Posts tagged 'Uncategorized'

Takeaway Fesival

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Takeaway Fesival is happening at the end of May at the Dana Centre Science Museum in London. Similar in some ways to Makefest, the festival seeks “to continue to provide a platform and hence public support for artists whose practice involves the use of technologies either on the edge of their own knowledge or outside accepted methodologies currently available to artists/designers.”

Nothing starts out easy

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Every technology has to be new at some time:

Exploratorium Visit

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Here are some photos I took when I visited the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The exhibit that stood out for me was called ‘Traits of Life’.

[T]he exhibits in the Traits of Life collection focus on four defining features: all life is made of cells and DNA; life makes more of its own kind; life evolves over time; and life uses energy.

While the Exploratorium tends to skew toward individual exhibits, with only loose connections between individual installations, this exhibit stood out in that it had a consistent message and various innovative methods of integrating living organisms into the exhibits themselves. Visitors can find out for themselves how different bacteria had thrived or not under different lighting conditions, control the oxygen-CO2 balance in jars of living materials to see firsthand how exchanges in life-giving gases create systems of exchange between plants and animals, and view live chicken embryos as they develop. Just as the classic perception-bending experiences at the Exploratorium allow you to experiment with your own senses and discover new things about yourself, Traits of Life allows you to discover and demonstrate and view for yourself basic natural systems of life.

All of the exhibits integrated some kind of living organism with well-written, accessible yet thought-provoking descriptions and a use of kiosks, touchscreens and other interactive tech that complemented rather than supplanted the real content, which was the living organisms.

Traits of Life Exploratorium Site

Brainstorming Followup

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Bob Sutton has taken the time to lay out his views on Brainstorming on BusinessWeek Online. His writing stems from a Wall Street Journal article outlining research that said that when it came to generating ideas, individuals working individually could be just as effective as team members working in a group. Sutton had a post on his blog refuting many of the methodologies of the quoted research, including the lack of context in the research group sessions and the fact that the participants were not professionals in a specific field and therefore not as well equipped to solve specific problems in a group.

However, rather than continuing to split hairs over methodology, his new article expands on some of these ideas and stands as a support of brainstorming itself. Both Sandberg and Sutton believe that brainstorming is a skill that takes time to develop, requires discipline to manage, and must be integrated into the culture of an organization, not just exist as panaceas to design process problems. The meat of the article is 8 tips for improving (or even deciding whether to bother with) brainstorming.

Link to Sutton Article

See Also:

Does Brainstorming Not Suck?

Does Brainstorming Not Suck?

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Bob Sutton has a post on his blog refuting the Wall Street Journal’s
recent articlewhere they cited research showing that idea generation through group brainstorming was no more productive than individuals coming up with ideas on their own.

“G]reat brainstorming sessions are possible, but they require the planning of a state dinner, plenty of rules, and the suspension of ego, ingratiation and political railroading. Hosts have to hope that people won’t expend creative energy trying to tell others their ideas are bad without actually telling them that — admittedly a real business skill. And they have to cross their fingers that the session won’t deteriorate into what some people call “blamestorming” or “coblabberation,” where you get nowhere or settle on something mediocre to be done with it….

My reaction to reading this is “So how DO you tell people that their ideas are bad?” It may seem flip, but often the difference between good and bad idea generation is how well the people involved know each other. I can tell my best friend that his shoes are ugly, but I couldn’t necessarily tell an employee of a client during a group facilitation the same thing.

Sutton says that because the sessions took place in an experimental environment rather than in a workplace with established culture and processes, that they can make no definitive claim on the efficacy of brainstorming.


if these were studies of sexual performance, it would be like drawing inferences about what happens with experienced couples on the basis of research done only with virgins during the first time they had sex.

Continue reading “Does Brainstorming Not Suck?