Progress Depends on the Unreasonable Woman…Just ask Google

Neuroaesthetics & Google

Ivy is a relentlessly curious, borderless polymath and voracious life-long learner. When, through her many explorations, Ivy met Susan Magsamen, founder and director of the Arts+Minds Lab at Johns Hopkins, they began creating the connection between Susan’s work on Neuroaesthetics and Google’s future innovations. Neuroaesthetics is the study of how the art, of all disciplines, changes the brain, enhances life experiences, aids in well-being.

10 Exploration Points on the Innovation Journey

Below is a map of an Innovation Journey. We designed this cartoon map to capture the many explorations innovators may engage to achieve their innovation objectives (innovation has to be filled with creative play as well as serious design, so we thought the cartoons would convey that message). The map looks linear, but it is often not in practice. Many times, an innovation team may do things out of sequence, reiterate the steps, move forward and back before it completes its creative journey.

  1. Be like Sherlock — Ivy took her team to Milan and other places to discover the secrets of great design, finding clues to new ways of thinking and exploring the limitations of current “reasonable” approaches to innovations in tech design.
  2. Dive Deep — Go below the surface of what is assumed good design and find the treasure of deep insights into how people experience the world and how they want to experience it in the future, even if they may not know it yet.
  3. Hang with those Who Know Secrets — Ivy and her team hung out with leading thinkers who know design, architecture, Neuroaesthetics, fabrics, algorithm coding, emerging tech science, etc.
  4. Go Cosmic Fishing — That is the term the 20th Century engineer/designer/genius, Bucky Fuller, used to describe intuition. Ivy is a highly intuitive artist/designer/leader who trusts her intuition and acts upon it. Throughout their design process, her collaborators did as well.
  5. Leap and Play — Ivy gave her team space to play with their ideas, try crazy things and to take leaps of exploration into areas not gone before.
  6. Turn It on Its Head — Ivy flipped the old model about designing and showing tech products on its head. In addition to developing a tech device and promoting it at a Consumer Electronics Show, the Google team designed experiences for people and a better way of living. They then provided the supportive technology in a way that fulfilled that experience. She also offered this experience to the guests at Google’s Milan site as a personal gift. Google did not collect data on anyone’s personal experience.
  7. Stick Odd Things Together — Ivy and Team put together brain research, aesthetics, computer science, and world-class design. They used fabric innovations and combined them with electronic innovations to create breakthrough product designs. They combined great design with great experiences to create great marketing.
  8. Connect to Create — Ivy is a facilitative leader who deeply believes in the power of collaboration united by a common vision of success. When you praise her for her achievements, she always points out that it took a village of collaborators to produce the big results.
  9. Take it for a Spin — Prototype, try it out, test it, refine it, redesign and refine it again. Ivy learned from her father, an honored automobile designer, the importance of building it, doing it, not just conceiving of it. Art, design, and innovation are hands-on processes, there is no substitute. The team tested many combinations of fabric and color for the Google products. For just one beautiful color of the fabric, they tried out over 260 colors before they got just the right one.

Sometimes when it comes to breakthrough innovations, an unreasonable woman is better for the job.

BEAM, inc. is a San Francisco based international consulting and design firm dedicated to creating value and enriching life.

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