Posts in category: Craftsmanship

Watering sustainable behaviour change

Watering sustainable behaviour change

Trying to change behaviour with brute force, punitive means is like watering a sandy hydrophobic garden bed with large buckets of water. On the face of it, the bed looks watered. But in reality the bulk of the water simply runs off the top of the bed. There is little...
Optimal anxiety

Optimal anxiety

I found this in one of my notebooks recently. Basically, a level of anxiety is needed for us to perform at our best. Hence “Optimal Anxiety.” Too much comfort will keep us stuck. Too much anxiety — ie abject terror — will trigger our fight or flight...
How to become more innovative

How to become more innovative

You want to be a doctor? You go to medical school. You spend the specified amount of time and money. And you become a doctor. It is a straightforward path. You want to be innovative? That route is nowhere near as direct or clear. No matter how attractively packaged...
Scanners and divers

Scanners and divers

“Our culture respects specialists. People aren’t called ‘Renaissance men’ any more; they’re called ‘dilettantes’ or ‘jack of all trade,’”  — Barbara Sher in I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was. This is amply demonstrated in typical job ads. The...
Doing matters

Doing matters

The same applies to business ideas and inventions. If we don’t get off our backsides and do something, our brilliant idea is...
Diamond cutting: concentrate distil curate

Diamond cutting: concentrate distil curate

When a raw diamond is turned into a gemstone, more than 60 to 70 percent of the material is lost in the the cutting process (a 30-40% yield). At the same time,  the value of the remaining material increases significantly (more than double) and more than makes up for...
Idea banks and the need for curation

Idea banks and the need for curation

This is Bjercke og Eliassen’s idea bank in the National Museum of Architecture in Oslo. Bjercke og Eliassen are Norwegian architects who build many of Oslo’s landmark buildings between 1914 and 1960. Their idea bank contains 1600 postcard, prints and...
Visualising De Waag

Visualising De Waag

I recently had the great privilege of visiting De Waag Society in Amsterdam. I think of De Waag as a modern day art and technology guild (like the historical craft guilds), engaging in cross-disciplinary research, collaborative discovery, and civic...
Thoughts on a Matisse sketch

Thoughts on a Matisse sketch

This is Henri Matisse’ sketch Birdcage on the Terrace 1945. It is good to see even a great artist had “lazy” moments! We see completed works of great artists so often that we can forget that these pieces are only a portion of the sum total of their work. For...
Curating methodologies

Curating methodologies

I love models and methodologies. They codify real experience and hard-earned learning, and make them accessible to others. One challenge with models and methodologies is the sheer quantity of them, across different industries. Many of these can be really similar, and...
Lesson from Van Gogh 3

Lesson from Van Gogh 3

I found myself profoundly moved by Van Gogh’s story while visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. In his isolation, Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo. From the few letters I saw at the museum, the act of writing was clearly very cathartic for Van Gogh, as well as...
Lesson from Van Gogh 2

Lesson from Van Gogh 2

I found myself profoundly moved by Van Gogh’s story while visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. No one creates in isolation (on an island or otherwise.) Van Gogh actively reached out to other artists, and had thoughts to set up a utopian art colony. Lesson 2 of...
Lesson from Van Gogh 1

Lesson from Van Gogh 1

I found myself profoundly moved by Van Gogh’s story while visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The immediate impact was the sheer volume of work; work completed in spite of huge challenges. Lesson 1 of 3: The body of work is what matters. In spite of mental...
Looking for the win-win

Looking for the win-win

Travelling is a great opportunity to practise looking for the win win in less-than-optimal situations. The unfamiliarity of new places, new customs and new rules increases the likelihood of mistakes and miss-steps. The elevator (or taxi) didn’t come.  I’ll...
The potential in tools

The potential in tools

Looking through an exhibition about Irish silver, I found myself drawn more to the tools (the anvils) especially, than to the finished products. The tools promise infinite potential. Tools say “let’s begin.” Whereas the finished products are, well,...
Combining design thinking and applied psychology

Combining design thinking and applied psychology

I use three different problem-solving processes: Design Thinking, Crisis Support and Suicide First Aid. I see a great deal of similarities between them. There is a possibility to combine them to create a richer, more 360° approach. A hybrid process that is: Effective...
If it burns, stop touching it!

If it burns, stop touching it!

PAR38 reflector bulb via Phillips. Many many years ago, while setting up an exhibition in architecture school,  I noticed a fellow student struggling with a spotlight. She was on a chair, that was on a desk, reaching up to adjust a lit spotlight. It was one of those...
Action-oriented mindset

Action-oriented mindset

I have noticed that when I travel, I get into this get-it-done mentality. When something happens that I need to act upon, I just use whatever resources I have at hand and get the necessary things done. Need to get somewhere quick? Pay for a taxi and go. Need a jacket?...
Movie soundtrack censorship fail

Movie soundtrack censorship fail

[Warning: this post contains uncensored naughty words.] I really don’t get why some cultures still censor “bad” words from movies. It can’t be about the children surely – because inevitably the movies these words are meticulously removed from are ones that show...
Design + applied psychology: A hybrid problem solving process

Design + applied psychology: A hybrid problem solving process

This is a work-in-progress hybrid process that combines three problem-solving processes I use regularly; Design Thinking, Crisis Support and Suicide First Aid: The design process strengths: creative exploration, collaboration, co-design buy-in, problem definition,...
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