Is design the answer?

Then what is the question? Reading back through the archives, just last month I was beginning my indepth thinking about the "eureka moment" and it’s attendant frameworks. And I did not know where the journey would lead me. On reflection today, as I reread yesterday’s post on englightenment, I realised that my pondering on the "eureka moment" had led me to realize satori. The analogy of this effect could be visualized as ourobouros, the snake eating it’s own tail. The metaphor, if you will, of one person’s search for understanding the "eureka" moment, which, if one were to actually think about, is that moment in which innovation occurs, i.e. a new idea is born. Taking it a step further, the act of creation if you will, with words forming the power to give shape to the concept, to outline it’s boundaries, to begin shading in the nuances. I refer you to to Homi Bhabha’s words on words.

I further posit that, then, if the above is true, the indefinable "magic", the unknowable "eureka", are the actual moments when the brainstorming session begins, and the collaborative voices of the design team, talking back and forth to each other, shaping and tweaking each other’s verbalized prototype thoughts and concepts, brings to life innovation. So while design, alone, may not be the whole answer, design, however is a significant part of the answer. As in chemistry, the catalyst, design in this case, or designers to be factual, trigger the eureka process. Hence, it works when designers alone are working together on a problem, and it works even better when design teams collaborate with their client’s teams, hybrids, if you will, to act as the catalyzer in the mix of ingredients for the chemical reaction to begin. And that is why, many directors of design (that we’d interviewed for a forthcoming article on core77) at client firms emphasized the need for "the right chemistry" and building relationships. It is as simple as having faith in the vendor to deliver the promised goods. With the word "promise" being key. The answer is knowledge broker.

Why knowledge broker, specifically, and not technology broker? Well, basically for all the reasons that they state in the article about "technology brokers", except that they stopped short of calling what the firms in question, IDEO and DesignContinuum, broker indeed as their key value proposition, knowledge. They called it technology. It is not technology that the design industry brokers, it is, in fact, their collective knowledge. The successful design firms have found a way to manage organizational knowledge in a way that supports it’s portability across clients, cultures and organizational hierarchies.

nb:thinking has me exhausted 🙂 I’ll link this up to all my writing in the last one month after a smoke break 🙂

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One Response to Is design the answer?

  1. Martin says:

    Hmmmm, you got even me exhausted with all that…
    In my opinion (and you did touch on it), collaboration is the key. Knowledge in silos is all but useless, and the value it contains is usually only unlocked once sharing takes place.
    Interesting to think about 🙂

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