How to Redesign & Reengineer your Life to Unleash your Creative Potential & Imagination

How to Redirect Your Career After Getting Laid Off

Hubert Rampersad, Ph.D.

This article is related to my article “HOW TO DESIGN A BETTER WORLD”. During this COVID-19 time of social isolation you need to be able to develop innovative ideas much faster, better, and smarter. Traditional innovation approaches are not sustainable because they are not authentic and not holistic, and therefore do not fit to the circular economy in the corona era. In this article I am launching a personal innovation methodology to revolutionize innovation, design, and HR. Let me start with these two quotes:

”There’s such a need to move the traditional HR focus on compensation, rewards, benefits, payrolls, hiring & firing, and bureaucratical policies, and instead focus on fostering a culture of innovation in which personal innovation, personal integrity, trust, inclusion, belonging, love, and employee alignment & engagement are embedded; by doing so happiness and productivity at work will increase and stress will be reduced. It is about time for HR managers to understand that happy, ethical, and smart employees make happy customers”Hubert Rampersad

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Transformation (DT) are the next wave of innovation to enable us to work better, smarter and faster, it’s important to focus on personal disruptive innovation to keep up with AI and DT, because machines and robots can’t replace human intelligence, thinking, creativity, and empathy.” – Hubert Rampersad 

1.Sustainable Circular Economy Requires Sustainable Circular Innovation

In a circular economy, creative, intuitive and systems thinking are the preconditions for creating closed cycles. Circular cycles in which raw materials, components and products lose as little value as possible and renewable energy sources are used. Circularity is therefore not only based on systems thinking, as most experts claim. Above all, it also requires holistic thinking that is related to creative and intuitive thinking. Today’s complex world requires a sustainable culture of innovation. Traditional innovation and design thinking approaches taught at Stanford, Harvard, and MIT are not sustainable because they are not authentic and not holistic. They are mainly process-driven, focused on analytical thinking and how to follow design steps, cozy meetings, how to complete related tasks in certain order and how to use design tools. They do not inspire imagination effectively. Remember what Albert Einstein said: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. Logic will get you from A to B. But imagination will take you everywhere… When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking… The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

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My below models show how in my new innovation model personal innovation, corporate innovation, and social innovation are interrelated, and associated with self-learning, organizational learning, and community learning, respectively. I refer to my article “Reimagining Innovation and Rethinking Design for Sustainable Circular Economy” . In my related new book, I have defined these three types of innovation as follows (Rampersad, 2019):

  • Personal Innovation; the process of unleashing your creative potential, creating new personal opportunities, disrupting your existing target market, that lead to a significant social impact.
  • Corporate Innovation; the application of new ideas to create new products, processes, or services, that lead to increased corporate value.
  • Social Innovation; the process of developing and implementing new ideas and solutions that aim to meet social needs and strengthen civil society.

2. Sustainable Circular Economy Requires Sustainable Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Diversity, inclusion and belonging have a major impact on sustainable circular innovation. Because the successful creation of closed cycles in which raw materials, components and products lose as little value as possible and renewable energy sources are used requires above all diverse thinking and a culture of inclusion and belonging. I refer to my article “Measuring and Creating a Sustainable Innovation Culture of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging“.

3. Sustainable Circular Economy Requires Authentic and Holistic Design Thinking

All my above mentioned innovation models are associated with my new design thinking model that I have introduced in my new book and my article “HOW TO DESIGN A BETTER WORLD“. This model is authentic, holistic, cyclic, iterative, and concentric, as shown in below Figure.

Traditional design thinking approaches taught at Stanford, Harvard, and MIT are mainly based on cozy meetings. Cozy meetings are not always needed to generate great ideas. Remember: The best ideas come when you are alone! I developed many great ideas in the past thirty years when I was alone. Nikola Tesla generated tons of innovative ideas when he was alone. Stephen Hawking made great discoveries from his wheelchair and Isaac Newton discovered gravity while in social isolation. Especially in this Corona era you need to be able to develop great ideas during these difficult times while you are in social isolation in order to survive. Remember what Einstein said: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. 

