Tim Brown of IDEO recently wrote that “much of what we are able to do with design is dependent on the context in which we ask our questions.” After all, as he understands it “an innovatoris someone who is able to ask a question that no one else has thought to ask.”
Even better, one of the most critical pieces to innovation is timing and I agree with Brown; thanks to the message of President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech, “today the context in which we get to ask our questions has changed.” It has certainly changed for the better. Now, we are recognizing the power of the time we are beginning to enter. Thanks to the economic fears that we are breathing, like the smog of an industrial city, society is beginning to truly seek the answers to questions that designers have already asked.
This is why I wholeheartedly agree with Brown’s conclusion that “this is a good time to be a designer.”
As for making the best of the current situation. I think there are few methods, with which all the designers out there need to begin experimenting. It is a truism that most ideas have been had by one or more other(s) and ditto with the asking of questions. When we innovate, we are not alone. So, for those seeking to succeed within this current window of opportunity … reach out to others and find those who are just as passionate as you in answering the question you ask. Then, you must execute, and execute better than others to see your answer become a positive and continuing reality.
Thanks to the development of the web that is now connecting all those with a computer or a mobile device, more and more of the innovators in our world are now accessible. Get out there, find them, begin talking. At the best you will find a new partner for collaboration; at the worst, you will have some feedback for better developing your answer. Either way, all the rest of us will be benefiting. So, thank you.