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Archive for the ‘love’ Category

Into the Dynamic Locus of Sustainable, and Impactful, Innovation

Posted by Plish on October 12, 2012

“Let us establish ourselves in the divine milieu. There we shall find ourselves where the soul is most deep and where matter is most dense. There we shall discover, where all its beauties flow together, the ultra-vital, the ultra-sensitive, the ultra-active point of the universe. And, at the same time, we shall feel the plenitude of our powers of action and adoration effortlessly ordered within our deepest selves.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,The Divine Milieu

This is the place from which to create; the font of beauty, understanding.  To experience the world from this perspective is to be swept up the in the creative making of the New.  This is from whence enduring change is born, where innovative design does not harm people or planet.  It is that place and disposition that encourages and makes possible, the infinite possibilities of the human spirit.

How is, or how can, this quest be fostered in educational, corporate, social, political and religious structures of the world?  In short, how can this orientation towards self, and all, be fostered in day-to-day living for people of all walks of life?

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Posted in Authenticity, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, Evolution, Human Rights, innovation, love, Nature of Creativity, Social Responsibility, Spirituality, Sustainability, The Future, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Innovation Can Change the World When Spelled: L-O-V-E

Posted by Plish on December 21, 2011

Products and services have to obey the laws of nature.  Some laws, like Newton’s Laws, can not be avoided.   Ignore them at your own risk.

Then there are those Laws that aren’t physical, but are no less real.  These are laws that deal with how people behave. They are embedded in who we are by nature, and/or are continually being transformed and modified through cultures and relationships between people and the Cosmos.   These laws are more elusive and difficult to characterize.  They are being observed, and deciphered, by psychologists, ethnographers, behavioral economists, poets and others.

One of these, is the Law of Love.

…the Law of Love is the deepest law of our nature, not something extraneous and alien to our nature. Our nature itself inclines us to love, and to love freely.  -Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

If, as Merton says, this law is the deepest law in our nature, shouldn’t it be the most prevalent law guiding our innovation efforts?

Yet, how often do we see design briefs, or product specifications stating, “Must incorporate Love.”?

Oh sure, it’s often inferred.  After all, we don’t want to hurt anyone, right?  We don’t want to pollute the world, right?

But still, there are people who use Chinese sweatshops to create magical products. There are people who create novel materials at the expense of effluents that taint the environment.

Love of others shouldn’t be inferred.  It should be active and visible in innovations.

During this holiday season, the word, “love”, gets used prolifically.  But, why can’t Love guide what we do, all the time?  What if we asked, “What would this product look like if I loved the person it’s being made for, and the place where she lives and the people making it and the places they live?”

In this day and age, innovation with L.O.V.E. shouldn’t be optional.

If it’s part of our nature, it should be imperative.

Posted in Authenticity, culture of innovation, Human Rights, innovation, love, problem solving, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, Sustainable Technology, The Future, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Reality Check for Sustainability in Design and Innovation

Posted by Plish on March 30, 2011

“Art should cause violence to be set aside” – Leo Tolstoy

Replace the word ‘Art’ with “Design” or “Innovation”.

Design should cause violence to be set aside”

Innovation should cause violence to be set aside”

Violence 

It shares the root of violāre , from which we get the word ‘violate’.

What shouldn’t be violated?

  • people
  • conscience
  • convictions
  • relationships
  • faith
  • family
  • neighborhoods
  • science
  • workplace
  • cultures
  • animals
  • nations
  • plants
  • water
  • air
  • soil
  • world
  • cosmos
  • ???

Does your corporate culture impact any of the above in a negative way? 

Does the manufacture of your innovation do violence to any of the above?

It’s a difficult task, but not impossible.

Instead of focusing on the negative,

focus on elevating,

make all you do,

and how you do it,

~art~

Posted in Authenticity, children, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, Human Rights, innovation, love, nature, Religion, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, Society, Sustainability, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

True, Sustainable Design = Revealing Beauty

Posted by Plish on March 14, 2011

Beauty is not caused it is – Emily Dickinson

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. -Michelangelo

What if we all acted as if Beauty is?

