Posts tagged appreciative inquiry
The Red Fingernail of Detail

Here is another image from the series made as we used reportage photoraphy to inquire into the organisational conditions required for amazing creativity and innovation in a top London design studio.

We worked through a loose Appreciative Inquiry approach and sifted pictures of what might have been 'moments of breakthrough'.  Choosing photographs that resonated with team's actual experience of great design processes, we found that critical themes emerged. And so, this particular design team, alongside 'Alone and in the Zone', seen here on P-D, repeatedly selected to this image as a representation of what became named as 'The Red Fingernail of Detail'.

As we continued to inquire appreciatively with the designers we surfaced exactly how important attention to detail was in defining their sense of value and creativity.  Nothing slapdash or rough-cut for this team; they paid exquisite attention to their work, sometimes in spite of other organisational and business demands.

And so the managerial challenge, if design brilliance and innovation is a fundamental requirement (and not many people would argue against that these days), rather than typically trying to get more from less or being overly directive and 'efficient', becomes 'how do we support the conditions that encourage the unique capability of this team?'

As Appreciative Inquiry guru David Cooperrider says, our positive images of the future lead our positive actions - and so "the artful creation of positive imagery on a collective basis may be the most prolific thing any inquiry can do."

 

Alone and in the Zone

I'm always deeply fascinated by creativity and how we can set up working environments to get more of it.

This image is part of a collection that I made to support an investigation into creativity in a leading London design studio. We used reportage photography to record moments of 'breakthrough' and then improvised an Appreciative Inquiry methodology to understand the conditions that supported inspiration and creativity.  The pictures are now part of a research project into how we can use visuals in this sort of inquiry process.

Here is S - intensely working away... This picture was repeatedly selected by the designers and became part of a themed set which they named 'Alone and in the Zone'.  

So, one of our discoveries was that although design is often seen as a very social process there needs to be time and space to get immersed... to lose yourself in the ideas and possibilities... and a great design studio needs to make sure that, even in this time of expensive office space, there are opportunities to be alone...