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an encore performance

December 11, 2012


Last time I posted, I mentioned there were a couple more stories from my other blog, 365, that I’d re-post.  Here’s one of them.  With one more to follow soon.  Again if you follow both my blogs, thank you for doing so; and I apologize for the repetition.  Hopefully you feel these few posts are worth reading more than once.

Last time I talked about a lot of ways non-creative people are still creative.  See, it’s not an oxymoron.  But I did confine the conversation to those of us who work in ad agencies, an industry perceived as being ‘creative’ anyway.  And because I think it’s important for you to know I’m a firm believer in the fact that creativity can, and should , and does, exist outside of ‘creative’ businesses, I’m approaching the idea from a different perspective this time.

At its very simplest, it’s called out of the box thinking.  Being willing to turn a problem, or a tough challenge, on its ear, looking at it from a different angle, through a different lens.

Being willing, regardless of what you do for a living, to sweep aside the status quo and embrace new ideas.  Different ideas.  Unconventional ideas for your industry.  Client-centric ideas.  Revolutionary ideas.  Never-before-considered or tried ideas.  Regardless of whether you work in the private or public sectors.  Regardless of whether you are a health care worker, an educator, a politician, a CEO, a sales person, a scientist, a researcher, a lawyer, or an accountant; or even a tinker, tailor, soldier or spy.

What I’m talking about is ‘design thinking’.  Born out of industrial design, design thinking is a very disciplined, systematic, strategic process (yet intensely creative) that is used to solve what most of us would consider unsolvable challenges, like finding an innovative way to deliver clean drinking water in the developing world.  I find it absolutely fascinating.  I’m obsessed with it, in fact.  And I am a rabid fan of a global consultancy based in California, IDEO, who are pioneers in the field, and worked on the drinking water project.  I am also a huge fan of their President and CEO, Tim Brown, who has written a book, that I have read at least two dozen times.  Buy it, you won’t be sorry.

He spoke in Toronto earlier this year, and I went.  Surprise, surprise.  He presented a lot of impressive and varied case studies, but my favourite was a project they did for the Singapore government.  I have actually written it up, here on Fransi Weinstein Et Al.

I follow a lot of very good WordPress blogs.  One of them is called Book Peeps.  And the other day its author posted an interesting and provocative piece on education.  Specifically, what’s wrong with our educational ‘system’, who’s really to blame, what role both parents and teachers can play and what can be done about it.  Her post was inspired by an article (there’s a link to it in the post) she read, about the differences in how eastern and western cultures tackle teaching.

As I read her post, all I could think was:  “Now there’s an ‘opportunity’ that’s just crying out for a team from IDEO.”  And that’s what inspired this post, of men.

Any other issues you can think of that could benefit from some innovative thinking, IDEO style?  In my not so humble opinion, the U.S. ‘fiscal cliff’ issue is a perfect candidate.  If I was President Obama I’d be thinking seriously about bringing them to the table.  I’m certainly in no position to speak for the management of IDEO but I’ll bet they might even consider doing it pro bono.  I sure would.  Talk about a juicy assignment.  And talk about the fame (and fortune) that would follow, if you could wrestle that problem to the ground successfully!

But in all seriousness, that issue is going to take creative thinking to solve.  And from what I’ve seen, at a great distance I admit, I’m not so sure the people involved have what it takes.

For that mater, the Middle East crisis desperately needs some innovative thinking, as well.  But not all the ‘problems’ need to be as grand as these few examples I’ve cited.  Even in our local communities there are many opportunities to look at things differently.  To improve the way they’re done.  Make them more efficient.  Make them easier to use or access.  Make them more end-user friendly.  Make them more relevant.  Make them more cost effective.

The solutions are within all of us.  We just need to climb out of the rut we’re in.  We just need to open our eyes and ears and minds to the possibilities.  We just need to learn how to collaborate, because non of us has the answer on our own.  We just need to embrace change.  And most of all, we just need to want to have the time of our lives, because there’s nothing more stimulating, or fun, energizing and exciting, than solving problems, brilliantly!

President Obama’s campaign theme was ‘Forward’.  I’d like to add something to that:  ‘Forward.  Redefined!’


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  1. December 12, 2012

    Wonderful post and most definitely worth repeating! As to your question, what other issues would benefit from IDEO’s style?…How about tackling the issues of our inner cities…how do we inspire, motivate and educate those who live in a poverty mindset to play a more active role in the change they wish to see . Our government, state, local authorities and community organizations, while well-intentioned, have failed miserably. We all desperately need some out of the box thinking on these issues.

    “Insanity”, as Einstein defined, is that of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The 2nd worm in the apple is “lethargy”. The third, “apathy”.

    Thanks for the mention…let’s keep the flame burning.

    • fransiweinstein #
      December 13, 2012

      You are SO right! What an opportunity that is. And there are people out there who could motivate those people. Those who have come from similar backgrounds and made successes of themselves. Magic Johnson, Jayzee, so many athletes and performers. Let’s make some noise and maybe it will happen.

  2. December 15, 2012

    Yeh today I can’t help but think that the public mental health system and mental health treatment in general needs to be a priority. It isn’t and the evidence shows we’re collectively and culturally screwy and our priorities misguided generally.

    • fransiweinstein #
      December 15, 2012

      I totally agree with you. To some degree we have the same problems here, although at least here, everyone has access to medical attention. But mental health is still a huge challenge. And look what happened yesterday in Connecticut. Tragic. And avoidable. I honestly don’t know what it’s going to take for politicians to finally deal with it. It is just sick-making.

  3. magentmama #
    December 16, 2012

    Here in Italy they have opened up mental asylums and let everyone out. People are very angry about it. You cannot imagine the corruption, inefficiency and bureacracy in Italy, and even worse here in Sicily.

    • fransiweinstein #
      December 16, 2012

      Ohhh, what a shame. I have been to Italy but never there. Sounds like this isn’t the time …

  4. magentmama #
    December 16, 2012

    By the way, let me know when you decide to come to Sicily. I will tell you which places to see. Definitely Trapani. Most people go to Taormina and Catania, but those places have already been exploited, they are expensive, crowded and tourist-minded. Our area, Northwestern Sicily, is just being discovered, thanks to Ryan Air making their base in Trapani. There are so many gorgeous places to see here and they are all near each other. If you would like to see more pictures, I have many on my other blog , I put new ones in November and October. By the way, the reason I speak English is because I lived in New York for 15 years, we were immigrants. Now we are back in Sicily.

    • fransiweinstein #
      December 16, 2012

      Thank you! I will definitely let you know and I will check out your photos. I am writing a book and at one point thought I would come for a month to finish it. I had 2 chapters left.

  5. December 17, 2012

    Thanks for following, you’ve got a great blog here! Will be a regular now!!

    • fransiweinstein #
      December 17, 2012

      So do you. Many thanks.

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