Archive for October, 2010

My notes from 33: understanding change & the change in understanding by Richard Saul Wurman

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

My notes from 33: understanding change & the change in understanding by Richard Saul Wurman

4 Sentence Summary

Articulate what you really need – describe the performance needed from a person or product to solve the problem. Learn more by understanding more through asking “how something performs.” Build a model with the intent of making constructive demands for an improved better-working environment. Designing your life is the big design problem.

Five Star Ideas

By organizing information, he said proudly, you create new information.  Nothing has changed; you’re still the same people. And that’s the same with everything else in life.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get . . . all of it pointed in one direction: Learning.

You don’t remember something you haven’t learned and if you’re not interested, you don’t remember; therefore, you don’t learn . . . as courses did not come from a wellspring of interests of those being taught.”

“Now, as I said, everybody’s got a pretty good idea of what the problems are, and they’re certainly not shy about telling you.  But the difficultly seems to be that nobody really knows how to say what the real problems are. It’s as though there are only two words in everyone’s  vocabulary:  the word “No” and the word “More.”

Innovation, creativity and invention are about what! How I do something is design.

We have the problems and we have the questions, but the only questions we seem ever to ask are the ones that can be answered “more” or the ones that can be answered “no.” So, if you look at it that way, you could say that first of all, we don’t know what our problems really are. We don’t know how to articulate what we really need.  We don’t know how to describe the performance we need from a person or a product to solve the problem. We don’t know, in other words, how to make the constructive demands for an improved, better-working environment.

We live in fear of our ignorance being discovered and spend our lives trying to put one over on the world.  If we instead could delight in our ignorance, use it as an inspiration to learn instead of an embarrassment to conceal, there would be no information anxiety!

…they could begin to concentrate instead on communication drawings which conveyed real information about how physical spaces would perform and feel.

…once people began to realize that if they were going to do anything about the world they lived in, they were going to have to learn about it.

“I am never content until I have constructed a model of the subject I am studying. If I succeed in making one, I understand; otherwise I do not.” – William Thompson

“Most things don’t work and if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” –RSW

I love technology . . . I choose my assistants well and I know creative thoughts come from me and not my tools.

Design wasn’t a problem or a challenge; it was a way of life … the big design problem is not designing a house … it’s designing your life.

Do good work … the ultimate is to do good work and that’s all we try to do.

Ask someone to talk for an hour, they’ll do it right away. Ask someone to talk for five minutes, it will take them months to prepare.

Hailing failing will get you where you need to be! Hailing, failing yet still sailing was, in fact his motto.

So much useful and productive activity, so many good ideas, so many conceptual breakthroughs, had come about as the result of the strange embrace between the so-called creative person and his experience with and reactions to failure.

The disease of looking good is confusing aesthetics with performance . . . the cure: ask how something performs!

Administrativitis: This disease . . .  where the individuals think they are running the system but in actuality just he opposite is the case . . .  is characterized by a preoccupation with the details of the operation – administrative issues, salaries, square footage, supplies – and a neglect of the purposes for operation.

See Also

Goal Setting and Richard Saul Wurman

Better Bodystorming Quick Tip: Televiewer = large paper w/ hole in it

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

If you need to show someone interacting with someone else on a “display” just take a large piece of paper and rip a big hole in it. Here is a good example of a “televiewer” that one student is getting help with homework from another student.

Better Bodystorming Quick Tip: Identify Places w/Lables on Floor

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

A quick way to show actors are in different places (yet communicating with each other) is to write the place name on a sheet of paper (like you do with actor labels) and put them on the ground.  Then when someone steps on that, that signifies they are in that location. Think of this as a split screen technique from film making. The split screen ruptures the illusion that the “frame” is a seamless view of reality. We see this technique to simultaneously portray both participants in a telephone conversation.

Here are some examples.

See Also

Better Bodystorming Quick Tip: Using Actor Labels

A site dedicated to split screen techniques. I am looking to mine some of the techniques here for future bodystorms.

