Creativity and Innovation. . .

Creativity and Innovation. . .

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 21, 2005 1:43 pm

Having submitted a post to this thread:

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=4235

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.

Harvard’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 things… 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, you’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 doesn’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 try….

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 have… 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 ideas… Since business is a ‘get-things-done’ 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: “One-man shows are seldom effective…. Entrepreneurs often need a sponsor.” 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. (We’ve intentionally left out the technical innovator, or inventor, because we don’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. He’s been there - been through the lengthy process of husbanding, seen what it takes to shield a potential practical new idea from the organisation’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, McDonald’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 ‘good feeling’ 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.
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Re: Creativity and Innovation. . .

Postby garethace » Sat Sep 10, 2005 4:48 pm

Eddie Hobbs has celebrated the end of his spectacularly sucessful Rip Off Republic TV series....

As if to emphasise the point, last night the European Commission criticised Ireland's failure to move against restrictive practices in many professions. It laid particular emphasis on law and architecture, but the list of restricted entry and excessive fees is very much longer.


That was a quote from the Irish Independent newspaper only this week. The European commission is looking at monopolies that exist within the economy today. The recent Eddie Hobbes program on TV, has raised many an issue about the times and culture we live in. On that vein, I decided to dig up some information, which might throw a light on architecture and design of the environment. I came across a useful text, called, 'The Creative Economy', written by John Howkins in 2001. His book deals with several areas of the creative economy, such as music, software, film, design, advertising, fashion, theatre, research and development, TV and Radio and Video Games. I found what Mr. Howkins had to say about architecture, interesting and useful, to say the least.

Government sources are patchy. In spite of their statements about the importance of the creative economy and the Internet's 'new economy', most governments remain fixated with traditional manufacturing and services. They have a sound reason for their bias. They depend mostly upon manufacturing, less upon services and hardly at all upon intellectual property for their tax revenues. This problem affects not only domestic output but also international trade. The export and import of most creative products are absent from the trade statistics because they are not subject to customs and excise taxes.


Considering that Ireland is in the process of losing its traditional manufacturing base, in the next 5 years, I think it would be important for the Irish government to take a long and hard look at how the creative economy has been monopolised in Ireland, by the backwardness of it's professions. These professions are mainly in the job of importing vast quantities of intellectual property from abroad in the form of young designers and technicians. While this has been good in general for the economy, it has also underlined the poverty of our attempt in Ireland to train our own people. Young people who should be charged with the responsibility of driving the creative economy here in Ireland. At a critical time in our development as a nation, when we will seriously have to look at the alternative ways to provide jobs.

We need to review the nature of monopolies, whether public or private. As we have seen, intellectual property can be owned, possessed, rented and licensed in almost as many ways as can physical property. The salient points are the mechanisms by which the product is exchanged and traded. The most fundamental are whether access is open or closed; if closed, the nature and length of the restrictions; and, if payment is required, its nature (none; by negotiation; or by a non-negotiable, statutory license).


I mean, if you wrap up professions like architecture here in Ireland, in monopolies like the RIAI, you have to expect a very negative impact on the economy, sooner or later. It is currently too difficult for young people 'to break into' careers in those areas. There are simply too many horseshit restrictions to opportunity. When I was doing interviews for internship in Dublin at many architectural firms, in the late 1990s, I was denied access on account of not having 'enough computer experience'. The problems continued inside the workplace as I noticed young professionals were restricted use of, or denied essential digital augmentation tools such as CAD and basic IT resources.

We need to look at how we provide employment in the creative sectors of the economy here in Ireland. I don't know if our current administration has any foresight, views or solutions in that regard. It would be hard for them to fathom this, I think, given they come from a time and a place where manufacturing, or even agriculture, was the mainstay of economic prosperity. The situation in regards to creativity and its proper management, has deteriorated in Ireland for a long, long time. The responsibility was intrusted to too many small cosy monopolies, like the RIAI, who could not and still cannot see the economic potential of what they were in control over. You only have to look at the recent scandals like the Irish Abbey Theatre to know what I mean. In my own experience, I have seen many creative professionals shoved to the side, when they could be integrated better into the mainstream and used to drive innovation and development. I really think, a new department and minister should be appointed for this field alone. Because at the moment, the issue is being avoided rather than confronted. I am interested in peoples' views on this matter.

Brian O' Hanlon.


Architects provide the creativity that fuels the building and construction industry, which is the world’s fifth largest industry after defense, education, health and food. Their artistic and economic role varies widely from the top handful of prizewinning architects to who design the world’s most prominent buildings to the hundreds of thousands of architects, surveyors, builders and owners who design and construct the remainder.

Architecture is a copyright business as opposed to a patent or trademark business. An architect’s sketches are protected by copyright, as are the scale drawings and models and all the artistic and literary works and designs involved in the process and creation up to and including the building itself. Architects often retain copyright in their buildings although they may transfer it to a contractor or license a contractor to make copies. The person who buys or rents a new house does not normally acquire copyright in it.

