Deconstruction: Reconstruction


Here we go again! I realize that a large number of recent blog posts have been around the need for new ideas, experimentation and the like. Yes, I am obsessed with taking things apart and putting them back together. I might reconstruct a little differently or exactly the same way as before, but unless I take them apart, I will never know what and how to fix.

In recent times, I have been surprised by how some basic concepts have been turned on their head and reinvented. Often, I end up kicking myself for not having thought of it earlier. While there are a million ways (think Design Thinking, appreciative inquiry, six hats etc.) of how to think about design, given my belief of understanding core concepts before design, it isn’t surprising that the “Deconstruction: Reconstruction” technique sang to me.

So if I’ve been telling you to invent and not telling you how, it is time to introduce you to one way of doing so. It breaks down the creative process into four steps:

  1. Deconstruction: This comes as no surprise. The first step of any good design process is to break down the ‘whole’. Take a good look of what it is made of. If it is a piece of machine, take each piece apart, look at how each sub piece links and moves the other. If it is an HR process, look at how each step ties with the other and what is the thought behind each step; which core concept does it arise from? What part of it is false belief, what part is based on evidence and de-link short cut and connections that form our preconceptions.
  2. Point of View: I’m going to quote a few famous lines here. First by Shakespeare – ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’ Our point of view alone informs how we think about something. Second, having the flexibility to see things from a different POV, the ability to hold multiple and sometimes contradictory viewpoints together in our minds, is at the heart of innovation. Simply put, this step involves looking at the parts from a different perspective. This is where you begin to form your hypothesis. Think about it creatively.
  3. Reconstruction: If point of view was constraint-free thinking, this is when you acknowledge the constraints. This is where you make a choice between what to keep and what to leave. You cannot have everything and hence think of what is important and put it all back together.
  4. Expression: This is where everything comes together; it is the sum of all steps. It is the strategy, vision and knowing how to go forward. It is the closing step where you express why it is that you did what you did. The communication of what you reconstructed.

I love how Ayse Birsel says – ‘Ordinary people are extraordinary if only given a creative process.’ I would encourage you to read more about what she has to say. But of course, you know I’m more interested in seeing what you deconstruct and put back together.


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