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robertogreco : self-promotion   10

Design Thinking is Kind of Like Syphilis — It’s Contagious and Rots Your Brains
"Miller never bothers to define all the modes, and we will consider them more below. But for now, we should just note that the entire model is based on design consulting: You try to understand the client’s problem, what he or she wants or needs. You sharpen that problem so it’s easier to solve. You think of ways to solve it. You try those solutions out to see if they work. And then once you’ve settled on something, you ask your client for feedback. By the end, you’ve created a “solution,” which is also apparently an “innovation.”

Miller also never bothers to define the liberal arts. The closest he comes is to say they are ways of “thinking that all students should be exposed to because it enhances their understanding of everything else.” Nor does he make clear what he means by the idea that Design Thinking is or could be the new liberal arts. Is it but one new art to be added to the traditional liberal arts, such as grammar, logic, rhetoric, math, music, and science? Or does Miller think, like Hennessy and Kelly, that all of education should be rebuilt around the DTs? Who knows.

Miller is most impressed with Design Thinking’s Empathize Mode. He writes lyrically, “Human-centered design redescribes the classical aim of education as the care and tending of the soul; its focus on empathy follows directly from Rousseau’s stress on compassion as a social virtue.” Beautiful. Interesting.

But what are we really talking about here? The d.school’s An Introduction to Design Thinking PROCESS GUIDE says, “The Empathize Mode is the work you do to understand people, within the context of your design challenge.” We can use language like “empathy” to dress things up, but this is Business 101. Listen to your client; find out what he or she wants or needs.

Miller calls the Empathize Mode “ethnography,” which is deeply uncharitable — and probably offensive — to cultural anthropologists who spend their entire lives learning how to observe other people. Few, if any, anthropologists would sign onto the idea that some amateurs at a d.school “boot camp,” strolling around Stanford and gawking at strangers, constitutes ethnography. The Empathize Mode of Design Thinking is roughly as ethnographic as a marketing focus group or a crew of sleazoid consultants trying to feel out and up their clients’ desires.

What Miller, Kelly, and Hennessy are asking us to imagine is that design consulting is or could be a model for retooling all of education, that it has some method for “producing reliably innovative results in any field.” They believe that we should use Design Thinking to reform education by treating students as customers, or clients, and making sure our customers are getting what they want. And they assert that Design Thinking should be a central part of what students learn, so that graduates come to approach social reality through the model of design consulting. In other words, we should view all of society as if we are in the design consulting business."



In recent episode of the Design Observer podcast, Jen added further thoughts on Design Thinking. “The marketing of design thinking is completely bullshit. It’s even getting worse and worse now that [Stanford has] three-day boot camps that offer certified programs — as if anyone who enrolled in these programs can become a designer and think like a designer and work like a designer.” She also resists the idea that any single methodology “can deal with any kind of situation — not to mention the very complex society that we’re in today.”

In informal survey I conducted with individuals who either teach at or were trained at the top art, architecture, and design schools in the USA, most respondents said that they and their colleagues do not use the term Design Thinking. Most of the people pushing the DTs in higher education are at second- and third-tier universities and, ironically, aren’t innovating but rather emulating Stanford. In afew cases, respondents said they did know a colleague or two who was saying “Design Thinking” frequently, but in every case, the individuals were using the DTs either to increase their turf within the university or to extract resources from college administrators who are often willing to throw money at anything that smacks of “innovation.”

Moreover, individuals working in art, architecture, and design schools tend to be quite critical of existing DT programs. Reportedly, some schools are creating Design Thinking tracks for unpromising students who couldn’t hack it in traditional architecture or design programs — DT as “design lite.” The individuals I talked to also had strong reservations about the products coming out of Design Thinking classes. A traditional project in DT classes involves undergraduate students leading “multidisciplinary” or “transdisciplinary” teams drawing on faculty expertise around campus to solve some problem of interest to the students. The students are not experts in anything, however, and the projects often take the form of, as one person put it, “kids trying to save the world.”

One architecture professor I interviewed had been asked to sit in on a Design Thinking course’s critique, a tradition at architecture and design schools where outside experts are brought in to offer (often tough) feedback on student projects. The professor watched a student explain her design: a technology that was meant to connect mothers with their premature babies who they cannot touch directly. The professor wondered, what is the message about learning that students get from such projects? “I guess the idea is that this work empowers the students to believe they are applying their design skills,” the professor told me. “But I couldn’t critique it as design because there was nothing to it as design. So what’s left? Is good will enough?

As others put it to me, Design Thinking gives students an unrealistic idea of design and the work that goes into creating positive change. Upending that old dictum “knowledge is power,” Design Thinkers giver their students power without knowledge, “creative confidence” without actual capabilities.

It’s also an elitist, Great White Hope vision of change that literally asks students to imagine themselves entering a situation to solve other people’s problems. Among other things, this situation often leads to significant mismatch between designers’ visions — even after practicing “empathy” — and users’ actual needs. Perhaps the most famous example is the PlayPump, a piece of merry-go-round equipment that would pump water when children used it. Designers envisioned that the PlayPump would provide water to thousands of African communities. Only kids didn’t show up, including because there was no local cultural tradition of playing with merry-go-rounds.

