Frans Johansson: “Act & Collaborate to Drive Change”

Frans Johansson is an innovation expert and author of The Medici Effect. As CEO of The Medici Group, he leads a team which helps clients improve their innovation efforts through an approach they call Intersectional Thinking.

In the following video Frans Johansson illustrates how relentless trial-and-error – coming up with an idea, executing it on a small scale, and then refining it – is THE distinguishing characteristic of the greatest artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Why? Because humans are not very good at predicting which ideas are going to be a success. Thus, nearly every major breakthrough innovation has been preceded by a string of failed or misguided executions. So, as Frans says quoting Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

The idea for the book “The Medici Effect” is based on intersection.  The best way to come up with groundbreaking ideas is to combine very different ideas – like termites and architecture; ice and beds; and bikinis and burqas.  Diversity drives innovation.

What Drives Innovation?

We innovate best when we connect with others and share new ideas/perspectives. The key is to connect across our differences.

Technology increasingly drives new operational and business models.

He created a magazine “Catalyst” to bring stuff together, started a software company that “went really well until it didn’t.”.

He investigates how intersections lead to innovations.

We have the best chance to innovate when we connect across our differences.

Innovation is important because the world is changing very quickly.

Example:  Spanish fashion company Zara can go from design to selling a dress across the world in 7 days.

A more sobering example; only 68% of recent law school graduates are working in a job that requires a J.D.

Yet our ability to innovate constricts as our firms get larger.  Innovation tends to come from newcomers, upstarts.

One reason is that we tend to use logic as the only guidance for reaching success.  For instance, Audi and Volvo might both to decide to address their minor deficiencies, then end up with cars that look quite similar.

Why is it Necessary to Innovate Quickly?

If you want to keep your competitive advantage, you have to keep innovating because there has been a stunning drop in the amount of time it takes for your competitors to catch up with you.

Why is it so Hard to Innovate?

Because change is difficult and intimidating, we tend to settle for tweaking things around the edges rather than making a comprehensive change. The impact of this is adding more widgets to a Yahoo search engine until the clutter is overcome by the spare and elegant design of a Google search engine.

New Ideas Are Combinations of Other

Johansson proposes that all new ideas are combinations of existing ideas.  But not all combinations of ideas are created equal.

Working Understanding

Most truly stunning innovations result from combination two different ideas. The greater the number of ideas that you generate and implement, the greater your chance of a breakthrough. You need to try many things because humans are very bad at predicting what will work. The key is to keep trying until you perfect your execution. When your first idea doesn’t work, you have to try again. Diverse teams can unleash an explosion of new ideas. You end up with an exponential increase in new ideas that leads to more opportunities for innovation.

Create the Environment Necessary to Foster Innovation

We can help organize our firms to foster innovation. This ranges from seating people within your department in such a way that they can’t help be exposed to new ideas and new ways of working. Individually, you also can ensure that you personally make connections with people within the firm who are in different disciplines or from different backgrounds or have different interests.

Don’t Give Up! Innovators Fail More Often

We are horrible at predicting what will work. We don’t often hear the tales of the bad ideas only the heroic ending of how someone became successful with their one brilliant idea and how they were able to envision a new future and make that future a reality.

What is the Most Effective Way to Execute?

Directional ideas often are executed in step-by-step fashion.  More innovative ideas can take longer and get developed less directly.

We use up energy, money, and reputation in getting to a goal. So start by taking the first step; an easy manageable step.

Start with a good idea. And then act on it. Johansson calls this the “smallest executable step.” It’s not about going directly to the desired Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Rather, execute the first step; adjust based on results; execute again. The key is to iterate your way to success.

