Tag IDEO

{ IDEO U } An Online School To Help You Unlock Your Creative Potential & Build Your Problem-Solving Skills …*

{ IDEO U } An Online School To Help You Unlock Your Creative Potential & Build Your Problem-Solving Skills ...* | rethinked.org

Screen Shot from IDEO U website

 

“Our goal is to take you from learning to doing to affecting change in whatever you do.”

Rethinkers …* delight, there’s an awesome new learning resource from one of our favorite companies: IDEO U. IDEO U is an online school for leaders to build their creative confidence while learning and refining their problem-solving capacities.

There’s no shortage of challenges to tackle in the world. We believe the world needs more creative leaders who can deeply understand diverse needs, think of radical solutions, and confidently experiment their way forward. IDEO U is an online school where leaders can unlock their creative potential and build their problem-solving skills.

Sign up for IDEO U’s very first course, Insights for Innovation, to explore new ways of solving problems. The course, which costs $399, will be open from March 23, 2015 to May 8, 2015. Students will be able to complete the course at their own pace during that time frame. The key takeaway of the course will be:

  • A flexible skill set for uncovering insights
  • Completed work that you can share
  • Tools to help you continue to practice after the course ends

Head over to IDEOU.com to learn more about the school and check out the first course.

learn, do, rethink …*

“A Benchmark Anchored in Reality Forces You to Articulate a Clear Point of View About What’s Truly Important”

"A Benchmark Anchored in Reality Forces You to Articulate a Clear Point of View About What’s Truly Important" | rethinked.org

“Always going back to a benchmark anchored in reality forces you to articulate a clear point of view about what’s truly important.” – Diego Rodriguez

I found this excellent insight from IDEO‘s Diego Rodriguez as his contribution to LinkedIn’s Best Advice series. Recounting a time at IDEO when his team had produced a wide array of dazzling prototypes, Rodiguez shares how they felt stuck in deciding which one to select:

IDEO founder David Kelley strolled by to say hello and to watch us demonstrate our ideas. He listened patiently as we explained our dilemma, and responded with one simple question: “What’s the best alternative available to people today? Choose compared to that.”

Behind David’s powerful question is the best innovation advice I’ve ever received:

Compare to reality, not to some imaginary standard of perfection.

The truth was that even our least amazing prototype was miles ahead of the competition. It also happened to be the simplest concept, and the one that most tightly addressed the actual needs we’d heard from people we had interviewed and observed. Even if it didn’t fulfill our fantasies of perfection, we chose that option as the way forward, and we ended up nailing it: our award-winning design sold like hotcakes. Fifteen years later, it’s still in production, making people happy.

This is a key insight which speaks to one of the core tenets of design thinking: that the solution be created from a point of deep empathy and understanding so that it truly serves the need of the target audience, not the ego of the designer.

Some say that rooting your choices in reality is a sure path to mediocrity, but nothing could be further from the truth. Dedicating yourself to understanding what people really want — how they’ll experience a product in the real world — forces you to get away from your desk and make a tangible difference. Instead of just talking about a grand paradise of what might be, putting in the effort to understand people’s day-to-day lives, and then actually producing something that works, is what separates a true innovation from a merely good idea.

Great innovators dream, but they are also relentless about comparing those dreams to the real world, and acting accordingly.

Source: Best Advice: Want to Achieve Excellence? Compare Ideas to Reality

Buzzwords Can Be Dangerous If They Don’t Promote Sustainable Changes In Thinking, Doing & Shared Understanding …*

Buzzwords Can Be Dangerous If They Don’t Promote Sustainable Changes In Thinking, Doing & Shared Understanding ...* | rethinked.org

You may find the confession I’m about to make a bit strange given how central design thinking is to our team’s work as well as my rethinked*annex side project. But here it goes: I am sick and tired of talking about design thinking. As you know, design thinking is a huge buzzword right now in innovation and management circles. Unfortunately, most conversations and articles about the discipline center on either embracing it as a cure-all methodology for every single one of our innovation and creativity woes or decrying it as a depthless, overhyped, passing fad. I find these two binary views to critically miss the point about what design thinking is and what it can offer.

Just yesterday, browsing LinkedIn’s “Management Consulting” news tab, I found two separate articles detailing the woes of design thinking. In “Design Thinking” Destroyed Us, Brian de Haaff  writes:

The problem is when this approach is fervently adopted as the only approach to solving challenges and delivering great customer experiences. And this is where it all went wrong. Everything looked like a problem that we could “design think” our way out of to the UX teams.

Even problems that no one on the product team thought were customer or business problems became ripe for long design-centered studies by people who never previously spoke with customers and definitely did not grok our product.

