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Creativity on DemandThe Dilemmas of Innovation in an Accelerated Age$
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Eitan Y. Wilf

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226606835

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226607023.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

“Life Design”

“Life Design”

The Omnivorous Logic of Business Innovation

(p.147) Six “Life Design”
Creativity on Demand

Eitan Y. Wilf

University of Chicago Press

This chapter looks at the migration of norms and practices of business innovation outside the business world as a consequence of their rising prestige. It provides an in-depth analysis of “life-design,” a set of commercially successful strategies developed by Silicon Valley innovators to help individuals “innovate” their lives and thereby achieve happiness. The chapter argues that the same modern-Romantic notions of the self that provided consultants with a model of creative potentiality and the cultural conditions of possibility for developing design thinking strategies for innovating technologies are now ironically being transformed as a result of the fact that the self has become the subject of those strategies as if it were a technology in need of innovation. The chapter unpacks what reflexivity means for the self as technology, what constitutes a well-designed life, what prototyping potential future lives entails, how the ideals of speed and instantaneity that suffuse business innovation affect notions of self-transformation when one’s life is approached as an object of innovation, what the presentation of self in the quest for a well-designed life means when it is the object of brainstorming sessions, and what socioeconomic conditions of possibility enable such a method of “self-innovation,” to begin with.

Keywords:   life-design, design thinking, technology, self-transformation, happiness, Silicon Valley, self-innovation, prototyping, brainstorming

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