4. Sustainable Circular Economy Requires Personal Disruptive Innovation

Personal disruptive innovation entails the first stage in my new design thinking model. Disruptive innovation is a term that was launched by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen. It refers to an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leaders, and alliances. More recent sources also include “significant societal impact” as an aspect of disruptive innovation. According to Whitney Johnson: “Organizations can’t disrupt, if their people don’t”.

Employees need to become disruptive first to avoid trauma of sudden corporate disruption. Designers need to become innovative first to develop innovative designs for their end users. I, therefore, introduce in this article the concept of personal disruptive innovation, as described in my new books “Authentic and Holistic Design Thinking for Personal, Corporate, and Social Innovation” and “Authentic Personal Branding for Design Thinkers” (Rampersad, 2019). Personal disruptive innovation is an innovation that unleashes your creative potential, creates new personal opportunities, disrupts your existing target market and let you make a significant social impact. This personal innovation is based on a framework and roadmap to explore and (re)design your life, build resilience, and develop your authentic personal design thinking brand and personal integrity. It is strongly related to spiritual and emotional intelligence and self-learning, read also “How Mindful Meditation Boosts Creativity, Innovation, and Imagination”

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Using the personal disruptive innovation model, as shown in in below Figure, you will able to disrupt yourself and become visionary, imaginary, and empathic. It is about translating your self-knowledge via self-learning into personal innovation. Remember: Without self-knowledge, personal innovation, and personal integrity, you cannot be a successful emphatic design thinker.

Personal Disruptive Innovation Model (Rampersad, 2019)

The personal disruptive innovation model consists of the following four phases:

 A.   Personal ambition: This phase involves a soul-searching process based on thought, introspection, and self-reflection supported by an introduced breathing and silence exercise (click on this link to view this meditation exercise). The result of this phase is the formulation of your personal mission, vision, and key roles, according to the framework shown in below Figure. On the basis of insights acquired through this process, you will explore your life and develop self-knowledge, self-awareness, and self-regulation, which are the foundation of empathy, trustworthiness, integrity, creativity, imagination, and openness to learn. Click on this link to view my personal ambition statement.

Personal Ambition Framework (Rampersad, 2019)

B.   Personal design thinking brand: This phase involves defining and formulating an authentic, distinctive, and memorable personal design thinking brand promise, and how to use it as the focal point of your storytelling and design thinking actions. Storytelling contributes to different stages in the design thinking process to engage with the customer. Take the time to write down your personal design thinking brand statement, which must be in harmony with your personal ambition, and create a related compelling brand story to promote the brand called You. Click on this link to view my personal brand statement.

 C.    Personal Innovation Strategy: Personal ambition has no value unless you take action to make it a reality. Therefore, the emphasis in this stage is developing an integrated and well-balanced action plan based on your personal ambition to realize your life and design thinking objectives. Design thinking without continuous improvement of yourself based on your personal innovation strategy is merely cosmetic and will not lead to your sustainable growth and success. This entails your personal critical success factors that are related to your personal ambition and your corresponding objectives, performance measures, targets, and improvement actions. It is divided into four perspectives: internal, external, knowledge and learning, and financial perspectives. Your personal innovation strategy translates your personal ambition into manageable and measurable personal objectives, milestones, and improvement actions in a holistic and balanced way. Through your personal innovation strategy, you can manage yourself and time effectively and become more disciplined, proactive, innovative, and empathic. Your personal innovation strategy is meant to keep you on course and avoid your obsolescence. Read “How to Develop and Implement a Personal Innovation Strategy“to view my complete personal innovation strategy.

