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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
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
We don’t need another process
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We don’t need another process The Pattern Problem

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We don’t need
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