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Why$MA$in$Innovation$Management$at$Central$Saint$Martins$College$of$Art$and$Design$ ! Intelligent!people!recognise!that!things!and!systems!that!apparently!seem!to!be!simple,!are!in!most!cases! the!opposite,!rather!complex!and!worth!studying.!This!happens!also!with!innovation.!And!the!fact!that!so! few!innovations!happen!but!so!many!people!overuse!this!term!these!days!proves!that!innovation! hasnt!been!studied!enough.!Many!people!ask!me!about!the!course!of!MA!Innovation!Management.!I! wouldnt!have!been!able!to!give!a!good!answer!to!that!question!not!even!at!the!end!of!the!first!year.!And! after!almost!finishing!my!masters!degree!it!is!still!difficult!to!describe!the!learnings!in!a!clear!enough!way.!! Therefore,!I!have!decided!to!use!a!current!case!study!as!an!analogy.!Although!not!very!original!and!very! much!a!clich,!the!story!of!Steve!Jobs!as!told!by!Walter!Isaacson!serves!very!well!for!this!purpose.!The! biography!of!Steve!Jobs!is!the!account!of!his!life,!but!for!me!the!book!reads!more!like!a!manual!for!applied! innovation!and!design!driven!management.!The!amazing!thing!is!that!it!mirrors!so!much!of!what!the! course!MA!Innovation!Management!at!Central!Saint!Martins!is!about.! The!book!reveals!the!incredible!and!not!always!friendly!personality!of!this!person,!who!has!turned!into!an! icon!of!our!current!digital!times.!He!started!off!his!astral!career!with!almost!no!knowledge!about! management,!business!administration,!people!skills,!humanities!and!even!design!or!technology.!He!was!a!

selfItaught!practitioner!who!was!able!to!learn!from!others!through!intensive!interaction!and!reflection!in! action.! And!this!system!of!gaining!knowledge!is!similar!to!the!epistemological!system!of!the!course.!Knowledge! and!skills!are!selfItaught!and!built!up!through!intensive!teamIwork!with!classImates.!Mr!Jobs!used!to!call! it!deep!collaboration!and!concurrent!engineering.!Many!people!ask!me!about!my!lectures!and!they!are! quite!astonished!when!I!tell!them!that!there!are!none.!The!course!gives!guidance,!tutoring!and!sets!a! framework!for!collaboration,!very!similar!to!the!conditions!prevalent!in!startIups.!This!course!does!not! foster!high!efficiency!through!highly!imposed!workloads!but!stimulates!selfIdirectedness!and!selfIreliance.! This!course!gives!enough!leeway!to!be!very!involved!and!learn!plenty!or!be!less!involved!and!dedicate! energy!to!other!activities!as!for!instance!a!job.!This!is!how!you!learn,!but!what!do!you!learn?! The!biography!of!Steve!Jobs!describes!how!he!went!against!the!stream!of!current!best!practices!of! management!and!business!administration.!And!he!proved!that!there!are!other!ways!of!creating!and! leading!a!very!successful!company.!From!the!book!it!is!possible!to!distill!three!main!areas!that!have!led!to! this!success:!marketing,!strategy!and!design.! The!marketing!of!Apple!was!mainly!shaped!by!the!first!chairman!of!that!company,!Mike!Markkula,!who! wrote!in!a!oneIpager!the!three!pillars!of!Apples!marketing!philosophy:!empathy,!focus!and!imputation.! Especially!relevant!at!MA!Innovation!Management!at!CSM!is!empathy!and!imputation.!Imputation!is!the! ability!to!convey!the!right!meaning!to!a!product!or!service.!This!is!done!by!designing!an!experience!that! triggers!off!the!emotions!someone!may!wish!for.!And!it!can!be!stated!that!most!of!Apples!products! convey!a!more!significant!and!less!disposable!feeling!to!them.!It!is!important