MAIM 2014: Throughout the next month we, the class of 2014, will be exploring themes that shape our collective vision of innovation, serving as inspiration for our upcoming final Degree Show. These key themes include: experimentation, chaos, risk, uncertainty, creativity and, of course, innovation.
Chaos is often defined as a state of confusion or disorder. For most people, this term has a strongly negative association, as most of us are used to existing in linear and structured environments where the idea of unpredictable randomness is not only extremely daunting, but dangerous and a threat to our very existence. However, MAIM students are taught to recognise the productive capabilities of chaos and how it can be the source of exciting and unexpected opportunities for innovation. We have experienced this both collectively as a course and individually throughout the last two years at CSM.
MAIM recognises the ability for chaos to act as a catalyst for spontaneity, experimentation and discovery. When carried out in a “controlled” manner, such a chaotic process can have a number of interesting implications for organisations or people seeking to stimulate creativity by accepting and encouraging the exploration of unexpected tangents and the pursuit of “strange stars” in a non-linear way.
The concept of chaos (outside of the mathematical or philosophical discourse) is often associated with the suspension or abandonment of established belief systems in order to challenge the status quo. Yet again, such a mindset has some interesting implications for brainstorming techniques and catalysing creative thinking – where the reliance on known facts or previous knowledge can often curtail one’s ability to think differently.
By accepting the random nature of chaos unexpected outputs can, if considered properly and with an open mind, represent insights or even opportunities for innovation. Only by using the “unexpected” can we seek to innovate in new and disruptive ways.
In a world where economic and social shifts are accelerating the rate of change globally, it is no longer possible to ignore the requirement to innovate. Why? Because without innovation any organisation/company/entity/ or even person will, over time, become irrelevant and obsolete. This is nothing new – just consider the economic and social impact of the Industrial Revolution of the entire world. However, the rate at which this is happening is faster than ever before and the directions in which change is going are increasingly unpredictable. The world is already in chaos, and by accepting it and using it without (too much) fear, we can seek to become better at identifying and managing innovation.