The Creative Quotient

I came across a post called Design Thinking is a Failed Experiment. So What’s Next? by Bruce Nussbaum at Co.Design. He has been one of design thinking’s biggest advocates, and an editor of Business Week, but he’s had a change of heart, and is developing is own approach to creativity. He thinks that design thinking has made a large contribution to design, but that it hasn’t accomplished its laudable goals, so he’s proposing a new approach.

Bruce Nussbaum of Business Week and The New School

“The decade of Design Thinking is ending and I, for one, am moving on to another conceptual framework: Creative Intelligence, or CQ.” 

– Bruce Nussbaum

Here’s an extract from the article which explains his thinking:

“Why am I, who at Business Week was one of Design Thinking’s major advocates, moving on to a new conceptual framework? Simple. Design Thinking has given the design profession and society at large all the benefits it has to offer and is beginning to ossify and actually do harm.”

“From the beginning, the process of Design Thinking was a scaffolding for the real deliverable: creativity. But in order to appeal to the business culture of process, it was denuded of the mess, the conflict, failure, emotions, and looping circularity that is part and parcel of the creative process. In a few companies, CEOs and managers accepted that mess along with the process and real innovation took place. In most others, it did not. As practitioners of design thinking in consultancies now acknowledge, the success rate for the process was low, very low.”

In my research about design innovation I have noticed that most authors describe the design process as not being linear, but when they come to visualise their process on paper, they do it in a linear way. If the creators of these processes cannot explain their looping patterns more effectively, then no wonder this isn’t achieved successfully by organisations that attempt to follow these processes.

“At this point, I am defining Creative Intelligence as the ability to frame problems in new ways and to make original solutions. You can have a low or high ability to frame and solve problems, but these two capacities are key and they can be learned. I place CQ within the intellectual space of gaming, scenario planning, systems thinking and, of course, design thinking. It is a sociological approach in which creativity emerges from group activity, not a psychological approach of development stages and individual genius.”

He wrote this post in April 2011, so we’ll have to wait and see if ‘Creative Intelligence’, or the ‘Creative Quotient’ supersedes design thinking. In my next post I’ll share some information from Helen Walters’ post which gives more detail into the problems with design thinking.


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