In a Facebooks group I'm in, someone posted a
comment wondering about designing for breakthrough innovation. I offerred my response and thought I'd share it here as well since it is relevent to the theme of this blog:
It's been my experience that you can create/design conditions - via generative principles, "whole-brain" practices, shaping the plysical environment, cultivating new cultural norms, etc. - that dramatically increase the chances for breakthroughs to emerge. While I believe a breakthrough can't be forced, we can design the "fertile soil" and engage intentional acitvities that make its emergence more likely.
That includes vastly different ways of thinking, being, embodying, perceiving, and expressing than we currently see in most work environments - which are designed on foundations for control and maintenance - not so much for change, emergence, transformation and breakthroughs.
Designing for breakthroughs includes the willingness for the unpredictable messiness of emergence...and that can be scary for a lot of people. While there is no way to design for comfort in creaitvity and emergence, we can design for emotional safety...that helps open the field and tap into the creative potentiality-in-waiting.
Also, while one might design for breakthrough, the breakthrough may occur seemingly randomly several iterations later...and may not immediately seem connected to the initial design, even though it is a result of it. It's more like we can co-design in partnership with the natural creative process to allow for more change of breakthroughs..but we can't control it. I believe if the designer is not surprised by what emerges, and has lots of space for the unknown embedded into the design, he or she is not necessairly designing for breakthroughs.