I see three big problems with the above passage. First, nothing about design thinking mandates that it should be embraced as a step by step recipe. “When this approach is fervently adopted as the only approach to solving challenges” –who is doing the fervent, exclusive, adoption? That is a result of the company’s culture and management, not the discipline of design thinking itself. The second issue is the “long design-centered studies” that he describes. As IDEO’s Kelley brothers like to say, “Fail faster, succeed sooner.” Design thinking is about rapid prototyping and iteration, not months of market research. Also, and perhaps more worryingly, why are these studies being conducted by people who are not at all plugged in to the environment of the challenge they are trying to solve–those “people who never previously spoke with customers and definitely did not grok our product”? If there were a design thinking mandate it would be to empathize. Design thinking is, above all, human-centered–meaning the solutions focus on the actual perspective and experience of the people invested in the challenge, not on unexplored assumptions of what that experience might be.

The third big issue here is “everything looked like a problem that we could “design think”.” I think this statement reflects a serious misunderstanding of the design thinking process. It is not simply a list of steps to problem solve, it’s a way to explore and redefine the problem landscape to uncover more holistic and potent solutions. One of the major benefits of design thinking is how richly it allows one to explore and reframe the problem one is trying to solve. In design thinking, teams use an initial definition of the challenge at hand as a springboard for further exploration. I have never participated in a design thinking challenge where the initial statement of the problem wasn’t later reframed and recrafted.

de Haaff goes on to list some of the specific reasons why his company’s “application of design thinking destroyed progress and fractured the UX groups from the product and engineering teams“:

“The core issue was that design thinking fundamentally requires that no matter how obvious the solution may seem, many solutions must be created for consideration and testing.” 

Again, design thinking doesn’t fundamentally require anything–it’s a tool. If you had to mow your lawn and you had at your disposal a lawn mower and a pair of scissors and decided to use the scissors, when you found yourself exhausted and discouraged at having wasted your afternoon cutting only a small patch of grass with your scissors instead of finishing the job in an hour with the lawn mower, you wouldn’t blame your scissors for the poor outcome, would you? Tools are just tools, their impact and effectiveness depends on how we choose to use them.

I do not mean to pick on Mr. de Haaff, but I think his article illustrates a lot of the problematic ways in which design thinking is being framed and experienced. Design thinking is a human-centered problem solving methodology–it gives us a framework and a set of tools to problem solve. It is neither a miracle nor a curse, it is what we make it. Which is what makes Tamara Christensen‘s interview on think jar collective about Demystifying Design Thinking such a refreshing and important read:

Buzzwords can be dangerous if they don’t promote sustainable changes in thinking and doing, and shared understanding. They can be easily dismissed. Ironically, I find that most designers have trouble clarifying exactly how they think and making their own process explicit for others. The most simple definition of design that I use is by Herbert Simon, from Sciences of the Artificial (MIT Press, 1969) where he describes design as “transformation of existing conditions into preferred ones”. Design thinking, therefore, is basically about the kind of mental activity that facilitates this transformation. Fortunately IDEO and the d.school at Stanford (among others) have done a great job of promoting the process and providing a wealth of information about how it’s done and why it’s valuable.

I think the biggest obstacle to understanding Design Thinking is to treat it as a rigid process, a series of steps that must be followed in a particular sequence. I have seen this happen time and again when a team tries to apply Design Thinking with questionable success and then decides “Design Thinking doesn’t work.” In reality, what doesn’t work is treating Design Thinking like a recipe that must be adhered to. It is more like a mindset, multiple modes of thinking and doing that are iteratively utilized as the project requires. Design Thinking is first and foremost about people and keeping them at the center of the process.

The most common modes are Empathize (with humans), Frame (an opportunity from the perspective of a human), Ideate (about how to address the opportunity), Prototype (possible solutions) and Test (your ideas with people using the prototypes).

IN MY EXPERIENCE THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL THINGS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT DESIGN THINKING (AS A PROCESS AND A MINDSET) ARE:

  1. It is human-centered and people-powered, keep stakeholders engaged as much as possible.
  2. Empathy is an essential and transformational experience for fueling creativity.
  3. Prototyping is about building to think and test ideas. The faster we fail, the better.

Source: Demystifying Design Thinking: Interview With Tamara Christensen via Think Jar Collective

{ Question Day 2014 & Vuja De } Making the Ordinary Unknown To Rethink Anything …*

{ Question Day 2014 & Vuja De } Making the Ordinary Unknown To Rethink Anything ...* | rethinked.org

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” -Albert Einstein

Break out your party hats because today we’re celebrating Albert Einstein’s 135th birthday and one of my all time favorites– questions! That’s right, inquiry now has its own day of celebration, Question Day, thanks to author of the new book: A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, Warren Berger, and the nonprofit The Right Question Institute who partnered to sponsor a one-day event designed to increase appreciation of the importance of questioning.

