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The Pattern Problem
Google Firestarters, September 2017
John V Willshire / @willsh
SMITHERY
Strategic Design
bridges disciplines
and departments,
roles and responsibilities.
It is concerned with
the factors around ...
2011
Metamechanics & Behaviour
IED Innovation & Future Thinking
Barcelona, 17th-29th July 

2017 summer course
let's start with this…
Jean Tinguely
1925-1991
If you stare long enough,
you see how it works
http://www.vernissage.tv
If you stare long enough,
you see how it works
What are the underlying mechanics?
Mechanics:
What happens to things
when things happen to them?
Movement
Maps
Loops
Layers
Metamechanics
Movement
Maps
Loops
Layers
Metamechanics
Let’s go back to September 2011…
What can planning
learn from
design thinking?
“
”
“Companies were
comfortable and welcoming
to Design Thinking
because it was
packaged as a process.”
Bruce Nussbaum,
“Desig...
We don’t need
another process
BACK TO THE PRESENT…
Laseau’s Funnel
Double Diamond,
British Design Council
time
Linear processes are built for comfort
The ‘roadmap’ is complicit dishonesty
manoeuvrability > speed
manoeuvrability > speed ?
OODA Loops
Observe
Orient
Decide
Act
OBSERVE DECIDE ACTORIENT
outside world
implicit guidance & control
REPEAT
OBSERVE DECIDE ACTORIENT
outside world
implicit guidance & control
New information
about changing
environment
Form a
hypot...
OBSERVE DECIDE ACTORIENT
outside world
implicit guidance & control
How do you
orient yourself?
Orient
To align yourself
with relation
to surroundings,
circumstances,
and facts
New information
Analysis & synthesis
Previous experience
Cultural traditions
SOURCE: JOHN BOYD
New information
Analysis & synthesis
Previous experience
Cultural traditions
SOURCE: JOHN BOYD
PRESENT}
PATTERNS}
The pattern problem
An example becomes a lesson
A lesson becomes a method
A method becomes a practice
A practice becomes a...
We can’t get caught waiting
for things to happen again
So how do you break patterns?
Bruce Lee
“The highest technique is
to have no technique”
Jeet Kune Do
Bruce Lee
“it is just a name used,
a boat to get one across,
and once across it is to be discarded and
not to be carried o...
Charlie Munger
“Eighty or ninety important models will
carry about 90% of the freight in making
you a worldly‑wise person.”
Loops help (re)make our models
in response to reality
Movement
Maps
Loops
Layers
Metamechanics
If loops are the behaviour,
layers are the environment
but this year…
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
Stewart Brand
“The quick processes provide
originality and challenge,
while the slow provide
continuity and restraint”
SLOW
FAST
FAST
SLOW
THE
GEARBOX
THE
GEARBOX
SLOWFAST
PEOPLE
SLOWFAST PEOPLE
FRIENDS
FAMILY
KIDS TEAM
FUNDRAISERS
PARTIES
PARENT HELPERS
COMMUNITY PROGRAMMES
LOCAL TEAMS
HERITAGE
OFFI...
SLOWFAST
SPACE
SLOWFAST SPACE
GRAFFITI
CHALKING
FLYPOSTING
STREET ART
STICKERS
ADVERTISING
PUBLIC NOTICE BOARDS
SHOP SIGNS
STREET SIGNS
C...
SLOWFAST
PEOPLE
SLOWFAST
SPACE
- Stewart Brand
“All durable, dynamic systems
have this sort of structure;
it’s what makes them
dynamic and robust”
dynam
ic
and
robust
What
happens
here?
What happens when a gear jumps?
small, nimble
groups of people
vs.
slow, regulated,
built-up space
instant changes
in the space
vs.
large groups of people
with shared understanding
“a baby-step to
virtual reality”
New York Times
I PROMISE YOU,
THIS IS RESEARCH
Physically
agnostic
Temporally
agnostic
Visualising
cultural
deserts
@willsh
What is
“here”?
pic: Aiko Graywolfe
Is the Pokémon
really here?
If it isn’t
over here…
And isn’t
over here…
It must
be here
Pokemon Go ‘mob’, July 20th, San Francisco
Photo: NYT
TEMPORARY SPATIAL SHOCKS
@willsh
Pic: Jean-Louis Zimmermann
“It makes
it harder to
live here”
virtual layer
Gamers Pokémon Public parks
Fashion fans Ltd editions Shopping malls
Patients NHS Doctors Surgeries
Self-driving cars Chea...
All environments
now change faster
than our processes
can allow for…
dynam
ic
and
robust
…we can’t afford to
get stuck in p...
How do we design tools
that break patterns?
An example becomes a lesson
A lesson becomes a method
A method becomes a pract...
“The blacksmith
makes his
own tools”
Daniel Dennett
THE OBLIQUISCOPE
THE OBLIQUISCOPE
Don’t look at
what you’re
looking at
WHO
WHAT
Culture, Individuals, Groups
What are they part of?