What if we lived our lives seeking out Beauty in the others, in the world, in our selves – chiseling through the chaos, peeling away the layers and revealing the Beauty that is? 

Isn’t that Design?

A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it. – Michelangelo

Posted in Authenticity, Design, innovation, love, nature, Social Innovation, Sustainability, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Design and Innovation in the Context of Life’s Problems

Posted by Plish on December 31, 2010

“Jacob,” asked Mr. Gold whose days dangled by a thread, “where do you find the strength to carry on in life?”

“Life is often heavy only because we attempt to carry it,” said Jacob. “But I do find strength in the ashes.”

“In the ashes?” asked Mr. Gold.

“Yes,” said Jacob with a confirmation that seemed to have traveled a great distance.

“You see, Mr. Gold, each of us is alone. Each of us is in the great darkness of our ignorance. And each of us is on a journey.

“In the process of our journey, we must bend to build a fire for light, and warmth, and food.

“But when our fingers tear at the ground, hoping to find the coals of another’s fire, what we often find are the ashes.

“And in these ashes, which will not give us light or warmth, there may be sadness, but there is also testimony.

“Because these ashes tell us that somebody else has been in the night, somebody else has bent to build a fire, and somebody else has carried on.

“And that can be enough sometimes, that can be enough.”

-Jacob the Baker, by Noah benShea

The above story, taken from the delightful book, Jacob the Baker, was written by the author to help him and his dying father through the night. The words are profound and meaningful, especially for those people who are going through difficult times.

Ahhh, difficult times…

I am only now, finally getting my new computer and business systems running again.  If not for some annoyances that pop up every now and then, I can hardly tell that a little over a week ago my CPU/motherboard melted down in the midst of deadlines and the holidays.  Before that…

Fast rewind with me for a year and, like other people,  along the way you’ll  experience family illness, accidents, pain, even death…

This laptop debacle pales in comparison to the other things that happened over the course of a year.  Yet, this technological glitch was a frustrating event that meant schedule manipulation, late, sleepless nights, and more intense days. It did nothing to foster a more peaceful approach to the holidays.

Why do I bring this all up?

People’s lives can get extraordinarily messy.  In the midst of chaos, humans naturally seek some semblance of order. During those times, more than in others,  people expect things to work – especially the little things.  When the little things don’t work, it can push our patience to the limit.  We’ve all been there.

Interestingly enough, seldom do the design of products and services take this larger context of chaos into account.  Oh, sure, products are (hopefully!) designed to be easy to use, intuitive, and  pleasing.  Designers strive for empathy with people to make sure that they really understand what people are going through in their daily lives.  But it’s difficult to design for the effect that time and stress can have on people and how they go about living day to day.

Designing a sterile package that’s easy to open in an Emergency Room is not the same as making a package easy to open in an ER where a family of  six is coming in from a head-on collision – 14 hours into a shift in which more people have been lost than saved; the head nurse’s husband asked her for a divorce that morning; another’s child got sick in daycare so he had to call his brother to pick the child up; one ER doc’s car broke down and still isn’t repaired, another nurse is home with the flu; the only food anyone consumed has been a bag of Halloween candy, multiple soft drinks, 2 energy bars, and a bag of chips; and the ER is going to be audited the next day. That’s just the last 24 hours for this crew…

“Easy to open” takes on different meanings depending upon  the extent to which people have been stressed prior to opening the package.

 Now granted, not every person is going to be swamped 24/7.  There is respite in even the most hectic lives.    But I think we’ve all seen people become blubbering messes over something that just a week earlier was accomplished without any thought or emotion.  

Think, no, dream of what our lives would be like if things were designed so that even in our most frazzled states, the use of a product or service caused us to crack a smile, or pause, breathe and savor a flickering moment of peace.   What if, designing innovation meant that during those frantic times of searching through the ashes, someone made sure that we actually found a hot, glowing ember?