The day will be marked by an extensive social media campaign encouraging people across the Internet to share their stories and thoughts about the importance of curiosity and questioning in their lives, or to share their own meaningful questions—all designed to create a national conversation around questioning. We are also inviting teachers in schools to set aside time that day to tell students about the importance of questioning, encouraging kids to ask “beautiful questions” of their own.

To learn more about Question Day 2014 and discover ways to get involved, head over to the microsite QuestionDay2014.

Speaking of Warren Berger, he had a fantastic article in the Harvard Business Review a couple days ago about the power of reframing to spark innovation. Through his article I learned a new term–vuja de–which expresses something I hold extremely dear: making the ordinary unknown. As you may know, a core principle of our team is the belief that rethinking is greater than inventing. We’re not trying to reinvent the proverbial wheel, we’re trying to see and experience it with fresh eyes and open minds to broaden its landscape of possibilities { shoshin }; hence our motto: making the ordinary unknown to rethink * anything. And that’s precisely what late comedian’ George Carlin’s term: vuja de means. In his article, Can You See The Opportunity Right In Front of You? Warren Berger describes Carlin’s vuja de:

That term was made up by Carlin, in a bit of wordplay that put a twist on the familiar concept of déjà vu, that sensation of being in a strange circumstance yet feeling as if you’ve been there before. Imagine the reverse of that: you’re in a situation that is very familiar, something you’ve seen or done countless times before, but you feel as if you’re experiencing something completely new. This is vuja de, Carlin told his audience: “the strange feeling that, somehow, none of this has ever happened before.”

[ … ]

Of course, vuja de isn’t just a way of looking at things; it involves a certain mindset that questions assumptions and refuses to accept things as they are.

Berger goes on to describe the rich history between vuja de and innovation:

Stanford University professor Bob Sutton, author of the new book Scaling Up for Excellence, was among the first to make a connection, more than a decade ago, between the Carlin vuja de perspective and innovation. Sutton, and later Tom Kelley of IDEO, pointed out that innovators could potentially spark new ideas and insights if they could somehow manage to look at the familiar—their own products, their customers, their work processes—as if seeing it for the first time. Adopting this view, business leaders and managers might be more apt to notice inconsistencies and outdated methods, as well as untapped opportunities.

Read the rest of Berger’s article and learn more about combining vuja de observation with entrepreneurial action to yield big impact.

“When the familiar becomes this sort of alien world and you can see it fresh, then it’s like you’ve gone into a whole other section of the file folder in your brain. And now you have access to this other perspective that most people don’t have.” – Kelly Carlin

question, rethink & take action …* 

Source Can You See the Opportunity Right In Front Of You? via Harvard Business Review, published March 12, 2014.

Educators, Rethink…* Your Assumptions About School To Become More Effective, Engaging & Fulfilled Teachers

One of life’s greatest pleasures, in my opinion, is the discovery of a simple idea that enables you to completely rethink…* and reappraise your understanding of yourself and the world. Not that the actual rethinking…*process is always pleasurable; it has been my experience that change comes with its fair share of growing pains. But once you have put in the hard work, and developed a deep and multilayered understanding of the idea, made it yours and truly changed your perspective to a new, richer and more nuanced vision of yourself and your reality, there is a special type of intense joy that comes from recognizing the extreme power and impact of simple and elegant thoughts. Carol Dweck‘s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success– How We Can Learn To Fulfill Our Potential, provided me with such an opportunity for deep, assumption-shattering rethinking…* Dweck, who is a psychologist at Stanford University, has focused her research on achievement and success and elaborated a simple yet extremely impactful idea: success and fulfilling, engaging lives are linked to whether we approach our goals and existence with a fixed mindset–the belief that intelligence and personality traits are fixed, which leads to a desire to look effortlessly endowed and a primary framework of judgement for evaluating experience–or with a growth mindset–the belief that intelligence and character can be developed, which leads to a desire to learn and a framework of growth. Mindset, is a veritable treasure trove of powerful rethinking…* prompts and simple actionable advice which I will write about more fully in future posts. But for now, I’d like to share a passage that I came across earlier today which made me want to howl with recognition:

How can growth-mindset teachers be so selfless, devoting untold hours to the worst students? Are they just saints? Is it reasonable to expect that everyone can become a saint? The answer is that they’re not entirely selfless. They love to learn. And teaching is a wonderful way to learn. About people and how they tick. About what you teach. About yourself. And about life.

Fixed-mindset teachers often think of themselves as finished products. Their role is simply to impart their knowledge. But doesn’t that get boring year after year? Standing before yet another crowd of faces and imparting. Now, that’s hard.

Seymour Sarason was a professor of mine when I was in graduate school. He was a wonderful educator, and he always told us to question assumptions. “There’s an assumption,” he said, “that schools are for students’ learning. Well, why aren’t they just as much for teachers’ learning?”  I never forgot that. In all of my teaching, I think about what I find fascinating and what I would love to learn more about. I use my teaching to grow, and that makes me, even after all these years, a fresh and eager teacher.

