Design Strategy


Design Strategy

The ability to influence corporate strategy and portfolio planning based on deep understanding and analysis of consumer, technology and market/industry trends, and translating insights and strategies into tangible and compelling product directions through visualization. Sets direction and targets for design and plans design activities to reach goals.

Why do I blog this? Notes to self.

Related to Design Fiction

Thursday March 19, 10.05.35

A few assorted bits I found related to Design Fiction whilst following a link somewhere, to somewhere else.

The future – a rough guide which is a blog by this fellow Jon Turney.

Can Science Fiction be Lab Lit? – A curious story that suggests science fiction can be a kind of laboratory literature. ((Of course, what we believe in this Near Future Laboratory is that the two are productively and aspirationally indistinguishable. Laboratory Literature is precisely Science Fiction; lab manuals and protocol handbooks; bioscience text books; specialists’ seminars and conferences; when thought of as science fiction only allow a more expansive and future-forward view of what can be, beyond the disciplined and tweedy confines of traditional practices and means of creating and circulating knowledge.)) generally seems to poke in this direction but stops short in that it piles up a berm between the fiction and the lab practice. Why not make the two the same in a productive way?

The Portrayal of Scientists in Science Fiction By Lucy A. Snyder looks to be a text in line with David Kirby’s work on scientists’ portrayals in film.

Somehow I also stumbled across this dissertation called Lab Coats in the Dream Factory: Science and Scientists in Hollywood from Scott Frank, Ph.D. in Anthropology from USC. Typically, it seems it is buried out of reach in the great dissertation hamper deep in the earth’s molten core.

Why do I blog this? Just a few tidbits for the notebook and continuing this vector, trying to figure out what and for whom this whole Design Fiction thing may be.
Continue reading Related to Design Fiction

Digital Blur Book Launched

…and apparently available only in the UK presently. John Marshall and I have a manifesto-y essay towards the end of this.

Marshall and Bleecker, in their essay, propose the term “undisciplinary” for the type of work prevalent in this book. That is, creative practice which straddles ground and relationships between art, architecture, design and technology and where different idioms of distinct and disciplinary practices can be brought together. This is clearly evident in the processes and projects of the practitioners’ work here. Marshall and Bleecker view these kinds of projects and experiences as beyond disciplinary practice resulting in a multitude of disciplines “engaging in a pile-up, a knot of jumbled ideas and perspectives.” To Marshall and Bleecker, “undisciplinarity is as much a way of doing work as it is a departure from ways of doing work.” They claim it is a way of working and an approach to creating and circulating culture that can go its own way, without worrying about working outside of what histories-of-disciplines say is “proper” work. In other words, it is “undisciplined”. In this culture of practice, they continue, one cannot be wrong, nor have practice elders tell you how to do what you want to do and this is a good thing because it means new knowledge is created all at once rather than incremental contributions made to a body of existing knowledge. These new ways of working make necessary new practices, new unexpected processes and projects come to be, almost by definition. This is important because we need more playful and habitable worlds that the old forms of knowledge production are ill-equipped to produce. For Marshall and Bleecker, it is an epistemological shift that offers new ways of fixing the problems the old disciplinary and extra-disciplinary practices created in the first place. The creative practitioners contained within the pages of this book clearly meet the “undisciplinary” criteria suggested by Marshall and Bleecker in that they certainly do not need to be told how or what to do; they do not adhere to conventional disciplinary boundaries nor do they pay heed to procedural steps and rules. However, they know what’s good, and what’s bad and they instinctively know what the boundaries are and where the limits of the disciplines lie.

Continue reading Digital Blur Book Launched

Week Ending 04232010

Saturday April 10 17:30 Ver.1.01

Well, I missed the Week Ending last week so I’ll capture a couple of the things that happened then, now.

There were a cacophony of tasks to be done, some fun, some that should’ve been fun, and all that tipped me into a level of activity-stress that translated into too little sleep and various physical ailments. These aren’t complaints at all — just a note-to-self to either learn how to manage multiple concurrent fun commitments, or spread them out like butter on a baguette.

