Implementing Design for Values - Academia
"Academic research is the most effective tool organizations can use to make innovation visible,
accessible, and actionable."
Transient and or violent change can be implemented quickly in a top-down, or street-up manner. Change for good, non violent and resilient comes from education, persuasion, example and patience.
Schools, colleges and universities are the ideal places to sow the seeds of change, conducting research which will provide guidance on course material, text books and define learning outcomes. Cover the new product development process, innovation theory, organizational behavior, business strategy, marketing, technology development, and funding methods. People of any age can be introduced to Design for Values in a manner that suits their stage of development and interests, from kindergarten to PhD. Harnessing a desire for change to a deep technology expertise while maintaining an awareness of values will open up many new and unexpected opportunities to apply Design for Values. A child that learns at a young age that products should reflect their values is an incredibly strong change agent, this is their new 'Normal'.
What role can you play?
Leadership: Can you be a Thought Leader in the drive to bring Design to Values to market? If you are a student, you may chose to do a final year project or thesis on Design for Values with a view to publication in a peer reviewed journal. A business person can establish links with a local college or university to learn how to implement Design for Values in their business.
Values: For business to deliver Design for Values they have to understand the core values that are most relevant to their product line. They will use tools such as Voice of the Customer and Lead User Analysis to fine tune this information. High quality research will help accelerate the implementation of Design for Values. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways:
Academics conduct high quality research in your area of expertise, following exacting industry standards on sample size, randomization, bias etc.
Link the consumer values identified to their theological basis. Halal and tayyib have established links to food, beverage and entertainment but how about to the affect of deforestation on the environment? Or the pollution of the landscape with disused plastic? Deforestation, groundwater pollution, air pollution, use of unhealthy ingredients, the list is endless but starting small is better than not starting.
Work of the highest quality will have financial and implementation value to Business and Government wishing to improve their offering to the Muslim consumer and citizen.
Education & Dissemination: The Gatekeeper & The Teacher - Michael L. Tushman and Ralph Katz describe a wonderful type of individual - The Gatekeeper. They span organisational boundaries internally and externally. They love to learn, they love to chat and they love to share knowledge. They are like pollinating bees flitting from flower to flower promoting new ideas with new knowledge. You can be a Gatekeeper in formal and informal situations. In a formal context you may be The Teacher, if you are in academia you can start by delivering presentations on Design for Values. Presentations can develop into seminars, course modules or entire degree programs. Share, the most powerful change is possible when the Teacher and the Gatekeeper are one in the same. You have many avenues to share knowledge and inspiration, one is the ancient art of conversation - talk with people...not at them or to them but With them. Ibn Khaldun summed this up 600 years ago in his famous work Muqaddimah "The easiest method of acquiring the habit of scholarship is through acquiring the ability to express oneself clearly in discussing and disputing scholarly problems. This is what clarifies their import and makes them understandable. Some students spend most of their lives attending scholarly sessions. Still, one finds them silent. They do not talk and do not discuss matters. More than is necessary, they are concerned with memorizing. Thus, they do not obtain much of a habit in the practice of scholarship and scholarly instruction." So it is with Innovation, less memorizing and more discussion will lead to more action and more change for the better.
Social Media Campaigns: Identify the social media platforms that you can use to create an online impact for Design for Values. Share your ideas and link with people all over the world. Social media is often a tool for feeding nonsense, negativity or narcissism to the masses for the financial gain of faceless organisations. It can serve a better cause and have it's undeniable power to influence repurposed for the good of the Muslim consumer, the environment, and the world at large. Part and parcel of creating an Islamic Economic Community is harnessing the power of the digital medium for good. Today, you can start. Create an online page, a post, a group. Give it a name, define it's purpose and link globally. It's important things don't just stay the same!