How do they communicate?

What beliefs do they share?
Matter...
SLO
W
ER
FASTER
WHO
WHAT
Culture, Individuals, Groups
What are they part of?

How do they communicate?

What beliefs do th...
SLO
W
ER
FASTER
WHO
WHAT
Sketch the
momentary
interaction…
Write the 5th
anniversary
press release…
Map the
supply chain…
...
SLO
W
ER
FASTER
WHO
WHAT
…using
LEGO
bricks
…for a news
organisation that
doesn’t exist yet
…using metaphorical
territoria...
SLO
W
ER
FASTER
WHO
WHAT
The Obliquiscope
WHO
WHAT
WHO
WHAT
WHO
WHAT
The fox is
the master of
adaptability
Domains
Resources
Interactions
善狐
SLOWFAST
PEOPLE
SLOWFAST
SPACE
If loops are the
behaviour,
layers are the
environment…
people
space
actions,
interactions,
conversations…
objects,
environments,
systems…
people
space
MATERIALISM:
“all things, including
mental things and
consciousness,
are results of material
interactions.”
I...
people
space
MATERIALISM:
“all things, including
mental things and
consciousness,
are results of material
interactions.”
I...
p
s
Fast Slow
FastSlow
p
s
Team
Team
Qualitative
Team
Qualitative
Quantitative
p
Qualitative QuantitativeTeam
Sketch
Sketch
Scaffold
Sketch
Scaffold
Structure
Scaffold
Structure
Sketch
s
p
s
p
s
Improve?
Share?
p
s
Time is an
output, not
an input…
p
s
If loops are the behaviour,
layers are the environment
OODA Loops
Observe
Orient
Decide
Act
p
s
1. OBSERVE
2. ORIENT
3. DECIDE
4. ACT
2
3
4
1
p
s
Team Qualitative Quantitative
Sketch
Scaffold
Structure
Structurally,
it’s intuitive…
p
s
It’s also a
fractal…
P
S
The best way
to learn
is to play
Describe Five Pivotal Moments
p
s
(FIVE MORE SLIDES TILL BEER)
SO, TO CONCLUDE…
Make your own tools to
break the pattern problem…
An example becomes a lesson
A lesson becomes a method
A method becomes a...
Tools which naturally
reinvent themselves
WHO
WHAT
WHO
WHAT
WHO
WHAT
p
s
Tools
which
change
behaviour,
not simply
repeat it
Bruce Lee
“Set patterns, incapable of
adaptability, of pliability,
offer only a better cage.
Truth is outside of all patter...
Thank you
John V Willshire
john@smithery.com
@willsh
smithery.com
artefactshop.com
The Pattern Problem
The Pattern Problem
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The Pattern Problem

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These are the slides from my talk at Google Firestarters on 5th September 2017 in London. It's about two tools in particular we use at Smithery (www.smithery.com) to break the patterns that we find can emerge and strangle how people approach their work. The content is a compressed version of some of the material from the Innovation & Future Thinking course I led at IED in Barcelona this summer.