There was a Skype lecture between here and Seoul given for a design seminar at Art Center Nabi. That was a curious thing — to lecture with the audience *sort of* there. Basically akin to talking to yourself, or rehearsing a lecture. I’m not sure I could do that again, comfortably. Aside from the challenges of dialing back my weird circumlocutions and the litany’s I dispense midtalk while trying to remember what my next point should be, or might’ve been had I not forgotten it moments earlier — it’s just a bit impersonal. Or maybe it was just the fact that it was 11 in the evening after a proper day in the studio and I just wanted to have a belt and fall asleep.

It was a roilingly active week in the studio, with this sense that there was an intense and focused round of design work on the horizon, and the sort — systemically speaking — that Nicolas and I had pondered would be an ideal way of working, especially after we both made a turn from academic and formal approaches to making things. Looking at the world obliquely, learning from new perspectives and points-of-view, redefining or differently defining what *success and *achievement might be — not just up-and-to-the-right. Somewhat in line with this talk at Lift in 2008 7.5 Rules for Working Together. I’m quite excited by the prospect this bit of work allows for a more skunky/stinky untoward refrain to the normal ways in which things are done. A bit — tip-of-the-spear actions.

Via our weekly Skype, forward progress continues on the iPhone edition of The Drift Deck, with Jon Bell and Dawn Lozzi taking that bull by its horns. Of course, we’re all excited by the prospect of a second life for The Drift Deck — and curious by the translation of a physical deck of cards into its electronic kin. There are a couple of iterations already. Engaged simplicity is the goal. There were discussions that I prompted around game mechanics — don’t know why I, in particular, would be bringing this topic up — and I think the conclusion is that it is what it is. The deck, is the deck.

The Apparatus for Capturing Other Points of View was sent to LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, where it — and the material produced — will be in an exhibition next month. ((More on that in the appropriate week note)). That was an epic undertaking — I mean the operational mishegoss of sending an 8 foot pole to Spain. DHL took it in stride..literally.

@ibogost was a house guest as he had some weird lecture to do, and that meant snifters of Port in the kitchen talking about #OOO, the shapes of things and a discussion of knob-turned-to-11 materializations of social practices, which is something I’m trying to figure out how to talk about beyond just saying that and, as it turns out — it might make more sense to materialize the “talk” about that than to just talk about it. And he’s on this *Carpentry thing, which I think would be our point of contact on this whole Object-Oriented Ontology vector he and his 12 friends appear to be all hopped-up about. ((They had a seminar on it last week — I hope it was captured in something ≫ 140 character tweets. ((That’s the 12 other people all hopped up on #OOO, and I might be number 13 based on our boozy conversation.))

Saturday April 10 17:30 Ver.1.01

This actual week — all that except @ibogost’s visit was the week before — started off with performing the duties of guest critic for the Art Center College of Design’s Media Design Program’s thesis year projects. That was a completely full day — almost 10 hours — of crits. Good work all around, with some curiously strong failures and seductively tenuous successes. Despite the work, which I certainly enjoyed in total, the crits were lots of fun, tiring and engaged. That culture of this sort of design critique was something sorely missing at the Interactive Media Program, leastways when I was there and I reflected on that contrast in the back of my mind. It’s something that is a way of working in the studio, frankly and only adds to the work. Patient, mindful intervention; conscientious and respectful criticisms; hard intellectual and creative framing that is only meant to make the work better.

The rest of the week consisted of some low-key efforts to have Design engage Research differently. We’ve been doing roughly monthly, completely casual, completely self-initiated link-ups with the Research part of the organization, mostly because there are friends there and it’s nice to share and discuss projects. Never really looking for *actionable points of collaboration — the collaboration is in the discussions. For me professionally, The Laboratory is much more interested in finding ways of working than specific things to work on, although sometimes specific things to work on are the ways you understand how different disciplines do what they are disciplined to do. Later in the week when there was another link-up, I found myself a bit sensitive to these different ways of working — Research wants a particular kind of action to unfold rather than action-as-reflection. It’s all sorted out somehow — we just need to make it, and that will be that. Rather than the *crit and the conversations that wonder in the first instance — why this and in this instantiation? Or — let’s throw out all that *work and start fresh with the possibility that we will come back to it at some point. Or, the journey rather than the finalé.

