How big leaps happen

Designed as a catalyst for societal change, our winning concept for health promoting “centres of influence” in South Africa represents a cognitive leap


Some situations warrant a big leap in our thinking; we can’t always rely on minor improvements to society’s existing models.

For example, consider the cognitive leap it would take to abandon today’s unsustainable, illness-centric model of so-called health care. Such a leap would involve thinking far beyond today’s mantra of prevention, to instead achieve health-centric living. In other words, salutogenesis instead of pathogenesis.

How could a leap of this magnitude be made?  What would cause people’s habits and priorities to change?

Chris Turner has analyzed notable leaps in recent history to determine common ingredients for success. In other words, he recognizes how the seemingly impossible can become inevitable. In his new book The Leap: How to Survive and Thrive in the Sustainable Economy, he presents these and other ideas for instigating big change:

– recast change as a liberating economic opportunity, rather than an extra burden

– create a new understanding of value and necessity (note that it took 5,000 years to put wheels on luggage)

– help people create conditions that make the most of their lives

From a Globe and Mail book review:

Any energy leap, Turner says, also has to involve the restoration of public places. After Copenhagen took the automobile off its streets and gave pedestrians the freedom to stroll or cycle in the 1970s, urban life became human again. The Danes understand that there is life between buildings and that livable cities nourish culture instead of machines. The mayors of Bogota and Medellin also discovered that the best way to fight crime and poverty was to ban the automobile.

-Sharon VanderKaay


  1. 1 The ultimate test for architecture and design: do our buildings and spaces cause health? | Midnight Home

    […] Farrow Partners’ winning concept for health promoting ‘centres of influence’ in South Africa. Image: Farrow Partners […]

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  • About The Nature of Innovation

    We see our collaboration with clients and colleagues as providing a living lab for enriching the creative process. Farrow’s built work has been internationally recognized for leadership in human-centric design. This is where we come to discuss our ideas as they hatch and our experiences as they happen.
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