Some examples provided by Johansson:

ANTS & TRUCK DRIVERS

The example of ants and truck drivers, which I talk about in one of the chapters. So there is this telecommunications engineer that has been is trying to figure out how to efficiently route telecom messages through a haphazard routing system. And one day the communications engineer met an ecologist, who studies social insects, like wasps and ants. And they started talking, and the ecologist described how ants search for food. As it turned out, the ant’s search strategy turned out to be very applicable to the routing of telecom message packets. Once the engineer realized this, he decided to explore this particular intersection between ant ecology and computer search algorithms, so he spent three years looking at the connection between the way social insects behave and the way you can use computers to optimize particular types of search algorithms. And that has now lead to an entirely new field called swarm intelligence, which essentially came out of the intersection of the study of social insects and computer search algorithms. This methodology has been used in everything from helping truck drivers find their way around the Swiss Alps to helping unmanned aerial vehicles search for terrorists in Afghanistan.

TERMITES & ARCHITECTURE

A man was commissioned to build the largest office building complex in Harare, Zimbabwe without air conditioning.

He did it by combining the ideas of architecture and termite houses.

Termite houses open and close vents to regulate heat and cold. He combined ideas from these two fields to break new ground and build an energy efficient office complex that was able to maintain a comfortable temperature.

512px-Natural_ventilation_high-rise_buildings.svg.png

BURKINI

At the intersections of different ideas and cultures, the Medici effect happens.

For example, if you wanted to come up with a new, creative idea for swimwear, usually you would combine swimwear with the beach. But what if you combined swimwear with the idea of a burqa?

A lady moved to Australia where the normal female swimwear was bikinis. Many traditional Moslem women go swimming in their burqas. She combined the ideas of bikinis and burqas – and made a burqa out of bikini material.

After the fact, an innovative idea seems somewhat obvious.

People that change the world try far more ideas than others because we are horrible at predicting what ideas will work. Einstein published over 240 papers, many of which not a single person referenced. Google has launched hundreds of products. Picasso painted lots of paintings to figure out what paintings did work.

To be successful, you have to take this notion into account – that you won’t always be successful.

WIKIPEDIA

Take Wikipedia, for example. We may have thought – is that even possible? Creating Wikipedia takes understanding the altruistic nature of people and understanding the Internet. Before he launched

Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales launched Newspedia and asked experts to contribute to it. After six months, there were only twenty posts. Jimmy’s new idea was to allow anyone to make posts. Wikipedia has been one of the most successful Internet projects. Jimmy Wales kept trying.

How does this play out? Maybe you have an idea. Often from an idea you create a large goal and then you use 100% of your resources (your money and your reputation) to reach it. After all that work and effort, you now realize how you should have done it. You realize what would have been a better goal or a better way to do it.

ICE & BEDS

For example, a guy in northern Sweden saw a future with the cold and snow. He combined the idea of ice with a hotel. He created a hotel made out of ice. Everything is made out of ice – the beds, walls, tables, etc. It is one of Sweden’s largest tourist attractions. He realized he could do something no one else could do. But it didn’t start with The Ice Hotel.

First, he had an idea to “sell” the winter. His first idea was to fly in some ice sculptures from Japan. He had an ice exhibition. It wasn’t successful because the ice melted.

Next, he tried a snow gallery and had paintings hung in an ice building.

Then he created an event hall with everything made out of ice, including a movie screen. A few backpackers who saw it said they would like to sleep on a bed made of ice. He made a bed of ice and they loved it.

Then he created The Ice Hotel. Within weeks Newsweek named it one of the ten coolest hotels in the world.

MGMT 561 Assignment #3 Reflection CUNHA 01.pngSource: Frans Johansson: The Secret Truth About Executing Great Ideas

CONCLUSION

You have to start with an idea – a step.

Take your first step to change the world. The best way to come up with this idea is at the intersection of different cultures and ideas.  Figure out something you can do and make it happen. The world is connected – there is somebody making those connections and it should be YOU!

MGMT 561 Assignment #3 Reflection CUNHA 02.pngSource: Frans Johansson: The Secret Truth About Executing Great Ideas

MGMT 561 Assignment #3 Reflection CUNHA 03.pngSource: The Medici Effect

MGMT 561 Assignment #3 Reflection CUNHA 04.pngSource: The Medici Effect

References & Sources:

Frans Johansson Keynote #ILTA12 David Hobbie

Frans Johansson: The Secret Truth About Executing Great Ideas

Frans Johansson Keynote #ILTA12 VMaryAbraham

How do people get more creative?

