SOPHIE: Okay, [Bob] Dylan walks up to you and he says, “you are a horrible songwriter.” How do you react?
ALEX: I would be horribly depressed. Yes I would. I would. But then, after, you know, months of brooding, I would find a lyricist and write a song about how horribly depressed I was. And it would be a big hit, everyone would love me, and I’d make lots of money. Suddenly I’d be less depressedSource: Music and Lyrics (2007)
than if I just sat around being a little bit self-indulgent, letting my misery eat away at me until I’d become an emotional wreck and creatively completely moribund. Yes, moribund.
That’s the spirit of writing, sans the imaginary success part.
I started 2021 with two tiny impulsive pieces, Leadership or Org Culture, and Design, Acting and the Fourth Wall.
I started a weekly learning series in response to the ritual established in my team, covering a wide range of topics, most of which came from my internet digest.
I was surprised that it lasted 23 weeks:
- Issue 1: Alcohol, Learning, Principles, and Good Design
- Issue 2: Watchmen, Housing, Humour, and Faith
- Issue 3: Race, Designer, Accessibility, and AI
- Issue 4: New Power, New Design, Persuasion Tricks, and the Inclusion Illusion
- Issue 5: The Future Issue
- Issue 6: Design Methods, Research, Blockchain, and Original Sin
- Issue 7: The Gaming Edition
- Issue 8: Designer, Knots, and Dream Job
- Issue 9: Design, Measurement, Hype, and Captaincy
- Issue 10: Thought Leadership, Teaching Design, and the Strategic Designer
- Issue 11: Workshop, Grit, Prequel, and Recycling
- Issue 12: Aphorism, Strategy, and Strategic Logic
- Issue 13: The Inner Peace Edition
- Issue 14: Obsession, Touch Screen, and Miscellaneous Goodies
- Issue 15: Culture War, Web App, Startup, and Books
- Issue 16: The Artificial Intelligence Edition
- Issue 17: The Career Edition
- Issue 18: NFT, Digital Assets, Web 3.0, and Design
- Issue 19: Growth Strategy, Design Quality, and Don Norman
- Issue 20: The Scientific Edition
- Issue 21: The Social Edition
- Issue 22: Supermoney, Digital Colonialism, and Hard Work
- Issue 23: The Leftover Edition
Power and Organization
During the time, I also started my investigation into power and organization with You Know the Next Item on My Bucket List, followed by a series of articulation and learning:
- Why Your Org Can’t Succeed at Digital Transformation
- Power and Rights
- Power and Corruption
- Democratic Oversight and Authoritarian Organizations
- Confidence and Corruption in Organizations
- Corrupt and Incorruptible Organizations
Early in the year, my co-author Andre and I also published our second collaborative work, The Transformable Enterprise, and I posted The Road to Transformable Enterprise: Reflective Conversations on Writing and More, to talk about the book and behind-the-scene thoughts.
The Endgame of Design System is probably a rather dated rant piece from the year before.
The draft of the three-part Becoming a Designer sat in my notebook (the brilliant Bear) for at least two years. Miraculously, I managed to pull it out and posted it in two parts:
- Becoming a Designer Part 1: A Personal Path of Learning
- Becoming a Designer Part 2: The Whole Human Metaphor
Design as a Craft for Solving Problems originated from an unlikely place of trying to teach design to others.
UX Design, Theatre, and Fakes is a rant on our use and abuse of the word “theatre”.
Facilitation, Moderation, and Hosting is a direct response to a tweet.
A Common Problem in Promoting HCD in Organizations is another rant on the challenge of design in business.
Design, Acting and the Fourth Wall is a tiny piece inspired by a great leader from my organization.
Culture and Organization
Besides Leadership or Org Culture, I also wrote two other pieces on culture and organization:
I also took the time to design a few ambigrams for various purposes:
Writing book reviews is such a thing that you actually need to learn to write it well. I only managed to write one this year:
That’s a great book, by the way.
That’s all for 2021.