Apr 042012

1.  Begin with a vision and few details
2.  Follow a specific mission
3.  Design with No opportunities for failure
4.  Grade individually and succeed collectively
5.  Allow the project to grow organically
6.  Expect insights from the unexpected
7.  Capture and celebrate the process
8.  Understand:  The journey may produce a tangible outcome or inspire future students to build on your work, but the greatest value comes from the exercise of applying scholarship and creative thinking in practical applications.

To view current projects for the spring semester 2012 visit, www.tccart.com


Apr 042012

The process of innovation is disconcerting, uncomfortable, unstable, and always unsure.  It requires a dedicated and focused attention.  Even when the innovator is not looking directly at the issue, the idea is constantly being processed in the background of their thoughts.  The mind is never at rest.  It can be physically and emotionally exhausting.

The search for a job presents the same tension an inventor experiences in the process of creating; especially, if the job seeker is unemployed during their search.  The extra pressure of finding something quickly, plus the tension of no income, coupled with the hope of finding a job that can be a fulfilling career adds a heightened tension similar to the innovator’s experience. 

In the process of seeking a job, the person must create a narrative, research and find a connection with the potential employer, and make a presentation of self and experience that persuades the interviewer that they are the right person for the organization.  A job seeker is creating an image and presentation that sells them self, their experiences, and a narrative that inspires the organization to act favorably.

The only way to relieve the tension is to find a job and the innovator will not rest until the idea is brought to fruition. 

People actively seeking employment are literally and metaphorically putting themselves out there.  The feelings of uncertainty, insecurity and failure are very real.  The job seeker and the innovator are both creating something new, and they will always experience pressure from the establishment, uncertainty with failed attempts, and a lack of support or acceptance the further their idea goes beyond convention. 

A student in one of my Art Appreciation classes pondered out loud, “Why do so many artists commit suicide?”  I would expand the question to why are artists historically portrayed as living unhealthy lives, on the edge of sanity, with lives that end tragically?  One answer is because they choose to live in a constant pursuit of creativity and innovation.  And instead of being unemployed for a few months or a couple years, they spend their entire lives in the creative tension and uncertainty that accompanies innovation.

Apr 032012

I use the artist as the ideal example of someone who innovates for a living in the most uncorrupted, purest sense. Then, I expand the definition out to designers who have moved the creative process into a structured, business environment.

Artists provide the foundational approach and designers show it can be done anywhere.

I use artists to ground the definition. My observation is the term Design Thinking was coopted by business consultants who did not understand the term or the creative process used to innovate; therefore, their explanations are shallow and often incorrect.

The field of Design provides the process and terminology to allow anyone to reproduce the innovative process.

Apr 022012

Did the conversation pass me by?  I’d argue we haven’t even begun. 
Here is my definition of Design Thinking.

Design Thinking is derived from the creative process perfected by designers and practiced everyday by artists.  Artists are comfortable creating something from nothing and never intimidated by what they don’t know.  They are inspired by problems that seem to have no solution.  When the artist approaches a blank canvas or block of marble they don’t have all the details or answers how they will create a work of art, but they live for these moments and embrace the challenge.  The designer has learned to survive and excel in the highly structured, process driven, hierarchal environment of the corporate world while practicing the creative process.  Design thinking interprets and formulates the artists and designer’s process to support creativity and produce innovation in a predominantly left-brain world.

Design Thinking takes complex concepts and ideas, breaks them apart to understand the nuances, and the meta-dynamics; including intrinsic and extrinsic elements, parts, relationships, as well as the direct and peripheral influences.  The Designer then develops steps, processes and models to make the concept accessible and the ideas reproducible.  Design Thinking facilitates the process of turning ideas into innovations.

Apr 012012

The subject of innovation is widely discussed in media today.

Many are describing the process of creativity and the term Design Thinking appears to be passé.  I’d argue the people who are being covered in the media are not the best spokespeople and Design Thinking is more relevant today, then ever before.  In 15 years since Mitch Kapor’s Design Manifesto, we still don’t have the answer.  Has anyone considered asking an artist?

I propose the wrong people are explaining a process that they don’t understand or practice.  Yet, they recognize the meme and seek answers in case studies and broad sweeping analysis.

It’s similar to a reviewer describing a magician’s performance from the back row in a theater.

Innovation is not a magic trick & designers/artists create every day.  It’s in their DNA.