Bodystorming NY IxDA: A Directed Bodystorm

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Here is a short video of a bodystorming on Personal Learning Environments that we did at the NY IxDA. It was a “directed” bodystorm and you can hear me calling or directing certain roles to enter/participate at certain points.

Better Bodystorming Quick Tip: Using Actor Labels

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

A good way to make bodystorming easier both for the participants and the viewers is to use Actor Labels.Actor Labels are BIG labels that you hang around people’s necks to make it easy for others to know what actor they are playing. That way you don’t have to spend as much time trying to figure out how to portray a young child if you don’t look like on

In the October 16th afternoon bodystorm we made Actor Labels mandatory and we had some good examples that you can see in the photos below.  We wrote the actor’s goal and feelings on the front of the card in addition to the role. The best materials seemed to be thick paper or construction paper and pipe cleaners. These are three good examples of actor labels that we used in the bodystorming.

See Also: Other Bodystorming Tips

9 Tips for Better Bodystorming

On why Actors should have Feelings in addition to Goals (Setting analysis example)

Bodystorming in NY

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

This past weekend, Saturday October 16th, we did a bodystorm in Brooklyn NY. Actually two bodystorms. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Everyone had a good time and really put their heart into it.

We worked on Personal Learning Environments of the future. I had a great time and feedback was very positive. I’ll blog separately about some of the interesting things that came out.

Bodystorming Homework for Oct 8 Bodystorm at SCAD in Savannah

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

If you are participating in the Bodystorm this Friday you are in for a great time.

We will be working on storming out ideas on education.
We will be inventing the learning system (rather than the school system) of the future. Just as we are user-centered instead of product-centered, we we be learner-centered rather than school-centered.

For your homework do the following exercises.
1. Find someone you know who is a public school student. First ask them what they think is cool. What they are interested in. Then ask them what classes do they have and what did they learn today.
2. Think about what you do for work and what is the different between that and homework. (If you don’t work and are in school then do the opposite.)
3. What tools or resources help you learn best?

How to help your people get better as Experience Designers w/o managing more

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Learning More by reflecting on your work: A Structured Review Process from Education

Peter Pappas wrote about the “reflective student” subtitled: “Dedicated to relinquishing responsibility for learning to the students.” How does that relate to what we see going on in management – relinquishing responsibility for “management” to the worker/staff? Perhaps similarly as Peter Pappas has the student move to being a “reflective student” we would need to move the worker/staff to being a “reflective worker/staff.”

The 6 Reflections

  1. What did I do? Did I get it done on time?
  2. What was important about what I did?
  3. Where could I use this again? Are their ways to adapt it to other projects?
  4. Did I see any patterns in what I did?Were the strategies, skills, and procedures I used effective for this project? What were the results of the approach I used – was it efficient, or could I have eliminated or reorganized steps?
  5. How well did I do? Did I do an effective job of communicating my work to others? What have I learned about my strengths and my areas in need of improvement? How am I progressing as a designer?
  6. What should I do next? How can I best use my strengths to improve?


The Top Ten Mistakes UX (User Experience) Leaders Make

Talking About Managing

Bodystorming in Savannah

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

This Friday we will be bodystorming at the Collaborative Open Innovation Network (COINs2010) conference in Savannah.  Here is a link to the workshop information for bodystorming in Savannah.

Prototyping at the Systems Level

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Marc Rettig presented at the local IxDA in State College. A good crowd and great discussion. He put up the diagram you see below and talked about the upper right of the chart. which gets more on the Y-axis toward the world, cities and system and on the X-axis toward underlying causes, wellness and whole person.

If design thinking is about iteration, prototyping (or as Marc put it “Understand & Try” with prototypes between) then how do we approach problems/opportunities at that systems level with this type of practice.

Can we prototype at the systems level?

Some possible approaches might be:

  • The Function- Structure- Process Model
  • Agent-based modeling that scales quickly up to the complexity of the systems level.
  • Systems-Level Experimentation (which can be used to drive disruptive innovation.)
  • Alex Osterwalder’s Business Modeling as a sort of systems level view and playing board, but I need to start to connect various business models together to really get at a systems view.