An Interview with Frans Johansson: The Medici Effect

Frans Johansson: The Secret Truth About Executing Great Ideas 

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

Gift Ideas from ILMA

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Architecture Design and Industry Forecasts for 2018

Author: Taylor Young (December 2017)

Trends in the architecture and design industries can be used as predictors for the future, helping to create forecasts for what homeowners may be looking for in the years to come. Many industry influencers predict several new trends for 2018, including open floor plans, sustainable design, and Smart home features. Including any of these and the following trends into your work in 2018 is sure to have a big impact on client satisfaction.

Modified Wood

Eco-friendly design and sustainability have topped most home and business owner lists for the last several years, and forecasts for 2018 predict more of the same. This includes using materials, such as modified wood that are durable, low maintenance, and that have a very minimal impact on the environment.

Modified wood is created using a bio-based liquid on softwoods, rendering them harder and more durable than many popular hardwoods. Because softwoods are faster growing, they create a more sustainable product. And because the resulting material is so low maintenance, it doesn’t require a lot of upkeep, which makes it very attractive to busy homeowners who want style, but without the added maintenance costs.

Engineered Wood

For interiors, engineered hardwood, like that made by Nydree, is proving to be exceptionally popular as well. Engineered hardwoods have a thin, hardwood veneer over several layers of material, each facing a different direction. This layering produces a very stable floor that doesn’t react to moisture or humidity the way that solid hardwood floors do, so the material can be installed below grade, in bathrooms, or in other areas that don’t typically see hardwood.

Nydree takes the process a step further, infusing their floors with acrylic. The result is a beautiful, long lasting floor that doesn’t use as much hardwood as competitors, providing a better, more eco-friendly product that requires less maintenance and care. This meets the needs of two trends at once – the desire for sustainability in building materials, and the low maintenance care that most people want in their homes and offices.

Hardwood Plywood

Sustainability in design extends to all areas of the industry, right down to the hardwood used to build cabinets, panels, and furniture. Hardwood plywood, like Columbia Forest Products’ PureBond, contains no added urea-formaldehyde, and meets LEED standards

PureBond is a moisture resistant plywood that can be used anywhere a hardwood veneer is required. As homeowners become more conscious of what goes into their homes, by building with a better quality plywood, you can not only get better results, you can also meet consumer demands at every level.

Handmade Furniture

From a design standpoint, many features that homeowners are looking for include things like open floor plans, and furniture that can have multiple uses and purposes, particularly in smaller spaces. However, there is also an emphasis on quality. Homeowners want pieces for their homes which have history, interest, and depth that goes beyond the way that they look.

This may be why there is a trend toward handmade furniture pieces, such as Amish living room furniture. With classic lines and details, Amish furniture fits into many different styles of décor, including some modern designs. The furniture lines are clean, with little ornate or decorative detailing, which makes them an ideal fit for many homes, particularly in busy households where low maintenance and durability are preferred.

Oversized Tile

Along with open floor plans, comes the need for a single flooring that can extend from one end of the home to another without interruption. Hardwood is a popular choice for many homes, but in modern and contemporary style settings, there is also a trend toward tile, particularly oversized porcelain tiles in a variety of textures.

Oversized tiles that are larger than 18-inches have fewer grout joints to deal with, which makes less of a grid on the floor. This in turn creates a clean, open appearance that works well with the trend toward open floor plans. Porcelain tile in particular is easy to care for and durable – it doesn’t require special cleaners or sealing and is unlikely to chip or crack. It also comes in a wide range of styles and finishes, including those that mimic the look of metal, glass, and even fabric, so it’s possible to find a tile that will complement any style or design.

