The Week Ending Today 111209

In the spirit of the curious weekly updates I’ve begun paying attention to, and within the practicalities of this laboratory log, I think we’ll give a try to remind myself what the heck has been going on in and around the laboratory nervous center mostly for our own record, and for those who are curious.

This week was spent mostly in Helsinki, mostly in Espoo, mostly in Nokia House. In the weeks preceding (is this a violation? can i talk about the weeks preceding this one if it provides context?), most attention and energy was focused on pulling into a focus a most extraordinary design project for sharing here. The project has been running for most of the year. Truly fascinating materialized conclusions from an extraordinarily intangible design brief that I had given myself as a bit of a challenge, but it was also considered to be a good design project with benefits to the larger organization.

The substance of the project will have to wait for another day — and it almost doesn’t matter, although the conclusions are fascinating designed embodiments of the insights+principles — but the form of the conclusions are worth mentioning — effectively the translation of an intangible core social element into a guiding principle for design practices. Through the project we learned quite a bit more about what it is to lead a design project with a team of peers and supeeriors; what it feels like to be part of a well-functioning, supportive, generously creative design studio; and, what it is to share design insights, and tangible prototypes containing “dialed-to-11” peculiar interaction rituals (of the sort the laboratory uses to provoke/prod/probe possible weird near future worlds) with both whiplash smart, kung-fu smooth designers and minders of brand-marketing cubicle lands.

We also evolved a style of communication that bucks the PowerPoint/Keynote trend so as to force a conversation when someone asks us to “just send the deck” cause, like..the project has no “deck” to send. This style has been called, in a positive way, “disarming” — which we’ll take as a vote of confidence. Effectively, “designed fictions”, visual stories, and ritual moments. The goal originally was stories, and the practicalities of the moment forced the moments. Stories were story boarded, time + tool-chain learning forced the fall-back, which were still quite entrancing to watch. Or maybe I was just tired and zoning out in front of the screen. We’ll compose more on the practical aspects of some corners of the technical production of design fictions in the near future.

The week ends today, with a return to Los Angeles. Then, a nice bike ride down the coast, to be followed by a couple of days in the desert to watch a meteor shower.