Source: Dweck, Carol. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – How We Can Learn To Fulfill Our Potential. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008. Print.

This is exactly what rethinked…* is about–we are an autonomous, innovation team whose mission is to help students and teachers question their assumptions and rethink…* their practices to optimize their learning and teaching and experience more fluid, nourishing, and engaging lives. We’ve worked with IDEO to explore the ways in which design thinking could be applied to K12 to optimize the learning and teaching experiences. We’ve worked with the Rotman School of Management to see how integrative thinking could be leveraged in rethinking…* education. We’ve partnered with Martin Seligman and Angela Duckworth to integrate principles of positive psychology into the curriculum to teach character strengths such as grit and gratitude. But at the end of the day, all of these methods are just tools that we employ to rethink…* our doing and, just as importantly, iterate our questioning. Tools are lifeless, their impact comes from the purpose for which they are used and from the people who use them. And people are complex, multilayered beings ruled by their assumptions. By using different tools we broaden our field of inquiry, we try on new perspectives from which to evaluate our assumptions and in the process, we continue to refine our questions about what it means to thrive in our lives and learning. How? is a very important question–without it, nothing would get done, ideas would remain intangible, non actionable and therefore unimpactful. But why? must come first and it must infuse the process of iterating the how?

Ultimately, we’re not looking for definitive, all encompassing answers. Rather, we aim to keep moving towards more salient iterations of the age old question: what is the good life for man and how do we get there? And through our evolving questioning, to discover simple, impactful hacks such as the one proposed by Dr. Sarason– reframing how we approach teaching by questioning assumptions about school and rethinking…* their purpose with a simple question–to empower as many people as we can to take control of their experiences and learning and enjoy fluid, playful and fulfilling lives.

Check out Joy’s post, What Do We Assume About School and Learning? and try to see how many different ways you can rethink…* the assumptions he’s collected.

David Kelley on Creative Confidence, Building to Think, Defining Innovation, Multidisciplinary Teams & So Much More…*

David Kelley, founder of IDEO consultants and Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, shares his thoughts and experiences on a wide range of topics in this engaging hour-long conversation and Q & A with longtime television journalist, Richard Sergay. From building creative confidence, embracing failure, learning by building, multidisciplinary teams, defining innovation to facing his own mortality and his friendship with Steve Jobs, Kelley’s pointed and valuable insights are sure to resonate deeply with anyone interested in rethinking…* how we approach the challenges of the 21st century. I have transcribed some of my favorite stories and insights from the conversation, which took place at the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships 8th Reunion & Conference at Stanford, July 11-14, but the full video is well worth a watch.

d.school founder taps into humankind’s innate creativity | via Knight Foundation, published July 18, 2013.

{ CURIOSITY } As a designer, you kind of do everything in your life with intention. You know, like I decided to wear these shoes, or this wall is painted exactly or not painted the way exactly because of intention. And so, when you’re that way, you’re always wondering why things are because you’re about to have to design the future and so being curious about the way things are now and being empathetic to people is the way that you […] you know, if you’re responsible for painting a picture of the future with your ideas in it, being hyper diligent about understanding what makes things stick.

{ CREATIVITY } Everybody is wildly creative–go into a kindergarten class, go into a first grade, just don’t go into a fifth grade class. But as long as you go early enough, it’s really clear that everybody is wildly creative. When we started working on this notion of building creative confidence in people, we were thinking we would have to do some remedial work, it’s just not true. I mean hundreds of students come through this building and they’re all wildly creative. We just have to remove some of the blocks. What happens is, somewhere along the way, you opt out of thinking of yourself as creative–a teacher said that wasn’t a very good drawing, or you don’t pick up the piano in the first lesson. I mean, I know what this is because I opted out of athletics. I said, “I’m not athletic,” and that allowed me to play sports for the rest of my life but I told everybody that I wasn’t athletic so they lowered the bar. If you say, “I’m not creative,” that’s a strategy for having people not judge you. Because when we look at it, the big fear is this fear of being judged. The reason you move from thinking of yourself being creative, to thinking of yourself as not creative, is really a fear of being judged–that other kids can draw better than you or your idea is not going to be up to snuff.

{ MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS & THE GENESIS OF THE D.SCHOOL } People have been talking about multidisciplinary teams for like 25 years and at Stanford, I can tell you, that meant that faculty from different departments came together, they had a meeting, they fought a little bit and they said, “I’m never coming back to this meeting again.” And then we said, “check, we’re multidisciplinary.” But what I saw after I got tenure and I started teaching classes with different professors–I taught with an art professor, I taught with a computer science professor, I taught with a business school professor–is that when the students from the different departments came together, it was kind of easier to come up with innovations because they were coming from different places IF there was a glue that held them together. The problem with the meetings, where they didn’t work, is that there was no common methodology. So what everybody wanted to do is to do the same thing that they are doing now and have everybody else do it that way. And so the idea for the d.school came from the fact that I noticed people would sign up for our methodology. […] What we saw early on was that design, for whatever reason, was a methodology, was nonthreatening. It’s all so human-centered, so when you got people from different backgrounds together and you said, “Ok, let’s go out and build empathy for the people we’re trying to help in Africa or waiting for the train, or checking in to the hospital,” for some reason, all these various disciplines, these big shot professors who had been trying to win a Nobel Prize, going in in their way, we’re willing to do that. So I felt like I was just, luckily, in the discipline that had a methodology, we call it design thinking, that people would sign up to do. And so I decided that I had to try to touch as many people at the university as possible and I proposed this notion of an institute that could bring all seven schools together and that we would do it in this way that I had seen prototyped in these other classes. […] It’s really about this notion that in this multidisciplinary world, I think diversity is the number one thing that correlates to better innovation. So different people, with different ideas, from different backgrounds–if you can get them to have a methodology where they can build on each other’s ideas, you, by definition, get to places, to breakthrough ideas because those brains have never done the mind-meld to the result in that new thing. The reason that I ended up at the center of this is that our methodology seems to be a universally acceptable way to do innovation, problem-solving, and that kind of stuff.

{ DEFINING SUCCESS AT THE D.SCHOOL } Our success, if you can call it that, has to do with finding a way to get these students to think of themselves in a creative way. And it’s through this confidence that they build by doing–everything is a project, everything is a real world project, and so they see that they have this sense of the world and that they can do what they set out to do.

{ DEFINING INNOVATION } Somebody, I’m trying to remember who, said, “innovation is creativity plus implementation.” I think that resonates with me. Being creative is this notion of having an open mind and trying different things and not having this fear of being judged or failing or that kind of stuff. But innovation is doing something that has real impact on the world. So taking those new ideas and sorting them and synthesizing them and deciding what to do and measuring its impact is really innovation. I usually try to stay away from the word creativity, because it has this meaning associated with talent and artistic that I don’t really mean when I say “creative,” and try to use the word innovation most of the time.

{ FAILURE } The trick is to kind of fail early on so that you get to a new place. […] We reward a spectacular failure and a spectacular success in the same way in the early stages of the project. That allows you to have insights and build a point of view that comes from a wider range of possibilities because you’re not fearful about failing. But then, as we start to converge, we’re not looking for failure, as it were. […] It’s actually hard to fail in our process because it’s so iterative. So, you basically come up with ideas, you show them to everybody that is a stakeholder, including the person who is going to use it, they tell you what’s wrong with it and then you go back and redesign it or even redefine the problem. […] And so, if you do enough iterations, it’s hard to have a failure in the end, because it’s built in that we’re going to cycle through and improve and improve and show it to the people. So we’re not surprised when the product or service goes out into the world because we’ve messed with a lot of people before that.

{ BUILD TO THINK } We really believe, at IDEO and the d.school, that the kind of fastest way to get to an innovation is to not do a lot of strategizing and planning–you know, cash flow analysis out ten years and stuff like that–and that all that planning is useful but AFTER you’ve done what we would say ‘building’. We call it a bias toward action. So, if you want to improve the experience of taking the train to San Francisco, you could start analyzing the train and all that stuff but what we would do is just go talk to Caltrans and have them give us a car and try a bunch of stuff. You know, like tear the seats out, serve coffee on the platform or try to get our bikes on–do a bunch of stuff. We think it’s a way of thinking. This building, this doing, prototyping, whatever we’re going to call it, is a way of thinking. As opposed to the kind of grubby thing manufacturing does after all the decisions are made. We spend a lot of time getting the students and at IDEO, to kind of think about how can you be really clever about jumping right in and finding out as much as you can from building. And we don’t mean like in a machine shop, we mean by doing something in the real place, with the real people and it really works for us because then you start to have real empathy, you start to have real understanding of the situation–what’s really going on on that platform when people are waiting for the train and what’s really going on when they find their way out of the station or how they book their seat in the first place.

[ H/T ] d.school founder taps into humankind’s innate creativity via John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford, published July 18, 2013.

Friday Link Fest…*

READ

Naoto Fukasawa & Jane Fulton Suri on Smartphones as Social Cues, Soup as a Metaphor for Design, the Downside of 3D Printing and More ~ As keen observers of the world at large and the man-made objects and obstacles we encounter on a regular basis, designer Naoto Fukasawa and IDEO’s Jane Fulton Suri, who served on the jury for last year’s Braunprize selections, had plenty of interesting things to say about the current state of design and just what it means to be ‘normal’. via Core77, published June 17, 2013.