Unsurprisingly, Design Thinking-types were enthusiastic about the PlayPump. Tom Hulme, the design director at IDEO’s London office, created a webpage called OpenIDEO, where users could share “open source innovation.” Hulme explained that he found himself asking, “What would IDEO look like on steroids? [We might ask the same question about crack cocaine or PCP.] What would it look like when you invite everybody into everything? I set myself the challenge of . . . radical open-innovation collaboration.” OpenIDEO community users were enthusiastic about the PlayPump — even a year after the system had been debunked, suggesting inviting everyone to everything gets you people who don’t do research. One OpenIDEO user enthused that the PlayPump highlighted how “fun can be combined with real needs.”

Thom Moran, an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan, told me that Design Thinking brought “a whole set of values about what design’s supposed to look like,” including that everything is supposed to be “fun” and “play,” and that the focus is less on “what would work.” Moran went on, “The disappointing part for me is that I really do believe that architecture, art, and design should be thought of as being a part of the liberal arts. They provide a unique skill set for looking at and engaging the world, and being critical of it.” Like others I talked to, Moran doesn’t see this kind of critical thinking in the popular form of Design Thinking, which tends to ignore politics, environmental issues, and global economic problems.

Moran holds up the Swiffer — the sweeper-mop with disposable covers designed by an IDEO-clone design consultancy, Continuum — as a good example of what Design Thinking is all about. “It’s design as marketing,” he said. “It’s about looking for and exploiting a market niche. It’s not really about a new and better world. It’s about exquisitely calibrating a product to a market niche that is underexploited.” The Swiffer involves a slight change in old technologies, and it is wasteful. Others made this same connection between Design Thinking and marketing. One architect said that Design Thinking “really belongs in business schools, where they teach marketing and other forms of moral depravity.”

“That’s what’s most annoying,” Moran went on. “I fundamentally believe in this stuff as a model of education. But it’s business consultants who give TED Talks who are out there selling it. It’s all anti-intellectual. That’s the problem. Architecture and design are profoundly intellectual. But for these people, it’s not a form of critical thought; it’s a form of salesmanship.”

Here’s my one caveat: it could be true that the DTs are a good way to teach design or business. I wouldn’t know. I am not a designer (or business school professor). I am struck, however, by how many designers, including Natasha Jen and Thom Moran, believe that the DTs are nonsense. In the end, I will leave this discussion up to designers. It’s their show. My concern is a different one — namely that… [more]
designthinking  innovation  ideas  2017  design  leevinsel  maintenance  repair  ideation  problemsolving  davidedgerton  willthomas  billburnett  daveevans  stanford  d.school  natashajen  herbertsimon  robertmckim  ideo  singularity  singularityuniversity  d.tech  education  schools  teaching  liberalarts  petermiller  esaleninstitute  newage  hassoplattner  johnhennessey  davidkelly  jimjones  empathy  ethnography  consulting  business  bullshit  marketing  snakeoil  criticism  criticalthinking  highereducation  highered  thomamoran  tedtalks  openideo  playpump  designimperialism  whitesaviors  post-its  transdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  art  architecture  complexity  simplicity  methodology  process  emptiness  universities  colleges  philipmirowski  entrepreneurship  lawrencebusch  elizabethpoppberman  nathanielcomfort  margaretbrindle  peterstearns  christophermckenna  hucksterism  self-promotion  hype  georgeorwell  nathanrosenberg  davidmowery  stevenklepper  davidhounshell  patrickmccray  marianamazzucato  andréspicer  humanitariandesign  themaintainers  ma 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Advice on moving to Los Angeles | Derek Sivers
"1. It’s not really a city. …
2. … People talk about themselves a lot because they feel they have to, for survival, for self-promotion. …
3. Avoid the highways and take the backroads…
4. Get into nature often. …
5. Every culture values different things… In LA, it’s who you know. …
6. Not just LA but California is the most optimistic place on earth. The side-effects of this can confuse outsiders. When you say, “Will you come to my event?” or, “Want to help with this project?” - they will almost always say yes, full of enthusiasm, and actually 100% sincere, fully intending to be there, to help, whatever. They honestly and optimistically think that they will be there and do it… they reluctantly “flake”… Don’t get bitter and write them off…

As with any place, if you really want to experience it, don’t just sneer and condemn it, dive in and live it like a local…

It may feel fake, but faking it is fine. (Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “You are whatever you pretend to be.”)…"

[via: http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/22541615704 ]
self-promotion  culture  2012  howwelive  overcommitted  optimism  socal  california  flakiness  advice  cities  losangeles  dereksivers 
september 2012 by robertogreco
How to Succeed in Journalism when You Can't Afford an Internship | Random House of Canada
"Poverty doesn’t allow you to develop a linear career trajectory or a coherent professional identity, b/c when cash is hard to come by, you do whatever job will bring you more of it. But when you apply this short-term logic to a creative field…you come away w/ nothing.

