Play is More than Fun – please watch this

A superb TED talk that offers a broad overview of the importance of play.

Stuart Brown’s TED talk delivers a superbly dry, scientific and humorous overview of the value and importance of play. I’m revisiting a bunch of these talks as I prepare for a new course on Toy Design and Invention (which I am getting ridiculously excited about) and it is reminding me of a range of lessons and insights that I may have been ignoring.

Stop taking design process so seriously

My last few posts have been analytical and cold discussions of design process and research methodologies and as I reflect on them, they were getting a bit heavy. The processes outlined do not sound fun. The discussion is not playful, and yet, that is fundamentally what drives me personally, and I think is a critical ingredient to any creative process.

I get nervous outlining specific design methodologies because it suggests there are right and wrong ways of acting, but the reality is that all process is incredibly flexible. The decision about “what should we do next” is likely as easily solved by identifying what ideas suggest the most opportunity for play within your project.

If you need a boost, there are a bunch of other PLAY/CREATIVITY based talks on TED full of juicy goodness below:

Read the rest of this entry »


Communicating Complex Concepts

I’m picking my jaw off the floor after watching some of the most compelling animated essays to explain incredibly complex concepts.

The animation below, from RSA (not sure I understand who they are, yet), discusses the anxiety created by excess choice, a byproduct of a capitalist consumer culture that reinforces a feedback loop. The content is pretty heavy stuff, and you may or may not be interested in the message. But the medium is incredible! This is an incredible example of using design – in this case illustration and visualization – to disseminate information.

My brain is beginning to fry with ideas for transforming complex essays into interactive essays that people can digest in different ways.

Enjoy the movie below on choice and cultural change.

Or if you prefer… here is one on changing education paradigms.

For more, explore here.

I want to start a project communicating scenarios of sustainability using this medium of essay/illustration. Absolutely amazing.


A Grown Structure

Intriguing salt structure... not sure where the form comes from...

This is an interesting proposal, with all the compulsory sexy imagery, for a structure that is grown from salt. The proposal is for a structure that grows as sea water is sprayed onto some sort of infrastructure… kind of a fun image, no matter what kind of fantasy it may be. Here is a piece of their project description, and a link to their site.

Born from unique environmental conditions, GEOtube is a new kind of urban sculptural tower. Gravity-sprayed with adjacent Persion Gulf waters, its building skin is entirely grown rather than constructed; is in continual formation rather than fully completed; and is created locally rather than imported.

Would be nice to know a little more information about what these images are... they're certainly seductive...


Strategic Design – Good Quote

I love the quote below from Yves Behar, as it summarizes my whole conversation about what is required to create real change. When asked about what car companies needed to do in order to break free from their design stagnation he said:

“They need original design briefs and 21st-century business models.”

Note: he did not call for “improved design process”, or a specific tool like “life cycle analysis” or “biomimicry”. He asked for better briefs, and the freedom within business to challenge existing models that create revenue streams. In essence;

Better questions, and new value models.

Not bad…


The Beauty of Design

I don’t want to feel like this is a blog about trashing design and architecture. Movies like this highlight the beauty of some of made world, and it is the sound track that really creates the magic!

Timelapse – The City Limits from Dominic on Vimeo.