A code-based incubation unit, needs to be implemented for these projects, early on in their lives, to allow them to 'grow' into something worth doing at all. That is the side of the equation, that Architects are not trained to understand, and furthermore, they refuse to acknowledge. The problem is, that projects have 'gotten legs' by the time, they hit the planning authorities desk, and nowadays, have been helped along, by someone called 'a planning consultant'. Which basically amounts to past, local authority planners, setting up shop on the outside, with an eye on the private sector money pie. Architects, are developing a closer working relationship with the planning profession, but it is not the one we should hope for.
Just thinking about the 'project' that was once Dublin's 'Cultural Quarter', or so the idea had been, back in the 1980s, I began to think about the role of 'protectors' in getting urban design projects through to their fruitition. This, necessitated me, to think beyond the so called 'creative' people, who in popular main stream press, are usually accredited with the building of some new project, or grand design. I think, if you read down through the following extracts, from Thomas J. Peters, 1982 book, Excellent Companies, it will give you a different perspective.
Harvardâ€™s Theodore Levitt states the case as well as anyone else:
The trouble with much of the advice business gets today about the need to be more vigorously creative is that its advocates often fail to distinguish between creativity and innovation. Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new thingsâ€¦ A powerful new idea can kick around unused in a company for years, not because its merits are not recognised, but because nobody has assumed the responsibility for converting it from words into action. Ideas are useless unless used. The proof of their value is only in their implementation. Until then, they are in limbo.
If you talk to the people who work for you, youâ€™ll discover that there is no shortage of creativity or creative people in American business. The shortage is of innovators. All too often, people believe that creativity automatically leads to innovation. It doesnâ€™t. Creative people tend to pass the responsibility for getting down to brass tacks to others. They are the bottleneck. They make none of the right kind of effort to help their ideas get a hearing and a tryâ€¦.
The fact that you can put a dozen inexperienced people in a room and conduct a brainstorming session that produces exciting new ideas shows how little relative importance ideas themselves haveâ€¦ Idea men constantly pepper everybody with proposals and memorandums that are just brief enough to get attention, to intrigue and sustain interest - but too short to include any responsible suggestions for implementation. The scarce people are the ones who have the know-how, energy, daring, and staying power to implement ideasâ€¦ Since business is a â€˜get-things-doneâ€™ institution, creativity without action-oriented follow-through is a barren form of behaviour. In a sense, it is irresponsible.
What absolutely breaks my heart, about the four retail boxes on Chapel Street bridge today, is that someone in DCC wanted to take an idea that had been in limbo, for years and years, and 'put the words into action'. This is precisely where, the lack of relationship, in Ireland, between creative people and innovators, is the most visible. It is perhaps, fortunate, that the four retail boxes have become a poster child for this problem. Thomas J. Peters expands a little futher on the role of those champions who protect the innovation cycle, down below:
An author in Research Management recently concluded: â€œOne-man shows are seldom effectiveâ€¦. Entrepreneurs often need a sponsor.â€ The numerous schemes describing systems of championing all come down to the same thing - some form of primary champion plus some form of protector. As we move from consideration of the individual to the organisation, we find there is a need for a number of players pushing innovation forward.
Our observations have led us to identify three primary roles: the product champion, the executive champion, and the godfather. (Weâ€™ve intentionally left out the technical innovator, or inventor, because we donâ€™t view the initial technical work, the idea work, as a principal variable in innovating. The constraint on innovation, we believe , is almost always the absence of a product champion, executive champion, or godfather. Mostly, we are convinced of the importance of the executive champion and the godfather.)
The product champion is the zealot or fanatic in the ranks whom we have described as being not a typical administrative type. On the contrary, he is apt to be a loner, egotistical and cranky. But he believes in the specific product he has in mind.
The successful executive champion is invariably an ex-product champion. Heâ€™s been there - been through the lengthy process of husbanding, seen what it takes to shield a potential practical new idea from the organisationâ€™s formal tendency toward negation.
The godfather is typically an aging leader who provides the role-model for championing. The mythology at 3M, HKP, IBM, Digital, TI, McDonaldâ€™s, and GE is crucial to the practical, lengthy process of product innovation. The myths of Lewis Lehr and Raymond Herzog et al. (3M), Edison, Welch et al. (GE), Hewlett (HP), Olsen (Digital), Wang (Wang), and Learson (IBM) are essential to fostering the plausibility that animates the overall championing system. A young engineer or marketer simply does not step out and take risks because of some â€˜good feelingâ€™ in the gut. He steps out and takes risks because the history of the institution supports doing so as a way of life that leads to success. And he does so despite the certainty of repeated failure.
Brian O' Hanlon.