Design and innovation, like fashion, are actually quite cyclical. It could even be argued that the two are interlinked, over a spread of time :-
|Two venn iterations of the theme, earlier today. Which one of these resonates with YOU?|
Think of the ipod; what does it immediately resemble, in terms of functionality? A walkman, and a walkman was borne out of the idea of having a more personalised portable cassette player, so the music and/or other audio material playing therein, was solely confined to the listener. And that in itself, it could be argued, was an offshoot of having a portable radio or record player.
So the past is an obvious reference for moving forward when innovating, but where does the future come into play? That's an easier concept to grapple with, as we can consider exemplifying this with something that has been around for over 100 years and has been refined on a continual basis; it's the motor car.
Fuel efficiency, safety - both internal passenger protection and exterior impact strength - comfort and even entertainment systems and levels have all been refined, updated, modified and completely redesigned over the years. All these things are ultimately the sum total of the motor car experience. Just think back to even a decade ago ( or further if you can), and look at the cars of today; some of the innovation and redesign ( or even NEW design) changes and concepts are remarkable. More importantly, they dovetail and fit nicely into the zeitgeist.
In effect, anything new, bar the invention of the wheel, has some reference point to the past in it. As for the present..that in itself is a summation of past experiences which affect the individual or teams/groups in situ, with some accidental or subconscious 'thread' or connection to the future. The present is where the 'eureka moments' happen. And it's those moments that can solve problems and quench the hankering of a better way to do something, or even be something.
Having practised yoga and meditation for four years ( and counting) on a daily basis, my take on the present is that it's all about the stillness within. That stillness in itself, provides the seeds for what to do next. But the stillness has to be savoured, and that means letting go of whatever is on your mind. Sounds easier said than done, but it can be done and once it is practiced on a regular basis, it becomes habit forming and keeps your thought trains (and tracks) clearer and smoother.
Innovation could be said to be borne out of restlessness, which in itself could be said to be part of the human condition. In effect, we're never satisfied for long enough, so we need something to bring us up to a satiated state. Maybe if we chase the quenching less, the ideas, solutions and eureka moments would be easier to obtain.
There's an NLP ( neuro linguistic programming) scenario I always remember, which is about 'changing state'. In effect , if you leave the environment you're in, you change your own physical state too. The obvious example, is to be stuck on an idea or concept in a warm room, with a cup of coffee, and then leave the room and maybe even the building, to go outside for five minutes to grab some air. The synaptic refresh and even recalibration, will help you reframe whatever it is you've been trying to figure out. Try it.
So in order to be in the present, whilst ameliorating the past and moving into the future, it's all about letting it go, and allowing it to flow.
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