LEARNING BY DOING: EXERCISING WITH FOOD

The design premise of ‘learning by doing’ is an essential approach in the formative processes due to a deep involvement in the transformation of a way of “thinking” in something “real”, useful and relevant for business. It also emphasizes the importance of “practice”. The fact that creativity is not an equation, it is just with the continuous practice and the domain of the method as a tool of thinking that it is possible to see beyond the limits, to challenge solutions and to evolve innovative ideas. Be creative and be able to see innovative alternatives in complex situations require training… (doing, doing, doing, not just thinking).

pic.01 – “Linear Thinking vs. Fragmented Thinking diagram”

When we face a problem, our brain reacts automatically connecting to patterns and similar situations we already experienced. Is this reactive and spontaneous response what unable us from seeing alternative ways, leading us to the “loop” of the same ideas, or to a “lack” of ideas. To change this condition, it is required to deflect and re-direct the brain’s natural way, in order to demand the best of it. In our consultancy practice this means a constant reinvention, we rethink and create new processes over the different projects, seeking always to break standards, to extend the vision and to stimulate creative solutions.

pic.02 – “Bananas Eating Format” Electrolux 2003

Since our first project related to “food”, Design & Cuisine 2025 (Electrolux Professional 2003), we realized how exciting is to explore creativity through food, the subject is an ideal “environment” to integrate people from different disciplines into a creative process – considering that “food” is common as well as an uncommon subject for everyone. We also realized how similar is the “process of cooking” to the “design process”. Like in the kitchen, even following a recipe using the finest ingredients and all recommended utensils a good dish isn’t guaranteed, the tools of Design do not guarantee a breakthrough result, there are so many intangible and abstract aspects (resumed in “sight capabilities”) that make the whole thing be effective for business. The transformation capability is that allows convert the information into a vision, and the vision into unique ideas. The most interesting issue of this parallel is to understand that this transformation is not limited to the act of “transforming” itself, but that it starts in the act of “understanding” the challenge and the “defining” of ingredients and flavor notes. This is the moment where innovation begins.

pic.03 – “The snack”, Master IED 2005/07

Ellen Kiss, our latest partner at VRD, recently conducted the creative practice of “exercising with food” during the “Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2011”, in order to discuss the thinking within the design process – Design Thinking. About 70 professionals from different nationalities and backgrounds could experience the creative process of design through a completely new proposal, different of all work everyday challenges.

The workshop “Design thinking, the doing the experience” challenged the participants to create the ideal snack to be consumed in a work environment – eating while working, working eating while. The proposal, 100% “hands-on”, aimed to bring the participants closer to the “design process” and the methods that contribute to break thinking patterns. Even with some restrictions, such as time, the experience was very positive, since the activity did not mean an immediate response to the challenge.

pic.04 – Workshop at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

Creativity is today an essential ingredient for competitiveness, more and more necessary, hard to find, disseminate and above all, difficult to manage.

Approaches like this one are extremely effective because they allow the generation of innovative solutions from an integration of the disciplines and the creative exploration of problems and challenges. Today, with our experience, we dare to say that only with a new creative vision it’s possible to create an effective revolution in business.