Cultivating Innovation And Creativity, Not Managing It

There is a big movement in B-Schools and Design Schools to generate a new liberal arts paradigm that goes beyond learning how to think critically about an individual’s role in society to learning how to build critically based on people’s connection to cultural context. Call it Pragmatic Liberal Arts or Practical Liberal Arts. I call it Innovation Arts or Design Arts because it focusses on the “as if…” prototyping and creating that goes on in serious play (and which our schools succeed in stamping out by grade 2). I’ll be discussing the idea of a new Innovation Arts paradigm at The Future of Design confab in Stanford next week.

One of the smartest guys I know thinking about creating new social behaviors by changing old rituals is Diego Rodriquez over at the great blog Metacool. He just had an insightful conversation with Michael Mauer, Porsche’s head of design about cultivating, not managing, people. Mauer sees himself as a curator of designers and their ideas. He grows creativity. And anyone who has seen the new Porsche 918 Spyder can thank him for this approach to leadership.

Diego has developed his own set of Innovation Principles. Here they are:

1: Experience the world instead of talking about experiencing the world 2: See and hear with the mind of a child 3: Always ask: “How do we want people to feel after they experience this?” 4: Prototype as if you are right. Listen as if you are wrong. 5: Anything can be prototyped. You can prototype with anything. 6: Live life at the intersection 7: Develop a taste for the many flavors of innovation 8: Most new ideas aren’t 9: Killing good ideas is a good idea 10: Baby steps often lead to big leaps 11: Everyone needs time to innovate 12: Instead of managing, try cultivating 13: Do everything right, and you’ll still fail 14: Failure sucks, but instructs 15: Celebrate errors of commission. Stamp out errors of omission. 16: Grok the gestalt of teams 17. It’s not the years, it’s the mileage

What do you think?

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