Bruce Nussbaum is the Design/Innovation guru at BusinessWeek. He doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall, but way back in the ’80’s, I sent Bruce and his fellow editors frequent letters (snail mail, no less) exhorting them to start covering Design. I even sent them fully written articles encouraging them to steal my ideas. They actually listened. Not just to me, but to the zeitgeist, and established a consistent coverage and voice in the area of Design.
Bruce’s coverage of Design got expanded to encompass the trendier concept of Innovation. Now he is declaring “Innovation is Dead.” Long live “Transformation”, apparently. I didn’t think he effectively killed Innovation (at least with his pen, in the blog that slays it), but I like his notion of Transformation:
“Transformation” captures the key changes already underway and can help guide us into the future. It implies that our lives will increasingly be organized around digital platforms and networks that will replace edifices and big organizations…Global networks of trusted relationships working within ecosystems/platforms (think iTunes/iPod/iPhone, Nike Plus, Facebook, Threadless, Zipcar) will make up our socio-economic and political worlds.
Most importantly, “Transformation” accepts the notion that we are in a post-consumer society, defined by two groups of economic players: manufacturers and consumers. “Transformation” deals with a new Creativity Society, in which we are all both producers and consumers of value. Look around and you can see Gen Y in particular creating practically from birth, mashing music, designing Facebook or MySpace pages, doing videos and podcasts—creating value.
My good friend Frank Comes, ex-Business Week and now at McKinsey, puts it this way: In the past, economic value was generated by transaction. Increasingly, economic value is generated through interactions. The key is monetizing those interactions. That’s the heart of an economy built on social media.
Now you’re talking Bruce. Of course I think that, though. That is exactly what we are doing at Daily Grommet. Bruce and I never did meet way back in the ’80’s (and given my wardrobe and hairstyles back then, that is good thing), but maybe Bruce and I will have a meeting of the minds on his notion of Transformation. He will eloquently describe it, and the Daily Grommet team and I will do our best to live it, bad hair days and all.