For those of you that aren’t as old as I am, the basic premise of TSMDM is this-former astronaut gets into an accident at work (Workers Comp!) and, in typical early 70’s logic, was saved from death by becoming a cyborg operative for a US goverment agency. Bad hair, bad clothes, and outrageous plots made it a hit in my house. My friends and I would always imagine ourselves as having these great powers, doing cool things and getting the girl in the end. We especially loved making the bionic sounds.
Now fast forward to 2009…
I was born and raised in New York City, maybe the only place in the U.S. where owning a car is considered, well, insane. It’s certainly isn’t necessary, which is part of the reason I don’t own one. That doesn’t mean I don’t like them, which brings me to the above mentioned concept car. I like good design, as do most people. It can take something that functions well, if rather plainly (a car or a government drone, for example) and infuse it with a significance beyond mere utility. All cars have to do is get people from point A to point B; this car does that and more, in a way that elevates its purpose beyond its base.
The other thing I particularly enjoy about concept cars is that they’re an attempt to answer the question, “What if?” While they’re generally grounded in reality, concept cars allow designers to stretch the limits of what something can or should do. It’s in this space between what is and what if that innovative ideas come from. And great product design (think about icons such as the Ipod) answers that “What if?” question in a way that makes people connect to them, both intimately and repeatedly. Even when the day passes that the design becomes outdated (think about the previous generations Ipod, aka the Walkman), people will still retain that connection. And that can be the difference between which things we choose to own or use over others.
“…design has become crucial for most modern businesses-as a means of differentiation and as a way to create new markets.”Dan Pink, from A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers will Rule the Future
Now going back to the 70’s…
As cheesy as TSMDM was, it was a great way to answer a similar question-What if we empowered a man to be better than he already was? That’s the question a lot of organizations face as they struggle to recruit quality workers and maximize the talents of their existing ones. It’s the same struggle that HR professionals face internally, as we recognize the need to step-up our game in order to be great assets to the organizations we serve. Work forces and work places are trying to re-design themselves; the ones that successfully answer “What if?” will be the ones who succeed.
So my question to you is this:
What if you could build the perfect HR pro, what would he/she have?