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D.    Implementation of your Personal Innovation Strategy: The next step is to implement, maintain, and cultivate your personal innovation strategy to manage and disrupt yourself effectively. This focuses on your private life and business life. To guide you in this process, I have introduced a unique learning cycle called the Plan–Deploy–Act–Challenge cycle (PDAC cycle, as shown in below Figure), which should be followed continuously. To live in accordance with your personal innovation strategy through its implementation using the PDAC cycle results in a journey towards self-awareness, flow, happiness, and personal disruption. Your personal innovation strategy needs constant update to reflect the new challenges you take, the lessons you have learned, and the growth of yourself. Therefore, it is needed to repeat the PDAC cycle over and over again.

 Plan–Deploy–Act–Challenge Cycle (Rampersad, 2019)

Becoming a successful design thinker means improving yourself continuously according to your personal innovation strategy and the PDAC cycle. Below Figure shows the differences between successful and unsuccessful design thinkers. Check also my article “Top Ten Traits of a Successful Design Thinker.”

   5. Sustainable Circular Economy Requires Personal Integrity & Empathy

Great leadership without personal integrity & empathy is bullshit. There is no room for bullshit in the time of coronavirus! Also remember: Personal integrity & empathy are 95% of great leadership. In my article ” How to Develop Personal Integrity & Empathy Sustainably” I have introduced a methodology for this. Empathy means awareness of the emotions of others; the emotional connection with others. Empathy without personal leadership is bullshit! I refer to my articles “Leading With Personal Integrity and Empathy During the Covid-19 Crisis” and “50 Tips for Leading With Empathy During the Covid-19 Crisis“.

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Personal integrity is crucial for a long and successful career as design thinker. Your personal brand should reflect your true self and must adhere to a moral and behavioural code set down by your personal ambition. This means that who you really are, what you care about, and your passions should come out in your brand, and you should act and behave accordingly (you should be yourself) to build trust. Building trust starts with being true and authentic to yourself. This involves finding the proper balance between your personal ambition and your behaviour and actions, as shown in below Figure. It is about alignment with yourself. As a result, your empathic and innovation skills will be stronger. Click on this link to view the complete personal integrity methodology. This methodology is related to the Design Thinking Code of Ethics.

Aligning Personal Ambition with Personal Behaviour and Actions 

Sustainable Circular Economy Requires Happy and Engaged Employees

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Aligning and synchronizing the design thinker’s personal ambition with the shared corporate ambition (corporate mission, vision and, core values) are about tapping into your designer’s heart. It is needed for the purpose of the designer’s engagement and for creating a happy creative workforce in the design team. Designers do not work with devotion or spend energy on something they do not believe in or agree with. Remember: The customer will not be happy if the designer is not happy and innovative. That’s why aligning personal innovation with corporate innovation is so important. If there is an effective match between their interests and those of the organization or design team, or if their values and the shared values align, they will be engaged and will work with greater commitment and dedication towards realizing the team and corporate objectives. To develop employee alignment and engagement, I encourage leaders and employees to formulate their personal ambition and let them reflect on the balance between their personal ambition and the shared corporate ambition, as shown in below Figure. I recommend introducing a periodical and informal ambition meeting within the organization and in the design teams between the leaders/managers/team leaders and their associated employees. Click on this link to view the complete Employee Alignment and Engagement methodology.

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Aligning Personal Ambition with Shared Corporate Ambition

Our related online training events:

Online Training: How to Create a Sustainable Circular Innovation Culture of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging    

Online Training: Duurzame Inclusieve Innovatie

Online Training: Authentic and Holistic Design Thinking  

Online Training: Authentic Personal Branding for Design Thinkers

Dr. Hubert Rampersad is a disruptive imagineer, founder of the Center of Excellence in Design Thinking, and author of Authentic and Holistic Design Thinking for Personal, Corporate, and Social Innovation andAuthentic Personal Branding for Design Thinkers . He is also author of 25 other books on innovation, management, and entrepreneurial leadership, published in many languages. One of his books, Total Performance Scorecard, published in 20 languages was foreworded by Harvard Business School innovation professor Dorothy Leanard. His Ph.D. dissertation “Integrated and Simultaneous Design for Robotic Assembly” was published by John Wiley in 1995, based on this PhD research at the prestigious Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. He has been featured on BusinessWeek and Bloomberg.

