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robertogreco : synthesis   18

stop literalizing the design process | sara hendren
"This is your semi-regular reminder that collaborative, ethical design is not synonymous with customer service, taking orders from “users,” retail-style. It’s synthesizing and recombining ideas from insights gained by deeply considered habits of attention. The implications of this claim are twofold, and people are forever forgetting either one or the other, ad infinitum.

The first implication is that—yeah, you can’t ask people a bunch of questions in survey mode, and then turn the magical crank of the design process to automatically make something good, something the world is asking for. But the second implication is that a designer’s job is not to obediently make the precise widget described by so-called end users, to check a moral box and be sure that they did the right thing. Insights and synthesis are subtler than that. A designer has to both be grounded in multiple forms of deep attention, not in simple yes-no answers, and she has to get liftoff from the mundane first ideas at hand—to take considered risks, to switch scales, to propose ideas that are bigger than the sum of parts.

And perhaps it’s surprising, but it’s actually that second implication that’s harder for people to grasp. Yes—yes of course—the world is full of solutioneering. We have to keep talking about all the ways tech and design go wrong when there’s an assumption that any given clever intervention will make the world better. But it’s also far too easy to wield a blunt moral cudgel to ethics-check people in a simplistic way. It seems to me that in 2018, folks who know something about design tend to find a voice for their skepticism about this clueless over-confidence, but those same people have too little patience for the non-linear and enigmatic way that design gets its work done. “Did-you-ask-the-user-what-she-wants” now is code for: did you get a direct order for your decisions? It’s just never that simple, never that rote, never that guaranteed. A plea for discernment and subtlety, friends."
sarahendren  2018  design  collaboration  ethics  ethicaldesign  customerservice  synthesis  recombination  surveys  attention  solutioneering  solutionism  technosolutionism  morals  morality  skepticism  discernment  subtlety 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Jagged Thoughts for Jagged Times: 105 - Nicholas Bate
"Imagination, love, desire, curiosity, tenderness, thoughtfulness, reflection, passion, distillation, synthesis, wonder, purpose, more tenderness, compassion, understanding, empathy, serenity, lightheartedness and a billion other fragile states experienced by human beings. Such states become so easily lost and damaged when doing becomes more important than being."
2014  nicholasbate  being  doing  love  imagination  desire  curiosity  tenderness  thoughtfulness  reflection  passion  distillation  synthesis  wonder  purpose  compassion  understanding  empathy  serenity  lightheartedness  productivity  efficiency  capitalism 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Jon Kolko » Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Synthesis
"Designers, as well as those who research and describe the process of design, continually describe design as a way of organizing complexity or finding clarity in chaos. Jeff Veen, founder of Adaptive Path, has noted that "Good designers can create normalcy out of chaos."[1] 1 Jeff Veen, The Art and Science of Web Design (Indianapolis: New Riders Press, 2000). Jim Wicks, Vice President and Director of Motorola's Consumer Experience Design group explains that "design is always about synthesis—synthesis of market needs, technology trends, and business needs."[2] During synthesis, designers attempt "to organize, manipulate, prune, and filter gathered data into a cohesive structure for information building."[3] Synthesis reveals a cohesion and sense of continuity; synthesis indicates a push towards organization, reduction, and clarity.

Yet despite the acknowledged importance of this phase of the design process, there continues to appear something magical about synthesis when encountered in professional practice: because synthesis is frequently performed privately ("in the head" or "on scratch paper"), the outcome is all that is observed, and this only after the designer has explicitly begun the form-making portion of the design process. While other aspects of the design process are visible to non-designers (such as drawing, which can be observed and generally grasped even by a naive and detached audience), synthesis is often a more insular activity, one that is less obviously understood, or even completely hidden from view. Designers may follow a user-centered discovery process to immerse themselves in a particular subject or discipline, and then go "incubate" that material. After a period of reflection, they will produce a tangible artifact as a visual representation of the reflection. When synthesis is conducted as a private exercise, there is no visible connection between the input and the output; often, even the designers themselves are unable to articulate exactly why their design insights are valuable. Clients are left to trust the designer, and more often than not, the clients simply reject the insight as being "blue sky" or simply too risky.

For example, a designer developing a new digital device might study the use of digital devices used in the workplace. Typically, a designer will observe four or five users as those individuals conduct their work. The designer will ask questions of each user about their jobs and record details of their responses. The designer might also take screen shots or photographs of the tools being used, and probe for details about each item. The designer will then return to the design studio. In the privacy of his or her natural work place, the designer will attempt to make sense of what he or she has learned. The goal is to find relationships or themes in the research data, and to uncover hidden meaning in the behavior that is observed and that is applicable to the design task at hand.

