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Monday, 12 December 2011

Designed Growth Movement and Designing New Financial Instruments

“Our current financial system, with its high dynamic and detail complexity is sensitive to manipulation and prone to herd-behavior. The outcome is often creative destruction, leading to the poorly tolerated periodic bubbles and bursts. Increased understanding of behavioral economics, the study of the irrational context dependent decisions we all make daily, has taught us that the rational human self-interest model is wrong. For over two hundred years, we have increasingly used this flawed and dangerous model to plan our societies. Now that pure Capitalism or Socialism has been shown to fail miserably...”

Throughout this article, several questions are brought up and elaborated by a solution centric design approach, from balancing growth with sharing, to the sustainable progress based on creative opportunities. The world is indeed, in need for new financial instruments to be designed. Yet, the most triggering part of the article is the functionality that all human behaviors are based on.

“All human behavior and interaction is based on trust and humans are designed and optimized to function in tribes, not in societies that consist of millions of individuals. When groups grow beyond 50,000 individuals, it becomes too large to know and reliably judge the trustworthiness of everyone else. It is at this point, that it becomes necessary to enact democratic government institutions with effective financial systems and enforceable agreements. Often, the originally designed solutions are the root cause of future problems. For example, institutions have an inherent tendency to grow beyond their effectiveness while centralizing decision-making in an attempt to stay in control. Organizations are not human and they do not have any emotions with regards to human beings. The system will simply continue to expend capital without thought of human misery, eventually collapsing under its own weight and this disregard of human nature is the root cause of our society's inherent and continued financial disasters.”

The tribal behavior functionality of humans meets with the Lebanese context in its perfect shape. The platform of the Lebanese society and economic system is based on competitiveness, effectiveness, pseudo-trust and reliability, but most of all, on “tribe-based” (struggling not to fall into “herds”) system of values driving cultural trends and energizing the consumerism. Conceptually these reasons are partially why Lebanon stayed in the shade from the global economic crisis. The Lebanese society and business relies mostly on trust and connections that drive even the biggest corporations. Having that said, solid business thinking in its professional form goes on a parallel line to maintain these connections and this trust. These two strong foundations, which the heavy weight economic climate in Lebanon bank upon, fall under human and cultural behavioral systems of the society. The gap here, upon what we called “tribe-based” system of value, is that the dynamics of such mechanism and its development process does not follow an ascending curve not even an orderly one, due to the elaboration of the trust factor out of the connection buildups. This, in fact, affects the progress ratio of productivity and mostly the initiatives in a creative climate.

Should the next economic model be designed, optimized and adapted for each and every country, or should the model be created to one, and exported to the whole world?

“Pink is the navy blue of India”. Diana Vreeland 

The European Union issues do not spring open from one particular country. It is as simple as that, capitalism does not work with the EU model, and the cherry on top is the fact that each and every country has its priorities. The thing is that they are totally right! Yet this is due to the practice of their economic systems which abide by the capitalism principles. What is true and undeniable is that we cannot replace any existing economic model by a new one built from scratch; this will be similar to creating a fast feasible self destruction. The concept at hand is to design a new model optimized from the existing ones, taking into consideration the balance between growth and sharing, and keeping in mind the sustainable progress through creative opportunities and the integration of humanized technological innovation.
A multi-cultural globalization should be worked out, since there’s no escape from the globalization. Conforming globalization into cultural and individual centric framework will lead to equity in the world economic systems and therefore a better lifestyle for all human beings. This can be done by bringing the existing economic models and optimizing them to fit individual centric solutions based on human behavioral principals rather than number behaviors and systems. While individual-centric approach, instead of the community mindset, can act as an under-performing factor in any economic situation, and knowing that big scale organizations and corporations are the vital exigencies of incremental development, everyone should bear in mind how sustainable are they?The solution we are pin pointing is a “designed growth movement” and “designing new financial instruments”.

Special thanks to Dr. Soren Petersen for his added value in this collaborative article.

