September 30, 2013

Blog All Dog-eared Pages: The Designful Company by Marty Neumeier

I read The Designful Company by Marty Neumeier a while back but just rediscovered it in my pile of books and realised I hadn't blogged the dog-eared pages.

It wasn't an amazing read, a bit of an "airport book" - some useful stuff in their, but a fairly light and quick read. My notes follow...

Page 40

Fear of failure, aversion to unpredictability, preoccupation with status - these are the prime assassins of innovation. The ruthless elimination of error is one of the givens of the 20th-century management. Yet error should be embraced as a necessary component of the messy, iterative, creative process.

Page 44

In the meantime, we're seeing the breakdown of a management model so bereft of ideas that it has resorted to "unlocking" wealth through financial manipulation rather than "creating" wealth through designful innovation.

Page 69

Roughly translated, [13th-century philosopher Thomas Aquinas] was saying beauty requires three qualities: integrity, harmony and radiance. INTEGRITY is the quality of standing out clearly from the background. HARMONY is how the parts relate to the whole. RADIANCE refers to the pleasure we feel when we experience it. And the language of beauty, according to Aristotle, is AESTHETICS.

Page 73

Buckminster Fuller once said, "When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong." In mathematics, Poincare could judge the quality of a solution solely on its aesthetic elegance.

Page 78

Good design exhibits virtues. What virtues? You know, good old-fashioned virtues like generosity, courage, diligence, honesty, substance, clarity, curiosity, thriftiness, and wit. By contrast, bad design exhibits human vices like selfishness, fear, laziness, deceit, pettiness, confusion, apathy, wastefulness, and stupidity.

Page 87

Starbucks founder Howard Schultz put it this way: "Who wants a dream that's near-fetched?" If your goal is to out-perform the competition from day one, dream large.

Page 151

What wicked problems exist at your company? How can you turn hairy obstacles into high-status rewards? Who out there looks hungry for a challenge?

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September 25, 2013

Links... to Me... to You...

Jon Udell once said that a blog post can just be an email that you share with many people. This wouldn't quite be an email, it would've been a draft email (that's my default way of taking notes, as my email client is usually open, and it's shared to everywhere I might need it) to me so I could copy them from one operating system to another. So, a collection of random things that piqued my interest while I've been editing Designing the Internet of Things (and so hanging out in Windows rather than Ubuntu...)

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September 22, 2013

Making More Makers

Nick Sweeney has written an interesting blog post about adding fuel to the small fire of kickstarter campaigns and the maker movement.

It's an interesting topic, and one that I've been picking at over the past year or so, as I both edge towards MCQN Ltd making products and chat to more and more people engaged in the maker movement.

I covered some of the problems in the talk I gave at the RSA the other month - The Valley Between Makers and Manufacturers. I don't have (m)any solutions just yet, but am interesting in working towards some. Some thoughts/observations/challenges (in a lazy list, as I'm not sure how to weave them into a useful narrative, but I think it's good to get them out there...):

  • Getting more people introduced to the maker movement. DoES Liverpool is growing steadily, but it would always be nice for it to be growing faster, and for more of the people who come along and use the space every now and then when they've got a project to move to people who hang out and help others learn what's possible.
  • Rediscovering the supply chain. As people work on more projects, word spreads on how to get X or Y done, and who can do it. I've also been doing things like attending the inaugural Merseyside Manufacturing Council meeting start to try to bridge the gap. There are a few problems in that area:
    • Finding who exists locally that you could use.
    • Working out who is good or bad - which is mostly solved by word-of-mouth as people use different services and share experiences.
    • Helping the suppliers, fabricators, etc. understand that there's a new market for their services emerging. I can completely understand why some of them are rather spiky to first deal with - it's a defence against the many people who'll waste your time (not deliberately) because they've got a "great idea" and you have to educate them either in how they can use your services, or in why their great idea isn't going to fly.
  • Artisan-scale electronics devices don't really fit into the existing regulation framework. There are good reasons for certification, but the cost of testing at present is a huge barrier to more people scaling up their cool maker project into a finished product.
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September 07, 2013

Software As Sensors

I love it when someone gives a talk or writes an article that gives you a new way to look at the world. Mike Dewar did this today in his talk about data scientists from (what looks like it was an awesome conference) The Conference with his talk about how a link is a sensor - about how it lets you use it to sense things about your audience, and how can use it to sense things from the aggregate of all the "sensors" that have been deployed.

That's a lovely way of communicating what analytics, etc. do.

The rest of the talk is really good too - a great introduction to what data science is. Well worth watching.

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September 06, 2013

Twin Burger Cities

Liverpool and New York. Two cities with many connections. Once opposing endpoints of the transatlantic liner routes, now they can add a new link. Both host Ignite events which have featured talks about burgers!

At Ignite NYC, Hilary Mason gave a great talk about using data to find the best cheeseburgers...

And for his first Ignite Liverpool talk (back in April 2010!), now veteran IgniteLiv speaker Alistair Houghton talked about his passion for burger chain Wimpy...

Of course, we're always interested in hearing from people who'd like to speak at a future Ignite Liverpool. Next one is on 14th November 2013 - visit the Ignite Liverpool website to let us know if you want to talk, or to just book a ticket to come along and watch.

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