Design as a systemic solution, or what an octopus has to do with democratizing innovation.
MoMA curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli is among our biggest cultural heroes. Arguably, she has done for design in the past decade what John Szarkowski did for photography in the 1960s — create a cultural dialogue beyond aesthetic appreciation, crafting a space for design as social commentary and problem-solving rather than a fixture of form fetishism.
Last month, Antonelli spoke at the excellent Creative Mornings event series organized by our friend Swiss Miss. Among other compelling insights, she shared one particular notion that hits particularly close to home for us: Antonelli sees her intellectual life as a “curious octopus”, reaching into and grabbing from a wide spectrum of disciplines, from design to architecture to science to technology. Which resonates deeply with what we’re all about — harnessing cross-disciplinary curiosity to create a rich intellectual and creative resource that allows for the cross-pollination of ideas, in turn spurring deeper creativty and innovation.
This idea of innovation belonging to [design or technology] is so moot. Innovation demands everybody. It’s called ‘disruptive innovation’ because when it’s only in the hands of scientists and technicians, it can’t be used by people. Designers are the interface. Sometimes designers are the innovators, sometimes the innovators are artists. Innovation is much more complex than a light bulb going off.” ~ Paola Antonelli
On a final note, the Talk To Me exhibition Antonelli mentions is an absolute must-see, exploring the relationship between people and objects in a compelling way that really peels away at the social significance of what some have termed “the Internet of things.”