This post will be the last of the “Feelings” section of the skill set you will need in the age of robotics, as set out by Marty Neumeier’s book Metaskills. Just to recap, there is intuition where you just feel your way to the solution and you can only reach there by spending time developing your skills (the 10,000 hours theory). There is empathy where you understand your customers and are able to deliver pleasure or wow (think Starbucks or Southwest Airlines versus RyanAir). And finally there is social intelligence where you need the ability to get along with people and motivate them.
The last piece of the chapter is a discussion about design. Design is a popular topic right now: Tom Peters talked about the business need to incorporate design into their model, McKinsey has an article or two on the need for design. Are they talking about art? Well, probably not. They are probably talking more about creating a beautiful experience or a beautiful product that is such a joy to behold. They are also talking about an ease of use of the product or service. They are not talking about pictures but they are talking about a form of art that Seth Godin references (I think). Think iPod, iPhone or iPad. Those products not only work beautifully but they also looked beautiful and totally turned multiple industries upside down.
Apple made design respectable.
And the book has a section on design. The author hopes that design will bring back beauty that has been missing since the Industrial Age, about 500 years. He feels that design is here to stay and there is research that shows that design is a major factor in the success of innovative companies. I don’t know…the jury is still out on whether business is really serious about creating beautiful things or experience or this is just a fad right now. Because we still have the shareholder mentality that pushes down the costs of labor to increase the profit margins and thus enrich the coffers of the few. These people can buy their own art and really haven’t cared about beauty in business so far.
So how does this relate to developing skills? Well, the author says you need to develop good taste or a sense of aesthetics. He has two pages that show the toolbox of aesthetics but I’m still unsure of how you develop good taste. This is something that requires more thinking and research but suspect that good taste is not something you read up on but experience under the guidance of those with good taste.
Although, there is that quote:
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”