Look to the Future with Today’s Trends

Trends help point the way toward what’s going to be popular or sought after in the coming years. That’s why so many industry influencers are careful to broadcast what they see as the next big thing. If you’re looking for ways to increase client satisfaction in the coming year, consider incorporating any of these forecast materials or designs into your work in 2018. Look for sustainable, durable, and low maintenance style and materials to help capture industry ideals today and tomorrow.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

 


#TEDTALKS: How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

Gehry

In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and blogger who thinks about the marketing of ideas in the digital age. His newest interest: the tribes we lead. Full bio »

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
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Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


What is the #EarthPyramid Project?

Project Mission

The aim of the Earth Pyramid project is to create a monument that every nation and an entire generation of the world’s children can contribute to. With the many issues the world is facing it is now more important than ever for us to start working together to educate and prepare our children for the challenges they will be facing in their lifetimes.

Aided by modern technology the world has never been more connected and it’s a great time in history to try and get the world working together and discussing these issues.

The Earth Pyramid’s mission is to act as a focal point for learning about other countries around the world and to look at how our actions and inactions today will affect the future our children will inherit. By connecting a generation of the world’s children we hope this shared bond will create a greater understanding of other cultures and encourage a generation to be united in tackling and supporting each other in future decision making and actions. If we combine our efforts as a planet it will be amazing to see what the power of a united generation can achieve.

This monument will be a celebration of our world with its many cultures and although it won’t bring about world peace or solve the many issues our planet is facing it will help to educate and give people a chance to connect on a global scale.

Contributors

Desmond Tutu  Bryan Bounds

Charline Evans  Jean Pierre Houdin

Vincent Brown  David Stone

(click on an image to view his/her video)

A Few Testimonials

I think your project is interesting and inspiring…………………..
Kaj Leo Johannesen (Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands)

We have found your project very interesting and will be very glad to be a part of it……………….
Rakotozafy Herizo (Political Adviser, Government of Madagascar)

H.E. the President found your idea to be very innovative and interesting and would like Timor Leste to be part of this creative experiment…………………….
Gregório de Sousa (Chief of Staff, Government of Timor Leste)

The aim of the project to strengthen bonds between different cultures and capture some of the history of participating countries is a laudable. We support this project and are happy for the Cayman Islands to participate.
Duncan Taylor (Governor of the Cayman Islands)

We would be delighted for the Isle of Man to be involved in this project……………..
Tony Brown (Chief Minister, Isle of Man)

Your project is a wonderful initiative and we would like to be a part of it………
Jean-Paul Adam (Secretary of State, Republic of Seychelles)

Click here for additional information about this project and click here if you would like to share your ideas.

We would love to hear from you on what you think — please leave a comment.  If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


Open Call: Topics for Future Articles

::::::: TOPICS ::::::: 
  • ARCHITECTURE: FROM THE INSIDE OUT
  • I LOVE MY ARCHITECT: I DON’T CARE IF HE/SHE IS INSANE    
  • ARCHITECTURE IN MOTION: HOW TRANSPORTATION IN AMERICA CHANGED THE CITY AND ALTERED OUR ENVIRONMENT
  • HOW DO DESIGNERS SEE THE WORLD AROUND THEM: ARTISTIC EXPRESSIONS OF AN ARCHITECT
  • LEARNING FROM TWITTER: HOW I DESIGN & CARVE SPACE UTILIZING SOCIAL MEDIA

If you woud like to contribute some text or a quote please contact me by email.

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


SPACE & PROCESS

I was recently asked about my thoughts on the physics of Architecture and the spatial aspects of Architecture.  Below are some of my initial thoughts….
Space is not the “left-overs” of Architecture but rather the space itself is the Architecture. As a
life-long student of Architecture it is my humble opinion that it is the voids created by the solids
that make the experience of Architecture interesting and pleasurable. The only reason I design
and construct walls (and other solids) is to create the space (the negative). Space can be
experienced in various dimensions (as was portrayed in the film Powers of Ten, 1968 American
documentary short film written and directed by Ray Eames and her husband, Charles Eames.
The film, rereleased in 1977 depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten.)

“The only reason I design and construct walls….is to create the space….”

