Organizations and Conferences

The area where business and design, design thinking if you will, come together is coalescing into a critical mass. For me, this shows signs of consolidation, that this will become a field of specialization, that may not be the darling of the media for much longer, but certainly will continue beyond it’s current "flavor of the month" status.

On CPH127, Hans Henrik has launched a much discussed conversation on holding a conference on the topic, something we had discussed over our Skype conference call earlier this summer. We thrashed out some of the initial concepts this morning and I’m looking forward to reading more about it’s progress and reception. On a global scale, this should provide a venue for budding practioners and experienced professionals alike. It looks very promising and I’m excited to be part of it at the early stages of it’s conception.

And Ralf has brought up the intriguing concept of a virtual Design Thinking Institute – perhaps a "wikipedia" like concept, Ralf, where we could all share our definitions and concepts, starting with the numerous ones on design thinking that Victor Lombardi has collated on his blog? Victor’s also an impetus in this momentum organizing a "conversation on innovation" next week at Haas.

While on the topic, why not lay the foundation for an organization or association for professionals in this general area – the interface between business and design, identified as one of key sources of innovation by Bruce Nussbaum. With the amount of fuzziness surrounding the field, so much so that I prefer calling it an interface or an interstitial space, rather than defining it, means that while on one hand you have the media exhorting corporate America to wake up and smell the Creative coffee (or design kool aid)
but on the other hand, where do good product managers, brand managers and marketing VP’s go to obtain said benefits? As I tried to differentiate between the "traditional" design approach and the so called "design thinking" approach in my previous post, (and I hope to elaborate that further soon), where does one start to source innovation? Or at least, to find people that could possibly work with you to facilitate the brainstorming process that would lead to new approaches or strategies. That’s why I think perhaps an Innovation Professionals Association (not a real name, just a placeholder for the purposes of this post) could be a good start to consolidate, collate and collaborate (not to mention alliterate 🙂 for the "Creative Economy".

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8 Responses to Organizations and Conferences

  1. Ralf Beuker says:

    Hi Niti,
    GREAT! Finally someone (and I’m happy that it is you) brings some valuable thoughts together and I’m truely in line with your ideas.
    When posting my idea about the “Design Thinking Institute” I’ve exactly had the steps in mind which you’ve desribed. Let me summarise them as follows:
    1.) Collect: Set up a virtual space open to everyone who is willing to contribute with their views and ideas (BTW: is already registered 😉
    2.) Consolidate: Try to indtify a pattern of issues which might be worth to be considered in a vision and mission statement
    3.) Collaborate: Take the opportunity to form the “real” institute with “real” people at the CPH127 forum next year. Maybe we can make it a conference topic?
    BTW: The “Design Management Institute” has bee founded in a similar manner some 30 years ago! Listen to Bill Hanon, one of the DMI founders here:
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Niti Bhan says:

    That’s wonderful! I’m glad to find that we are thinking along the same lines. As for the news that the website exists, even better! Now, what are you thinking should go up there initially? Should we put up a wiki to collate everyone’s ideas? Then we can summarize after a point and take it further?

  3. Ralf Beuker says:

    How wonderful to see things go together … Please read my latest posting:
    🙂 Ralf.

  4. jens says:

    niti, i agree to the “critical mass”.
    and just let me share my sentiments. especially from a european perspective it is really mind-blowing to see how a paper like the business week has picked up the topic. – but then again, with that fast pace they have got – almost everything has been said by now.
    personally i have been a member of quite some think tanks and think groups in the last couple of years. tanks is a cool word in this context – because it qualifies the aspect of isolation pretty well.
    it is always tempting – it has always been inspiring – but rarely (only my eternal optimism holds me from saying “never”) been relevant. – the funny things we did with pierre guillet de monthoux for example – … have you read his latest book? – or think of john thackara and the amsterdam conferences… – everything has been said – but in a way that is hard to resonate outside of these same circles. think of the dmi – for example – and you know, what you do not want…
    design kool aid sounds cool.
    and i do not think that the key lies in the thinking – nope – it lies in the doing. and in creating bridges that people can actually walk.
    think of seth godin. he reaches the masses. do i like him? i did not say that – but he plays his audience virtuously.
    just let’s see that we do not spin around ourselves too much. let’s develop a cool – strategically cool attitude… learning from seth godin means: looking at the market and always being one step ahead… the fiddler. he has learnt his guerrilla marketing lessons quite well.

  5. Niti says:

    I agree with you regarding spin, strategically cool attitude and learning from Seth 🙂 I’d rather generate revenue than think in a tank as you rightly pointed out. I’d love to have a conversation with you on your thoughts, do you Skype?

  6. jens says:

    with pleasure, niti.
    i sent you a mail.

  7. Hans Henrik says:

    Dear all
    I just got Seth’s “The Big Moo” – as a “Galley offer” –
    If you’re interested I’ll send you one…..
    Jens, interesting discussion 🙂 but I agree with Niti, if the micro-actions doesn’t result in macro-consequenses – like a reward, ROI, what-ever – it’s not interesting, isn’t it?
    All the best
    Hans Henrik

  8. Hans Henrik says:

    Niti, regarding the conference, please feel free to fill in your thoughts in the wiki…..I look very much forward to read your ideas 🙂
    All the best
    Hans Henrik

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