It all ended with a confidential review and excitement about the approaching National Pretzel Day, as well as the book launch of Digital Blur at The Architectural Association on Tuesday evening.

Digital Blur Book Launch At Architectural Association April 27

This book Digital Blur — in which John Marshall and I have a sort of drunken, double-bandolier-wearing bandito-style essay on *undisciplinarity — will launch on April 27th in London at The Architectural Association Bookshop, which is a fantastic bookshop anyway so you basically can’t loose.

if anyone goes..i wouldn’t mind a photo of the event just to show my mother what i have wrought, in my own humble, minuscule way.

Digital Blur: Creative Practice at the Boundaries of Architecture, Design and Art’

On behalf of Libri Publishing I am delighted to invite you to the launch of Paul Rodgers and Michael Smyth’s new book.
A formal invitation is attached.

The launch is being held on: Tuesday 27 April 18.30 – 20.30

The AA Bookshop
Architectural Association
36 Bedford Square

The nearest underground station is Tottenham Court Road.

Wine and soft drinks will be served. We hope you will be able to join us.

Please R.S.V.P. by email to:

Continue reading Digital Blur Book Launch At Architectural Association April 27

Medical Fiction

A curious book won the Pulitzer Prize, I just heard. It’s called Tinkers What I found most intriguing about the news story is that the book was published by a small specialty publisher — Bellevue Literary Press, which is associated with the Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Probably one of the scrariest hospitals in my imagination. Big, imposing, vaguely Gothic hospitals aren’t cool, as any horror film production designer knows. The floors are inevitably wet and mildewy and the wheels of gurney’s clank from lack of maintenance, which is only the surface of what isn’t maintained.

Anyway, this book is intriguing to me because of the press typically does medical books, which makes sense, but they also publish fiction books that have medical themes — combining fiction with the traditionally very terse, fact-based themes of medical books. Something that sounds kin to design fiction.

Bellevue is a major center for emergency services in New York City, but it is probably best known in the public imagination as a mental hospital. The hospital’s literary press was established five years ago, mainly for the publication of high-end medical books. But Goldman, a veteran of the publishing business, is also committed to releasing works of fiction with a scientific or medical theme.

via NPR
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Class Action

Saturday January 23 19:53

Rough edges of perhaps more a near future design fiction story —

A data lawsuit/class action forcing Google to make recompense to those from whom it made money derived from their actions/activities that were subsequently stored, archived, or algorithmically manipulated as digital data. The suit might demand recompense for having generated operationally useful and productive data. The basis might be that exploitive companies made money on the data itself, or generated IP in the form of algorithms that were clarified by empirical data created by people doing what people do — like search/sort/shop/email/&c. People tilled the fields from which valuable data crops sprung, and this material was used to make search algorithms that work better. Uncompensated work, or something like this.

This might be like the legal suits that come up after a decade or more by the down-wind kin after activities from an earlier day are seen from the future as exploitive or morally abject. Like locking away US citizens who happen to be of Japanese ancestry. I mean — not that, but these kinds of looks-back and juridical apologies.

A back story might be that, in the near future, the things you do in a much more quotidian sense will have much more cultural weight and import — like your job might today, depending what you do. Like — the ways that you generate data that is then the fuel or blood or coal of the network. Your measure of achievement/success/status might be related to how effectively and cleverly you generate new networks or arterial channels to disperse data — new algorithms that other people hop on to create distinct data sets that then form new data sluices that are fun/intriguing/different/curious/engaging. The new data channels are like pathways ((or neural pathways if you believe that the Internet is a collective brain of some sort, angling toward the Kurzweilian wet dream of some sort of ridiculous singularity)) more intriguing and *more new than the old ones and commensurate with endorphin-high-like activities so more people jump on them and generate more data that machines *like Google chew-and-spew ((maybe not Google — that behemoth will eventually step on its own tail and look like the Italian government or Massey Energy does today — barely competent, too big to handle itself, overwrought with technocrats, corrupt, &c.)).

