Getting things together

Its strange how sometimes very varying strands of thoughts come together.  My latest experience a few minutes ago bears testimony and I thought I would share.

I’ve always been very interested in creating concepts, products and organisation which make a difference, change the world around for better and make an impact. A lot of my past work falls in this area – creating Vista at IIM Bangalore, BarCamps, Mobile Mondays, Headstart, Startup Saturday, EIR at TCS, CRL etc. There is a whole bunch of new stuff I’ve done or been involved with. As I’ve created them; they’ve created me too.

Off late, I’ve been hearing a phrase “design thinking” and I didn’t give much attention to the “latest, soon to pass away, fad”. But Aditya Dev Sood of CKS spoke about it a few times and it took me some time to realise that he doesn’t see this as a fad. Then I heard about visit by Roger Martin and his book. Someone literally thrust the book in my hand and asked to have a look. I did that and while the models in the book didn’t make much impression; the description of underlying realities did. So I dug deeper.

Two things hit me today. First, Roger Martin uses Design Thinking and Integrative Thinking interchangeably in some contexts. They are of course slightly different but have overlaps too. However, Integrative thinking puts together some of the things I find interesting – nature of mind, language, interpersonal relationships, life style etc. Second, I came across a Businessweek list of influential thinkers. It has many people who’s work I admire – Janine Benyus, Tim Brown, Bob Greenberg, Fukasawa, Jon Ive, Larry Keeley, Miyamoto, Bill Moggridge, Don Norman and Amy Smith. It made me realize that design is the common theme running across several of my apparently unrelated interest areas – biomimicry, product design, systems design etc.

In one stroke, I found a category – integrative thinking/design thinking – that puts together several of my interest areas. The clubbing of interests leads to lot of interesting implications. First is the excitement of understanding myself and also to find many others who are thinking somewhat similarly. Second, this creates lot of open space to explore – in width (for example architecture; something I’ve never looked at) and in depth.

Did you have a similar experience?

Do you also find integrative thinking/design thinking exciting?

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