Ask Great Questions: Leadership Skills of Socrates ~ Socrates holds the key to an essential leadership skill: asking great questions. The challenge is that too few leaders, managers and employees ask great questions. This is a big problem. Cultures that embrace a culture of questioning thrive and those that fear it either fail or are doomed to mediocrity. Here are 7 basics ingredients to nurture this Socratic culture. via Forbes, published June 18, 2013.

The Bossless Office Trend ~ A nonhierarchical workplace may just be a more creative and happier one. “Management is a term to me that feels very twentieth century,” says Simon Anderson, the CEO of the web-hosting company DreamHost, “That 100-year chunk of time when the world was very industrialized, and a company would make something that could be stamped out 10 million times and figured out a way to ship it easily, you needed the hierarchy for that. I think this century is more about building intelligent teams.” via New York Magazine, published June 16, 2013.

The Worry That You’re Doing The Wrong Thing Right Now ~ You begin one task from an email, but then quickly have the urge to see if there’s something else more important you should be doing. And this problem repeats itself—every time you sit down with one thing, the dozens of others on your mind (and the many potential urgent items that might be coming in as you sit there) are grasping for your attention. Is there ever any certainty that you’re doing the right thing right now? via Design Taxi, published June 17, 2013.

50 Problems in 50 Days:  A Cross-Continent Design Adventure ~ Peter Smart recently travelled 2,517 miles to try and solve 50 Problems in 50 Days using design. This journey took him from the bustling streets of London to the cobbled lanes of Turin to test design’s ability to solve social problems—big and small. via GOOD, published June 18, 2013.

England’s ‘Play Streets’ Initiative Shuts Down Streets so Kids are Free to Play in their Neighborhood ~ via Inhabitots, published June 17, 2013.

The Best Thing We Could Do About Inequality Is Universal Preschool ~ The latest research, from a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper by James Heckman and Lakshmi Raut, concludes that a policy of free preschool for all poor children would have a raft of cost-effective benefits for society and the economy: It would increase social mobility, reduce income inequality, raise college graduation rates, improve criminal behavior (saving some of the societal expenses associated with it), and yield higher tax revenue thanks to an increase in lifetime wages. via The Atlantic, published June 17, 2013.

When Catastrophe Strikes, Emulate the Octopus ~ Nature teaches us that adaptation to environmental risk carries no goal of perfection. In human society, it’s politically expedient to propose top- down security initiatives that promise total risk elimination, such as “winning the global war on terror.” But trying to eliminate a threat like terrorism is like trying to eliminate predation, and trying to minimize it with a single, centralized plan is the direct opposite of adaptability. Well-adapted organisms do not try to eliminate risk—they learn to live with it. via Wired, published March 21, 2012.

LOOK

12 Amazing Miniature Replicas Of Famous Artists’ Studios ~ Joe Fig visits famous artists in their studios, asking questions, shooting photographs, and taking meticulous measurements. Then he creates these incredibly accurate dioramas. via FastCoDesign, published June 12, 2013.

Students Transform a Parking Spot In Front of Their School Into a Cool Parklet ~ As a technology teacher at Jericho Middle School in Long Island, New York, Matthew Silva is constantly looking for ways to infuse design thinking and process into his curriculum. With this goal in mind, he recently challenged his students to solve a problem for their school. Their challenge was to design a parklet for a parking space in front of the school where students wait every day for their parents to pick them up. via Inhabitat, published June 17, 2013.

This Is What Our Grocery Shelves Would Look Like Without Bees ~ A Whole Foods store in Rhode Island made it crystal clear to customers how their favorite fruits and vegetables depend on bees. via FastCoDesign, published June 20, 2013.

Play Perch / Syracuse University ~ architecture, play, exploration & early childhood development. via ArchDaily, published June 18, 2013.

Beautiful Pics Of Trash, Inspired By Botanical Drawings ~ Barry Rosenthal‘s series of jewel-toned garbage collections, ‘Found in Nature‘, sheds new light on litter. via FastCoDesign, published June 12, 2013.

WATCH

Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation ~ Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation is a five-week course that will introduce you to the concepts of human-centered design and help you use the design process to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change. No prior design experience necessary. Brought to you by Acumen & IDEO.org. Register now!

Browser that allows people around the world to surf the internet together in one window ~ What if you and your friends (or complete strangers) shared a browser? What sites would you visit and how would you communicate with one another? Swedish artist Jonas Lund explores those questions in his most recent project We See in Every Direction. As part of Rhizome’s online exhibition series The Download, Lund built a browser that allows people around the world to surf the internet together in one window. Users appear as cursors and can click around to different URLs, type messages in search bars or just sit back and observe what’s happening on the web. via Wired, published June 14, 2013.