Robert Irwin, untitled, 1971, synthetic fabric, wood, fluorescent lights, floodlights, 96 x 564" approx., Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of the artist, 1971.

The process of producing Architecture from a monolithic form is to subtract from the solid what
is needed to create the negative space for the occupants to inhabit and enjoy. Then again, my
first memories of Architecture were great massive, heavy cathedrals and medieval castles, so
perhaps I am biased in some ways. The added dimension of a regular, monotonous grid and
violent irregular collisions and penetration of the pure form are yet another layer of interest in
post-modern Architecture (as can be seen in the work of Bernard Tschumi – Parc de la Villette).

Robert Irwin, Untitled, 1980, mixed media: fiberboard, paper, plastic and fabric, 22-3/4 x 22-1/8 x 10", Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, 1980.49.6.

Finally, as a self-proclaimed photographic-artist/Architect, I use still images in my creation of the
artwork. The capturing of a single moment of time is much like an Architect’s plan. When I create
images from my photographs I am also exploring “the absence” or “the void” or what you call “the
reveal.” What fascinates me is that the process of creativity in and of itself can inform the final
form of what will become the Architectural space, which will be built by the hands of others and
eventually inhabited and experienced by others. This is very different from the assembly of a car,
a computer mouse, or other industrial item. Perhaps a more appropriate comparison is to that
of conductor who leads the orchestra in a certain direction but allows some interpretation by the
band.

Robert Irwin, untitled, 1971, synthetic fabric, wood, fluorescent lights, floodlights, 96 x 564" approx., Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of the artist, 1971.

If you like this post please share it.

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


A Few Things to Consider While Designing

Most of the following items can be inter-related and juxtaposed.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive list or listed in any priority.  It is a list of things to think about (and talk about with your designer) when you find yourself designing your next project.

A.)      Program/Use  

  1. What are you designing?
  2. For whom are you designing?
  3. Are there any important relationships between the various “program” spaces?
  4. What are the project constraints – cost, site, schedule, users, etc.?
  5. Is there a defining thought – a certain look, feel, sense of place; that needs to be defined?
  6. The “space” created for the program informs the Form & Aesthetics of the space as well as the Context where it resides.

B.)      Context/Site

  1. Where is It?
  2. Think: Location, Location, Location (like City vs Rural).
  3. Solar Orientation – Where does the sun rise and set? Which way is North?
  4. What are some the adjacent natural and manmade site features?
  5. Where do the winds come from, the shade, the sun, water elements/features, are there existing trees and/or vegetation that need to be considered.
  6. Utilities – How are basic needs met? (Think: water, plumbing, electricity, sanitary waste, domestic waste, and connectivity to outside world, i.e., internet and other telecommunication).

C.)      Form/Aesthetics

  1. Scale, Proportion, OrderThoughtfulness of scale.
  2. Think outside the plan, elevation, and sections – How does the space look/feel in perspective, the way one moves through the space?
  3. Think: When you enter a traditional Roman Church the entrance (narthex) is typically low making the entrance into the vaulted nave more dramatic.
  4. Materials (inside and outside). Local materials indigenous to the project site?
  5. Texture – The texture and “feel” can define the interior and exterior of a space.
  6. Color – How does color or lack of color define the space.  Is the color applied or is it part of the natural materials?
  7. Image – What are the defining elements of the design?  The façade?
  8. Structure – How will the space be defined?  What type of materials will be used? What type of structure will be used (Bearing Walls vs Columns, etc.).

D.)      Other Factors

  1. The Client – Ultimately (right or wrong) the clients basic needs need to be met (especially if there is a written contract).
  2. Societal Benefits (Questions like are we doing the right thing are important!!!)
  3. The Earth/Environment

For example:

  • How does the program, site/context and Form/Aesthetics impact the local and global environment?
  • How do the decisions made above impact the environment?
  • Transportation – labor and materials.
  • Is there a way to reduce the size of the “space” or “spaces” – Smaller footprints and volumes result in less energy use (Think: HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing services/systems).

Click here for some more ideas on design.

Sincerely,
@FrankCunhaIII