Working to Code – An Example of Defining the Basics

My partner and sweetie introduced me to the concept of knolling (a method of organizing objects). She is a university professor who teaches a creative design-heavy capstone marketing class. Turns out that knolling is only Bullet #7 in Tom Sachs “The Code”, the rules for being a successful employee at his design studio. It struck me how fundamental these rules were, The Basics if you will, and how important he must believe they are to the success of his company for him to codify them in this way.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every company or organization were this clear on their values and expected behaviours? That they understood what drives their success? Many organizations do, but most don’t. At least not in a living and authentic way.

What are you personal, team, or company bullets/basics/code? What disciplines, processes, and tools drive your success?

p.s. Tom also has a “How to Sweep” video. I would argue that if you or your company cannot thoughtfully and elegantly describe its work in a similar way, you might now know what you’re doing.


Two Thoughts on Creativity

To have a good idea you must first have lots of ideas

Linus Pauling

…prototyping is not about the prototypes we create, but the interactions that our designs invite

John Won

The Beauty of Our Humanity – Ten Things I Know to Be True #11

When I came to New York city, and saw the iconic skyline, I made the off-handed remark that it didn’t seem to me to be any bigger than my hometown downtown of Calgary.
Since then I’ve learned how wrong I was.We’ve spend five days exploring Manhattan Island, and we haven’t made it past Midtown yet. New York isn’t a city, it’s a collection of cities, all jammed up against each other. And then last night we popped out for the subway down the street from *the* most famous jazz club in the world, the Blue Note. And I had the privilege of watching three musicians who made me literally cry for joy.
Tonight I learned that we human beings connect with more than words or noise. I watch three people connect on  a level so deep and profounditseemedtometo be a religious experience. They used music but also sight, being seen, body language, and facial expressions. They used trust, experience, and focus to create something transcendent. They expressed joy, friendship, and love with every movement, glance, and smile.

I understood why “evolution” seems such a weak word. A coughing, sickly word without energy or mass, without the emotional weight needed to inspire. That such a deep connection, unity, intimacy,  “couldn’t” (but did) happen by natural selection. That we have no sense of the deep time, age, scope, and scale of the universe, nor do we realize the rarity and beauty of our place in it.

This misunderstanding is our arrogance on display. The expression of connection and intimacy I witnessed last night, that is our beauty.

The Power of Challenging Assumptions

There is a creativity, originality, and joy in challenging assumptions.

The power of challenging assumptions


Forget the Past . . .

“Forget the past, focus on the future, live in the now.”

~ Cesar Millan

Where Good Ideas Come From

“Chance favours the connected mind”.

I think this book by Steve Johnson is going on my reading list. Watch the animated clip and let me know if you agree.

Brainstorming Kept Simple

Ever been in a brainstorming session that doesn’t come up with many ideas, or when brainstorming only comes up with a few ideas? Next time try this: have your session participants brainstorm ahead of their ideas around the topic, whatever it is. They mail you their ideas. You copy and paste it into a word cloud generator. Voila!

Present and validate their word cloud with them as a group, and decide what to do with whatever ideas float to the top.

(Remember: decisions include who does what by when. Otherwise you’re just making a choice that nobody will actually do anything about.)

Now you can avoid group think, and let people be creative on their own, but any convergence (and there usually is more than some) has more credibility.