The always insightful Dan Pallotta gives us some more valuable fodder on the change-the-world sector, suggesting that this new “era of limitless,”—that which began in the post-war era with the likes of Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations, Eleanor Roosevelt’s Freedom House and formation of the United Nations, and President Kennedy’s talk of a “new world society,” and continues today with entities like the Peace Corps., Americorps, and the proliferation of a sea of new do-good sectors (social enterprise, B corps., design for good, public interest design, human-centered design, etc)—may in fact be limiting the imagination of the young people it attracts. Pallotta warns that by placing an increased emphasis on the change-the-world sector, we run the risk of obscuring any young person’s real and natural calling, stifling their potential to truly contribute to a better world.
Morris ran his own craft and furnishing business, and wrote poetry and novels, as well as political critiques and pamphlets. Through all of these channels he projected a vision of a better world. Running businesses which produced high-end furniture and expensive hand-printed books might seem incongruous for a socialist agitator, but it is explained when you understand that Morris wanted to make chunks of an aspirational future, in the here and now. Creating tangible, beautiful things – rather than the ‘shoddy’ material products of industrialism – was therefore supposed to be a form of public education and inspiration, with the idea that one day they would be available to all.
The one year anniversary of my return to Detroit is fast approaching. This, coupled with a handful of trips to various cities in recent months, has caused me to reflect a great deal on the place I’ve learned to call home.
A very interesting, quick read on functional fixedness – the most famous cognitive obstacle to innovation. An idea articulated by Karl Duncker in the 30’s, functional fixedness suggests that people tend to fixate on the common use of an object, often overlooking what’s right in front of them.
I often think about where ideas come from. (How do they develop; who gets to have the good ones; how does one turn ideas into tangible, actionable outcomes, etc). While some trends continue to suggest that innovation is spawned from the heart of a collaborating group, I’ve always been a firm believer that the really good ideas, the game-changing/world-changing ones, sprout in the minds of the individual. The lone genius so to speak. Think Einstein, Hemingway, Edison, Jobs, and Woolf. Further investigation into this notion however, suggests that the idea of a clever inventor alone in his lab or a novelist in solitude with her words is merely a myth. It just doesn’t work that way. Or so the internet tells me.