March 30, 2011

Designing Advanced Deisgn - Julian Bleeker notes from Kruzeniski Workshop

Every now and then I run into a post that brings back that passion and understanding at what is at my core. A post that I wish I wrote or had been able to express what is there at the core. A post with so many great bits that if I high lighted the great parts the whole thing would be yellow (not that I highlight much in yellow (more of orange, pink, and blue sort of guy).

Julianís Notes from the Workshop on Designing Advanced Design

But enough expounding, what tickled my interest is Julian Bleeker's IxD 2011 Designing Advanced Design Workshop blog post which are notes from Micke Kruzeniski's IxDA workshop (you know, like the title says). The workshop exercise is interesting, but there this post really is enjoyable for me are the insights and everything that follows.

The focus on optimization and efficiency at a set size for certain processes and outcomes is critical. Once you scale beyond that efficiency decreases and costs rise. This lesson is one I see many small and smallish companies run up against. This can be really interesting to watch with internet-based products as it takes many people to keep something up and running and optimized, even when the design, functionality, purpose, and interactions with the service really haven't changed with the only change being there are many more people hitting and using the service than there were prior. In theory you are not producing any more of anything as it is all a copy of digital internet thing “X”, which sole ingredient is energy to appear as an interactive (or even static) internet object or interface elsewhere.

I also like this illustrative piece in the workshop as it brings to the forefront something I continually ponder as a differentiation crack between the US and Europe (possibly elsewhere in the world, but I don't have those examples) on production of things. In the US the common push is to get big and dominate, but in Europe, there are so many people who produce at a scale that gives them optimal quality and they do not move beyond that scale. As long as the crafts people can create a product at a scale that they can make a living and have the product be the best it can be without sacrificing quality they know their production threshold and where to stop. They have perfection in their mind and they have no or little interest in moving beyond that strict measure. (This European sense of quality is surfacing in locally grown food and artisan food circles in the US and other crafts.)

Krizeniski's 3 Approaches to Advanced Design

The Kruzeniski's workshop put a focus on 3 approaches to advanced design, which really require skilled designers who deeply understand their specialization, depths knowledge of materials, and the process of creation in that field. (A theme that surfaces in the BBC's Genius of Design, which I reviewed).

The three approaches are: 1) the Outlier, which works in “what if?” scenarios; 2) The Pantry that builds and iterates and tucks all of these steps and creations away to have on hand at some later point; 3) The Northstar, which takes a long view at the potential in the future and works toward that over time (see the Audi incremental iterations from future concept car to real product in the R8 that is used as an example).

There is so much more in Julian's collection of notes and insights found and shared in the workshop, that the whole piece is well worth a read.

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