Field Music at St Luke’s, Glasgow. 🎼
Field Music at St Luke’s, Glasgow. 🎼
It is easy to sneer at a question about what brand of pen to use, or whether you should use a pencil or a typewriter.
But in this piece, Austin Kleon argues that different tools can help you “get you to a certain way of working in which you can get your conscious, mechanical mind out of the way” to enable creativity.
…handwriting is great for coming up with ideas, for note-taking and big picture thinking…
Typing, on the other hand, is great for producing writing for other people… There’s a thing called “transcription fluency,” which boils down to: “when your fingers can’t move as fast as your thoughts, your ideas suffer.”
An interesting way of thinking about skills development that I hadn’t heard of before. Conventional wisdom suggests aiming for a T shaped distribution of skills — (the horizontal bar representing shallow skills across many disciplines; the vertical bar representing deep understanding of one discipline).
The broken comb model suggests developing a moderately deep understanding across many disciplines.
With certain exceptions, organizations with many T-shaped people may have difficulty keeping all of those T-shaped people busy. If the base of my T is icon design, but there are no icons available to design, I am either stuck twiddling my thumbs, or doing something I’m much less good at.
A striking article, partly because I find it slightly eerie that the author chose to start blogging daily on 1 October, the same day I started blogging again.
I haven’t quite managed to blog on a daily basis. Although I do publish something at least once a day, I tend to write multiple posts at a time and schedule them for future publication.
(As an example, I’m writing this on Wednesday 28 February, in the expectation that I will publish it on Tuesday 6 March.)
As a result, I’m not sure I have benefited yet from resuming my regular blogging. Perhaps I will endeavour to carve out some time each day to write something.
This is the opening track from the 2001 album Claro by Brothomstates. That was a special purchase for me, because it was the first IDM album I bought. I already knew I liked this sort of music because I was exploring what I could with whatever clips of tracks I could find online. But Claro was the first full album of this genre that I had heard. This was opening up a new world of sonic possibility to me, and I never looked back.
Wintry weather brings this album to mind. I have vivid memories of walking around my home town of Kirkcaldy in icy weather while listening to Claro on a Discman.
In particular, this opening track, In, epitomises the chilly vibe. The piercing synthesised staccato whistles may as well be icicles falling from the sky.
When thinking of what jam to feature this week, as the Beast from the East descended on the UK, I could make no other choice.
A different lunchtime walk today, at Braidburn Valley Park.
Snow Day at Bruntsfield Links
An intriguing connection between modern human narcissism and corporate change programmes. Did they both start in the same place?
Far from pursuing some unrealistic dream, perhaps we’d be much happier if we learned to live with our imperfections, neuroses and human frailties…
Maybe we need to accept that not all problems are there to be fixed. That our organisations are flawed. They always have been and always will be.
As designers have gradually become more senior (or perhaps more experienced), their role in organisations has evolved. But it’s not necessarily a good thing.
Products will always be made through compromise. But in a world where Designers are focused on balancing business needs against user needs, while other stakeholders are focused exclusively on business needs, these compromises will almost always favor the business.
A lot of UX and business process related work is about uncovering the true motivations behind a behaviour, not just accepting what people say at face value.
I like this idea of ‘so that?’. It is a bit like the five whys, another technique to help you get to the root cause.
I’ll be honest; I’ve had better music rounds.
Computers can certainly continue the process of specialisation, parcelling out jobs into repetitive chunks, but fundamentally they are general purpose devices, and by running software such as Microsoft Office they are turning many of us into generalists.
This news story has blown my mind in so many ways.
Firstly, that in 2001 we had the technology to use robots to store cars in a car park.
Secondly, that someone thought to give it a try in Edinburgh.
Thirdly, that this building has existed in a very central location in my city for 15 years and I had no idea about it.
Fourthly, that this prominent location has remained unused for 13 years.
The ‘abandoned’ cars are just the icing on the cake. This is Wall-E territory (although it turns out they were in fact owned by the car park and used as test cars).
Reflections on whether technological advances will ‘take our jobs’.
…[I]n Western societies, technical advancement has allowed many of us to extricate ourselves from physical, dangerous and demeaning forms of work, and to create careers that are fulfilling beyond renumeration: creatively, intellectually, socially… “job satisfaction”.
Historically, technological advances haven’t meant humans losing jobs. But it has meant we have taken on increasingly complex and interesting jobs. Perhaps the future will bring us further job satisfaction.
