Rapidinnovation – See & Touch Invisible – DesignKata #2

The previous post dealt with the first Design Kata of keeping a journal in which a problem solver, innovator or design thinker keeps a record of the decisions taken and how one arrived at those decisions.

However, as we know the most important task for a problem solver or design thinker is to find a ‘why’ for an event, phenomenon or failure that takes place.

Keeping that in view Design Kata #2 deals with the practice of seeing and touching the invisible.

Why is that?

This is because answers to the ‘why’ of an event, phenomenon or failure lies in the understanding of the nature and quality of the interactions and interdependence of the elements that happen in a given space.

It is also clear that a) interdependence between things, b) the edges of interactions of such interdependent things and c) the transitions of states and relationships that take place of over time are physically invisible to the human eye.

Hence effective problem solving and design thinking is all about seeing and touching the invisible, without which cognition of a problem can’t even start. Admittedly, this is a difficult thing to practice.

And why is that?

It might be best understood by the visual representation, presented below


Diagram 1

Most of the traditional problem solving methods, techniques and processes start with viewing the top events or failures that emerge and then somehow try to drill below this level to understand the patterns that cause them, which are then attacked to solve the problem. Some methods also try to drill down one step further to understand the systemic relationships at work and try to change the relationships in an effort to solve problems.

Rapidinnovation, so to say, is an inversion of the traditional processes of finding the ‘why’ to problems.

After understand

ing the ‘form’ of the emergence (events and failures) it straight away views the elements and the ‘empty’ spaces in between the elements that contain the ‘undesirable’ dynamics causing ‘system imperfections’. Such ‘system imperfections’ constantly give rise to a gamut of patterns causing various possible emergences to happen over a period of time.

So the journey starts at the bottom of the diagram by viewing the elements (form), assessing their interdependence (feelings), perceiving the interactions or dynamics (perception) that helps us to form context specific concepts of the existing and other inherent ‘imperfections’ in the system that create enabling ‘patterns’ for myriad events and transition states to emerge (context specific mental constructs). Such ‘mental constructs’ then help us ‘understand’ the observed emergences and transition states. This then enables us to act and design suitable ‘balancing relationships’ that help us to eliminate a range of undesirable emergences of events and transition states. In a future post we would discuss the monitoring of transition states, which in itself would be another DesignKata.

Clearly then, seeing and touching the ‘invisible’ is an inverted way of viewing emergent phenomenon, events, failures and transition states. We don’t try to find the ‘why’ by directly drilling down. We do so by ‘inverting’ our view point, which I call as having, the ‘right view’ of things.

So, to practice this DesignKata of seeing and touching the ‘invisible’ the practitioner is advised to apply the inverted right view of things to whatever one encounters in daily life that might be a matter of interest to the practitioner.

However, it depends on the ‘signals’ one is capable of perceiving. And surely there are many interesting emergences one comes across in daily life. It is the intention of the observer that would keep him/her alive in this practice.   

 That for me is the practice of ‘enlightenment‘ in the ‘here and now‘ 



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