Monday curiosity

Among some of the things that caught our attention last week and that may influence our thinking this week are these –

  Making sense of complex controls – The New York Times reported on the design methods brought to Ford by IDEO to inform a more disciplined way of developing the on-board interface for the increasing technology content in cars. I especially liked the descriptions of the very raw, rapid prototyping that would occur, as in this example.

Somewhat related is this video tour of Marc Newsom’s transportation designs.

  Where ideas come from – Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson talk with each other in this Wired interview about their new books. Kelly again references the “scenius” concept we’ve presented and discussed here before, saying “The musician Brian Eno invented a wonderful word to describe this phenomenon: scenius. We normally think of innovators as independent geniuses, but Eno’s point is that innovation comes from social scenes,from passionate and connected groups of people.”
Things made in suburban garages – The idea of spaces for creation is at the top of our agenda, and the “skunkworks” is always a reference point as we begin an engagement. Including the first Apple computer, this is a sometimes amusing review of some of the other things that get done in simple spaces.
The Gap logo debacle –This subject got lots of attention in other places. One of the discussions we appreciated was Umair Haque’s exploration of the value of design in corporations and how it is represented in structure and operations. Haque says, “Taking design as seriously as most companies take strategy creates more value in a year than most companies create ever.”
Urban parks – There is a very good survey and critical review of recent urban parks in The New Republic. Their architecture critic writes, “When politicians, philanthropists, and journalists consider how their work might advance the cause of social justice, they typically do not speak the language of design. This is wrong.”
The world’s fastest growing cities – New Geography took a look at the world’s fastest growing cities, but also some of the world’s diminishing cities.They say, “The evolution of cities is a protean process–and never more so than now. With over 50% of people living in metropolitan areas there have never been so many rapidly rising urban areas–or so many declining ones.”
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