The user research sessions will produce pages of verbal transcript, hundreds of pictures, and dozens of artifact examples. Because of the complexity of comprehending so much data at once, the designer will frequently turn to a large sheet of paper and a blank wall in order to "map it all out." Several hours later, the sheet of paper will be covered with what to a newcomer appears to be a mess—yet the designer has made substantial progress, and the mess actually represents the deep and meaningful sensemaking that drives innovation. The designer will have identified themes, and will better understand the problem he or she is trying to solve; the designer will have discovered "the whole," as described by Daniel Fallman: "Fieldwork, theory, and evaluation data provide systematic input to this process, but do not by themselves provide the necessary whole. For the latter, there is only design."
design  sensemaking  jonkolko  2010  magic  transparency  process  synthesis  fieldwork  jimwicks  jeffveen  howwework  bluesky  risk  messiness  demystification  canon 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Cory Doctorow: I think the big mistake in schools is trying to...
""I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker."


Stanley Kubrick

==

Preach it, Stan!

From Cory: What’s more, the emphasis on standardized testing and synchronized learning means that if a kid walks into a grade one classroom on fire about some book he’s read — as I did, when I first picked up ALICE IN WONDERLAND and was whisked away by it — the teacher *must* say, “Sorry, as much as you’re enjoying your first passionate love-affair with a book, as much as you’ve just had a conversion experience to being a reader, as much as you have reached a point where you are synthesizing all the stuff we’ve taught you thus far, IT’S TIME TO STOP. Now is the time when we do subtraction, not reading. If you haven’t learned your subtraction by the time the standardized test rolls around, you might flunk out, I might have my pay cut, and the school might lose its funding."


A large slice of a teacher’s real job is to watch students for their moments of satori, their moments of synthesis, and then LEAVE THEM THE FUCK ALONE. Get out of the way.

But the relentless, blind, idiotic market logic of education — schools as factories whose product is educated children; parents as customers; teachers as employees; governments as management; taxpayers as shareholders — produces a system where any real learning — synthesis, deep knowledge acquisition — is accidental and must squeeze through the cracks left in the relentless pursuit of good quarterly numbers to report to the shareholders.

I despair for the future, some days."
learning  teaching  education  factoryschools  2013  corydoctorow  satori  synthesis  children  numbers  testing  standardizedtesting  business  schoolasbusiness  unschooling  deschooling  stanleykubrick 
august 2013 by robertogreco
DAILY | Chris Marker, 1921 – 2012 – Fandor - Essential films. Instantly!
"…a quote from Alain Resnais: “Chris Marker is the prototype of the 19th Century man. He managed to achieve a synthesis of all appetites and obligations without ever sacrificing any of them to the others. In fact a theory is making the rounds, and not without some grounds, that Marker could be an extra-terrestrial. He looks like a human, but perhaps he comes from the future or from another planet… There are some very bizarre clues. He is never sick or ill, he is not sensitive to cold, and he doesn’t seem to need any sleep.”"
filmmaking  film  superhumans  generalists  synthesis  2012  sleep  humans  alainresnais  chrismarker 
august 2012 by robertogreco
05_Future | Abitare En [Read all five parts, links at the beginning of this one.]
"The future of architecture and design blogging should: 1) make pop culture more interesting by introducing fringe ideas to wider audiences, acting as a bridge between the periphery and the center; 2) synthesize ideas from apparently unrelated fields; and thus 3) unite writers, designers, architects, clients, the reading public, and other practitioners across geographic and professional backgrounds around shared themes of inquiry and concern. In the process, blogging’s future should pursue a larger political goal of changing what conversations take place in the context of architecture and design, who is able to participate in those discussions, and, finally, how widely – and in what form – the results of these exchanges can be disseminated. These are ambitious, even utopian, goals, but they are also part of what it will take to ensure that blogging will, indeed, have a future."

[via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/12215358947 ]
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  2011  blogging  writing  architecture  design  diversity  interdisciplinary  sciencefiction  geography  synthesis  periphery  ideas  inquiry  thinking  writingasthinking 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Week 113 - Helsinki Design Lab
"If I had a time machine…could change one thing I would hop back to beginning of last week & remove all post-it notes from studio space…reason for this is simple: post-it notes trick people into being lazy.

…way post-it notes are commonly used in workshop settings is to capture an idea on portable piece of paper…can then be moved around at will & eventually accumulated on bigger piece of paper…rolled up & put into closet & kept forever. Ideas captured…

Post-it notes record ideas & allow them to be easily migrated & reorganized, but it's not a good medium for mutating & synthesizing ideas.

