The Department of Innovation needs to practice what they preach
I was pointed to a blog today, put out by the Smithsonian that has me a little intrigued and concerned. The Smithsonian has launched a new program called the Department of Innovation. The aim of this group is to “…track all things innovative, not just in science and technology, but also in how we live, how we learn, how we entertain ourselves.” The program basically is just there to point at the innovation of others. This concept is hardly original nor innovative. I am not going to go on a tangent about whether or not the government has any place to spark innvoation, the government has done so in the past through different agencies’ research and development, but the establishment of this group seems to be nothing more than an attention getter or diverter. Fostering innovation, rewarding it and educating for creativity are the keys to sparking innovation and creativity in multiple aspects of our lives, blogging about about is a nice thing to do, but it hardly warrants a government department.
One blatant thing when seeing this though is the dated and poorly thought logo. The logo (shown below) featues three gears in an interlocked layout, they cannot move due to their placement. To me using gears as a methaphor of “the gears of the mind” is quite dated. The fact that they would not function in theory or in practice already speaks poorly of this group as well. I am not going to fault the designer alone here though, I know how getting branding approved though government chains works, it is a long process where many eyes look over the proposed branding to ensure it fits the bill, isn’t innacurate or illegal and that it looks good (it is like approving branding in the private sector, only longer). It is a damn shame that a group working on promoting innovation would let this theoretical halt in process exist in their logo, and not have a touch of creativity and dare to say, ooh I don’t know… try something new? If this is the extent of today’s government to be innovative, I am very much afraid of what the future holds.
If the Smithsonian can rethink and redo their branding, and apply a little innovation themselves, the Department of Innovation may have a chance at being more than a once glanced link on Digg or Reddit all because of their horribly executed logo.