Architecture has the distinction of being the most truly international of the fifteen industries, partly because it does not rely on words and partly because it has achieved its own global iconography that is independent of any single nation or culture. Even governments that restrict cultural imports in other sectors are happy to appoint foreign architects to deal with buildings of the greatest national and cultural sensitivity. The French, probably the most culturally exclusive of all industrial nations after the Japanese, asked Briton Richard Rogers to design the Center Georges Pompidou at Beauborg and the Chinese-American I.M. Pei to redevelop the Louvre. Los Angeles-based Frank Gehry designed the new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in the Basque country, and Spain’s Rafael Moneo has designed Houston’s Museum of Fine Art. The German government asked Briton Norman Foster to design its new Reichstag in Berlin; and Kisho Kurokawa was asked to build a new wing for the Netherlands’ prestigious van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Worldwide there are about one million professional architects who have combined revenues of about $40 billion. Of the top thirty firms in terms of revenues, America and Japan have twenty between them, with Britain in third place.

In the US, the 17,000 member firms of the American Insititute of Architects had gross revenues of $24 billion in 1999 and net revenues (excluding subcontracted work) of $17 billion. Average profits were 13 per cent. These firms employed 115,000 licensed architects, 20,000 interns, 30,000 other technical staff and 20,000 administrative staff.

UK architects’ revenues are £1.6 billion, of which £1.25 billion comes from British clients and the remainder from overseas. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) estimates there are 30,000 practising architects. Together, they account for about 22 per cent of the fees earned by all building professionals and about 2 per cent of all expenditure on construction.
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Re: Creativity and Innovation. . .

Postby Bob Dole » Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:45 pm

Hi Brian,

some quibbles: it seems to me that you are bending the term "intellectual property" a bit.
Intellectual Property Rights concerns Patents, Trademarks, Copyright and other related rights - calling it "intellectual property" is a euphemism created by lobbyists on behalf of Big Pharma, and large Music and Film Corporations who want to invert the relationship between the state and the holder in their favour: i.e. the State must justify the existence of restrictions of their rights rather than the industry justifying the existence of their monopolies.
(one sees it for example in the cinema where INFACT, the Irish National Federation Against Copyright Theft, use the word "theft" in their name: the only way to "steal" copyright is by forging someone elses transfer of their right to copy, not by simply breaching the right to copy. Secondly there has been an exponential and unjustified growth in the quality of the protection, the length of protection and the nature of that protected by Copyright since the right was first created - caused by lobbyists on behalf of large music and film and software companies, who are the people to really benefit from IP).

People who work within the field of design cannot be termed "intellectual property".

The "monopoly" of the RIAI is not really based on Intellectual Property (except of that sign of theirs and the use of the words "MRIAI" etc.).
Secondly, the Competition Authority does not seem to think the RIAI is particularly bad. In fact because the word "architect" is not granted any protection whatsoever, (which is basically the only possible area where a monopoly would have any real effect on the market), there is no real monopolistic effect by the RIAI (which I'm sure they are not happy about). In what sense do you think the RIAI is monopolistic?
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Re: Creativity and Innovation. . .

Postby garethace » Mon Sep 12, 2005 8:43 pm

The RIAI's biggest problem, is that it doesn't do anything - it doesn't get directly involved in the management of it's creative resources, it's own members. It doesn't get involved in the early training of young architects, who will one day, hope to become members - it doesn't seem concerned in their well being. In fact, the RIAI does not go out of its way to attract and encourage new members at all - that is why they are a monopoly. At the other end of the scale, the RIAI does nothing whatsoever, to attempt to deal with changes in technology etc, that affect the profession of architecture. You have older architects out there now, whose ideas about design and how to practice, simply do not match up with the needs of today's client and building contractor. By its failure to act, the RIAI is a monopoly - an obstacle in the way of progress. You have mentioned the film industry, well then, lets take a good look at another monopoly, Hollywood. I liken Hollywood in many ways, to the static organisation of the RIAI, which has been responsible for the intellectual capital contained within architectural design for a 100 years. By this, I mean the young people who are in the early stages of their development - and protection for them, as much as the older guys who have spent 30 years established in practice. I don't think young architects are too worried about their name 'Architect' being copyrighted or not - they are more worried about the failure of the institute to help them in any way. In this day and age, the RIAI really doesn't understand the world out there.


[Hollywood] It is now facing major technological challenges on several fronts. The new generation of low-cost digital production equipment enables anyone to make a reasonable quality film for a fraction of the conventional cost. This, in turn, allows a new generation of people to become film-makers without needing Hollywood’s money (for example, The Blair Witch Project). The cost of distribution is also about to fall. A celluloid print of a 100-minute 35mm film occupies four or five reels, costs over $1,300, is bulky and heavy, and starts to deteriorate after a few hundred screenings. It costs $400,000 to make enough five-reel prints for a national British release and $3 million for an American release. For a hundred years, there was no alternative. But video distribution, either by DVD or direct-to-cinema by satellite, now delivers sufficiently good quality to wean the companies off celluloid.

