10/7/09: Leonardo da Vinci’s Lessons on Innovation and Visualization

Robert E. Horn, Stanford University, shares powerful examples of innovation visualizations — from Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary innovative work. Together, we explored how these examples illustrate the power of vision and visualization in a wide range of innovation fields.

He not only discusses Leonardo – but appears dressed and talking as Leonardo! Leonardo’s lessons that Bob presents and illustrates are:

  1. Have wild ideas
  2. Think big
  3. Fail early and often
  4. Have many ideas.
  5. Observation – study nature
  6. Visual representation
  7. Everything can be designed
  8. Empower innovation
  9. Rapid prototypes
  10. Multiple experts
  11. Keep focus

Bob is a political scientist with a special interest in policy communication, social learning, and knowledge management, with specialties in biotechnology and national security affairs. He was CEO of Information Mapping, Inc. an international consulting firm which he founded after years of interdisciplinary research and practice. He has taught at Harvard, Columbia, and Sheffield universities. He is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Human Science and Technology Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR).

The subjects of Bob’s innovation visualization projects over the years range from visual analytics for public policy (strategic science, national missile defense, genetically modified food), to NSF’s “human cognome” initiative, to analyzing a variety of what he calls “social messes”. His latest book, Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century, shows how the wide gulf between the verbal and visual worlds is at last being bridged by the tight integration of words and images into a “visual language”.

His most recent project is a 14 foot information mural that he did for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s project Vision 2050,  entitled “Towards a Sustainable 2050.”

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