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Carol Coletta

Chris Meyer stood in for Bruce Nussbaum to wrap up our two days of discussion. Every meeting organizer should be so lucky.

Chris organized his reflections as context (the past), merging (the present) and emerging (the future).

It would be nice if context were shaped only by the present, but, in fact, the past informs context. Business culture today has deeply embedded in it that systems are static. If it ain't broke, don't fix it captures that idea. But we live in a time of accelerating change.

In nature, ants are constantly exploiting the existing niche and exploring a new niche. When a niche closes, they explore more. But when a business niche begins to close, business tends to fire the explorers.

Business, then, doesn't have the culture to explore. That's why, as Business Week famously declared, the MFA (in our case the MD or MDM) is the new MBA. Art school explores. B-school exploits.

Chris suggested thinking of the relationship between business and art using a matrix. Vertical axis has rigor at the top, lack of rigor at the bottom. Horizontal axis has closed minded on the left, curious on the right. On Chris' matrix, business sits in the top left quadrant (high rigor, low curiosity), art sits in the bottom right quadrant (low rigor, high curiosity. Innovation sits in the top right quadrant, and that's where business and art must intersect.

The present is about merging art and business. As we restructure entities around the reality of a new infrastructure we will create a new value chain, every bit as powerful as the value chain in an earlier era built around new logistics capability.

The power shift going on puts customers in charge. Don't fight customer power, he warned the designers and innovators in the audience. Bring the customer voice into the economic system in a valuable and powerful way.

A question for the future that is emerging is how will we organize the economic system? While Chris admits he doesn't have the answer, he believes the answer will have these characteristics:

* Customer-created value
* Bottom-up governance
* Network determining things collectively
* Serving the "Bottom of the Pyramid" emerging market

The big design challenge will be designing organization structures for a post-corporate economy.

He reminded us of the value of diverse teams: Different people see different things and create differently.

Loosely quoting Tom Stoppard, Chris left us with this thought... "It's the best possible time to be alive when everything you thought you knew was wrong."

Carol Coletta

Very good discussion for those of us working to push discussion of design thinking and innovation into the mainstream.

Quick takes from Bruce and Blaise:

"The age of electricity brought us the assembly line. What will the age of the Internet bring us? Mash-ups, things combined in new and unexpected ways."


"Design has moved from pretty things to a way of thinking, strategy, philosophy, discipline."

"DaVinci was a great inventor, but his inventions remained as drawings in his notebook because he had no way to produce them. Today, we can produce what we design. And more people than ever are involved in creating, but they are interested in guidance to inform their designs."

"Redesigning the culture and the organization is the big future for design." (This theme was echoed by a number of speakers.)

"To tell the story of design, find the narrative. Find the drama. Find the dogs fighting over the bone. People want to be educated and entertained. Have a point and a point of view."

Blaise compared his new business magazine from Conde Nast (to debut in '07) to the New Yorker and Wired. "The New Yorker has a New York sensibility. But it is not read or written only for New Yorkers. Wired represents a point of view for people who are living wired lives. It is not just for people in the tech industry."

David Armano

At the end of the discussion, Bruce mentioned something that I think will become a very important tool for designers as we make our case to our "reliable-minded" business counterparts. Visual Mapping.

Creating visual artifacts that outline the innovation or creative process in such a way that can quickly communicate to both business and creative types.

Great discussion today. I'm looking forward to both new publications. (It'll give me an excuse to read more paper for a change)

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