Creativity

This is a presentation I just gave in Singapore to an audience of school teachers,  principals and officers of the Ministry of Education. It is part of my continuing work in Singapore since 2002 to help Singapore embed Design Thinking in K-12 curricula both as domain subject matter for a design career path and as a pedagogical strategy for teaching all other academic subjects. Click link below to download powerpoint presentation.