Sunday, June 07, 2009

Design Thinking

Yesterday as I felt compelled to defend why I was repairing my 99 cent gardening gloves instead of buying a new pair, as Dennis suggested, the connection between Depression habits (or, in my case, inherited postwar habits),

, kaizen and design thinking became clear.

I repair stuff instead of throwing them away out of habit and practice, and because being chary with resources is a taught Japanese value. But I persist I'm repairing stuff even though it doesn't make strictly economic sense because I learn a lot when I take things apart or repair them. I either see the bad design or poor workmanship that led to the hole in the first place and know what not to do (gloves case in point) or I marvel at the cunning of the colonial clockmaker, who I think, had to create this Western clock at the behest of a expat colonial client.

And so every time you repair or otherwise take time to get into the guts of something you can see how it was put together and how you can do better--or shamelessly copy, as the case may be. That's the logic behind kaizen, and the logic behind design thinking, as Jocelyn Wyatt of IDEO reminded me last week at the Bankinter forum in Madrid.

(As you see, I'll do anything to defend my own little pastimes and foibles.)

-- Post From My iPhone


Elizabeth said...

As usual, Mari, I'm with you. When I was 12, I had the chore of mowing the lawn. The mower broke one day and I thought -- Score! I'm off the hook. But my father asked me to take it apart and figure out what was wrong with it. I then put it back together again -- Fixed. I so enjoyed it, I was never again able to get a clear advice from those tests that are suppose to recommend what area of work you should go into. I would enjoy social work as much as I would enjoy being an engineer :)

Dibyendu De said...

A nice little blog but with serious food for thought. This we may term as 'serious play' or a very good alternative of 'rapid prototyping'. The idea is to play around with something long enough till we get the essence of the whole thing and then do it better for the benefit of all. In this how Design Thinking and Maintenance are related and as I call it these two subjects are just the mirror image of each other. One can't be done without the other. But unfortunately, very few of us understand this and tend to treat these two important subjects in utter isolation. Excellent blog!