Published in: Design
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The Pattern Problem

  1. The Pattern Problem Google Firestarters, September 2017 John V Willshire / @willsh
  2. SMITHERY
  3. Strategic Design bridges disciplines and departments, roles and responsibilities. It is concerned with the factors around a thing, not just the thing itself.
  4. 2011
  5. Metamechanics & Behaviour
  6. IED Innovation & Future Thinking Barcelona, 17th-29th July 2017 summer course
  7. let's start with this…
  8. Jean Tinguely 1925-1991
  9. If you stare long enough, you see how it works http://www.vernissage.tv
  10. If you stare long enough, you see how it works
  11. What are the underlying mechanics?
  12. Mechanics: What happens to things when things happen to them?
  13. Movement Maps Loops Layers Metamechanics
  14. Movement Maps Loops Layers Metamechanics
  15. Let’s go back to September 2011…
  16. What can planning learn from design thinking? “ ”
  17. “Companies were comfortable and welcoming to Design Thinking because it was packaged as a process.” Bruce Nussbaum, “Design Thinking is a Failed Experiment”, 2011
  18. We don’t need another process
  19. BACK TO THE PRESENT…
  20. Laseau’s Funnel
  21. Double Diamond, British Design Council
  22. time
  23. Linear processes are built for comfort
  24. The ‘roadmap’ is complicit dishonesty
  25. manoeuvrability > speed
  26. manoeuvrability > speed ?
  27. OODA Loops Observe Orient Decide Act
  28. OBSERVE DECIDE ACTORIENT outside world implicit guidance & control REPEAT
  29. OBSERVE DECIDE ACTORIENT outside world implicit guidance & control New information about changing environment Form a hypothesis Test it… REPEAT
  30. OBSERVE DECIDE ACTORIENT outside world implicit guidance & control How do you orient yourself?
  31. Orient To align yourself with relation to surroundings, circumstances, and facts
  32. New information Analysis & synthesis Previous experience Cultural traditions SOURCE: JOHN BOYD
  33. New information Analysis & synthesis Previous experience Cultural traditions SOURCE: JOHN BOYD PRESENT} PATTERNS}
  34. The pattern problem An example becomes a lesson A lesson becomes a method A method becomes a practice A practice becomes a doctrine A doctrine becomes death
  35. We can’t get caught waiting for things to happen again
  36. So how do you break patterns?
  37. Bruce Lee “The highest technique is to have no technique”
  38. Jeet Kune Do
  39. Bruce Lee “it is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one's back”
  40. Charlie Munger “Eighty or ninety important models will carry about 90% of the freight in making you a worldly‑wise person.”
  41. Loops help (re)make our models in response to reality
  42. Movement Maps Loops Layers Metamechanics
  43. If loops are the behaviour, layers are the environment
  44. but this year…
  45. 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
  46. Stewart Brand “The quick processes provide originality and challenge, while the slow provide continuity and restraint”
  47. SLOW FAST FAST SLOW
  48. THE GEARBOX
  49. THE GEARBOX
  50. SLOWFAST PEOPLE
  51. SLOWFAST PEOPLE FRIENDS FAMILY KIDS TEAM FUNDRAISERS PARTIES PARENT HELPERS COMMUNITY PROGRAMMES LOCAL TEAMS HERITAGE OFFICIAL LEAGUES GRASSROOTS MATCH OFFICIALS GOVERNING BODIES TOURNAMENT INTERNATIONAL TEAMS EUROPEAN COMPETITION SUPPORTERS CLUBS TELEVISION COVERAGE
  52. SLOWFAST SPACE
  53. SLOWFAST SPACE GRAFFITI CHALKING FLYPOSTING STREET ART STICKERS ADVERTISING PUBLIC NOTICE BOARDS SHOP SIGNS STREET SIGNS COUNCIL NOTICES TRAFFIC DIVERSIONS FOUNTAINS MOSAICS PUBLIC AMENITIES MURALS SCULPTURES STREET FURNITURE
  54. SLOWFAST PEOPLE SLOWFAST SPACE
  55. - Stewart Brand “All durable, dynamic systems have this sort of structure; it’s what makes them dynamic and robust”
  56. dynam ic and robust
  57. What happens here?
  58. What happens when a gear jumps?
  59. small, nimble groups of people vs. slow, regulated, built-up space
  60. instant changes in the space vs. large groups of people with shared understanding
  61. “a baby-step to virtual reality” New York Times
  62. I PROMISE YOU, THIS IS RESEARCH
  63. Physically agnostic
  64. Temporally agnostic
  65. Visualising cultural deserts
  66. @willsh What is “here”? pic: Aiko Graywolfe
  67. Is the Pokémon really here?
  68. If it isn’t over here…
  69. And isn’t over here…
  70. It must be here
