I came across a short video interview on Salon featuring Paola Antonelli (Senior Curator for the Museum of Modern Art) and Debbie Millman (President of Design, Sterling Brands). Its focus is on “defining innovation.”
It should be no surprise that these women, so involved with design, believe innovation is not possible without design. I agree with them.
I do believe that all innovation must start with an idea. I also believe, as Ms. Antonelli says, that “Designers are the ones that [bring] these revolutions [like scientific discoveries to] life. They are the ones that transform them into objects that you and I can use.”
In marketing terms, design is the tactical manifestation of an idea.
Philosophically, I might quibble with the notion that design is the “highest form of human expression.” (Shakespeare is pretty high human expression to me, as is dance.) They’re passionate about design – so I get where they’re coming from.
What is touched upon, and had there been more time I expect would have been discussed in greater detail, is the iterative nature between ideas and design.
Advances in technology have allowed for more rapid prototyping these days, so it’s much more common for qualitative researchers to change materials being assessed during a single study or do smaller studies more closely-timed to allow for iteration. No shocking news here.
But this video got me thinking about design in a way I hadn’t done before: design isn’t always tactical. There was really nothing more innovative (at the time) than the US Constitution. They had an idea (“give me liberty or give me death”) and when they declared independence, they had to get to work designing this new country of ours. Ms. Antonelli set the innovation threshold as: “If this piece did not exist, would the world miss out?” Yes, the world would have missed out if our framers hadn’t written this truly innovative document.
While we all have to know our strengths, creativity and passion are what is essential for innovation – and I fundamentally believe all of us, regardless of job title, have the potential (or are!) creative and passionate. In today’s world, innovation rarely happens alone. But growth – challenging ourselves to learn more and do more? That’s a daily goal of mine and maybe yours as well.
And, so, this short video reminded me that while I’ve been off learning and doing new things, I’ve been remiss in sharing on this blog in a timely fashion. I hope you’ll agree this is something worth rectifying!!