Design management and success

The essential prescription for the "will" is the "mean".
Leading a business to succeed happens by protecting the business value of Design.
Brand driven innovation happens by grasping creativity and design management modus, yet, the statements above may appear to some as “over-preaching” design, so what can be said about the statement of California College of Arts "Design is the future of business" . This indeed can be debatable, nevertheless, through analytic thinking, Design as a management discipline is at the core of doing business. Management succeeds through two essential shafts, which are creative and innovative thinking. Design managers set a course of actions, an action plan, to follow a predefined strategy, careful and skillful carving of innovative practices, processes and structures, fueled by the dissatisfaction with the status-quo, operational problems, strategic threats and impending crisis  while these can be avoided only if the business is well managed and the management is well designed... Design management is a customer-centered research and perspective following an analytical approach by “the wisdom of the crowed”. Customers and clients have latent needs, needs they can’t articulate, and needs they are not aware of. Innovation in management and creative strategies implementations, mitigate the stated above and happen only if endorsed by design management.
Innovation and creativity alone can lead to chaos and underperforming factors to the business if not based on clear strategies and strong management. Thinking strategically is a process consisting of a set of skills that one must learn, practice, and apply in a particular sequence. Don’t plan your direction statement, design it... Creating an innovation strategy has to be endorsed through a design strategy that converts it into a tangible framework bridging the gap between the concept and the reality, the vision and the value. Design management justify the strategic execution process, and act as a platform to sustain an increasing credibility through an efficient customer experience. Along with the competitive and monopolistic strategies led by monstrous corporations in mostly all the markets, the success with a product considering the already stated perspectives,
is based on succeeding with the experience offered by this product. The four stages of brand-driven innovation stated by Eric Koscan Abbing’s book Brand Driven Innovation
  • Human-centered branding
  • Innovation strategy
  • Design strategy
  • Touch-point orchestration
Design management encounters all these stages and defines the processes for the most efficient results foreseen. The human-centered branding is based on functionality of both the marketing function and the innovation function, creating a kind of a promise. The brand promise, in other words “the customer needs” consists on searching the right solution for the following question: what can we do to fulfill our brand promise? yet, the starting point to find the solutions lies in acknowledging the brand’s resources and capabilities. Furthermore, how can we deploy our capabilities and resources as efficient as we can, in order to develop new products and services, which delight our customers in every  phase of their relationship with us? Therefore, the design manager should take into consideration building a personalized but not indivi-dualistic relationship between the customer and the brand. The front end of all this process is the brand touch-points orchestration. The brand touch-points are not just about grabbing the customer attention while the main objective is to strengthen the relationship between both the brand and its customers. The opportunity provided should take a wise and efficient management with a continuous analytic processes to assess the results, sustaining the growth and reinforcing the needs already created. The design manager should Design a journey, creating an optimized and personnalised, even personified at some points, aspect for the brand, tailoring it to the expectations of the client and giving it the ability to grow with them. This journey should take into consideration run away from passive brand behavior while grasping its essential vision and mission. Success in design management lies in the value given by this discipline at first place and the numbers generated as a result. Design management measures of success are more qualitative such as improved brand image, increased organisational learning, and reflect quantitative outcomes, such as increased customer loyalty, profits, units sold and market share. One of the key roles of the design manager is assessing the performance of the brand and its relation to the target audience and defines as one of the management goals the ways to put on record how design as a process and as a discipline can demonstrate a “return on investment” in both financial and non-financial terms.
Design management modus are introvert as much as they are extraverts...

Monday, 12 September 2011

Design Laws and Success

Development is based on innovation, therefore creativity. Design comes as a natural, yet efficient mean in order to reach sustainable developments. The cross-cultural aspect of design is the multi-cultural essence of creativity. But before defining design in its theoretical and practical meanings, let us first understand the concept of law and essential aspect of success.
One of the most relevant writings in our concern defining the concept of success is the Deepak Chopra one, in his famous book, The seven spiritual laws of success "There are many aspects to success, material wealth is only one component. Moreover, success is a journey, not a destination." Therefore, success comes as a process, a design process by the theoretical aspect of design. On the other hand, "Law is the process by which the unmanifest becomes the manifest". The power of design lies in the creative thinking by the intelligent planning, and the skillful contextual practice. It is more than just a tool to tempt the eye. Design, on the international scale is thought of from a solution-centric approach. Each aspect of social, economic, industrial and educational systems are being processed by national policies for sustainable success driving knowledge creation, cutting edge science and research and international competitiveness through design process. Countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, United States, to name a few have stepped towards bringing design-led to help governments re-think what they do, recharge the economy and re-invent services. In the past decade, the Lebanese creative market has known a tremendous growth and spread among the region. These market demands have evolved to include sectors that were not as prevalent before, on both public and governmental level. In the other hand, the gap stayed in the design approach to government development and how design was practiced and known to the society. The design-led innovation countries such as Lebanon is in need for such an approach to recreate developments on the national levels. Design comes with solutions sustainable for creative societies such as the Lebanese one, unique by instinct, cross-cultural by nature knowing the vernacular aspect of the Lebanese society who is driving the knowledge industry once again considering creativity as the core, an led by design processes consciously or unconsciously. The aspect and expectations of the Lebanese mindset forms an unexploited basis on the national scale, yet a successful one on the individual scale. Therefore, we must look after a vision that will deviate these potentials from an individual-centric success stories towards a community oriented one. This vision, is not an objective or a goal to be achieved, it is a process to be followed. It is succeeding by design.

August 2011.