To be a writer in this market requires not only money, but a concept of “work” that is most easily gained from privilege…a sense of entitlement, ability to network & self-promote w/out seeing yourself as an arrogant, schmoozing blowhard…requires you to think of working for free…as an opportunity rather than…insult or…scam.

I suspect…all of this—unpaid internships, nepotism, alarming spread of unpaid assignments—will come to a head soon…people are lobbying for laws to protect interns; online, they decry media elitism w/ mounting intensity. When the current setup falls apart…I will be front & centre to cheer its demise. But the thing about privilege is that the more you have of it, the less you remember it’s there."
hazlitt  2012  unpaidinternships  nepotism  internships  arrogance  self-promotion  inequity  inequality  society  alexandrakimball  poverty  money  careers  work  creativework  creativecareers  journalism  privilege 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Pragmatic suggestions for schoolers from unschoolers (Guest Post by Patrick Farenga) « Cooperative Catalyst
"None of this easy, I know. John Holt got fired from some of his teaching positions because many teachers and parents felt his students were having too much fun, even though he could prove his students’ grades improved in his classes. Ironically, as Holt notes in Instead of Education, while some of his fellow teachers complained how their students wanted their classes to be more like Holt’s, it was ultimately the parents who demanded that Holt stop making his classes so engaging and be “more like school.”

It isn’t educational techniques that will ultimately help children learn, but rather sincere relationships with other people. As my friend Aaron Falbel said in an interview several years ago, “Indeed, it is a great joy and privilege to help someone do something that he or she wants to do, if you are asked to help. It’s when that help or teaching is not wanted that the ambiguities and unequal aspects of our relationships come into play…"
patfarenga  johnholt  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  relationships  fun  lcproject  schooldesign  johntaylorgatto  self-promotion  schools  schooling  schoolsurvival  teaching  learning  education  ivanillich  trust 
july 2011 by robertogreco
12 Paradoxes of Graphic Design | Abduzeedo | Graphic Design Inspiration and Photoshop Tutorials
"These 12 graphic design paradoxes were designed and written by Tobias Bergdahl and it's great advice for young graphic designers out there. Each piece has it's own paradox followed by an important message."
via:lukeneff  design  paradox  outsiders  graphics  graphicdesign  tobiasbergdahl  clients  education  work  howwework  writing  verbalskills  ideas  professionalism  perspective  self-promotion  understanding  outsider 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Confidence for good - Bobulate
"Even when you choose the thing that inspires you, the thing you believe in, work with colleagues you learn from, do good work, there’s going to be a level of fear involved. People will have opinions and negative reactions. But that fear means it’s worth it...

Each career change I’ve made has been based on this premise. Leaping from a known to an unknown is a way to stay relevant, moving, and continue learning...

People, both women and men, should be so fiercely passionate about good ideas that self-promotion is a natural extension. Otherwise, why is it worth doing in the first place? It’s when confidence and self-promotion are obfuscated from passion that the claims become flimsy and empty. Confidence can bridge the gap between desire and outcome as long as the integrity for what we believe and the authenticity of what we create remain in place. We have the ability to both do good work and to recognize it — the choice is ours to make. Confidence is good’s natural extension."

[via: http://blog.frankchimero.com/post/594165220/text-playlist ]
entrepreneurship  etiquette  clayshirky  lizdanzico  authenticity  education  psychology  thinking  writing  fear  gender  inspiration  demographics  design  creativity  confidence  life  business  good  integrity  self-promotion  passion  careers 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Leonardo da Vinci's resume
"From the Codex Atlanticus, this is a letter that Leonardo da Vinci wrote in 1482 to the Duke of Milan advertising his services as a "skilled contriver of instruments of war". From the translation:
leonardodavinci  kottke  cv  resumes  codexatlanticus  renaissance  self-promotion  skills  tcsnmy 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Harold Jarche » Learning socially and being social
“@BFchirpy “The killer learning management system is the Web – silly” [in case anyone is still wondering]” ... "Are we too professional: has professionalism gone too far?" ... "Great slide presentation by @sachac on how to be a shy connector – Shows that it’s not necessary to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks"
learning  education  professionalism  haroldjarche  self-promotion  introverts  presentations  networking  socialnetworking  tcsnmy  shyness  ples  lms 
january 2010 by robertogreco
plasticbag.org: Should we encourage self-promotion and lies?
"I'd never argue that we should forcefully reject anyone who manifests confidence, skills in self-promotion or who is cocky enough to sell themselves. But what I want to strongly resist is the idea that it is these attributes that we should be promoting - either in women or in men.
tomcoates  marketing  promotion  clayshirky  webdev  design  web  business  community  creativity  beauty  creation  tcsnmy  self-promotion  society  social  value  lies  work  methodology  advice  gender  identity  inspiration  psychology  women  culture  selfpromotion  feminism  vision  men  webdesign 
january 2010 by robertogreco

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