  71. Pokemon Go ‘mob’, July 20th, San Francisco Photo: NYT TEMPORARY SPATIAL SHOCKS
  72. @willsh
  73. Pic: Jean-Louis Zimmermann
  74. “It makes it harder to live here”
  75. virtual layer
  76. Gamers Pokémon Public parks Fashion fans Ltd editions Shopping malls Patients NHS Doctors Surgeries Self-driving cars Cheap fuel Village petrol station Violent mobs Suppression Polling stations
  77. All environments now change faster than our processes can allow for… dynam ic and robust …we can’t afford to get stuck in patterns
  78. How do we design tools that break patterns? An example becomes a lesson A lesson becomes a method A method becomes a practice A practice becomes a doctrine A doctrine becomes death
  79. “The blacksmith makes his own tools” Daniel Dennett
  80. THE OBLIQUISCOPE
  81. THE OBLIQUISCOPE Don’t look at what you’re looking at
  82. WHO WHAT Culture, Individuals, Groups What are they part of? How do they communicate? What beliefs do they share? Matter, Space, Objects What is it made of? How is it accessed? What does it depend on?
  83. SLO W ER FASTER WHO WHAT Culture, Individuals, Groups What are they part of? How do they communicate? What beliefs do they share? Matter, Space, Objects What is it made of? How is it accessed? What does it depend on? What happens in five years time? What have the last 24 hours been like? In the long run, how is this sustainable? Step by step, how does this work?
  84. SLO W ER FASTER WHO WHAT Sketch the momentary interaction… Write the 5th anniversary press release… Map the supply chain… Evaluate long-term sustainability… Analyse population trends by location… Sort through user complaints… Empathy mapping… Prototype new supporting service…
  85. SLO W ER FASTER WHO WHAT …using LEGO bricks …for a news organisation that doesn’t exist yet …using metaphorical territorial features …as if you are a UN working group …as if this is a long dead civilisation at the turning point …as a card game …using LEGO minifigs …as if you are a parasitic start-up
  86. SLO W ER FASTER WHO WHAT The Obliquiscope
  87. WHO WHAT WHO WHAT WHO WHAT
  88. The fox is the master of adaptability
  89. Domains Resources Interactions
  90. 善狐
  91. SLOWFAST PEOPLE SLOWFAST SPACE If loops are the behaviour, layers are the environment…
  92. people space actions, interactions, conversations… objects, environments, systems…
  93. people space MATERIALISM: “all things, including mental things and consciousness, are results of material interactions.” IDEALISM: “reality as we know it is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial” actions, interactions, conversations… objects, environments, systems…
  94. people space MATERIALISM: “all things, including mental things and consciousness, are results of material interactions.” IDEALISM: “reality as we know it is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial” actions, interactions, conversations… objects, environments, systems… Sometimes it’s this. Sometimes it’s this.
  95. p s Fast Slow FastSlow
  96. p s
  97. Team
  98. Team Qualitative
  99. Team Qualitative Quantitative
  100. p Qualitative QuantitativeTeam
  101. Sketch
  102. Sketch Scaffold
  103. Sketch Scaffold Structure
  104. Scaffold Structure Sketch s
  105. p s
  106. p s Improve? Share?
  107. p s
  108. Time is an output, not an input… p s
  109. If loops are the behaviour, layers are the environment
  110. OODA Loops Observe Orient Decide Act
  111. p s 1. OBSERVE 2. ORIENT 3. DECIDE 4. ACT 2 3 4 1
  112. p s Team Qualitative Quantitative Sketch Scaffold Structure
  113. Structurally, it’s intuitive…
  114. p s It’s also a fractal…
  115. P S
  116. The best way to learn is to play
  117. Describe Five Pivotal Moments
  118. p s
  119. (FIVE MORE SLIDES TILL BEER) SO, TO CONCLUDE…
  120. Make your own tools to break the pattern problem… An example becomes a lesson A lesson becomes a method A method becomes a practice A practice becomes a doctrine A doctrine becomes death
  121. Tools which naturally reinvent themselves WHO WHAT WHO WHAT WHO WHAT
  122. p s Tools which change behaviour, not simply repeat it
  123. Bruce Lee “Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, offer only a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns”
  124. Thank you John V Willshire john@smithery.com @willsh smithery.com artefactshop.com

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