Let them eat cake!

On a recent trip to France I afforded myself the luxury of doing a few touristy things. One of these was to visit the Palace of Versailles. The palace is an amazing feat of building, grand architecture and filled with the most beautiful artwork. I imagined what it would have been like to live in such a place, to have my every whim catered for. However, while taking in the opulence of the palace and its surrounding gardens, all I could think was ‘no wonder the people revolted’.

Just like then, it would seem that there is something of a groundswell of a ‘revolution’ happening in the world today — the people are dissatisfied! On examination of the world’s contemporary political sphere this is most evident. You just have to take a look at the news of the day, or your social media feeds to see that people are feeling more and more marginalized. The result of this can be seen in the Brexit vote and the recent Australian elections. The fear of the future and the dissatisfaction of many can be further recognized in the rise of blame and fear fostered by the far right wing including Donald Trump and here in Australia, the return of Pauline Hanson. Yes the people are unpleased!

The same could be said of innovation. As consumers we are constantly bombarded with the new ‘next big thing’. Sure we must have the latest App on our phones or follow the latest trend — this is not a new phenomenon. Latest trends, come and go and yesterday’s innovation is today’s forgotten. (I wonder how long Pokemon Go will last) What the innovation discourse driven by business and Government has seem to forgotten is that people around the world are just trying to live their lives and fulfill their basic needs, like housing, food and affordable health care for their families. Empathy it seems is often forgotten when it comes to ‘the next big thing’ and no there doesn’t necessarily need to be an App for that!

As proponents of innovation, Design Thinkers recognize this. We recognize the human in design and innovation. We understand that social problems need to be addressed with empathy and a human-centered approach. We know that a “let them eat cake” philosophy will not succeed. We need to be part of the solution to this latest revolution. We can only do so if we unite in collaboration. Vivre la revolution de Design Thinking!

Julie Beckers

Julie is the Principal Innovation Architect at Innovation Creation, a Service Design Specialist company. Find out more at www.innovationcreation.biz/design