May you not only find encouragement in the ashes,

may you also find glowing embers – enough for you and enough to share.

I wish all of you a safe, healthy, wonder-filled 2011 and beyond!

Posted in Authenticity, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Design, Emotions, innovation, Life Stages, love, Social Responsibility, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Transformative, Sustainable Design Starts With An Embrace

Posted by Plish on October 18, 2010

For the majority of a 24 hour day, we take in sensory information, process and ignore it as we go about our daily routines.  We do our jobs and interact with people, objects and systems,  only really paying attention when something:

A) Causes us problems or pain

B) Brings us delight, joy, peace or any such feeling of wellness.

Everything else falls into the realm of being grey, background noise.  

That’s not necessarily bad. There’s something positive to be said for that which inhabits the grey.

Which is:

We don’t notice things in the grey because things function as they are expected to.   And, when things function like they’re supposed to, we can accomplish tasks and live our lives in relative peace and security.

But, what is that grey???

It’s comprised of people and relationships between people, nature, objects, rules, systems and constraints.    People who love  and experience joy, anger,  pain; who reflect on things of nature and things super/supra-natural.  All of us together interact to make the grey stable, predictable and livable.

What does this mean for design and innovation?  How do we innovate in the grey? How do we impact the grey and create moments in which people are elevated out of the grey – preferably into moments of delight as opposed to the depths of frustration and anger?

In some ways this seems like it should be simple – after all, we are all a part of this.  However, being a part of this makes it that much more difficult because the temptation is to contribute to the system in non-obtrusive ways, to not make waves, to not make our own lives difficult but yet do our jobs, to play our parts.

However, if  we dare to descend into the depths of who we are, to understand our nature, our fears, our  frustrations, our desires and dreams; if in this uncomfortable place we are able to embrace the messiness of our lives, it is then that  we are able to embrace others, embrace the world, embrace all.

It is in this embrace that understanding shines, innovation blooms in the light, and dare I say, love empowers us to design for the good, to design beauty, to give people experiences of  joy and happiness amidst the grey.

And it is in this milieu that design and innovations sustainably transform the grey to light, all the while elevating the awareness of what is possible – of what we are called to be, on this planet called Earth. 

Once we taste this sweetness, we will not, nor should we, ever settle for  less…

Posted in Authenticity, culture of innovation, Design, innovation, love, meditation, nature, Philosophy, prayer, Social Responsibility, Society, Spirituality, The Human Person, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Want to Increase Creativity and Innovation? Touch and be Touched

Posted by Plish on August 5, 2010

We’ve all experienced the gentle pat on the back, or touch on the hand when things aren’t going well.  Well, it seems that these touches are helpful in more ways than we typically think.

Research has shown that touching is helpful in  a myriad of ways.

 According to the article:

A warm touch seems to set off the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps create a sensation of trust, and to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

In the brain, prefrontal areas, which help regulate emotion, can relax, freeing them for another of their primary purposes: problem solving. In effect, the body interprets a supportive touch as “I’ll share the load.”

“We think that humans build relationships precisely for this reason, to distribute problem solving across brains,” said James A. Coan, a a psychologist at the University of Virginia. “We are wired to literally share the processing load, and this is the signal we’re getting when we receive support through touch.”

Some of my thoughts on applying this?

  1. Team building events can accomplish a lot more than just bring people together, but…
  2. Building teams needs to be done all the time.  There needs to be an active, ongoing building of esprit de corps, but…
  3. Perspectives regarding the touching of coworkers might need to be reassessed.  It’s interesting to think that current  ‘hands off’ practices might actually be hurting innovation.
  4. It seems obvious to say, but personal lives, the relationships people have outside of work, do make a difference in the workplace.
  5. People who are more tactile, more ‘touchy-feely’ might be a good addition to a team.
  6. Although it’s not directly mentioned in the article, the touching phenomenon might help explain the benefits of why having pets is a good thing.  Pets in the workplace, anyone?
  7. Customer service (think healthcare) should be open to allowing and fostering touching in the proper contexts so as to better treat people as whole beings.  This could also give customer service people more credence and build better bonds between customer and company.
  8. Massage therapy shouldn’t be seen as a luxury, but as a necessity in the workplace.
  9. I’d be interested to know if things like brushing hair, or touches like those experienced at beauty parlors or hair dressers, has positive effect.   It does in senior care facilities, why not use it in other places?
  10. How might technology be used to foster human interaction and touch?

