In the last century, farmers and ranchers would rip out the back seats of their cars to create a vehicle that would better meet their personal needs…hauling things around. It took much longer for manufacturers to respond to this demand for more usable vehicles. Eventually the “Texas Cadillac” or pickup truck became a huge market around the world as they remain today.
True “discontinuous” innovation happens when people see things from different perspectives to create or co-create something that is fundamentally different. This often occurs when two or more people from different fields come together to resolve a problem.
Mick Pearce an architect from Zimbabwe was tasked with creating an office tower in Harare, Zimbabwe that used no air conditioning. This is no small task given temperatures in Harare can swing between 50-104F.
Termites As Nature’s Building Engineers?
Fortunately, Pearce knew something about entomology and an engineer friend who shared this knowledge. They found the solution to their challenge in the savanna where temperature swings are even greater.
Termites mounds in Zimbabwe have been designed to rise from the floor to heights over 14 feet and are designed to maintain a relative temperature of 87F.
So Mick adapted Nature’s design to create Eastgate Centre which maintains a temperature between 73-77F day or night without HVAC year round using a passive cooling system that works by storing heat in the day and venting it at night as temperatures drop.
Promoting Diversity of Thought for Innovating in Associations
Using a product co-creation model for creating better products and services can provide a critical “ecosystem” for promoting diversity of thought through the ideation, design, production, distribution and promotion of a product or service. As we shall see in our next post, an “open process” that engage a variety of professional expertise within your community of members in product or service design can help you more effectively and efficiently provide what the market wants.