Rethinking Design
Embrace The Coarse Process




                        Mark Rolston
                Chief Creative O cer
“Writing about music is like
 dancing about architecture.”
 Elvis Costello




                                2
The Fog of War

"The great uncertainty of all data in war is a
 peculiar di culty, because all action must,
 to a certain ...
“The implicit assumption that thinking
 is somehow removed from the act of
 design itself. That is, if we get some
 really...
embrace the coarse process




                             5
The market for innovation:
What do we have and what do we want?




                                       6
what we had




              7
what we wanted




                 8
what we had




              9
what we wanted




                 10
what we have




               11
what we want




               12
13
14
“so then, a modern strategic design
 program should do the trick, right?”




                                        15
The era of design superstars




                           16
The big idea




               17
18
19
20
But the problem has changed




                              21
We want simplicity




                     22
23
MEX: Personalization   © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary.
MEX: Personalization   © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary.
MEX: Personalization   © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary.
The physical object
loses functional identity




          © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary.
it can be anything
you want it to be
Open Systems
Invite Innovation




                     © 2009 frog design. Confidenti...
phone = computer = netbook = MID...




general computing / communications / lifestyle / entertainment...


              ...
A white box




              30
A white box




              31
A white box




              32
agnostic in form, time, place, and purpose




                                             33
what if there is no box?




                           34
35
a ordance overhead


                     36
a ordance overhead




                     Randall Munroe xkcd.com




                                               37
how can we innovate in this new context?




                                           38
embrace the coarse process




                             39
design by intent is waterfall thinking
           (determinism)




                                         40
who wants to be standing here?
                                 41
A map may have a structure similar
or dissimilar to the structure of the
territory.

A map is not the territory.

- Alfred...
43
44
design with intent is working in the
territory, not trying to perfect the map




                                        ...
jump in, get dirty!


                      46
craftsmanship




                47
craftsmanship




                48
“We consider that the architects in every
 profession are more estimable and know
 more and are wiser than the artisans,
 ...
craftsmanship




                50
Plato observed that although ‘craftsman
are all poets…they are not called poets,
they have other names”

Plato




       ...
craftsmanship




                52
“The hand and head divided”

          Richard Sennett




                              53
We discover elegant solutions
more e ectively than conjuring them

                                      54
tacit knowledge




                  55
Soviet and Japanese models
     of craftsmanship




                             56
Soviet Construction Industry




                               57
Japanese Total Quality Control




                                 58
While Marx dealt with “the worker”
The Japanese dealt with “the work”
                Text




                           ...
designing with the material
    rather than upon it




                              60
Technology
           People
           Processes
material   Politics
           Money
           oh, and actual
         ...
62
63
64
failure points




                discover                                design                       deliver




     s...
discover                             design                       deliver




     strategy and design research           ...
!

insight                         design                             build




            convergence of                ...
!
insight                 design                       build




    convergence of                    convergence of
  in...
69
Best Business/Productivity Application,
People’s Choice Award




                                          70
72
my recommendations:

    (six of them)




                      73
encourage tacit knowledge

  (Plans are no substitute
      for the real thing)




                             74
create a culture of doing
 as much as, if not more,
     than thinking.




                            75
embrace the discomfort
 and ambiguity of the
   creative process
      (the fog)

   ...even the chaos



                ...
you don’t know shit.

(demand perpetual curiousity and
 the willingness to course correct)




                           ...
remember there is a point to all this...

     process is a means to an end.
        Our purpose is to create.




       ...
Embrace The Coarse Process
Mark Rolston@DMI: Embrace the Coarse Process
Mark Rolston@DMI: Embrace the Coarse Process
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Mark Rolston@DMI: Embrace the Coarse Process

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Mark Rolston, chief creative officer at frog design, argues in this presentation, given at the DMI conference 2009, that the time is ripe for "less design thinking and more design doing." He highlights the importance of craftsmanship and calls for an agile concept of design strategy that embraces both the ambiguity and the materiality of the creative process.

