First things first: what we do all comes from us as humans, in our actions and our needs. This is also the starting point for innovation, pushing for something new; it is linked to experiences and questioning, seeking out and wanting to explore “all things possible”.
The powerful combination of designing and providing something that pushes our existing knowledge, our boundaries, understanding or expectations — and capturing it in thought, explanation, or detailing the discovery makes up the art and science of innovation. We just need to find even better and consistent ways to combine them continuously.
Science chases progress, Art really does not
Art just looks to make change, sometimes evolving, sometimes in powerful news ways and it does this from the evolving multiple perspectives and studies of much that is existing, both physical and within the mind to express this to others. Sometimes, Science is often constrained by a far too linear approach and this needs somehow changing where we need to think in less rigid, structured ways today.
We are demanding, no, expecting, more in the future. Art and Science agree they are both forms of exploration, one explores the imaginary more and then this challenges and pushes the scientific and engineers to find the answers. They both change our reality and innovation should be fueling this and always be pushing our expectations that little bit more, driving our determination to push out the frontiers of science and art..
Art and Science are the book ends for innovation
I was reading an article about the great disconnects between Art and Science by Kristi Charish, and I loved the way she explained her thoughts, in particular:
“Art leads to scientific innovation and science inspires art. Like a pair of book ends they work best in tandem and change the way we view the world. Without one you can’t have the other and there is a lot to celebrate in that!”
So have we fast-forwarded so much?
I think we still see art and science operating in different worlds, in different compartments and they often don’t combine as we would like. Yet Kristi Charish is right, they do prop up innovation but we do need to stop using them as the ‘book ends’ and bring them into the middle to combine more and more until they are ‘fused’ as one. The very best, the breakthrough, the new discoveries happen when we combine in today’s world.
Getting the ends to fuse!
It is these ‘emerging’ fusion points of art, design, engineering, and science coming together and coalescing that are giving us great innovation. Art and design provide innovation with analogies and compelling stories, alternative structures, inspiring techniques, challenging methods and knowledge to push our boundaries and our minds. It inspires us to then often push science, technology and engineering more and more to translate this.
Just think of architecture of great buildings, pushing the boundaries of function and design with availability or the technology and design of the iPad or iPhone that pushed those boundaries of the accepted, and changed the norm for measuring the future.
We need to rebuild and recombine
Specialization has a place but has it been pushed too far? Often we hear that the world is “complex”, or the issues cannot be resolved by the best minds in the ‘given’ area, well we need a new way based on total knowledge. Piero Scaruffi offered his view in a talk on “Bridging the gap between Art and Science” at Swissnex, in San Francisco in 2007. He remarked,
“The digital age is providing us the opportunity to rebuild the continuum …has enabled an unprecedented degree of exchange, interaction, integration, convergence and blending.”
Scaruffi suggests we are able to move out of the discrete spaces we have found ourselves in and finally recombine knowledge in new ways. He argues we live in a context specific world that is based increasingly on knowledge-specific society, so different from the last time art and science came together in a knowledge-deprived society to offer this new continuum.
Are we arriving?
Perhaps we are about to arrive at the age of the “rinascimento l’innovazione”, the innovation renaissance period. I hope so as it can be such a rich place for real progress, based on our understanding of the last renaissance period that challenged and changed our world in such powerful ways that made such advancement be realized.
We do need a period of real, dynamic and exciting growth, less destructive more based on being totally constructive.
image credit: sfsu.edu
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Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Find him @paul4innovating