Lisa Parks, Eunoia

Walking the last mile of innovation

How artists can help companies in finding new ways to innovate and generate value

Innovation by Gianmaria Vernetti March 2, 2015

A couple of days ago I was having a coffee with a friend of mine. We were discussing about the slowness of his home cable internet connection and another friend of us promptly said: “Well, it is a last mile trouble”.

According to Wikipedia, the last mile is is a phrase used by the telecommunications, cable television and internet industries to refer to the final leg of the telecommunications networks delivering communications connectivity to retail customers. At the same time, the last mile of a network is also the first mile from the user to the world.

I am fascinated by the phrase last mile, so I am thinking: what is the last mile of innovation? And who are the agents that control it?

And while surfing on Google I found this wonderful quote from Henry David Thoreau:

“All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil. The fight to the finish spirit is the one… characteristic we must posses if we are to face the future as finishers”.

In technical terms, the last mile is usually considered as the main bottleneck in delivering data to customers. That makes sense for me: shaking up the last mile of innovation is the turning point to generate new ideas and experiences. Let’s see how.

I really enjoyed this project developed by multidisciplinary artist Lisa Park.

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Eunoia is a performance based on brainwaves, that are used to manipulate the motions of water. A brainwave detecting sensor measures and collects the frequencies of the brain activity. Data are then sent to softwares to be modeled and converted into sounds and motions.

Eunoia is a really interesting project, marked by a high level of technological complexity. A beautiful example of innovation that can acts as a source of inspiration for manufacturers and technologists.

In this perspective, projects like Eunoia highlight that the last mile of innovation is the ideal meeting point between manufacturers and artists.

By investigating and working on a lateral approach to technology, artists can help companies in finding new ways to innovate and create products and services. Artists can help companies in removing the bottlenecks of innovation projects thus creating a new and lean way to generate value.

I truly think that it makes sense.