!to!have!the!ability!to!design! products!with!a!cultural!gravity.!But!in!any!organisation!it!is!more!important!to!have!leaders!with!the!right! cultural!mindedness!who!have!the!ability!to!identify!and!shape!the!meaning!of!things!and!services.!And! this!understanding!starts!for!every!single!little!detail!as!well!as!the!emergent!meaning!of!the!sum!of!its! parts.!This!ability!to!impute!a!meaning!is!very!much!connected!to!empathy!the!deep!understanding!of! feelings!of!individuals!and!from!a!wider!point!of!view!of!cultural!features!of!groups!of!people.!At!MA! Innovation!Management!we!explore!different!instruments!to!capture!and!understand!these!cultural! features.!These!are!for!instance!semiotics!or!discourse!analysis.!They!need!to!be!done!constantly!because! the!culture!of!people!changes!constantly.!Technology!for!instance!has!changed!the!value!people!attribute! to!music.!Understanding!this!has!transformed!the!prize!structure!of!the!entire!music!industry.!But! technology!also!needs!to!be!contextualised!into!a!cultural!framework,!especially!new!technology.!It!is! important!to!be!able!to!acknowledge!that!people!might!like!to!carry!almost!their!whole!music!library!in! one!tiny!box!when!a!new!1.8!drive!is!brought!to!a!yet!nonIexisting!market.!! The!MA!Innovation!Management!course!also!emphasises!focus.!The!two!year!long!journey!alternates! divergent!and!convergent!phases.!The!first!part!of!the!course!puts!emphasis!on!divergence.!This!has! allowed!us!to!explore!and!go!beyond!those!circles!of!personal!knowledge!and!skills!and!experiment!with! other!less!familiar!areas.!Apple!has!also!been!able!to!demonstrate!this!ability!of!divergence:!from! computers,!to!music!players,!film!and!music!industry.!This!company!has!also!understood!not!to!get!

bogged!down!with!innumerable!permutations!of!one!product.!This!is!very!much!the!emphasis!on!the! second!part!of!the!course!in!which!each!of!us!went!through!a!process!of!focusing!through!the! accomplishment!of!a!major!project.!The!learning!here!is!to!diverge,!explore!and!experiment;!and!then!to! converge,!connect!and!focus!on!the!most!important!things!discovered!during!the!preceding!phase.! All!in!all!you!learn!nothing!about!current!management!practices!but!to!connect!to!people!and!culture,!to! diverge!and!to!focus.! The!other!major!pillar!of!Apple!is!its!strategy!I!in!terms!of!fundamental!values,!innovation!deployment! and!integration.!Apple!is!a!money!making!machine!that!does!not!put!money!as!a!priority!in!anything!they! do.!Money,!profit!and!individual!gains!are!considered!to!be!corrupt!values!and!not!goals!by!themselves.! The!goal!is!more!tangible,!more!final!and!culturally!relevant.!It!is!to!create!great!products!and! experiences.!And!once!the!money!issue!is!smoothed!aside!the!risk!issue!seems!to!dissolve!by!itself!too:! Remembering!that!you!are!going!to!die!is!the!best!way!I!know!to!avoid!the!trap!of!thinking!that!you!have! something!to!lose!(Steve!Jobs).!And!once!freed!of!this!thinking!trap!the!path!is!free!for!divergence,! convergence!and!the!boldness!to!propose!something!new!to!people.!Something,!for!which!there!are!no! feasibility!reports,!no!market!research,!and!no!competitor!analyses.!All!of!this!is!what!Roger!Martin!calls! proof!of!reliability.!Only!money!oriented!and!risk!aware!people!ask!for!reliability.!But!innovation!is!about! opportunity!not!about!risk.!So!one!of!the!first!tasks!is!to!free!oneself!of!obstacles!for!deterritorialisation,! the!ability