Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Unemployment is the New Full-Time Job

Wow, I promised to post everyday and I already took a week off, but I do promise I've been sticking to my commitment to explore, learn and create- I've actually been pretty busy. I've decided that unemployment really is the new full-time job, meaning, I've decided to try and make this work. I've had some more freelance opportunities arise and I am really enjoying meeting new people. Not to say I'm not looking or ready for a more "stable" position, I'm just really interested in the future of work and what that might look like for me. It's a difficult balance for a young person. I'm inspired and pushed when I'm constantly surrounded by a pool of talented people, but I'm also intrigued by the freedom and relationships that come with working solo. Even when you're working alone, there is a huge amount of opportunity to surround yourself with new and interesting people.

On that topic, my search for interview participants is on. I have another interviewee to add to the roster, Paul Isakson. I'm so excited to finally meet and talk with Paul, I've been a long time reader of his blog. My interview with Ronny Northrop is happening soon too, can't wait to get these posted.

I've been really interested in the topic of design thinking lately, and what that means for our industries and how we work. I just finished Marty Neumeier's book, The Designful Company: How to Build a Culture of Nonstop Innovation. It is filled with great stuff, please check it out. For a brief overview, it looks like someone created a highlight video:

One of the things Neumeier said that really stuck with me is that "measurement and imagination are locked in a dance." In other words, to be successful, to be innovative, disciplines must work together seamlessly.

I also attended a talk by Roger Martin last week at Ziba Design about his book, The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage.
Martin also made the case for collaboration as he spoke about the intersection of analytical and intuitive thinking and explained how having a better understanding of both leads to design thinking, which opens the door to innovation (I agree!). Martin associates analytical thinking with reliability and the need to have proven methods for a comfortable working environment. He then associates intuitive thinking with validity and the need for imagination and openness to new ideas- it's not easy to measure or prove what's never been done before. With that, he outlined tips for both kinds of thinkers to better work with one another to grow innovation:

For an intuitive thinker to work in an analytical setting, they have to be willing to design in a hostile environment.

1. Take "design-unfriendliness" as a design challenge
2. Empathize with the "design-unfriendly elements"
3. Speak the language of reliability
4. Use analogies and stories
5. Bite off as little piece as possible to generate proof

And for an analytical thinker to thrive in an intuitive setting, they have to know how to leverage design in business.

1. Take inattention to reliability as a management challenge
2. Empathize with the "reliability-unfriendly elements"
3. Speak the language of validity
4. Share data and reasoning, not conclusions
5. Bite off as big a piece as possible to give innovation a chance

Needless to say, the talk was extremely interesting and Ziba hosted a lovely event. I was fortunate to visit Ziba again this week. I've always been interested in Ziba and I was happy to see their workspace first hand. I really love that they have war rooms for each client, I also really liked the open work space. I didn't take any pictures, but if you check out their facebook page, they have some pictures of their space and events.

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