Weeknotes #243

This week I did:


I’ve been working on a developing a process for coordinating a product roadmap and delivery plan with the operations of the teams running the training courses for young people. I haven’t quite got the strategy figured out yet but as it shapes up the biggest challenge is going to continue to be how change and adapt quickly to deliver a good enough product just in time for the course delivery.

We discussed the difference between an operating model which explains how things usually work and a support model that explains how to respond when things go wrong, so now we just need to build out those models and make them work in practice.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

I started collaborating with an old friend on writing a children’s book to answer the question, Why did the chicken cross the road? I hand-coded the website in a couple of hours (it loads in 68ms and gets 99 performance grade) and want to use it to try out ideas around ways of writing a book iteratively. The plan is to not have a plan, but to explore and figure where the project goes at each step. At the moment it’s meant to be a read-along story with an adult reading to the child and the child pressing the buttons (which is why the website needs to fast, to avoid frustration), but it might evolve into a story for older children, or into a game, or something we haven’t even imagined yet.

Digital creativity exam

I did my Digital Creativity exam, which finishes the module and means I only have one module and my dissertation left. I really enjoy studying, even though it takes lots of time I get a lot out of the pressure it applies.


This week’s Service Design course was about prototyping. We talked about rapid prototyping of digital services which involves building only enough to test your idea, and then going right back to make an improved version once you’ve gotten the feedback you need. Quite timely, I think, as it’s pretty much the approach we’re taking with Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road.

Upgraded my office

I bought a wireless keyboard which means I can have my laptop monitor up at eye height rather than looking down and getting neck and back ache. If I was still writing about being a Digital Nomad I think I’d use this to talk about how people adapt their surroundings to fit their needs and what that means when your immediate environment is more limiting and changes regularly.

I read:

Human-Centered Design Considered Harmful

Donald Norma from NN Group writes about how Human-Centred Design can be harmful when it causes designers to create for a single idealised user and so excluded others. I’ve been thinking (a little) about how the approach of designing for the extreme user and so including everyone else might work in practice. And when I say design I don’t mean ‘what a web page looks like’ (although that is part of it also), I mean how we design systems and structures and organisations to work for everyone.

Computers and Creativity

This wonderful essay by Molly Mielke, a product designer at Notion, asks the question, “How can we push digital creative tools to their full potential as co-creators, thus harnessing the full power of creative thought and computational actualization to enable human innovation?” This idea is interesting to me as I’ve been studying digital media and how it affects creativity.

Welcome to the Experience Economy

The experience economy is where commercial activities move to beyond commodities, products and services. Pine says that the difference between service and experience is how the customer regards their time. When they are accessing a service they want it to be convenient so they spend as little on it as possible. But when they engage in experiences the customer wants to make the most of their time, and will pay more for it. I wonder if the same thinking could be applied to how charities approach how services are delivered?

Speed as a habit

I believe in speed. For the advantage it offers in almost all situations, and for the tendency towards taking action and getting fast feedback that it brings. In this article is Dave Girouard talks about how, “All else being equal, the fastest company in any market will win“. Speed of decision-making is the main topic the article covers, including some of those anxieties we tell ourselves exist as reasons not to make decisions, things like dependencies, perfect knowledge, and understanding impact, all things that apply if the default decision is to not make a different decision anyhow, we just choose to ignore it.

The Open Paradigm in Design Research


The shift from closed to open paradigms in new product development is seen as an emergence of new forms of production, innovation, and design. Innovation processes are shifting from open source software to open source hardware design. Emulating open source software, design information for open source hardware is shared publicly to enhance the development of physical products, machines, and systems.Similarly, the rise of the “maker culture” enhances product tinkering,while the do-it-yourself (DIY) movement embraces “the open” in design.Users participate in design via crowdsourcing and co-creation on platforms such as OpenIdeo and Quirky and by joining proliferating open innovation challenges. At the back end of the design process, customers are invited to participate in mass customization and personalization to personalize products.The open paradigm has received scholarly attention through studies of open source software and open source hard- ware. Moreover, user engagement in the design process has been studied as user-centric innovation,participatory design,and co-design, as well as customer co-creation and crowdsourcing. However, the “open” landscape in design lacks consensus regarding a unified definition for open design practices. This lack of agreement partially results from the gap in approaches to design. Studies of innovation and new product development are focused on user-centric approaches and customer engagement in several stages of the design process, whereas current definitions of open design are focused on openness of technical design information and largely exclude, in particular, the early stages of the design process. The open design definitions also lack the commercial aspects of openness. Thus, the existing definitions are too narrow to holistically represent the shift from a closed paradigm to an open paradigm in design. Moreover, the lack of clarity and consistency in definitions is hindering the development of open design as a design approach. To fully advance the research on methods and practices, a more comprehensive perception of openness in the design process is needed.

Social design – Wikipedia


Reflective Remediation as Critical Design Strategy: Lessons from László Moholy-Nagy and Olafur Eliasson

Reflective Remediation as Critical Design Strategy: Lessons from László Moholy-Nagy and Olafur Eliasson

Reflective remediation is an important component of contemporary media theory, which emphasises the creative efforts of avant-garde artists and designers to shape the evolution of media in a critical way. However, the critical capacity of reflective remediations may be compromised by commercial dynamics or conventions, such as the celebration of ‘reflec-tivity for reflectivity’s sake’ that aims to construct an auratic experience for viewers. Because reflectivity is a critical media practice, it is vital to investigate reflective remediations in tandem with the critical intensions and creative visions of artists and designers. We investigate the critical media practices of the Bauhaus master, László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) who explored the concept of ‘productive creativity’, according to which creative experimentation should lead to design knowledge, redefining the relationship between what is known and unknown. We then scrutinise the artistic practice of the Icelandic-Danish contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson (b.1967), who contextualises reflectivity as an embodied experience , in terms of what he calls ‘frictional encounters’. When applied together, the two concepts enhance our understanding of reflective remediation as a critical design strategy.