My professional life revolves around entrepreneurship in its many forms, the Fourth Industrial Revolution--4IR (that the World Economic Forum correctly started heralding a few years ago) and how these two themes intersect around opportunity, wealth creation and social innovation. One of the devices to understand the 4IR is what I call the Trilogy, which was written about by Daniel C. Wahl in the very good article, "Facing Complexity: Wicked Design Problems". The Trilogy, which is a device to simplify the 4IR, is that this revolution can be understood as the convergence of nature-design-technology. Until today I would have said go away and study complexity science, artificial intelligence, bio-mimicry, slime mold, design thinking and 10-20 other concepts and then the Trilogy is obvious. Today I had a realization.
Fashion represents the Trilogy. Please remember my twenty years in retail and retail consulting. Now one might argue that fashion has existed from before we left the caves (all of intellectual history beginning from the first drawing on a cave wall) and you would be correct. Remember, it could be that all of human history can be understood through the lens of the Trilogy-nature-design-technology (see this article on the Krebs Cycle of Creativity). Now back to explaining the Trilogy in terms of fashion.
Now almost everyone can understand fashion in terms of design, at least it is superficially obvious. Technology is much the same, with different fabrics and colors being the result of technology. Where it becomes interesting is when we consider the role of nature in fashion. Of course, nature is where we introduce the human-centric focus and that leads us to the drape of the clothing on the body, the equally important emotional engagement of the wearer and most importantly to the question of customer self-esteem. What the fashion example makes clear is that every consumer opportunity, product or solution should be considered in the terms of the trilogy, whether you were sitting outside a cave or a modern design studio. As you venture forth in the 4IR remember one does not understand fully until one can explain the issue or opportunity in terms of nature-design and technology.
Note: The Krebs Creativity Cycle is not obvious and takes awhile for people to appreciate its utility. I will do a followup post to explain its utility in more detail.