Amazing design thinking @ D6

I attended All Things Digital last week, and — much to my surprise —
walked away with more than just a more informed view of where the
digital ecosystem is headed.

As cool a conference as it is, I didn’t expect to have an emotional experience.  But there you go, my hat got knocked in to the creek by the amazing work being done by Dean Kamen’s group at DEKA. Take a look at this video and tell me that you aren’t blown away by the wicked combination of elegant engineering, high-minded problem solving, and a darn-it-we’ll-solve-this-challenge-no-matter-what sensibility:

For the impatient among you (and who isn’t in this Web 2.0 world), fast forward to about the 2:30 mark.   You can read more about these arms here.

Each time I see this stuff I get tears in my eyes, and to see innovative engineering like this makes me feel optimistic about the future of the profession.  As organizations age, I believe there’s a tendency for established disciplines to cease to be creative, to become more critical than generative.  Success naturally leads to conservatism and a desire to preserve the status quo.  Engineering, more so than other disciplines, is prone to this dynamic.  Great engineers push hard to find elegant solutions to seemingly impossible problems.  Mediocre ones don’t.  Innovation is really about being innovative.  In other words, it is a way of being, and it is a personal choice.  Let’s keep thinking of these arms from DEKA in all that we do.