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Mark Rolston@DMI: Embrace the Coarse Process

  1. 1. Rethinking Design Embrace The Coarse Process Mark Rolston Chief Creative O cer
  2. 2. “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Elvis Costello 2
  3. 3. The Fog of War "The great uncertainty of all data in war is a peculiar di culty, because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight, which in addition not infrequently — like the e ect of a fog or moonshine — gives to things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance." Carl von Clausewitz, Prussian military analyst, 1800’s 3
  4. 4. “The implicit assumption that thinking is somehow removed from the act of design itself. That is, if we get some really smart folks together to ponder and brainstorm paradigm shifts, great stu will come from it. This is mildly delusional at best.” Bob Brunner, in Fast Company 4
  5. 5. embrace the coarse process 5
  6. 6. The market for innovation: What do we have and what do we want? 6
  7. 7. what we had 7
  8. 8. what we wanted 8
  9. 9. what we had 9
  10. 10. what we wanted 10
  11. 11. what we have 11
  12. 12. what we want 12
  13. 13. 13
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. “so then, a modern strategic design program should do the trick, right?” 15
  16. 16. The era of design superstars 16
  17. 17. The big idea 17
  18. 18. 18
  19. 19. 19
  20. 20. 20
  21. 21. But the problem has changed 21
  22. 22. We want simplicity 22
  23. 23. 23
  24. 24. MEX: Personalization © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary.
  25. 25. MEX: Personalization © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary.
  26. 26. MEX: Personalization © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary.
  27. 27. The physical object loses functional identity © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary.
  28. 28. it can be anything you want it to be Open Systems Invite Innovation © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary.
  29. 29. phone = computer = netbook = MID... general computing / communications / lifestyle / entertainment... 29
  30. 30. A white box 30
  31. 31. A white box 31
  32. 32. A white box 32
  33. 33. agnostic in form, time, place, and purpose 33
  34. 34. what if there is no box? 34
  35. 35. 35
  36. 36. a ordance overhead 36
  37. 37. a ordance overhead Randall Munroe xkcd.com 37
  38. 38. how can we innovate in this new context? 38
  39. 39. embrace the coarse process 39
  40. 40. design by intent is waterfall thinking (determinism) 40
  41. 41. who wants to be standing here? 41
  42. 42. A map may have a structure similar or dissimilar to the structure of the territory. A map is not the territory. - Alfred Korzybski, 1931 42
  43. 43. 43
  44. 44. 44
  45. 45. design with intent is working in the territory, not trying to perfect the map 45
  46. 46. jump in, get dirty! 46
  47. 47. craftsmanship 47
  48. 48. craftsmanship 48
  49. 49. “We consider that the architects in every profession are more estimable and know more and are wiser than the artisans, because they know the reasons of the things which are done.” Aristotle 49
  50. 50. craftsmanship 50
  51. 51. Plato observed that although ‘craftsman are all poets…they are not called poets, they have other names” Plato 51
  52. 52. craftsmanship 52
  53. 53. “The hand and head divided” Richard Sennett 53
  54. 54. We discover elegant solutions more e ectively than conjuring them 54
  55. 55. tacit knowledge 55
  56. 56. Soviet and Japanese models of craftsmanship 56
  57. 57. Soviet Construction Industry 57
  58. 58. Japanese Total Quality Control 58
  59. 59. While Marx dealt with “the worker” The Japanese dealt with “the work” Text 59
  60. 60. designing with the material rather than upon it 60
  61. 61. Technology People Processes material Politics Money oh, and actual ”materials” 61
  62. 62. 62
  63. 63. 63
  64. 64. 64
  65. 65. failure points discover design deliver strategy and design research then development team folks do their thing, defining the vision, then the designers design it (software and hardware) the solution, and the requirements builds it 65
  66. 66. discover design deliver strategy and design research then development team folks do their thing, defining the vision, then the designers design it (software and hardware) the solution, and the requirements builds it 66
  67. 67. ! insight design build convergence of convergence of insight with design design with development 67
  68. 68. ! insight design build convergence of convergence of insight with design design with development 68
  69. 69. 69
  70. 70. Best Business/Productivity Application, People’s Choice Award 70
  71. 71. 72
  72. 72. my recommendations: (six of them) 73
  73. 73. encourage tacit knowledge (Plans are no substitute for the real thing) 74
  74. 74. create a culture of doing as much as, if not more, than thinking. 75
  75. 75. embrace the discomfort and ambiguity of the creative process (the fog) ...even the chaos 76
  76. 76. you don’t know shit. (demand perpetual curiousity and the willingness to course correct) 77
  77. 77. remember there is a point to all this... process is a means to an end. Our purpose is to create. 78
  78. 78. Embrace The Coarse Process

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