That’s not a bad place to be at all. A reminder that we should be grateful for the luxury we have in being able to pursue a good career in the first place, rather than slaving away to make ends meet.
See also: Why you shouldn’t follow your passion
At work we had a team Burns lunch. Each team member was to supply one item. I was tasked with making a dairy-free cranachan. All I can say is, it's lucky I am the only person in the team who needs to avoid dairy.
Content designer Sarah Richards shares an amusing story of a technique she has used to help people from different disciplines and backgrounds who have been talking at cross-purposes.
We are meant to be content and communication experts. But we often see people putting little effort into how they communicate internally, or even within their own teams.
I love this idea of the ikigai.
It has no direct translation into English, but roughly means your level of happiness in life, or your ‘reason for being’.
This is what I was thinking about when I wrote that you should follow your passion — you should instead find your purpose.
This ikigai venn diagram potentially provides a way of discovering the elements that make up that purpose. I will spend some time thinking about this, and considering what my answer is for each of the sections of this diagram.
It is interesting that passion is represented, as the intersection of what you love and what you are good at. Your mission, profession and vocation may be harder to figure out.
What would your answers be?
Workshops with our department colleagues give us a joint view of our challenges and a shared sense of ownership – but planning and running them is a real skill. To help with your next workshop, we’ve put together our top 10 tips from 6 months of intensive workshopping.
2017 is a year that showed that I have a lot to be grateful for. But even though I don't normally set new year's resolutions, I am setting myself three broad goals for 2018.
Alex and I took part in the torchlight procession today.
I told Alex once that I liked those weird items of matcha confectionary you get at the Chinese supermarket. Now I have all this, including a suspicious item called 'Collon'.
23 workplace horror stories that'll make you say "WTAF?" Set aside an hour or two to read some of these jaw-dropping workplace issues.
What product managers can learn from teachers about running great workshops As it happens, I was recently talking to a colleague about the links between teaching and running workshops. I have come to appreciate the similarities this year. A couple of my colleagues used to be teachers, and working with them has made the parallels…
A new CD has been recorded in Alex's family's front room -- and it sounds great.
The most popular strategies companies use to save money also kill innovation An interesting take on business process improvements such as Lean and Six Sigma. It suggests that while such process improvements improve reliability, they also make innovation plummet. Moreover, the effects are difficult to spot because they take so long to emerge. Innovation requires…
When alumni interviewers screw up, things get weird The perils of using alumni to reach out to prospective students. This article mainly pertains to examples found in the US. I am not sure how common this technique is in the UK. There is a tricky balance to be struck between two of universities' main sources…
After years of dilly-dallying, I have finally bought myself a new record player. But I'm still not convinced vinyl provides the superior sound quality.
Making good decisions as a product manager While this article was originally aimed at product managers, the author concedes that it is relevant to any role. Essentially, it argues that the key to good decision-making is not just understanding what the correct decision would be, but also how quickly you should make each decision. In…
Twice this year I have been sent customer feedback surveys before I have even received the items, because they were delayed so badly. Arse, meet elbow. If you're interested, the guilty parties are Specsavers (my glasses took 6 weeks to arrive) and Currys PC World (I'm still waiting on my new Chromebook).
Your strategy should be a hypothesis you constantly adjust Why do strategies often "break down in the execution stage"? According to this study, it is often because big companies fail to learn from new information. Staff on the ground will often fail to raise the alarm for fear of being blamed for failing to execute…
We often think of commuting as wasteful and inconvenient. But is it entirely negative?
This year I took part in Pedal for Scotland, an annual charity cycle from Glasgow to Edinburgh. I had never cycled anything like that distance before.
Don’t do what you love – Rachel Nabors, Be Yourself “Do what you love and the money will follow,” is terrible advice given by lucky people. A brilliant article, along similar lines to my recent post -- Why you shouldn't follow your passion -- but put way better.
The Problem With Finding Answers – Paul Taylor Don’t look for a great idea. Look for a good problem... Ask a better question, get a better answer.
Product decisions: Are customer requests overrated? - Satheesh Nanniyur, Mind the Product It’s a question we all must ask, not only in prioritization meetings, but every day as we carry out our jobs. What happens if we don’t deliver the feature? This is an important question.
Troubleshooting group ideation: 10 fixes for more and better UX ideas Useful tips for dealing with strange dynamics in ideation workshops, including when a senior voice is inhibiting the rest of the group.
Functional fixedness stops you From having innovative ideas 5-year-olds are better at creative thinking than you.