[cut…]

What is not in doubt is that, faced with these challenges, Hollywood will behave as it has always done, and as dominant companies tend to behave in any industry. It will try to continue unchanged for as long as possible.



Architecture as we like to think of it, is under huge threat from the same kinds of technological breakthroughs. The profession of architecture faces competition from many new levels of 'management' in the design process. Rather than helping architects to understand and deal with this challenge, most architects are left to deal with it themselves, and to do so very poorly. It is much cheaper and easier to design things nowadays than it was 50 years ago. It is much cheaper and easier to manage things in a distributed fashion - rather than in the old-fashioned way, of the centralised office structure. Information technology has de-centralised the whole process of design and building - without asking the permission of the architectural profession. The centralised office of the architect, has less and less to offer clients each day. You have educated and capable young people in Ireland today who want to practice as architects - but they are not being encouraged or helped by the system. The RIAI is intent on carrying on, as if, the same 20 people wanted to qualify each year - and basically you import whatever surplus you need, on short term arrangements. It sounds like a way to run a small, exclusive fishing club on a stretch of salmon river - than it does suggest a way to run a dynamic and innovative profession for the entire country! This architectural practice gave an AAI lecture in Dublin city last year:

http://www.henchion-reuter.com/

They practice here in Ireland and in Germany. They told the audience how in Germany the trades people coordinate with each another directly to achieve perfection in the end result. Apparently, in Germany a client can be their own 'manager', because the builders there still operate like craftspeople, and get into sync with each other. He showed slides of the finishes and component design within the buildings. To achieve a similar result in Ireland, it would take several levels of management, to force the trades to get into sync with each other. The trades here don't want to know about anyone else. In my experience, of doing visualisation for clients who build 1 million pound houses - they are amazed when they see views of interiors done using 3DS VIZ technology - it is a level of service they never receive from an RIAI architect. In fact, I was working on a job, where a fight started between the client and architect - the client complained that the job was on site - and should have seen the visualisations to begin with, not at the end of the design process. The Architect told the client to 'bugger off'! I lost my position doing visualisations for the firm, because I had encouraged the client to expect a level of service, that they were not supposed to expect. Even on a project, to design and build a house worth 1 million. I was attempting to do, what I imagined an architect was supposed to do - to satisfy their client as best they could. Oh, the naivety of a young architectural student! You see, I did paintings for several clients when I was a young man and that is how I would approach my task. I began to study in architecture coming from that kind of creative background. I had read about the famous architects in magazines doing such wonderful work for the clients - that was the kind of service I wanted to aim for, even if on a smaller, modest scale. As a young architectural student here in Ireland, I was promptly told to straighten myself out, and avoid 'rocking the boat'.

If you think about it - cyberspace, as in telephones, faxes, TV and radio, emails, digital document formats, spreadsheets, drawing and image file formats have all happened in parallel to the rise in need for 'management' of building projects. Builder's cabins on sites now, resemble information centers like the American military have in the gulf war campaign. Building contractors are connected directly with their managers through all kinds of wires and signals. When Sputnik went into orbit, it kick-started the development of the 'ARPANET' in the United States. The ARPANET in turn, helped to facilitate America's expansion into science and creative endeavour. Nowadays, the USA holds a kind of rare position in terms of intellectual capital. In my overall studies of communication and all things digital, my definition of cyberspace has expanded to include many old systems like the telephone. Heck, even the post and telegraph service, was an early cyberspace. The humble telegraph was probably instrumental in the management of many projects in the early days of cyberspace. With cyberspace getting bigger, more powerful and more accessible each and every day, so too is the importance of various managers in the design process. Architects cannot do anything to stop this expansion of the digital universe, but don't seem interested in getting into a position to deal with it. Other professions, other than architects have augmented their capabilities using the tools of communications and information technology. They appear to have solidified their position in the construction industry. This is a real shock to myself, or any of my old college friends who want to cling to the notion of a creative individual working with pencils and a roll of paper. The cosy image of the architect, that the RIAI seems to cling onto, like some old man gripping onto a blanket. In other words, the RIAI system of protection for architects, doesn't protect or manage that creativity any longer.


Brian O' Hanlon.


This is a nice article I was looking at only today:

http://www.architectureweek.com/2005/0907/tools_2-1.html
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Re: Creativity and Innovation. . .

Postby garethace » Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:35 pm

There are two ways of being creative. One can sing and dance. Or one can create an environment in which singers and dancers flourish.


Warren G. Bennis.
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Re: Creativity and Innovation. . .

Postby garethace » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:27 pm

http://www.pfdf.org/leaderbooks/L2L/winter97/bennis.html

http://www.pfdf.org/leaderbooks/l2l/spring99/bennis.html

Two Warren Bennis articles I have studied thoroughly this evening and give them thumbs up, for anyone interested in issues of 'leadership' related to the practice of design and construction in the environment.

Brian O' Hanlon.
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