Wednesday, December 10, 2008

. . .that design is not a manufacturing activity.

The process of design and design thought is not something that can be corralled into processes that work well for coding.

A developer works to build, or assemble code into a working product. They don't sit and ponder if one set of code instructions is better than another or more beautiful or pleasing. They just know it needs to work flawlessly. The goal is to produce predictable results every time.

The goal of design is to arrive at something new and fresh. For that, design thinking needs time, space, breathing room. It is intensity, then lull, for this is often when ideas are born, solutions become evident, or the right design coalesces. This "loafing" can be seen as unproductive by some, but is essential for designers.

Trying to force the visioning part of the process into the same methods that work for the development part of the process is square-peg-in-round-hole uncomfortable. Each process has it's place in the overall success of a user's experience and should be not only allowed to exist, but supported and encouraged and sought after in the company.


Let each person exercise the art they know best.

Friday, September 26, 2008

. . .that the right seed planted at the right time. . .

is all that's needed to inspire a person, then a group, and maybe even an entire organization.

Recently I recommended a book to a design manager as an interesting take on managing a group of creative people in a corporate environment. (See below.) It's not the first book I've passed along to a person with the hopes of making a difference. It's the first I've seen devoured, internalized and even evangelized. It validated my friend's thinking and management style, but, more importantly, inspired him with ideas for the next evolution of his department and provided an approach that may possibly influence an entire organization.

There are a lot of great business ideas and books out there whose authors are hoping for just such a thing—the right timing into the market, and the right circumstances in someone's life for it to "take off".

It's great to see a planted seed, sprout, grow, and take root. That doesn't happen often. And perhaps the fruit will benefit many.

The right idea, in the right hands, at the right time. It's all about the timing.


Timing, degree and conviction are the three wise men in this life. ~R. I. Fitzhenry

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

. . . that the gravity of the hairball is strong.

I've just finished reading Orbiting the Giant Hairball, A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie. A good read, done in a couple of hours...and funny! Gordon worked for 30 years at Hallmark (the hairball) and managed to keep his sanity.

He says a hairball is formed by two hairs uniting, joined by other hairs that get twisted into a tangled impenetrable mass.

(Though not fluffy as pictured...Gordon must not own a cat. -Aack, aack-)

Anyway, the corporate hairball is made up of established guidelines, techniques, methodologies, systems and measures. This mass exerts a relentless pull of gravity on original thinking and creativity. And many are sucked down into the security of past successes, becoming so attached to a specific outcome, that they feel compelled to control and manipulate.

It's hard for corporations to understand that creativity is not just about succeeding. It's about experimenting and discovering.

Gordon says it's possible to Orbit around a corporate Hairball, to find a place of balance, where you benefit from the physical, intellectual and philosophical resources of the organization. You must invest enough individuality to counteract the gravity. You must find the personal courage to be genuine, to take the best possible course of action to get the job done, without being sucked into the nothingness of the hairball or flung out into deep space.

Yes, it's been a long while since I've posted...I've been hacking my way out of the GH.

Luke W
Fast Company
Idea map by Megan Clark


We can lick gravity but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.
~Wernher Von Braun, 1912-1977, German Rocket Pioneer