Regroup, Rethink, Redesign ~ Abaster

14 January 2009

Regroup, Rethink, Redesign

Welcome to 2009 - a year that will, according to pundits, prove a challenging and lean one. One that will test us on many fronts - financially, socially, economically... Some commentators in the design space are already looking for new buzzwords that will light our way forward in these dark times. For certain, innovation (the term du jour in recent years) has been sullied. Paul Krugman in the International Herald Tribune put it succinctly: "How did things get so opaque? The answer is 'financial innovation' - two words that should, from now on, strike fear into investor's hearts." Of course innovation is not dead - to innovate is one of humankind's greatest capabilities - but perhaps it has been talked to death.

So let's agree that for 2009 there will be no more buzzwords. Instead lets use our communal energies and time to regroup, rethink and redesign community, services, products, etc., that are essential to our future welfare and wellbeing. Of course innovation is a key ingredient, in the way we redesign products and services to be more efficient, more environmentally friendly, more user centric, more community oriented. Innovation has an incredibly important role to play in ensuring that products and services are better suited to this age of scarcity (whether scarcity of credit, natural resources, food and shelter, etc.) that we have stumbled into. While innovation is no panacea, it is an essential element to moving beyond short-term band aid mentality approaches that typify public and private sector responses in hard times. As individuals, communities or businesses, we thrive when we change, innovate, transform, etc., and in 2009 and beyond we will need to do so more than ever.