The point of innovation is to create progress.
[Bishan Park, Singapore]
We’re talking about the kind of progress that reaches a little deeper into the nuances of user needs, embraces a broader set of players & moving parts, and genuinely elevates each person who has invested their energies into the process.
I was fortunate enough to have been part of a few of these sort of special projects in my professional life. One of my favorite has got to be Bishan Park.
The funny thing with such endeavors… You only truly see what has been accomplished at the end when you look back and realize that no one did really fully understand what was actually possible at the start of the project despite having stated visions and goals as a guide. That’s how I recognize innovation.
What was created at the end was a result of so many complex (and often conflicting) drivers & requirements, so many interests from users & stakeholders, and so many critical contributions from individuals from every step of the project life cycle. The number of stories, insights and lessons learnt seem endless. And attempting to attribute success to any one factor or person or group is simply impossible.
In that moment, you recognize this process and this feeling… this is what Design is supposed to be. Once you’ve experienced this, it’s really hard not to try and replicate it in every project that comes your way!
Innovation comes from the kind of work we call Design. It is meant to solve real user challenges, interpret & balance multiple needs, and bring out the best of collaborators to arrive at an answer that results in real Progress.
It requires leadership. It’s for any work that wants to effect positive change. And it requires practice.
Enjoy this interview with Tim Brown, chair of the design firm IDEO.