One of the reasons that we prefer large sheets of paper or whiteboards is that they encourage collaborative mutation. If you realize that something is drawn in wrong place, it must be erased & re-drawn or somehow altered to meet the new intent. By drawing & redrawing, writing & rewriting, opportunities to adjust the content & format—to literally re-present the ideas—continually emerge."
sitra  bryanboyer  helsinkidesignlab  post-its  whiteboards  process  recording  ideas  sharing  mobility  mutation  synthesis  howwework  classideas  2011  postits 
june 2011 by robertogreco
If you want to truly engage students, give up the reins - Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Learning
"Harnessing entirely pupil-led, project-based learning in this way isn't easy. But all of this frames learning in more meaningful contexts than the pseudocontexts of your average school textbook or contrived lesson plan, which might cover an area of the curriculum but leave the pupil none the wiser as to how it applies in the real world.

There is a line that haunted me last year: while pupil-led, project-based learning is noble and clearly more engaging than what we do now, there is no time for it in the current system. The implication is that it leads to poorer attainment than the status quo. But attainment at High Tech High, in terms of college admissions, is the same as or better than private schools in the same area."
ewanmcintosh  education  creativity  students  citizenship  ict  prototyping  gevertulley  sugatamitra  ideation  projectbasedlearning  hightechhigh  synthesis  tcsnmy  cv  lcproject  studentdirected  student-led  immersion  designthinking  engagement  schools  change  time  making  doing  problemsolving  criticalthinking  growl  pbl 
march 2011 by robertogreco
A New System For Synthesizing : Transdisciplinary Design Transblog | Parsons The New School for Design
"In lectures, I jotted the speaker’s critical ideas prefaced with their initials and noted my ideas, prefaced with “me:”. I saved the full articles in Evernote, instead of saving just links to them in Delicious. With these, I tagged only the keywords that have the meaning of the article that are not actually in the article. For example, tagging a criticism of Freakonomics with “failure, lesson, complexity, outsider, transdisciplinary, ripple, effects”.

The serendipitous moment came when it was time to write my first paper: I realized I already had much of the ‘raw footage’, and instead of generating, I need to synthesize as Tim Brown explains in Change By Design. Searching ‘complexity’ and ‘systems’ in Evernote gave me specific ideas I had previously noted from 4 lectures, 3 articles and a systems diagram I’d created. It was the answer to the question: What use is an excellent note I’ve taken when it’s forgotten and scribbled somewhere in one of my notebooks?"
evernote  del.icio.us  gmail  notetaking  tagging  bookmarking  synthesis  transdisciplinary 
november 2010 by robertogreco
New Designs for Learning: A Conversation with IDEO Founder David Kelley | LFA: Join The Conversation - Public School Insights
"Analytical thinking is great. It’s the way you learned to be step-by-step—to collect data, analyze it & come up w/ a conclusion, like you did in science class. It is really useful, & I hope people keep doing it. It's very important. Design thinking is more experimental & less step-by-step. It's fuzzier. It's intuitive. It's empathic. We often say that it’s integrative thinking, where you put together ideas from different sources—it’s synthesis. This is a way of thinking that is not quite so linear, but you can build confidence in it if you do it over & over again…the basic premise of design thinking revolves around empathy, being understanding of what other people want, & how the world is put together from a social & emotional point of view…wouldn’t you have multiple faculty members with different points of view in the same classroom, so that the kids are not biased"

[via: http://stevemiranda.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/david-kelley-on-design-thinking-from-the-archives/ ]
analysis  synthesis  d.school  creativity  design  education  learningspaces  emergent  tcsnmy  schools  lcproject  designthinking  empathy  intuition  criticalthinking  21stcenturyskills  socialemotionallearning  bias  k12lab  prototyping  toshare  topost  nclb  making  doing  realworld  storytelling  generalists  scaling  davidkelley  socialemotional 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Seriously Happy - plsj field notes
"For all the recent research and writing on happiness, studies that synthesize findings from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities have been notably missing, says Sissela Bok … Americans, she argues, tend to think that experiences of elation should not be fleeting but instead persist through their whole lives—that simple contentment does not suffice. Contrast that, she says, with cultures where talk of being happy is considered boastful and inappropriate. Or just not really the point … But do not, Bok cautions, get carried away: “Surveys of what people the world over actually say about their own experience contradict both dismal and exultant generalizations.”"

