Principles for the Studio
Tom Sachs’ 10 Bullets, John Cage’s rules for students and teachers, Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto, No Dickheads! The list is long …and they’re all good. — The studio is a sacred space for designers. Taking it online — like we’re doing with the MDF— means we need to get serious about what we mean when we say “studio”. We decided to build a set of principles for the MDF studio. Something that all the faculty agree…
Sorry isn’t enough
In 1836 a 17 yo boy left Scotland bound for Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land… “Fired by his pioneer spirit” and tales of opportunity, he traveled north to explore the Port Phillip district. Two years later, he set out with a group of others — and many sheep — to search…
We are not alone: a thought experiment.
Play a game with me for a moment. Think about a person. They might be anyone. Even you. For the purposes of this game, let’s picture this person as an individual, existing on a uniform plane in otherwise empty space. (Imagine they don’t need a breathable atmosphere in this game) …
On perception, and frames.
Think about a stone you pick up from the bank of a fast flowing river. Perhaps granite. Tumbled matte by the forces of water and other things it repeatedly rubs up against. If we hit this stone with a hammer and it fractures along some internal fault line, is it…
Grokking The Swamp
Adventures into the practical abyss, and back again. — Ten years ago I started two big projects. This is the story of one of them, my PhD. I wrote this for anyone contemplating something similar. “In the varied topography of professional practice, there is a high ground overlooking a swamp…” — Donald Schön Let me tell you a story the tale of how I grokked my PhD. Grok is coined as an untranslatable…
A Project is a Promise
When we start a project with someone, we make a promise to them that we will go from A to B… and, when we get to B we’ll have something to show for it. — We can talk all we like about the middle bit – that meandering path that leads through ambiguity, to some new sense of understanding – but it’s not until they’ve experienced it that a client or stakeholder will understand what you meant when you said:
getting to WTF
There’s a moment when things get a little strained. Adrenaline wakes the fluttering bugs down below, eye contact becomes difficult, words fail someone and the pause … extends. Time to pack up and go home, there’s nothing here for you. That moment is the when the door reveals itself. Like dreaming that extra room in your childhood home, a door appears in what, moments before, was a solid wall. Like some piece of science fiction filming trickery, there’s now a threshold to knowing in your view.
When shifting an argument, reframe one element at a time. The reframe is a common design move for helping people see an old problem with new eyes. A reframe is only useful if it helps people to see things differently. Changing multiple elements simultaneously is often confusing and counterproductive. *I’m pretty sure someone already said this — only more elegantly… so why name this law? Well, if it’s good enough for Bill Buxton… + I’ve just finished The Martian, so I’m feeling kinda punchy :)
How to use Design Thinging as a Workshop Warm-Up
Workshops are important in future oriented design practice. We often need to get people (stakeholders, clients, users, colleagues) together in the one place and thrash things out. — Running a design workshop (well) is a key skill for any design leader. Here’s a fun workshop warm-up technique, that’s a great ice-breaker, while also showing you how your participants will respond to different kinds of challenges.