Introducing Wireless Philosophy: An Open Access Philosophy Project Created by Yale and MIT ~ “Wireless Philosophy,” or Wiphi, is an online project of “open access philosophy” co-created by Yale and MIT that aims to make fundamental philosophical concepts accessible by “making videos that are freely available in a form that is entertaining” to people “with no background in the subject.” via Open Culture, published June 18, 2013.

EYE AM: Teaching Kids in Developing Countries to Tell Their Stories Through Photography ~ Todays media often creates an unfair picture of the lives of kids in developing countries – how they live and who they are. Poverty. No individuality. No creativity. But that’s a picture that isn’t created by those who really know what it looks like. The kids themselves. Together with you, we’ll create a more realistic view of the world. via Petapixel, published June 15, 2013.

School kids convince Crayola to start recycling their pens ~ Last year, members of the Sun Valley Elementary School’  “Green Team”, made up of 1st thru 5th-graders, decided to try to reduce the environmental impact of their creative process — by looking for a way to give those dried-up markers another life outside the landfill. Led by teacher Mr. Land Wilson, the forward-thinking youngsters made an appeal to the manufacturer of their favorite felt-tipped pens, Crayola, to convince the company to start recycling their empties. via Inhabitat, published June 17, 2013.

Friday Link Fest…*

 

READ

Playtime is elusive, but also essential ~ via Boston Globe, published June 8, 2013.

How Awe Can Help Students Develop Purpose ~ Research suggests that inducing awe in the classroom might inspire kids to find a sense of purpose in life. via Greater Good Science Center, published June 11, 2013.

5 Points for Your Empathy Arsenal ~ The arguments you need to explain why empathy is a key to life-long learning. via Start Empathy, published May 28, 2012.

No Learning Without Feeling ~ via New York Times, published June 8, 2013.

Happiness Should Be a Verb ~  “Well-doing” is more precise than “well-being”. via Scientific American, published June 7, 2013.

The Myth of ‘Just Do It’ — rethinking…* the idea that we perform best when not thinking about what we are doing. via New York Times, published June 9, 2013.

Place & public health: the impact of architecture on wellbeing ~ Architecture helps shape the quality of our environments and can contribute to health and happiness, writes Karl Johnsonvia The Guardian, published June 11, 2013.

Ideo’s 3 Steps To A More Open, Innovative Mind ~ via Fast Company, published June 12, 2013.

Einstein’s Problem-Solving Formula, And Why You’re Doing It All Wrong ~ via Fast Company, published March 26, 2013.

Innovation Is 1% Inspiration, 99% Perspiration ~ It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. via Forbes, published June 13, 2013.

LOOK

Office Frontiers ~ NeoCon fair: rethinking…* workplace solutions to enhance collaboration & boost productivity. via Metropolis Magazine, published June 2013.

Who Made That? The New York Times Magazine 2013 Innovations Issue ~ via New York Times, published June 7, 2013.

The National Gallery Makes 25,000 Images of Artwork Freely Available Online ~ via Open Culture, published June 11, 2013.

Seeking Wisdom: 7 Dangers Of Human Virtue by Mahatma Gandhi ~ via Teach Thought, published June 11, 2013.

Ahhh, Music To My… Eyes? ~ Sonic Sculptures by Martin Klimas. via Scientific American, published June 3, 2013.

WATCH

Empathy 101: Parents: Start by sharing, not by asking ~ via Ashoka, published October 13, 2011.

A Look Inside Japan’s Suh-weet Underground Automated Bicycle Server ~ Eco Cycle Anti-Seismic Underground Bicycle Park. via Core77, published June 10, 2013.

Daniel Goleman on Different Kinds of Empathy ~ via bvo.com, published January 26, 2011.

The Enormous Opportunity In Educating And Empowering Girls ~ Girl Rising is a documentary featuring nine girls from nine countries as they seek out an education. via FastCo.Exist, published June 13, 2013.

Fruit snack Gogo squeeZ Addresses Playfulness Deficit with New Campaign ~ Wherever You Go, Go Playfully. via FastCoCreate, published June 11, 2013.

21st Century Masters Create Their Own Fields ~ via Big Think, published May 12, 2013.

Friday Link Fest…*

Friday Link Fest...* | rethinked.org

 

READ

TED’s Chris Anderson on How to Give a Killer Presentation ~ via Harvard Business Review, published June 2013.

Why Empathy Is The Force That Moves Business Forward ~ via Forbes, published May 30, 2013.

Class of 2013: Start Designing Your Life ~ Ideo’s Tim Brown’s commencement speech at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Information in 2010. It’s been adapted a bit for length, but his advice to you is the same: start designing your life. via Design Thinking | Thoughts By Tim Brown, published May 21, 2103.

Big Innovations Question the Status Quo. How Do You Ask the Right Questions? ~ via FastCo.Design, published March 17, 2011.

