Agile Forest

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North Korean Innovation


A North Korean Architect was commissioned to draw a futuristic version of North Korea with zero limits on both financial feasibility or even

structural integrity.

The result? In what seems straight out of a 1963 ‘The Jetsons’ episode, the architect seemed to produce drawing after drawing stuck in an era of decades past. Simplistic treehouses, ancient decor and ordinary footbridges made up a few of the images created.

So why with such an open remit did the architect produce such backward thinking results? Maybe it was purely the individual, maybe they misunderstood the brief, or maybe this is a glimmer of what happens when innovation is stymied by a lack of injected ideas.

1963 Jetsons apartment

1963 Jetsons apartment

The secret to innovation isn’t just having the time to think freely, but also having a great depth of material to draw on. This architect was not influenced by decades of shifts and ideas in architecture.

So the next time you think that innovation is all about having 20% downtime or having hackathons, think about the learning culture you are creating instead. Are you creating a learning culture to enable innovation or are you just enabling the creation of more Jetsons apartments?

2 thoughts on “The secret sauce to innovation

  1. Alex N. says:

    So, as far as I understood, you recommend to deeply slide into past innovations to create a foundation for your own “creative thinking”, am I right?

    1. Hi Alex, Yes I think to some extent that innovation can be bred from knowledge of innovations in the past. Disruption comes in many layers – advancing thinking on what is already there versus true blue ocean thinking. Even the iPod and iPhone which are touted as disruptive innovations were actually only advances on products that were already in progress of being developed.

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