Let’s delve a bit deeper with this idea of “a new variety.” As Thomas explained, by combining DNA elements that conventionally don’t belong to one another — be it plants, design, or architectural concepts — we unleash the potential for a new variety, a third hybrid, which, in Thomas’ design experience, can often turn out to be more robust and groundbreaking than ever imagined. This fusion of multiple perspectives becomes a creative melting pot, a means to break an innovative and creative log jam.
Pressure To Innovate
Listening to Thomas speak about hybrid creativity made me reflect on several of the challenges that technological companies face in their daily work.
The technology industry is subject to immense pressure to breed “in-house innovations” amidst the very real threat of disruptive technologies. Yet due to customer pre-commitments, budget strains, you name it — our ability, capacity, or even willingness to “shake things up” is severely hampered. Let’s face it, people often just don’t get round to it. And that raises another question — who is actually responsible for innovation and creativity? The CIO? The colleague with an arts degree? What even is creativity? “I can’t even draw a stick man”, I hear many of you cry. As a culture and an industry, we need to relax our boundaries and stop pigeon-holing the creative process.
Relaxing Creative Constraints
The truth is, everyone began life as a curious and creative child: remember the last time you saw a child playing with a plain cardboard box, turning it into something else with the mere powers of imagination? Creativeness is also not constrained to “rigid” artistic constraints, such as drawing or poetry: creativity breeds in every discipline. The world is a canvas and you at the painter, poised to express creativity in any which way you want, whether it’s coding, your mannerisms, how you sign an email, how you resolve problems, how you organize your daily tasks.
Thomas Willemeit’s concept of grafting — the amalgamating of A+B to make X and the innovative potential of hybrid creativity — has a particularly strong resonance for technology companies. For this idea isn’t confined to architecture, it is much more universal than that. In today’s world, we are subject to so many diverse perspectives and approaches and surrounded by people with diverse backgrounds and educations. By daring to break conventional silos, challenging routine practices, and crossing interdisciplinary boundaries, our potential, as companies and as individuals, is unstoppable.
Keen to hear more? Click here to watch our interview with Thomas.
The SAP Design Talks regularly bring leaders from the international design scene to SAP. The sessions are held on a large stage for an internal audience of employees at various SAP locations around the globe.