Innovation is cumulative but most labour is content to imitate existing paradigms. Everything we interact with follows a design paradigm.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’.” - (Falsely attributed to Henry Ford, Inventor of automobile mass production).
Once the design paradigm changes, it’s Pandora’s box. You don’t realize how
unsatisfied you are, or how flawed current design paradigms are until someone
comes along and does something better ( or different).
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with eyes turned
skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” -
(Leonardo da Vinci, Polymath).
Leonardo da Vinci is perhaps the most inspiring person to me; his achievements
are many but what made him so great was his ability to learn from many
disciplines and intermix them. Leonardo was an engineer, a mathematician, an
inventor, an artist, and a natural scientist; he was a scholar above all because he
knew that no knowledge is wasted, and knowledge is best applied when it pulls
from a variety of disciplines.
“Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art.
Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see.
Realize that everything connects to everything else.” - (Leonardo da Vinci,
It’s hard to break out of existing paradigms and many are content to stay within it.
If you work within one topic you will only know the needs and desires of one
perspective, but if you expand your ‘portfolio’ you will have many perspectives to
pull from. What may satisfy one perspective will not satisfy many others, and the
strength of one perspective is cumulative whereas the perspective of many is
lateral in its establishment of a new paradigm.
“Industry is best at the intersection of science and art.” - (Edwin Land, Inventor of
the Polaroid Camera).
As much as it helps to learn new things and expand your disciplinary scope, the
creator requires confidence and action. There is the possibility that in the attempt
to create one can become obsessed with the pursuit of knowledge and put off
action in favour of a hypothetically more intelligent solution in the future. But this
can lead to a cycle of inaction and as much as we might like to know everything
or have the perfect solution the absolute best we can do at any moment is ‘good
enough, considering the circumstances and the knowledge we have now’.
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we
must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” - (Leonardo da Vinci,
We must be willing to invest our current knowledge into action today. Without
action our knowledge is only ever theoretical. Institutions are confortable in
current paradigms and will maintain that the time for transformative design is
forever just out of reach. You don’t need to be a master before you act, you
achieve mastery through action.
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat
back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” -
(Leonardo da Vinci, Polymath).