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Typically, I hate William Safire’s essays. He’s a pedantic blowhard who has a remarkable ability to take the joy out of language. Still, he can raise some interesting points, as he does with his recent take on “transformative.”

That word has been on my mind lately, as it crops up in business-and-design discussions. Chip Conley’s latest book, PEAK, encourages businesses to aim for transformative experiences (for their customers, employees, and investors). IDEO has a Transformation Practice that aims to help companies change the way they behave when bringing products and services to market. I’m sure I’ve heard it elsewhere recently, too (though I can’t remember specifically where).

  1. So now we have another coinage of an empty buzz word. Obama’s use of Tranformative in his defense of applying it to Ronald Reagan is a typically hollow and empty Barackism; a chickenshit exercise in gobbledegook.

    Gobbledegook, by the way, has stood the test of time. Who wants to bet that transformative will soon be as dead as this year’s big Grammy winner?

  2. If you have a copy of Rules of Play handy, look up transformative play: “…a special case of play that occurs when the free movement of play alters the more rigid structure in which it takes shape.” (page 305).

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  • links for 2008-03-04 (Leapfroglog) March 3, 2008

    […] :: Tranformation Merholz has been hearing the term transformative a lot lately. I chip in with “transformative play” as another use, besides “transformative experiences” and “transformative practice”. (tags: transformation transformative play petermerholz experiences practices) […]