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Wrapt in Tension


Does Harvard Business Review really need to act like our increasingly divisive media outlets to get people to read an article about a new creative process concept? Why attack when the intent is constructive discourse? In the recent article "Design Thinking Is Fundamentally Conservative and Preserves the Status Quo" by Dr. Natasha Iskander, the preferred creative process being introduced here was "interpretive engagement." Albeit interesting, it was sadly overshadowed by the vitriol of the first half of the article. As a result ,the opportunity for the concept to inspire civil and potentially supportive discourse was lost.

I think we can agree that one of the earliest steps in any design or interpretive engagement process is about attempting to understand the intended user behavior shifts (both intrinsic and extrinsically motivated) as a result of our 'design / engagement.' In this case, it's not clear to me what behavior shift HBR and/or the author was expecting by attacking Design Thinking. I, for one, was left confused about how a person steeped in the open dialogue ways of 'interpretive engagement' left me feeling so shut out, offended, and excluded. I'm okay though. Given the track record of both HBR and the author (see her uplifting work: Creative State), I am confident that it's more a reflection of our very tense zeitgeist than it is their personal intent to polarize and divide, which leaves me with this thought: I look forward to evidence of improved civility as we all continue to learn how to manage our emotions while attempting to introduce new ideas for human progress during these challenging times.


Peter Bysshe

P.0. Box 427

Waccabuc, NY

10597

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646.342.5210​

peter@bysshetank.com

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