Dr. Jonathan Edelman
HPI School of Design Thinking, Stanford/Potsdam
1: What do you have the greatest respect for?
Generosity of spirit.
And especially my teachers who have acted with generosity of spirit.
+1: When do you have the best ideas?
I am not a big believer in “IDEAS” per se.
While important, ideas are secondary processes: abstractions that characterize and connect much more tangible and primary experience the ingredients of which are objects, behaviours and narratives. That said, most often the connections that arise in my conscious mind occur when I am near the water. It is great to be living in Brandenburg, as there is so much water all around!
+2: What are you working on right now?
I am working on several projects right now.
At the Hasso Plattner Institute I am concentrating on Digital Transformation: through a considered marriage of digital technology and design thinking a positive magnified effect can be brought to products and services, customer and partner relations, and infrastructure and organizational structures. The HPI is a place where previously unimaginable things are brought into existitence through the practice of Digital Transformation.
I am also transforming research about design thinking into actionable content for designers. Design thinking is going through a very exciting transformation, because is becoming a discipline, with grounding in empirical evidence as well as serious theory. The Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Program is a the vanguard of this enterprise. The program has been running for over ten years and lots of great work has been done in developing a scientific understanding of design thinking and designers at work. As a result, many of the old practices are developing into more robust practices in which the mechanics that drive the practices are transparent.
Finally, I am looking into other creative practices (from art, music, mathematics, computer science to name a few) and discovering what could be useful to design thinking. For example, I am looking into the working methods of several composers and transcribing these approaches into methods that I hope will benefit the design thinking community.
+3: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A Renaissance guy.
+4: What would you like to invent?
I would like to invent every day objects that open us to what is beyond the seemingly mundane. What would a door knocker that brought enlightenment to the user look, sound and feel like?
+5: What are your „no go´s“?
Recognizing limits is important, because limits give you a target to go beyond.
I am constantly amazed and humbled when I see things come to be that I thought were not possible.
+6: What inspires you?
That which is done exceptionally well.
My heroes are many and from a wide range of disciplines. The one thing they have in common is the courage to follow and share their deeply personal vision which is a gift to the rest of us.
+7: What do you collect?
Evanescent moments and liminal moments.
+8: What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for so many things.
My wife and son. Family life is a blessing to me.
Friends and community. We have made some great friends here, who have been fabulously generous and supportive.
Colleagues that provide intelligent, challenging discussion about what we are doing and why we are here.
A great place to live.
I’m grateful for being able to work at an institution where cutting edge work is being done.
The leadership at the HPI has been very generous to me, and has encouraged me to work on projects in which I find deep personal meaning and satisfaction.