You Know the Next Item on My Bucket List

The Previous Item I had always wanted to write a book that helps everyone understand design. It was on my bucket list for a very long time. When I was an editor in a publishing house, I wondered why there are no such books (which is not true, of course). By the time I was…

Weekly Learning: Watchmen, Housing, Humour, and Faith

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? McKinsey Settles for Nearly $600 Million Over Role in Opioid Crisis is the latest in a long history of big consultancies putting their own interests above everything else, including ethics and human lives. Specifically: The settlements come after lawsuits unearthed a trove of documents showing how McKinsey worked to drive sales…

Weekly Learning: Alcohol, Learning, Principles, and Good Design

Alcohol The Surprising Reason Why Alcohol Stores Are Considered Essential Services reveals what, perhaps, many have suspected: “Though research shows that alcohol abuse may worsen individual Covid-19 symptoms and other issues like depression, suicidality, and domestic abuse, even those adverse outcomes may not outweigh the pressure that a vast wave of alcohol withdrawal would have…

Design, Acting, and the Fourth Wall

A conversation regarding an actor prompted me to revisit a few thoughts on the similarities between design and acting. I always think that, screen acting is a bit like product design, stage acting is a bit like service design. Screen Acting is Like Product Design Screen acting attends to the camera, and the camera is…

Bookview: How Design Makes the World by Scott Berkun

Amazon | Goodreads The Best First Reading to Understand Design for Everyone What is good design? It’s a simple question that demands not-so-simple answers. To answer it in the most basic way, you have to clarify at least two more basic questions: What is “good”? And what is “design”? Only when you get down to the…

Constraints Are More Equal Than Barriers

Design is characterized more by the constraints imposed on designers than by the freedom given to them. Identifying the constraints of a given design problem is critical both in framing the problem and in finding a solution. In fact, constraints are tightly coupled with a solution. The solution wouldn’t even be considered if it couldn’t…

Doing Things Differently Is Not Enough

Doing things differently is not enough. Evolution happens in a probabilistic manner: it’s not about whether we can do things differently this time, but about whether we can become versatile enough so that we can choose to do things differently most of the time. The former is not sustainable; the latter is. The former is…

Designerly Thought of the Day #20181116

1 Tech is politics. Politics is showbiz. Showbiz is the new tech. New tech is designed. (Following a stream of thoughts on design’s ethics and political power.) 2 Everything in digital life is about tech, except tech. Tech is power. (After a quote from House of Cards)   {END}

Design in Orgs Needs More Science Than Art (The Designerly Leap Trilogy Part I)

Design is, by definition, a service relationship. All design activities are animated through dynamic relationships between those being served… and those in service, including the designers. Design ideally is about service on behalf of the other—not merely about changing someone’s behaviour for their own good or convincing them to buy products and services. —The Design…

The Faithful Designer and The Artist at Heart

…the path of a faithful designer never leads her to anywhere, until she finds her artist at heart. https://youtu.be/h_D3VFfhvs4 After decades I’m still fascinated by Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal music video every time I watch it. It was an idea so well executed. The coin-throwing opening, the masterfully choreographed group dance, the transcendental light-out segment,…

Debunking The Myth of Design (Thinking) Process

“The correct regulative principle for anything depends on the nature of that thing.” —John Rawls Design Process is Not a Process The biggest misconception about design process is perhaps that we interpret it too literally. Design process is not a “process” per se. The act of designing doesn’t have a universal “process”. It’s highly coupled…

Marching Beyond Mike Monteiro’s Code of Ethics

Note: The following is a raw dump of thoughts in response to Mike’s talk at CanUX 2018. Please suspend judgement and tolerate messiness in logic. If you attended Mike Monteiro’s CanUX 2018 talk, How to Build an Atomic Bomb, or are familiar with Mike’s thoughts and perspectives, then you’re good to read on. The Road to…

Do Not Go Gentle into Good Design

Do not go gentle into good design, Solution should burn and live another day; Rage, rage against the problem we define. Though the means to their end ain’t no benign, Because their words had forked no action they Do not go gentle into good design. Lame designers wave by, crying how bright Their designs might…

Designerly Quote of the Day #20180912

…design is not a midpoint between the applied arts and sciences. Design is a third culture with its own founding postulates and axioms, with its own approach to learning and inquiry. Design is inclusive of things found in science such as reason and in the arts such as creativity. But just as science is inclusive…

The Chain of Intentions in Interaction Design

Design is purposeful. Interaction is intentional. There’s a chain of intentions in Design. They are connected by interactions and justified by purpose. Structuring the flow of those intentions is a critical part of design. Intention Vs. Purpose For clarity, let’s first differentiate intention from purpose. We can loosely define intention in design as the goal…

Designerly Quote of the Day #20180823

“A fundamental assertion established for wicked problems is that any attempt to think them through completely before acting is doomed to fail. They cannot be solved, since their fundamental tradeoffs prevent any solution from addressing them as a whole. They have to be approached differently, by envisioning a positive outcome for a change, ensuring its…

Designerly Quote of the Day #20180822

These violent designs have violent ends, And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which as they please consume. The trickiest design Is loathsome in its own moral weakness, And in the greed confounds the ethics: Therefore design responsibly, good design doth so: Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow. — Fanz Hugo

Design Reasoning and The Innovation of Meaning

What’s peculiar about the relationship between design and innovation? Why are they so related in the rhetorics of the past decades? How does design lead to innovation (if at all)? When and where do design and innovation overlap? The clues might just be here, right in the understanding of design and the perspective on innovation….

Designerly Thought of the Day #20180809

Although a bit hyped, design systems signals the dawn of automation in design. As principles, best practices, patterns, and libraries stabilize and evolve (far more often than revolutionizing), tactical and functional design tasks will by operated by AI machines (only curated by humans) and become highly automated. Design as a human profession naturally shifts to…

What’s Driving Design in Your Org?

Design is driven by data, insight, and creativity. Each of the three could drive the design practice alone, while it’s often a dynamic synthesis of the three that leads to real change based on business success. The relative strength of each in that synthesis reflects the design culture, and to a broader sense, work culture,…

Design in Business and Business in Design

What’s the relationship between business and design? How shall we think of the two in one big picture? Do designers need to understand business more? Should businesspeople understand design more? Those are tricky questions. And then Alan Cooper started a thread (in his characteristic fashion not so different from that of “And that’s when the…