Further readings:

Center of Excellence in Design Thinking

Miami, Florida, USA | tpsi@live.com | phone: +1-7542218946 |whatsapp: +1330315242 | skype: h.rampersad | About the author https://bit.ly/2CQLIfS 

Advance Praise

“Dr. Hubert Rampersad has provided a sorely needed guidebook for innovators and design thinkers. He shows us all how to solve complex problems successfully, based on his authentic and holistic design thinking model. This four-stage blueprint proposes an explicit way to design innovative and desirable products and services that reflect all aspects of life effectively. He also provided an integrated business case to illustrate the application of his new design thinking model. This unique book is the first and only book on the market on authentic and holistic design thinking in which personal disruptive innovation and personal integrity are embedded.”– Anwar El-Homsi, PhD., Manager Process Excellence & Innovation at Verizon in New Jersey, Design Thinking Graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University

“This revolutionary handbook is the first book on personal disruptive innovation aligned with design thinking. It shows the step by step process of how to create new and innovative ideas and solving problems holistically. It also shows very clearly and concisely what a design thinking professional should do to succeed. I’ve been reading a lot of design thinking books but this one is the only authentic and holistic book on this topic. It gives an integrated framework for ingenuity and a unique design thinking methodology, based on spiritual & emotional intelligence. I definitely recommend it to anyone involved in design-specific cognitive activities that designers apply during the process of designing. This complete guide has given me great insights and innovative strategies to ensure that I will certainly overcome the challenges in the design industry. A must read for everyone who like to become a disruptive design thinker and innovator.”— Prof. Raja Roy Choudhury, Ph.D, Certified by Harvard University and Yale University.

”This innovative book shows the step by step process of how design thinkers can stand out from the crowd, differentiate and disrupt themselves, unleash their creative potential, and become empathic. It includes unique strategies for designers looking to be a top performer and to excel in the design thinking industry. This book also shows very clearly and concisely what a disruptive design thinker should do to succeed in life and in business sustainably”. —Dr. J. Johnson, Director Innovation Platform at the Innovation University of Florida

“Personal innovation and empathy are the most fundamental character traits of a design thinker and crucial ingredients in building a successful career in the design thinking industry. This great book introduces a unique methodology on how to build this sustainably. If you follow the processes outlined in this revolutionary guide you are sure to have success in the design thinking industry. If you are in the design business, do yourself a huge favour, pick up this great book and learn from it.”— Dr. J. Hansen, Director Center of Excellence in Design Thinking at the Innovation University of Florida

“Dr. Hubert Rampersad is the first ever who launched a book on authentic and holistic design thinking, including authentic personal branding for design thinkers. I am sure many copycats will follow him after reading this amazing book. I definitely recommend this book to anyone that works in the design thinking industry and want to be extremely successful in this business. This complete guide has given me great insights and innovative strategies to ensure that I will certainly overcome the challenges in the design thinking business. Is a must read for everyone who like to becoming a disruptive empathic design thinker.” — Dr. Vicky William, Co-founder LinkedIn Group “Center of Excellence in Design Thinking” 

“As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the next wave of innovation to enable us to work better, smarter and faster, it’s important to implement Dr. Rampersad’s personal innovation system to keep up with AI, because machines and robots can’t replace human intelligence, thinking, creativity, and empathy”. – Prof. Rajesh K. Srivastava, Ph.D., Vice-President Innovation University of Florida.

 “What I like the most in this book is the introduced methodology for design managers to enhance the alignment and engagement of their designers, by creating a motivating happy workforce and a learning culture of trust and collaboration in their design team and organization. Dr. Rampersad is right, the customer will not be happy if the designer is not happy and innovative. That’s why aligning personal innovation with corporate innovation is so important”.— Prof. Johan Potgieter, Ph.D., Vice-President Technological University of the Americas.