[Quote from: http://chronicle.com/article/Seriously-Happy/123765/ ]
happiness  measurement  us  culture  context  research  trends  synthesis 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Design Thinking: Dear Don . . . - Core77
"Design thinking harnesses the power of intuition. It is a process, evolved gradually by designers of all kinds, which can be applied to create solutions to problems. People of any background can use it, whether or not they think of themselves as designers. It uses the subconscious as well as the conscious mind, subjective as well as objective thinking, tacit knowledge as well as explicit knowledge, and embraces learning by doing. I like the analogy of an iceberg that has just a little ice above water level, with a vast mass submerged. Rigorous explicit thinking, of the kind encouraged in institutions of higher learning, limits people to conscious thinking and hence to using just a tiny proportion of the potential in their minds - like the ice above the water. The design thinking process allows us to follow our intuition, valuing the sensibilities and insights that are buried in our subconscious - like the ice below the water..."
architecture  core77  designthinking  industrialdesign  graphicdesign  process  constraints  tcsnmy  evaluation  criticalthinking  prototyping  visualizaton  slection  uncertainty  iteration  iterative  synthesis  framing  ideation  envisioning  learning  making  doing  handsonlearning  learningbydoing  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  methods  design  billmoggridge 
august 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Method designing
"like many designers, I have to immerse myself in cultural context of my work in order to get results. I’ve come to think of this as ‘method designing’, after method acting; way of ‘getting into character’ that consciously & subconsciously informs design process. ...approach might come from fact that, as a designer, I’ve actually spent a lot of time writing, curating & doing strategic work. All...require ability to process vast amounts of data (often media) fairly rapidly & synthesise into some new form—as does designing, or at least the kind done by designers like me. I find it difficult to have a discussion around form & function w/out trying to get at ineffable, intangible aspects of project’s context, for which I’m yet to discover a good word. Raymond Williams’ ‘structure of feeling’ partly does it, & mise-en-scène does to a limited extent, but ‘context’ isn’t quite enough, & doesn’t get at the lived experience & cultural aspects as well as the socio-economic & form-based."
mise-en-scène  structureoffeeling  danhill  cityofsound  design  methoddesigning  methodacting  immersion  cities  helsinki  literature  understanding  howwework  howwelearn  experience  culture  process  tcsnmy  classideas  writing  curating  media  strategy  data  synthesis  context  toshare  topost 
july 2010 by robertogreco
New Designs for Learning: A Conversation with IDEO Founder David Kelley | LFA: Join The Conversation - Public School Insights
"just cross out “21st-century skills” & put in “design thinking.”...basically what we mean...new way of thinking that adds to, but doesn’t replace, way we normally think: analytical thinking...[that's] the way you learned to be step-by-step—to collect data, analyze it & come up w/ a conclusion, like in science class...really useful, I hope people keep doing it...Design thinking is more experimental & less step-by-step. It's fuzzier, intuitive, empathic...integrative thinking, where you put together ideas from different sources...synthesis...not quite so linear, but you can build confidence in it if you do it over & over...innovation lab is basically just a place where physical assets represent our content...everything is on wheels...write on everything...Everybody wants to talk about problem-solving, but we think that the even more creative part is: What are the questions worth asking? What projects are worth working on? What problems are worth attacking, from student point of view?"

[via: http://stevemiranda.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/david-kelley-on-design-thinking/ ]
education  innovationlab  designthinking  21stcenturyskills  analyticalthinking  iteration  schooldesign  design  learning  teaching  innovation  reflection  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  synthesis  mindset  problemsolving  criticalthinking  davidkelley 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Snarkmarket: Anti-Teaching [see the comments too, quotes below are from them]
"I was always so frustrated by the private parallelism of school - 100 people all writing the same report at the same time. Or writing the same report year after year after year. What a waste...[CCS at UCSB is] just 1960s alternative education...I've tried to avoid letter grades in my seminars at Penn & the students hate it. They're conditioned to judge themselves that way & I think rightly fearful that an anti-grade orientation on individual projects is just a mask for an arbitrary grade at the end of the course. My arts students at UArts go for it & portfolio grading seems to be the prevailing trend in writing programs at least; I think it could work for literature courses as well. Ideally I think education is more about modeling tools than transmitting information -- although...Next semester I'm experimenting with a course structure that frontloads content & backloads research & writing tools -- exactly so students have the time to do something synthetic."
anti-teaching  michaelwesch  snarkmarket  teaching  education  learning  synthesis  content  tools  alternative  assessment  grading  classsize  colleges  universities  lcproject  tcsnmy  grades  ucsb  ccsucsb  ccs  deschooling  unschooling  progressive  unlearning  gradschool 
july 2009 by robertogreco

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