Thursday, June 27, 2013

Want to Be a Creative Leader? Look to the Garden

I love to cook almost as much as I love to eat. When making a meal, the spontaneity of grabbing fresh herbs and other homegrown ingredients from the garden is an essential part of the whole process. Over the years, I’ve given a lot of thought to what gardening, design, and creative leadership have in common.
Gardening is generative, iterative, and user-centered When designers in our Chicago studio first planted a roof garden, they noticed people were picking and eating the strawberries and tomatoes and leaving the eggplants and tomatillos to rot on the vine. They soon realized that planting a work garden for 60 busy people is very different from planting a home garden for a family of four. Project deadlines simply took priority over cooking, so any plants that took extra steps to prepare were ignored. The next year, the designers planted a “Grab and Go Garden” that contained only fruits and vegetables that could be eaten straight away. This time, more plants were eaten, less were wasted. A good garden, like good design, needs to meet the needs of its users. Continue reading...