What are your thoughts on this?

Posted in Authenticity, Biology, creativity, culture of innovation, Evolution, innovation, love, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, Research, Society, stress, Team-Building, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

13 Rules for Being a More Innovative, Creative, You

Posted by Plish on July 31, 2010

On this, my 47th birthday, as others lavish gifts upon me in their kindness, I’m writing this column as my gift to you.   Want to be more innovative?  Want to be more creative? Want to be a better you?  I pondered these questions; I’ve thought about what’s worked in my life, and what hasn’t.  So far, here’s a list of what works:

  1. Be passionate about what you do.  Ultimately it’s you that motivates you.
  2. Be authentic.  Kind of like #1 but it’s about acknowledging who you are in all your various facets and embracing you.  You are your brand. Rock the world with it.
  3. Don’t let others bring you down.  I don’t care if it’s your boss or the president or a family member.  Rise above – you’re the best you.  You made a mistake? So what.  (See Rules #7, #8, #11, #12)
  4. Get plenty of sleep.  Seriously. It will help in synthesizing ideas.  Also,  when you sleep you…
  5. Dream.  Do it while you’re awake.
  6. Take time off from your work.  Hike, pray, meditate, play.  Get some of the benefits of sleep but you’re conscious.
  7. Be curious. It might drive people nuts, but then you’re living according to Rule #3, right?
  8. Don’t be afraid to look like an ass.  This might seem like #3 but it’s not.  This is about doing things that you think others are looking at you funny about.  It’s got nothing to do about what others have said or done.
  9. Have empathy for others.  Tolerance is the easy way out.   Empathy.
  10. Revel in your successes!  Don’t look ahead to the next challenge without appreciating what you’re doing, and have done, to get to the now.
  11. Don’t be afraid to try things and make mistakes.   It’ s important because we not only learn from successes we…
  12. Learn from mistakes. 
  13. Love=Service

Are there any that you would add?

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, Design, imagination, innovation, love, meditation, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, Renaissance Souls, Spirituality, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Will Technological Innovation Eliminate the Perceived Necessity for Social Change?

Posted by Plish on May 12, 2010

Conferences are great in that they make you think.

Today was no different.  While attending the Design Research Conference in Chicago today I heard references to technology being the great equalizer.   Those specific words weren’t used, but during one case study looking at the redesign of a hearing aid,  an elderly gentleman noted how when he uses current hearing aid technologies, their designs don’t disguise the fact he’s losing his hearing and in fact draw attention to it.  The result is that he feels marginalized by society.  The solution, obviously, was a better designed hearing aid that utilized really cool technology that didn’t draw attention to itself but yet made the hearer’s life easier.

First, let me say that there’s nothing wrong with utilizing technology to make the lives of the elderly easier.   But the above case study, and another mention of the ‘saving value’ of technology yesterday, got me thinking.

So, I did a Google search of “technology” and “save us” and the two phrases together bring up 934,000 hits. Apparently, I’m not the only one seeing a pattern.

Again, I’m not against technology at all, but if we rely on technology to come to the rescue of our designs, then  aren’t we missing the point?

The point is well articulated in the  following quote from here:

…(A)ll of technological optimism can be summed up in one desire: The desire not to have to change any of our current behaviors. And, yet it is our behavior that most of all needs changing.

That’s the crux of the issue – behaviors.

Here we are, innovating for a better world but at the same time, by extensively using technology we tacitly agree that the world and the people around us aren’t going to change their behaviors.  So, we use technology to make it less painful for those marginalized by society so they can live in a world of people who are cold.   Something doesn’t seem right here.

