Branding at Play

Banks called Atom, N26, Bunq, and Monzo. Insurers named Lemonade and Oscar. In their efforts to distinguish themselves from long-time industry stalwarts, new entrants into the fields of banking and insurance are choosing playful, whimsical names that make no reference to the space they’re trying to disrupt. Previous nomenclature in these business spaces has revolved…

Batteries Not Included

Why the Next Frontier of AI Might Be Child’s Play At the peak of the knowledge economy, the premium we placed on intellect could be clearly measured across the market. Firms invested heavily in opportunities to recruit the best and brightest, with the cost of acquiring this human capital justified by measurable returns to shareholders.…

The Future Is Made In China

How Chinese Design and Values Are Driving Global Innovation Like many other children who grew up in Canada with parents who did not, we felt the light embrace of a distant – yet distinctly present – country and culture. We learned what it was like to grow up in China through the stories of our…

Perpetual Accommodation: A History of Technology-Driven Change

In the June 2018 issue of The Atlantic, Henry Kissinger raises concerns about the rapid advancements in machine learning and AI. His worries about humanity’s preparedness for the future of AI are no doubt matters for serious discussion: Technological change inevitably provokes anxieties, for it reshapes our societal and commercial worlds to the benefit of…

Go Play

The ancient Chinese game of Go is notoriously complex. However, at its heart, it represents the essence of all games: the need to find creative solutions within a defined framework. As companies look to introduce innovative solutions, the need to bring together efficiency and creativity often creates a latent tension between individuals and their project…

The Virtue of Play

"For all the virtues will be present when the one virtue, practical wisdom, is present." In his writings about practical wisdom, Aristotle states that to take the virtuous and ethical action is to achieve the golden mean between two extremes (which he calls “vices”). For instance, acting with courage is virtuous, while having a deficiency…

Fueling the Evolution of Blockchain Technology

From Play to Innovation The United States Air Force (USAF) was one of the first organizations to chart technological progress. In the early 1950s, the team looked at the development of aerospace technology to determine whether there was a pattern to the speed of innovation. Since aerospace was one of the fastest moving frontiers in…

Thinking Design Thinking, One More Time

This is an updated version of an article 
I wrote in 2007 while waiting for a flight. I think it is time to revisit and update 
this article, as “design thinking” is in a very different state today than it was
 10 years ago, with organizations practicing it to different degrees of maturity. Before my…

Cautious Play

Taking a Purposeful Approach to Innovation   In 1956, President Eisenhower set in motion the largest public works program in history: the creation of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (also known as the Interstate Highway System). The program was envisioned as a grand solution for addressing problems of road…

Repurposing Purpose

CONNECTING TO AN IMAGE OF THE FUTURE Let’s define purpose as “the reason for which we exist.” As humans, we have the ability to choose our purpose. In my 2011 book Consumershift: How Changing Values Are Reshaping the Consumer Landscape,
 I outlined a few common purposes people have based on the way they orient their…

Rebranding Purpose

Having lived on the West Coast for several years now, I’ve gotten used to being asked things like “What is your calling?” at dinner parties. These questions used to always take me aback; I would awkwardly stand and swirl my wine around in circles trying to come up with something bohemian, yet coherent, to say.…

Reclaiming Aging

Finding Purpose in Later Life  By providing us with a healthy orientation to the future, a sense of purpose increases wellbeing – especially in later life.     Purpose Increases Health in Later Life Retirement age is often experienced as a time of loss. Not only of the opportunities of youth, but also of a…

Life With Death

Surviving Mortality and Overcoming the “Crisis” of End-of-Life Care   When was the last time you thought about your own death? Not because the possibility of death was imminent – rushing toward you on a busy highway or following you too closely on a deserted street – but because you were interested: feeling curious or…

Something to Believe In

Purpose is the Driving Force Successful Brands Need Successful businesses are built on the efforts and choices of two types of volunteers, both of which play very different roles in the ecosystem that nourishes
 an organization. These two types are more commonly known as “employees” and “customers”; however, categorizing them this way does not capture…