This near future is one in which one’s ability to swerve conversations or attention is more valuable than whatever we now imagine as a career.

Why do I blog this? I am trying to find ways to put today’s practices and expectations into productive relief from what might be. I’m curious about this idea that *data is the new oil — or will be, or that our data production is more than just making entries into databases based on searches, purchases, and so on. But, increasingly perhaps these bits of information are seen as alive rather than inert.

Sorry for the load of mixed metaphors.
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The Week Ending 04092010

Search My World

It was an insane week on the side of things happening between homes..a move. Number 3 on the list of the most traumatic things that can happen in life, I’ve been told. ((I may’ve misheard, but it made sense at the time, so I’ve assimilated that as a part of the life’s-trauma-list.))

On the side of things happening in and around the Nokia Studio and the Home Laboratory there were some fun, curious things.

Continue reading The Week Ending 04092010

Award Category: Design Fiction

Day of the Figurines

There are a variety of ways to measure the degrees to which an *out there idea becomes somehow normalized and convention: (in no particular order) (1) It becomes bandied about at conferences and lectures and so forth; (2) Someone writes a book about it; (3) It is a canonical hashtag; (4) It is a canonical normal, old fashioned tag, tag; (5) It evolves into its own practice or *proprietary process; (6) Someone is anointed or self-anoints themself as its Guru; (7) A course is offered in it; (8) It becomes a job title or someone in a shitty sitcom has a job doing it; (9) It is blamed for something, or is the death knell of the thing it undoes; (10) It becomes an award category or you can get a medal and a nice dinner for doing it well.

Joseph Binder Award 2010: Graphic Design & Illustration

Summary of the rules & regulations in English

designaustria (DA), the Austrian professional association of graphic designers, illustrators and product designers, organizes a biannual international design competition, the Joseph Binder Award, which for the first time was held in 1996.

Criteria and Categories

Who may enter?
Professional designers or design students, either as individuals or teams.

What to enter?
Projects in the fields of graphic design and illustration that were produced in 2008 and after. The number of entries is not limited. Entrants declare that they are owners of their designs and that no rights of third parties will be infringed by their publication. designaustria declines any responsibility as to the infringements of rights of third parties. Entrants agree that their works will be published by designaustria in connection with the competition and will be shown in Austria and abroad.

Special Category: Design Fiction
unpublished works / independent or non-commercial projects

How to enter:
Entries must be sent by 17 May 2010 to:
designaustria designforum Wien Joseph Binder Award 2010 MuseumsQuartier Museumsplatz 1, Hof 7 A-1070 Vienna, Austria

Sticks, Stones and The Material Effects of Appearances

Thursday April 09, 15.12.45

Phil L’s clan motto, translated into English. They are able, because they seem so.

Further to the point of how stories, ideas and language can shape the world in material ways, this came out of the blue on the thread of something or another, the family motto of Phil’s clan, of Australia:


They are able, because they seem so.

I stopped dead in my tracks with a broad smile upon hearing this, which I think may have confused the workshop context. What this meant to me was a summation of the ability of knowledge to come into being by force of will, in a fashion. By showing and telling stories you create material effects — in this case, I am not because I say I am, but for my appearance, or perhaps because my appearances suggests an ability to accomplish whatever faces me. This is not to diminish the import of this motto in context — it is powerful. It’s not just about fooling someone through the creation of appearances, but recognizing the power of what one sees (or hears, or is told) to shape the imagination and, thereby, the hands to craft things in a material way. Making things through the excitement of imagining and then desiring.
Continue reading Sticks, Stones and The Material Effects of Appearances