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In looking at the people President-elect Obama is choosing for his transition team and the names of those proposed for the new administration, I find familiarity, not surprise. They are capable people, mostly from the Clinton era or recognized economists, well known in their fields.
And I am disappointed. Obama has to do better to get us to the future. Yes, it is very early and yes, Obama has to reassure the nation and the world that he will have a very capable group around him. But much more is needed.
Let me quote one of the smartest people I know, Arnold Wasserman, runs The Idea Factory in Singapore. Arnold is on the Design Global Agenda Council with me here in Dubai.
Design thinking, the core of innovation these days, is central to solving the big, complex, wicked problems facing the US in health, education, transportation and economic growth. Design thinking can help us move away from a carbon-based economy, bring 21st century K-12 education to all kids and finally provide the kind of health care most Europeans already have—at a modest price.
How can design thinking do this—here’s Arnold:
“Central to design thinking is designers’ unique ability to bring imagined futures to life in the here and now. Most people think about the future as a linear projection of the present. Designers think differently. We inquire deeply into peoples’ lives today…then we take an imaginative leap into normative (desired) futures and then integrate backwards into what has to happen starting Monday morning to bring those futures into being. We create provocaations—depictions, simulations, visual narratives and immersive experiences of future worlds. We progressively iterate technological and social prototypes. We invent day-in-the-life scenarios of specific people in those worlds engaged moment-by-moment in life, work, play, learning and mobility.
In addition, designers have an ability (almost an obdession) to take massive of undifferentiated information and make knowledge structures out of it—assembly it into visual models and frameworks that give it clarity and meaning and make it usable for decision making.”
People who think this way and act this way are essential to the Obama White House. Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who backed Obama early, is one good candidate as head of a new Cabinet level Office of Innovation. Schmidt could lead a group that develops a new National Innovation Policy.
Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.