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Design Innovation Blog » Creativity

Design Innovation Blog

Design Innovation Blog

Archive for 'Creativity'

Energy in today’s society

In today’s world most managers face the same problems, which become more pressing since most of the countries are facing recession. The most common question in the current economical environment is: ‘How can we reduce costs?’ and it doesn’t take long for a company to realize that one powerful opportunity lies in improving their energy management strategies.

At this stage there are lots of software companies which provide Real Time Energy Monitoring Systems and there are a lot more which are planning to enter this market.

During the last months I’ve been researching software that allows a company to monitor their energy consumption and here is what I found:

  • Most of the software provides real time monitoring and alert systems.
  • In order for that to happen, the companies providing the software will install their own meters.
  • They store historical data in a database which can be accessed at any time through their software.
  • They send alarms every time the energy consumption rises over a certain value.


Posted by: Cristina Luminea

Design Thinking: Action and Ecosystem

I look forward to reading the transcript from Bill Buxton‘s lecture tomorrow (11 June) at the Computer-Human Interaction Forum of Oregon (CHIFOO). The Oregonian caught up with Microsoft’s principal researcher prior to the lecture for an interview and an explanation.

The pervasive notion was that thinking and knowledge were somehow something that happened inside the head … more recently, our notion of cognition has broadened considerably, and in particular, it embraces the notion that thought and knowledge may well occur as much in our physical and social environment as in the cortex itself.

Can design thinking be institutionalized, or does it happen to cities and businesses serendipitously?

This is one of the most important questions to ask. My answer is decidedly yes, it can be institutionalized. But at the same time, I have to qualify this by saying that the most creative challenge of any management is to figure out how.

Additional reading:

A New Mantra for Creativity

Posted by: Justin Knecht

How the creative stay creative

The title suggests these tips are just for those folks working within design consultancies and innovation labs, but the creative techniques in this Inc. magazine article are applicable to any group looking to stimulate creative thought. To some, these approaches might appear a bit bonkers, but essentially they boil down to tested themes: applying multiple perspectives to a problem; providing the time and space to explore wild ideas; encouraging risk; and hiring and rewarding smart, passionate people. The word “process” is mentioned once, and only in relation to lack of process. But aren’t these creative approaches processes in themselves?

Related link: frog Design Mind

Posted by: Justin Knecht

The wisdom of designing cradle to cradle

My favourite TED Talk used to be Ken Robinson talking about creativity and education. That top spot has now been replaced by William McDonough relating his philosophies of cradle to cradle design. With a great sense of humour, he designs a realistic future where all products become biological or technical nutrients and architecture creates buildings that make more energy than they need and purify their own water.

Regardless of whether you are a designer or not, these two videos are worth 40 minutes of your time if you are a human being.

Posted by: Justin Knecht

The future of education


I haven’t spent a lot of time on the blog, Education Futures, but I stumbled upon the site through the following post (bordering on rant) around designing curriculum (and “design is mentioned 14 times) to be more relevant to students, as well as the use of games for teaching. You may recall another post on this blog about using games.

Games create challenge, purpose, skill implementation, and reading and acting with purpose. If it is a good game, they will play it. And the actions are the assessments. Games assess and evaluate by their very nature. If you do not have mastery, you do not move forward. But the game will also give you help if you need it—no one designs a game that is too hard. So, maybe we should be thinking about games and how we might begin to design and structure instruction and content. We are at risk of losing our kids to disinterest because we are becoming irrelevant in teaching to the minimum standard. We can do better for them.

The world of knowledge and information is at our fingertips and it will be creative skills that are needed to synthesise this information in meaningful ways. We need to create the next generation of design thinkers.

Posted by: Justin Knecht

It’s not child’s play

My favorite definition of “play” came from my days at Crayola, where after exhaustive research and expert opinion, we landed on: “It’s what kids do.” That’s how kids learn about the world around them.


Workshop participants build paper cup towers at the Centre for Design Innovation

Play provides a safe environment for experimentation and (*gasp*) failure. Games offer the ability to role-play or introduce healthy competition.

Jess McMullin and others (Luke Hohmann, Serious Games, LEGO, Pat Kane) are using games and play within product, software, service and even policy development. This article via boxesandarrows describes why we use games, core game principles, how to apply games, and how to sell design games to your organization or client. There’s also some good links and great commentary.

Go play.

Posted by: Justin Knecht

Myth busting

There are a number of nice nuggets in this interview of Scott Berkun on his book, The Myths of Innovation.

People who earn the label “creative” are really just people who come up with more combinations of ideas, find interesting ones faster, and are willing to try them out.

Which leads me to believe that creativity can be taught. Some people may be more naturally gifted at those skills, but skills can be taught, and more importantly learned.

Experience with real people trumps expert analysis much of the time. Innovation is a practice—a set of habits—and it involves making lots of mistakes and being willing to learn from them.

Again, our Innovation by Design programme puts user research right at the heart of the process. Real value is found by talking to the real experts. Your users. It is about applying a set of new habits, as well as opening your mind to new perspectives and approaches to work. I’ve seen the look on faces in our workshops that say, “You want me to do that with one of my customers? You must be crazy.” No, not crazy, just willing to try a new approach, possibly “fail early in order to succeed sooner” and gain some key insights from your users.

Posted by: Justin Knecht

Achieving Orbit

The first book I would buy all the designers hired into Crayola would be Orbiting the Giant Hairball. Ironically, the book was written by a former employee of Hallmark Cards, who happen to own Crayola. Even an organisation boasting one of the largest internal creative staffs in the world can develop into a hairball and Gordon wrote the manifesto for creative survival, support and nurturing within the large organisation.

I was reminded of the book again, coming across this video homage put to music by a Stanford d.school student.

Posted by: Justin Knecht