There is a propaganda apparatus that mythologizes certain tools for enterpreneurship. This is the case of Design Thinking. There are many innovative techniques, but only some are under the spotlight. Only a few like that mentioned previously are considered standard. In the end if everyone uses the Design Thinking, there will be no disruptive products. Innovation will become a karaoke and real innovation will return to be a traditional process.
Innovation is a culture. Have to permeate the entire company. Anyone should be able to participate in the process. We know that technical or product managers are not the only ones capable. Creative interaction in a company where learning and experimentation is encouraged, is the paradigm to follow. Innovation must not be exclusive of any department, must be disseminated throughout the company. It should be the company DNA. All departments should have the virus of innovation and continuous improvement to propose new ways of doing things. Innovation should be the Philosophy of the company.
This paradigm of Innovation culture is absolutely necessary today to be competitive, but is not enough. We consider Design Thinking a methodology included in we call Theory of General Creativity (TGC). There is another paradigm of Innovation we call Theory of Special Creativity (TSC). This is not intended for businesses in general, but rather for a highly creative and inventive people, for leaders in innovation departments, for high performance teams and for start up's. We don't say that through Design Thinking no disruptive innovations can be reached, but usually what you get with the TGC, are incremental innovations. Instead, with the TSC real disruptive innovations are achieved, because it focus on the divergent phase.
Design Thinking and all TGC methodologies are based on solving human problems. It focuses more on building a patch, than in think that the customer could be wrong and then change the common focus, the mainstream mindset and the old framework. The customer is not always right and this it's not an anathema. It depends on what you ask. What is certain, is that the user neither have all the answers, nor his obligation is to have a high capacity for analysis and anticipation of product, or an outstanding technology vision.
Problem solving is an engineering discipline. It comes from algorithmic mathematics. First of all, it is based on creating a problem statement, and then propose solutions, trying to choose the most efficient. It's a technique which has a high degree of success, but a low degree of creativity for innovation. However, the surprising innovations come from an artistic creativity, not engeenering. These on the contrary, have a high level of creativity, but a low degree of success. The passage of figurative art to abstract, was not made solving a problem, but rather creating it. And surprisingly a very technical and very laborious work was done, which had to experiment a lot. Just see the evolution of painters like Kandinsky or Mondrian to realize it. Despite what most people believes, who despises abstract art, the intense and complex conceptual development to achieve this paradigm shift was an hard honest analytical and meticulous work, beyond the reach of any engineering. This process is not easily formalizable. It looks more like neural networks capable to learn and make surprising and risky connections, than a predefined algorithm, able to solve a problem quickly and efficiently. It's like Traditional Computing versus Artificial Intelligence. By the way, we think that in the near future, no one can overcome creativity made by computers with Superintelligence, but this is a matter of a different post.
What happens with Art also happen with Philosophy and Science. Does the Theory of Relativity solves a problem? or rather, problematizes the classical concepts of Time and Space, allowing us to build a better Theory of Gravity? Where was the Einstein's empathy?
E = MC2, means, real Empathy is equal to multiply mainstream by crictism squared
Never follow the crowd. The technology makes possible only what already exists designed in mind, however, Art becomes real the impossible and Science understands unintelligible.
TSC focus on creating problems, not in its resolution. There is something in Postmodern Philosophy called problematization of concepts. This is what you can't do with the Design Thinking. You need to doubt about everything. Every foundation, every background, every customer too. What we take for granted, in fact, it's only one truth with expiration date. Everything can be dismantled. Dismounting things it's very healthy and it's what makes us human, humble, mortal. It's what children do. The most solid foundations, will come down as soon as you are able to find a crack. And always there is one at least. All construction has some structural constraints, which are those that are used by the destruction or removal. Disassemble a belief, a concept or a product, convert them into a problem to destabilize its essence, is opening a new understanding, a new conceptual framework. That's what Schumpeter called Creative Destruction or Derrida named Deconstruction. While empathizing with people you can only do a better chair, or simply add a cushion, but you never be able to invent a Stokke chair or a Balans chair. Design Thinking doesn't create, only recreated.
Tom Peters talks about the WOW effect to surprise customers, to astonish them with something new that nobody expected. Surprise them with something they had never asked or they ever had thought. Steve Jobs agree with that: "customers don't know what they want until someone shows it". And this is the purpose of the Disruptive Innovation.
Of course, when we have a new problem, even provoked artificially, we have to solve it, but the solution is self-evident. Only by questioning the assumptions and doubting what customers want, new markets, breakthrough paradigms, and original business models are possible. Empathy should be replaced by criticism. People and their opinions need to be changed for accurate cultural analysis, conducted through language. Deconstructive Innovation use Semantics and work with reality through language. It works on the Ontology, creating new meanings, new ontologies. The alternative we propose beyond the predictable Design Thinking -which is certainly the opposite of to think-, is a deconstructive thought, the Deconstructive Innovation. A Real Thinking.
In order to practice the Deconstructive method of Innovation, you have to do many different things that are mentally dangerous and also you have to take the risk at level of an epic failure, which may include the destruction of oneself. It is not an innovation from 9 to 5, it's a job for a lifetime to innovate your own dream. In this hard way, success can be something extremely bitter as you can see in the Tesla's bio. There is a natural selection, very cruel, and persistence in pursuing the goal, it can become incompatible with family, comfort, health and happiness. Today, in our society, few can resign from that easy life. Deconstructive Innovation is a battlefield with a huge number of casualties. Many people prefer, the safe and reputed environment of a laboratory, where mixing proven technologies and launching them to the market, applying marketing standards, may earn a worthy success and a reasonably conventional life. But the radical innovation is not about this. It's about madness, obsession, loneliness or about to jump off the cliff, to swim against the tide, to get the jackpot, to ignite the revolution. It should be the most radical change in life. Innovation with passion. True Disruptive Innovation can't be a corporate culture, but only a personal lifestyle. Deconstructive Innovation is a vital option. To think outside the box, you must live outside the box. You dare?