Now, to be fair, we’re talking about designing devices, so the design project’s charter does not include designing a better society per se.  But, this doesn’t mean that using technology to create a buffer against the indifference of the world doesn’t raise questions like:  

If we get efficient at palliating social stigmas through technology, will we reach a cultural tipping point where the desire to improve one’s self is no longer felt as a need because everyone around us seems ok?

Is that an acceptable situation? Is this a real possibility?  What could we do to prevent it from happening if it is?

Why does  IDEO’s approach to design thinking and Tim Brown’s definition below have to include technology as a given?

“Design thinking is an approach that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods for problem solving to meet people’s needs in a technologically feasible and commercially viable way. In other words, design thinking is human-centered innovation.”

Does the definition for human centered innovation have to include the necessity of technology?

What do you think?

Posted in Authenticity, Case Studies, culture of innovation, Design, design thinking, Human Rights, innovation, Life Stages, love, Social Networking, Society, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Your Ideas: Your Gift of Beauty to The World

Posted by Plish on May 10, 2010

I was recently reading the new, Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality,  by  Soctt Belksy, the founder and CEO of Behance.

The book is about bringing ideas to frution and it’s chock full of techniques and  pearls of wisdom.  One that really got my attention , was this:

“Please take yourself and your creative pursuits seriously.  Your ideas must be treated with respect because their importance truly does extend beyond your own interests. Every living person benefits from a world that is enriched with ideas made whole – ideas that are made to happen through your passion, commitment, self-awareness, and informed pursuit.

Challenge yourself to withstand the self doubts and societal pressures that will rally against you. When they do, take comfort in the knowledge that you are in good company.  We all struggle, but we persevere.  Adversity makes us stronger.  Relish the fact that you are on an important path, emboldened by both the opportunity and grave responsibility to create something of value – a value that is rewarding for you and enriching for all.”

Step back…

Breathe…

Think about it…

In the day to day grind it’s too easy for us to lose track of the fact that what we’re providing to our families, employers, clients and the world,  are not faceless concepts. 

We enflesh ideas – our gifts come with a face!

We need to fight for our ideas, to stand by them, to even let them go if need be.   We need to realize that humans are privileged with the supranatural capacity to bring beauty into the world.

What is this supranatural capacity?

A flower drops its seeds to guarantee more beauty next year.  It is the natural way for a flower to bring beauty into the world.  Humans bring beauty into existence through the work of our minds, hearts, hands and relationships. Sure, by nature we have this capacity, but it’s also a choice we make.  It’s a both/and type of situation.  We are able to create outside of, or above, the natural order, all the while still being a part of it.   It’s supra (above) – natural.

Sound pretty awesome?

It is!

A fish brings its beauty of ‘fishness’ to the world even while dropping its waste products into the water it swims in.  But it has no choice and it can’t improve the situation on its own.  If it over-populates and over-pollutes its waters, its population naturally dies back to bring the system back into balance.

If a bunch of  fishes had the supranatural capacity of humans they would realize that their actions impact the environment and respond accordingly.   But they don’t.  They’re fishes that are part of, and act  naturally within, their system.   Humans willingly ignoring their supranatural capacity (and interestingly enough not acting ‘naturally’ any more)   will be at the mercy of the system (and vice-versa!), and like the above mentioned fishes,  throw the system out of whack until the people die back. 

So you see, acknowledging the supranatural aspect of human nature isn’t an option.  It’s a necessity.

It’s a prerequisite to bringing beauty to the world through our ideas; to building  sustainable cultures of innovation that respect people and the world.

Before my mother died she told me, ‘You’ve been given so many gifts, you bring beauty to the world in so many ways; never stop bringing beauty to the world.”

My mom’s desire for me, is also my desire for you.

Please take your responsibility seriously.

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, Evolution, Human Rights, imagination, innovation, love, nature, Nature of Creativity, Society, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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