Tina Seelig on The Science of Creativity ~ ‘It’s time to make creative thinking, just like the scientific method, a core part of our education.’ via Fast Company, published April 17, 2013.

35 Scientific Concepts That Will Help You Understand The World ~ via Business Insider, published May 27, 2013.

Transient Advantage ~ via Harvard Business Review, published June 2013.

Seven Paths to a Meaningful Life ~ Adapted from a commencement address Philip G. Zimbardo delivered at the University of Puget Sound earlier this month. via Greater Good Science Center, published May 28, 2013.

Forget Work-Life Balance. The Question is Rest Versus Effort ~ Dan Ariely on why we should rethink…* the calendar. via Big Think, published May 30, 2013.

LOOK

There Are As Many Reasons As The Population Of New York To Use The Dictionary of Numbers ~ The Google Chrome extension Dictionary of Numbers allows users to translate large numbers into human terms. via FastCoCreate, published May 24, 2013.

The Discoveries That Promote Metacognition & Self-Directed Learning ~ via Teach Thought, published May 29, 2013.

Crowdfunded Telescope Lets The Public Explore Space ~ ARKYD is an orbiting space telescope that can be controlled by the public – its primary aim is to make space exploration accessible to anyone who is interested. via PSFK, published May 30, 2013.

‘Warning’ Signs That Encourage You To Do The Opposite ~ The ‘Nature’s Playground’ campaign: To reinvent its reputation, and encourage visitors to enjoy its country houses across east England—national conservation charity National Trust approached UK-based consultancy The Click Design to create physical tongue-in-cheek signage. via Design Taxi, published May 29, 2013.

Lewis and Clark, Meet Foursquare ~ MyReadingMapped makes historic journeys come alive. via Atlantic Cities, published May 29, 2013.

WATCH

Design Thinking & Education: Annette Diefenthaler, IDEO ~ Annette Diefenthaler, a Senior Design Research Specialist & Project Lead at IDEO, discusses creating and launching IDEO’s Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit. via Vialogues, published May 23, 2013.

The Purpose of Philosophy is to Ask the Right Questions ~ Slavoj Žižek on how Philosophy is not here to provide all of the answers. What it can do however, which is more powerful, is ask the right questions. via BigThink, published May 28, 2013.

Take A Secret Look Inside The Cocoon As A Caterpillar Transforms To A Butterfly ~ Using three dimensional X-ray imaging, we can now see the magical process of metamorphosis up close. via FastCoExist, published May 24, 2013.

New playlist: Design giants ~ From graphics to products, check out these 13 TED talks by some of the world’s greatest designers. via TED Blog, published May 28, 2013.

Friday Link Fest…*

READ

Make and mend: Designers are finding ways to counter today’s throwaway culture ~ Rethinking…* the ways we make things, shifting the discourse from incessant production to intelligent adaptation. via Financial Times, published March 29, 2013

Engineering Serendipity ~ via New York Times, published April 5, 2013.

Great Scientist ≠ Good at Math ~Discoveries emerge from ideas, not number-crunching ~ via Wall Street Journal, published April 5, 2013.

How to Create Your Reason ~ “We need a reason, because our reasons are what liberate us from lives that feel senseless.” via Harvard Business Review, published April 9, 2013.

The link between art and innovation ~ via Politico, published April 7, 2013.

Musical Training & Language Skills Enhance One Another ~ via New York Times, published April 8, 2013.

How IDEO brings design to corporate America ~ via CNN, published April 11, 2013.

LOOK

Everything You Know by Wendy MacNaughton ~ via Explore, published April 9, 2013.

The Grinders Vs. The Dreamers. Who Wins? ~  Lovely Infographic rethinking…* grind by Joey Roth. via FastCo.Design, published April 8, 2013.

Street Artist Roadsworth Transforms the Streets of Montreal into a Visual Playground ~ via Colossal, published April 10, 2013.

Sick of the boring commute? Straphanger photobombs fellow commuters ~ via New York Daily News, published April 5, 2013.

Every Day a Different Dish: Klari Reis’ Petri Paintings ~ The Daily Dish by Klari Reis: a new petri dish painting every day. via Smithsonian Magazine, published April 5, 2013.

Artist Turns Abandoned Cars into Public Art Installations ~ “Ocupe Carrinho” (Occupy the Car) by Felipe Carrelli. via Junkculture, published April 11, 2013.

 

WATCH

Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong ~ via TED, published March 2013.

Circuit Playground Sparks Electronics Education ~ Introducing the sippy-cup set to soldering irons & the world of wires ~ via Wired, published April 4, 2013.

60 Second Adventures in Astronomy Explains the Big Bang, Relativity & More with Fun Animation ~ via Open Culture, published April 8, 2013.

 

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