Monthly Archives: February 2010

Revolutionaries are T-shaped and Rare

“Revolutionaries who have driven most recent innovation and who will drive nearly all of it in the future are T-shaped. That is, they have their specialties—areas of deep expertise—but on top of that they boast a solid breadth, an umbrella if you will, of wide-ranging knowledge and interests. It is the ability to work in an interdisciplinary fashion and to see how different ideas, sectors, people, and markets connect,” says Donofrio.

I recently read Innovation that Matters, by Nicholas M. Donofrio. It articulates the characteristics of many innovators and describes them as rare individuals. More interestingly, it argues for a new era of invention, one that thinks not about quantity but about problem solving. Donorfrio, an IBM veteran acknowledges the advancements made in computing but points out the need to examine the world and see what is missing, instead of simply assuming the answer is more of the same.

Today innovation normally centers around more power he says, more storage or more speed, whether it is necessary or not. He argues that better education is the solution to creating more revolutionaries. I agree but do not believe the solution is as simple as good education. Depth and breath can be learned but creativity and good will are not simply products of the mind. NATALIA

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Parsons launches Transdisciplinary Design program

A graduate of Parsons, I was surprised to learn about the latest upgrade. Parsons has launched a trans-disciplinary MFA design program which will focus on Design Thinking as a means to problem solving and redesigning the world. This will be offered as an alternative to a more traditional design curriculum which tends to be organized by industry category (e.g. fashion, graphic or interior design).

I am a fan of silo-busting. In fact, it is what I do best. In addition to honing my craft, I look for the connections between changes in technology and its effect on fashion design. I study cultural shifts in food and imagine how to solve sustainability problems with textiles.

Experts are important, but I believe we are in a world dominated by specialists that often miss the big picture. They diagnose symptoms instead of root causes. Designers that see beyond industry sectors to understand how everything works together are rare and valuable. If we learn nothing else from nature, we should know that all things are connected and learning about our interconnectedness is a wise task. NATALIA

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Van Jones rejoins Center for American Progress to lead Green Opportunity Initiative

I am a fan of the work of Van Jones, and was glad to hear he will continue to help build a more just, prosperous and green economy here in the US. The official Public Announcement below:

Today the Center for American Progress announced that Van Jones is rejoining the center as a Senior Fellow and leader of the Green Opportunity Initiative, a new CAP project.

“We are thrilled that Van Jones is joining us to spearhead a ‘green opportunity’ agenda to develop the policies and strategies that will ensure the clean-energy future brings not just climate stability and energy security, but also broadly shared economic prosperity,” said Kate Gordon, Vice President for Energy Policy at CAP.

In this role, he will work in close coordination with CAP’s existing Energy Opportunity team to develop a clearly articulated agenda for expanding investment, innovation, and opportunity through clean energy and environmental restoration⎯especially for low-income and minority communities. Van will guide CAP in its efforts to advocate for rebuilding the American economy and creating millions of jobs through new investments in clean-energy technologies.

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Transformative Design

Sustainability is an enabler of innovation and should be at the core of the design of products and services and the development of new business models – World Economic Forum, Sustainable Consumption

Make it Great

Back in the states from Davos and with this thought: “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You could be that great generation.” Nelson Mandela