!to!diverge!and!move!beyond!the!selfIset!borders!of!thinking!and!doing.!And!only!people! without!corrupt!values!can!truly!innovate.!Much!of!the!teamwork!at!MA!Innovation!Management!deals! with!risk,!fear!and!moving!beyond!the!borders!of!that!circle!of!comfort.! The!next!pillar!of!Apples!strategy!is!deployment!of!innovation.!Many!people!and!teams!are!able!to! innovate,!but!these!bright!ideas!die!on!the!way!to!realisation.!When!you!feed!something!bold!into!the! beginning!of!a!chain!of!realisation!and!materialisation!the!output!on!the!other!side!of!that!chain!is!usually! mediocre!at!best.!There!are!many!reasons!for!this,!one!are!the!corrupt!values!mentioned!before!but!also! comfortability!is!a!big!showstopper.!So!how!to!overcome!these?!One!solution!is!the!design!processes.!I! will!talk!about!this!at!a!later!point.!The!other!indispensable!solution!is!the!dictator,!the!driver!of!change.! The!one!of!whom!everyone!thinks!to!have!a!reality!distortion!field,!the!one!with!the!power!to!push! everyone!else!out!of!their!comfort!zone,!the!one!who!believes!in!that!bold!and!bright!idea,!the!one!design! driven!figure,!the!one!who!drums!up!all!members!of!the!realisation!chain!at!the!beginning!who!forces! them!to!accept!and!commit!to!boldness,!the!one!who!forces!everyone!else!to!mission!impossible,!the!one! with!exemplary!values.!If!the!head!of!an!organisation!is!not!that!person!that!organisation!is!doomed!to! die.!!This!is!part!of!many!of!our!discussions:!who!innovates,!the!team!or!the!individual?!In!the!case!of! Apple!it!is!both.!The!team!and!the!one!individual!innovate.!The!individual!forces!the!deployment!through! the!team.! Another!topic!that!is!part!of!our!daily!discussions!is!openness!versus!closeness.!Apple!is!believed!to!be!a! closed!system,!Google!and!Microsoft!are!believed!to!be!open!systems.!!In!my!opinion!neither!is!true.! Rather,!I!believe!that!collaboration!is!the!key.!Employees!are!forced!to!collaborate!by!avoiding!facilitators! of!siloIing!like!profit!centres.!Lack!of!collaboration!is!a!reason!for!dismissal.!!But!not!only!are!employees! motivated!to!collaborate!but!things!are!designed!to!collaborate!and!talk!to!each!other!in!the!same! language.!The!system!is!aligned!and!integrated.!And!this!integration!makes!things!more!the!way!people! want!them!(remember!empathy?):!to!just!work.! Last!but!no!least,!MA!Innovation!Management!is!about!Design.!!However,!you!dont!learn!to!design!or! become!a!Designer,!but!you!become!designIminded.!People!become!designIminded!in!different!ways.! Some!inherit!their!fathers!perfectionism!even!with!those!things!that!are!not!seeIable,!others!are! obsessed!with!cars.!Some!become!exposed!to!design!through!other!means!as!for!instance!the!School!of! Art!and!Design!at!Central!Saint!Martins!in!London.!For!some!reason!Mr.!Jobs!seemed!to!have!been!quite! in!love!with!cars!and!even!washing!machines!designed!in!Germany.!But!he!needed!the!recently!knighted! Brit!and!a!fan!of!Dieter!Rams!(Weniger!aber!besser)!to!bring!in!the!finesse!of!the!culturally!relevant! design.! Design!has!gone!a!long!way.!It!is!not!only!about!style,!it!is!a!way!of!thinking!and!understanding!work!and! collaboration.!These!two!articles!from!one!of!our!alumni!give!a!good!overview!of!what!design!actually! means:!Design!Thinking?!!and!Embracing!risk:!what!innovators!can!learn!from!design.!It!leaves!the! realm!of!Technical!Rationality!as!described!by!Donald!A.!Schn,!inherited!from!our!ancestors.!Technical!

