Interviewing Simon Angel on innovations, processes and the gaining importance of value chains

Simon, is innovation possible without origin, without history?

There are two ways of looking at this. On the one hand, innovation is defined precisely as innovating, i.e. thinking, doing or designing something completely new. An innovation is not only the improvement of something that already exists. On the other hand, there is an innovator behind every innovation. Someone who asked the right questions. Someone who‘s started a new thinking process. Who has taken the lead and the responsibility for this completely new process. These innovators, of course, can only innovate from a highly individual constitution. And this constitutional context cannot be understood without personal origin and history.

What is the history of Sustainable Innovations then?

Sustainable Innovations are embedded in CSR and the sustainability agenda of MUNICH FABRIC START. They are on a level playing field with the ReSOURCE Area. While ReSOURCE is directly coupled with the sourcing activities at the MOC and provides visitors with insights there, Sustainable Innovations are at home at the KEYHOUSE and want to inspire and think ahead. Last September we realised that the contemporary design paradigm is changing: creative minds increasingly focus themselves and their creative energy on the value chains underlying products or services rather than on the design of the final output.

So does the thesis read: young avantgarde designers delimit their creative ethos and the mind-set is changing from product to process design?

Yes, and I find it very exciting to be able to work and accompany this transformation in parallel, because it means that context, contact and collaboration are the new attributes for good creative work – contemporary design thus becomes a more multidimensional and personal experience. So it‘s not just the world that‘s changing at the moment – it‘s the industry, the markets, the consumers; everything. It is important to understand that “change“ itself is not a revolutionary concept. We have always developed and changed. But our era differs in one key aspect: we have more opportunities to share than we ever had. We can connect with people all over the world. So now is the time for humanity and each individual to take a moral position, what is “right or wrong“? And in almost every point of a decision-making process a moral bottom line question has to be answered implicitly and subconsciously! When I think about it, what springs to my mind is Ice Cube: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself!“

Yes, at times creativity and innovation are a jungle. Which avenue will Sustainable Innovations take this winter?

It‘s about three values: Virtue | Value | Volume. With this episode title, Sustainable Innovations simultaneously refers to last September and to the ongoing developments just described that we are witnessing. In general, it can be observed that we are paying more and more attention to virtues and values. This is a constructive and positive response to current social problems and challenges. Because we take our time to “appreciate“: what we carry, use, but also the people we meet or work with.

Where does volume come into play?

“Volume“ is a new component in our moral compass. This development has an impact on the way we act as end users; on our consumer behaviour. We all bear our individual responsibility in our sustainable “act“. And yes, optimism is a moral obligation!