At the beginning of the film The Menu, the character Chef Slowik played by Ralph Fiennes commands his guests not to eat. “Taste, don’t eat.” Frame the problem.
When introducing the concept of Culture Mapping to clients and students, we are always faced with dislodging an existing mindset that prevents the mobility of process toward better futures. The core of our method is about having the confidence to ask better questions so that one can make better decisions. Establishing questions and unearthing questions are critical in showing us unknowns. How are we framing what we want in the future? Our existing biases and the groupthink within corporations are strong forces that erode progress and water down opportunities.
The essential questions are never business questions, they are human questions. We should seek to understand emerging needs over the current relevance of our brand. From there, we can better understand the capabilities available to us that can rise to meet those needs. Unfortunately, without critical upfront planning, innovation, and marketing quickly fall out of balance.
The role Culture Mapping plays is to carve out the breadth of story spaces allowing us to map innovation and reflect on the language, archetypes, and subsequent design actions that can emerge from that knowledge.
In developing sustainable strategies consider the language expressed in the disruptive story space. Think of indigenous food systems as integral to food systems architecture. In the emergent story space of clothing creativity and experimentation, understand material and technique before it becomes impulse shopping. In the dominant story space, recognize how quickly the efficiency of technology can dilute the meaning of diversity through the ease of shareability and memes. And in the residual space, consider regulation and how new policy must include accountability in the sustainability of going forward.