Rationality!is!still!the!dominant!epistemology!of!practice.!And!this!way!of!solving!problems!is!deeply! ingrained!in!the!texture!of!our!thinking.!! Design!processes!offer!a!new!way!to!approach!innovation.!However!they!may!appear!messy!because!they! allow!for!concurrent!actions!to!happen!at!the!same!time!and!therefore!to!feed!each!other!right!from!the! start.!This!is!the!reason!why!Apple!executives!from!the!entire!realisation!chain!are!summoned!for!each! ideation!session,!that!is!at!the!beginning!of!a!new!product!development!cycle!and!not!organised!in!a! programmatic!stepIbyIstep!type!of!way.!This!is!something!we!learn!here!but!not!because!someone!tells! us!in!a!lecture!hall!that!this!is!the!right!way!but!because!we!experience!this!personally!to!be!the!right!way.! Own!experiences!are!just!so!much!more!convincing!than!those!from!others.!These!kickIoff!ideation! session!usually!start!at!the!design!studio.!A!design!studio!is!not!centred!around!the!show!of!a!Powerpoint! presentation,!it!is!not!centred!around!financials,!risks!or!budgets,!it!is!not!centred!around!egos!or!powerI maniacs,!nor!is!it!centred!around!insights!and!market!research.!The!only!thing!that!is!relevant!is!the! product!and!the!people!for!which!this!product!is!designed!for!because!design!is!humanIcentred.!And! because!errare!humanum!est!it!allows!for!failures.!When!you!allow!failures!you!are!allowing!a!learning! process!and!loop!backs!that!correct!the!setting!of!problems!and!processes.!At!Apple!they!call!it!hitting! the!rewind!button.!At!MA!Innovation!management!it!is!an!inherent!part!of!the!design!process.! ! I!believe!that!there!is!no!better!place!than!the!School!of!Central!Saint!Martins!of!Art!and!Design!to!learn! about!innovation!for!five!reasons:!art,!design,!culture,!philosophy!and!fashion.!Art!constantly!pushes!the! boundaries!and!explores!the!adjacent!possible.!It!constantly!searches!for!something!new,!something!that! does!not!exist!yet.!Design!goes!way!beyond!aesthetics,!its!a!way!of!working!and!collaborating!that! constantly!takes!into!account!things!and!systems!that!feed!each!other.!!Design!is!able!to!research!a! problem!constantly!and!autocorrects!itself!by!rewriting!the!original!brief,!acknowledging!failure!along!the! way!and!loops!back!if!necessary.!The!knowledge!about!human!behaviour!expressed!through!culture! contextualises!inventions!and!new!things!so!that!they!become!adopted!by!humans.!Philosophy!goes! beyond!culture!and!the!art.!It!is!fundamental!and!provides!a!thinking!platform!of!reality!from!which!to! start!the!discovery!of!the!new.!Last!but!not!least,!fashion!is!an!industry!which!is!constantly!seeking!for!the! new!and!different,!but!it!goes!even!further!than!that!because!it!implements!these!new!things!constantly.! The!combination!of!these!five!elements!makes!this!masters!degree!unique!in!the!world.!It!is!the!only! masters!degree!which!truly!understands!what!innovation!is!all!about!and!how!to!make!it!happen.! This!course!is!for!whoever!wants!to!push!the!boundaries!and!step!into!how!things!are!done!in!this!new! century.!It!is!a!truly!new!way!of!viewing!reality!and!creating!new!humanIcentred!things!and!systems.!My! colleagues!are!extremely!divers!in!terms!of!cultural!background,!age,!profession!and!experience.!Many!of! them!are!designers!and!this!is!quite!enriching.!But!you!find!people!who!used!to!be!into!finance!like! myself,!former!country!managers!as!well!as!marketing!professionals.!We!have!all!followed!Stefan! Sagmeisters!example!(http://www.ted.com/talks/stefan_sagmeister_the_power_of_time_off.html)!and! taken!a!break!to!recycle!our!knowledge.!If!you!think!that!the!world!is!going!wrong,!then!MA!IM!might!be! the!right!place!for!you.!!
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