100 Conversations · Desk Notes · Experiments in Expression

Innovation in Ho Chi Minh City? First learn this.

Since 2013, DK has been based in Phnom Penh. Our studio has been commissioned by large NGOs to do things like ‘innovation consulting’ and ‘design thinking’ projects. Clients include the United Nations Development Program, Development Innovations, and CARE International, for example.

I don’t have the low-down on what those things involved, specifically, because my teammate there in that city, Akira Morita, has handled everything for DK in Cambodia. That includes all the deliverables, networking there, and fielding queries so that I can focus on what I’m best at.

 

Doing things right, versus doing the right things

Namely, researching. Mostly by field testing. By doing things like guessing what I think might work and trying it. Like a chef in the kitchen exploring new recipes, or a jazz musician playing with others who love that music, I like to play with materials and collage stuff. Words and image. Papers. You can see some of that in our new portfolio for Atelier S P A C E, on Behance. (Here’s a link: http://behance.net/dipikakohli.)

But why is this important?

Because we—collective Humanity ‘we’—together need to turn a new page.

Obviously, because of rioting and military-trained right-wingers doing things like this, we need a change.

If you think so too, read on.

Play x Innovation x Design x S P A C E

New methods in spacemaking!, that’s fun.

Making S P A C E.

Space that is, not just like, overwhelmed by one mode of thought, but is by design made out of multiple angles and perspectives. This is no longer just feelgood politically correct ‘diversity’ stuff. I remember someone telling me straightfaced about an experiment where people were made to sit and talk to ‘a diverse person’. What is a ‘diverse person?’ A person with lots of different things going on inside of them? I mean to this person who told me it just meant, I think, non-white. So yeah. General systemic problem, here. How about this, though. How about finding ways to make better dialogues than just ‘diverse’ and ‘non-diverse’ people talking in pairs? Mmmhmmm. Enter S P A C E.

Doing it well takes some experience with this. Sure. Sure it does. It also takes willful participation (hence our tendency to go for self-selecting things, instead of grant-funded things because those, you know, are [deleted]). More things you need: curation and deliberation and intention-setting and work.

But when you show up, it feels good, and it flows… effortlessly. At least that is what I always hope, when I invite people to be part of the workshops and ateliers and other things that we do, here, behind the scenes. See: http://designkompany.com/create-with-dk

 

I love S P A C E

S P A C E is fun. S P A C E is light and also self-styled for self-discovery. Where does learning happen? When you find out something that you didn’t know, for yourself, that is true for you. Many artists I know resonate with this because people who make things are dancing in the margins of what ‘society’ says and they also are working out their feelings through their art, I find, too. I’m always happy if someone I discover becomes part of our conversations to the point where I get to ask if they want to co-create with me, in S P A CE. Like my friend Ilyas Kassam. I loved making an issue of S P A C E with him. Here it is, pictured on his website:


https://www.ilyaskassam.com/tour

I like making this kind of stuff so much.

 

‘Curiosity is my best friend’

Because it’s curiosity that calls us, to explore S P A C E further. Outwardly. Expansively. S P A C E kind of insists itself into the more socially accepted patterns of ‘doing things like this.’ The status quo needs to be pushed out, challenged. Because… cool stuff can happen… there. That’s what we did, making this issue, pictured above. It was all about expanding our boundaries and using the technologies at hand, too, to make it interesting. He said I had a ‘tech touch.’ I liked that !

That is of a quality that invites, and includes, very new angles, and perspectives.In order to invite the new. Curiosity is my best friend.

Obviously, that runs in contradiction to some of the more rigid, Type A styles of ‘doing business’ in Asia that are, well, let’s be really direct, shall we? More about power games, hierarchy-establishment, manipulation, and power harassment that comes up when you’re highly influenced by a management style that say, is from… well. Lots of places. It’s the norm, isn’t it? Sad.

Yeah.

 

Edits

I quickly exit from any encounter that feels icky in this way; they’re not interested in new thinking, new starts, new angles, and new ways of making because they’re really only interested in shining a light on… themselves. [deleted]

Have you heard this one?’

Some people, to feel taller, cut off the heads of others.’

Jealousies and stuff. Waste. Of. Time.

Those kinds of people get in the way of making cool things. And keep life boring and troublesome, because it’s not about celebrating the best of what each can bring, it’s about squashing actual creativity before it becomes a threat. You know what I mean? Gosh, some of my friends who worked in corporations know, and tell me. I’ve got a lot of friends in corporations, so I hear a lot of stories. Especially now that they’re all coming out of their prime years in their careers and realizing… it wasn’t really worth it. Years older, more tired, less excited, less jazzed.

They look at me and go, ‘What the. How did you…’

Not fall into the trap?

By leaving.

Everyone.

Who. Didn’t. Get it.

That included family members, old ‘friends’, and ex-colleagues who turned out to be sociopaths. Not even kidding.

Life is fun, huh?

I like this jpg:

 

Colorfully more, and more together

Instead of wasting time with the naysayers, the scapegoaters, the narcissists, the gaslighters, the weirdos, the ones who hate you just because you’re you, and the rest of them who resist actually becoming better versions of themselves because that’s too hard, I just write. Every. Single. Day. I type 103wpm. [Earlier in this post, up above, I linked to this, where you can actually hear me typing, in my Soundcloud called, Hi2.]

Fun.

I used to write for newspapers, and now I just write S P A C E. I love discovery, and I’ve been discovering a hell of a lot, but it’s kind of nice, sometimes, to put on my old reporter’s hat and look things up and find out more and then, actually, like, write something about it for others to read. So I’ll do that more, this year. After all I have the experience. I was an editor for four years, half that time for a daily in Seattle, and the other half of that time for an alt-weekly in southwest Ireland. These places were where I learned to brainstorm, discover stories, and get fast at writing something that told a story people could learn something from. Now I just add to that, with my own take on things, and my own design style. In S P A C E.

I still do Q&A’s sometimes, too. A few examples are this and this. I save the best of them for S P A C E. For our Spring 2021 series on Innovation, or whatever the title becomes closer to then, I’ll expand on some of the past articles, for example:

Raising the bar (properly)

Opposite of fostering a culture of innovation are things like top-down management style, over directing, not listening to others, and pretending to be a big-shot like you know what you’re doing. You can’t really learn how to open up to new ideas if you’re just trying to validate some broken sense of self. That’s normal, with narcissists, and narcissists drive our capitalist society.

They usually, the ones close to me?, try to take credit for everything I do. Pretty lame. But they try to, and later, I find out, and just kind of, well, chuckle.

Figure out your own stuff, and make it happen, for you.

Join S P A C E

I do that, with my friends, sometimes. Make those kinds of moments possible for self-discovery and exploration.

To get to know what we create together, you can subscribe to our weekly e-mag here: https://gumroad.com/designkompany/membership.

I’ll share updates there.

Or if you want be part of something ‘in the future’, you can make a donation to our projects, and let me know to keep you informed. You can do that by selecting the option that lets you get messages from the fundraiser, that’s me. And you’ll be kept informed of messages from me with exclusives on how to get invited to projects in S P A C E. I’ll only update those who are interested, and indicate such by doing the things I ask you to, in this paragraph. More from there.