winter is coming

Thought Bites: November 2016

Spark judging, turkey basting & a new project building collaborative brilliance!

Yes November came and went with more turmoil than ever before.  Highlights included some incredible design showcased in my days judging SPARK​ products and environments (more once the awards are announced) and my inclusion in the 2017 VIVID Ideas program in Sydney with an Adventurous Thinking workshop introducing a new concept I will outline in December. Meanwhile - there's a lot to digest below!

Sally Dominguez​  Innovation Catalyst, Multifarian, Contrarian 

Negative Space: Crowd Power

You have an problem your business is grappling with, throwing all its resources at.  The Negative Space is your inability to crack the issue, and that time when you all stop working and head home.  Taking that problem to the crowd is a key component of Frugal Thinking and an innovative, productive way to utilize that Negative Space​ and complement your teams' work.  Crowd Collaboration means people outside your organization are working on that problem in different time zones, motivated not by the usual company incentives but by intrinsic motivations like learning, sharing, or building a reputation.  

Read this great piece in the Harvard BR on involving the Crowd

Thinking Sideways: Walk a Mile in this


Just a few years go Ford realized that its car designers were all mind 20s to 30s, designing for an aging demographic.  Ford designed an "empathy suit", the Third Age Suit (great, empathetic name too) that literally put these designers in the typical confines of physical old age. Reduced join mobility, decreased fingertip sensitivity and neck movement, unbalanced weight and simulated glaucoma are just some of the suit's characteristics.  Ford has since developed a Drugged Driver Suit and a Drunk Driver Suit​ for their teen education programs.  Hats off to Ford for a terrific initiative, Thinking Sideways​ to remove designers from their comfort zone, and Hand's up who else would like to try one out!
Watch How Ford's Third Age Suit Works in this video 

Thinking Backwards: Bio Concrete

Read article here

Here is an exciting development combining concrete and green wall design: a bio concrete designed in Barcelona that provides a "natural support" for algae, moss and lichens.  The possibilities for air filtration, natural shading and even algae production are just opening....

Why does this represent Thinking Backwards​?  Imagine Backcasting this design: in 20 years time the concrete structure could be...still supporting the building.  What would it look like?  Traditionally just bare concrete panels with some discoloration.  With this new material the concrete continues with its primary structural function but also contributes to air cleaning, cooling (via shading) and possibly fuel or food production.

ReThinking: Data Collection

Facebook already does a terrific job of reminding us of all the memories of ours it "safe keeps".  Movies, Friend Moments, Memories are all popups designed to keep us appreciating this behemoth that holds a crazy amount of our very personal stuff.  The Core Value of Facebook is its storage of our memories, and the data that reveals.  


Spotify also collects reams of our personal data, and this recent Spotify campaign is an interesting and touching way to remind users of the very personal connection music (and in association, Spotify) delivers.  Both Facebook and Spotify successfully make personal data collection less scary and threatening with their well-thought out Core Value​ campaigns.


Parkour: What is "information" anyway?

(scientists and communicators) "really need to take this kind of bifurcation of their audiences seriously”   Prof. Robert Brulle, Drexel University.    

Once there were World Books, Encyclopedias and Libraries.  When the internet opened up these sources were available online all still reflecting the same basic formula: recognized experts in their fields informing the third party via text and images of the pertinent facts.  Wikipedia disrupted this model completely: an online repository of crowd-sourced "facts" that anyone can upload, and anyone else can "fact check".  Wikipedia the system tracks changes and coordinates edits.  Depending on the popularity of the subject, you can find on Wikipedia outrageous claims that have not yet been queried alongside super useful highly referenced factual information.  Enter the the "news" sites full of "faction" where stories posing as real news can spread misinformation incredibly quickly using tools like Photoshop and social media sites.  Researches call these sites "echo chambers" for the way information is quickly made "valid" by its dissemination.  Its a fascinating study.  

Understanding this disputed state of "information" is crucial in order to harness it for good not evil.  Washington Post piece here 

Read this great Huff Post article on how misinformation spreads so fast