The Lifecycle of Any Creation or Innovation
John Cage & Marcel Duchamp playing chess on March 5th, 1968 at Ryerson Theatre in Toronto.

John Cage & Marcel Duchamp playing chess on March 5th, 1968 at Ryerson Theatre in Toronto.


I've always enjoyed studying the work of Marcel Duchamp.  As an artist, he played riddles, jokes, and moves with his audience.  He was an excellent chess player; he played professionally.  When I compare these roles he played, I imagine the chessboard chess opponent are metaphors for the artwork and viewer... the similarities are striking, except his moves as an artist are hidden unless we trace his logic, which leads us to an eventual "checkmate" in each of his artworks.

So, who are all the players in art and design?  It's important to anticipate these 4 stages and 12 players of any innovation:

1.  Creation

  • Designer or Artist - creator

  • Client - person or company paying the designer or artist

  • Manufacturer - materializes the design or artwork into the physical world

2.  Lifetime

  • Business - markets and sells the design or artwork

  • Target Audience - audience the artwork or design is marketed to or intended for

  • User / Viewer - actually uses and/or experiences the artwork or design

3.  Afterlife

  • Disposer - person or company disposing or recycling the artwork or design

  • Archiver - person or institution preserving artwork or design

  • Scholar - person or institution researching, writing about, or exhibiting the artwork or design

4.  Legacy

  • Appropriator - person or animal that uses the product for another purpose

  • Student - person who studies the creation for deeper understandings, historical context, and appreciation

  • Thief - person who steals the idea of the creation and passes it off as their own

Joshua Hoering