John Maeda: How art, technology and design inform creative leaders | Video on TED.com


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TED Talks John Maeda, President of the Rhode Island School of Design, delivers a funny and charming talk that spans a lifetime of work in art, design and technology, concluding with a picture of creative leadership in the future.

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What We Can Learn from Babies: Experimentation, Failure & Creative Genius

The creative process of inventor James Dyson is a startling example. Although Dyson is now one of the wealthiest men in Britain, it took him 15 long years and thousands upon thousands of failed experiments to arrive at his first success. In a Fast Company interview, Dyson explains, “I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure. I’ve always thought that schoolchildren should be marked by the number of failures they’ve had. The child who tries strange things and experiences lots of failures to get there is probably more creative.”

As Dyson observes, from an early age, most of our school training encourages us to be risk-averse by rewarding those who deliver exactly what’s expected – rather than those who try something new and dare to look foolish. We are taught to honor rigor and focus over play and experimentation.

Yet, it is these same qualities – playfulness, wonder, and a lack of inhibition – that have fostered the greatest creative breakthroughs. They are also a key ingredient in highly functioning creative teams. Pyschology Today reports that “when teams of people are working together on a problem, those groups that laugh most readily and most often are more creative and productive than their more dour and decorous counterparts.”

Of course, rediscovering the wonder and relentless experimentation of a child is only part of the equation – or, one of the selves we must tap into as creatives. It must be balanced by judicious “adult” decisions about everything from how we focus our energy to what we decide to share with the world.

Essayist and thinker Susan Sontag may have put it best when she described the four selves the artist must inhabit. The first two are clearly connected to an experimental, childlike mindset, while the latter two relate to more adult, executive functions:

“The writer must be four people:

1) the nut, the obsédé: supplies the material

2) the moron: lets it come out

3) the stylist: is taste

4) the critic: is intelligence


by Jocelyn K. Glei

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about babies – and how the child’s ability to explore, experiment, and make mistakes is an essential part of the creative process. When we are at the height of our creative productivity or “flow” state, our brainwaves reflect a deeply meditative, or “theta,” pattern. As babies and pre-adolescent children, this theta state – characterized by the ability to shut out the world and deeply concentrate and connect with a task at hand – is the norm, enabling children to lose hours playing in completely imaginary worlds. Yet, for adults theta brainwaves are more difficult to access, usually coming only in half-waking states as we slip into dreams.

Rumor has it that Thomas Edison (progenitor of the 99% namesake) would sleep just 4-5 hours a night and then power-nap in order to intentionally access the super-creative powers of the theta state. Edison would grasp a ball bearing in his hand, which he draped over the arm of his chair just above a tin pie plate. As he nodded off in his chair, he’d drop the bearing, and the clanging would wake him up just as he drifted off. Then, he would immediately write down whatever was in his mind.
Leer más “What We Can Learn from Babies: Experimentation, Failure & Creative Genius”

The Chain of Experience: Jobs and Innovation

I enjoy it!

by Stefan Lindegaard

I really like this sentence – the chain of experience – as put forth by Andy Grove in the How to Make an American Job article in BusinessWeek.

Different Forms of Filtering Create Different Forms of Value by Tim Kastelle

Ethan Zuckerman wrote a very interesting post today called What if Search Drove Newspapers? He talks about several different initiatives designed to gauge readers’ interest in different news stories, particularly those that are currently under-reported, and then devising methods for reporting stories on these topics. He asserts (correctly, I think) that this is basically search-driven content development. In particular, this is a strategy that will work well with Google.


Fly or Die
Image by vaXzine via Flickr

Por jabaldaia

I enjoy it!

by Stefan Lindegaard

I really like this sentence – the chain of experience – as put forth by Andy Grove in the How to Make an American Job article in BusinessWeek.

Different Forms of Filtering Create Different Forms of Value by Tim Kastelle

Ethan Zuckerman wrote a very interesting post today called What if Search Drove Newspapers? He talks about several different initiatives designed to gauge readers’ interest in different news stories, particularly those that are currently under-reported, and then devising methods for reporting stories on these topics. He asserts (correctly, I think) that this is basically search-driven content development. In particular, this is a strategy that will work well with Google. Leer más “The Chain of Experience: Jobs and Innovation”

Teams innovation – cognitive bias and over-optimism

por jabaldaia

Why design thinking is good for innovation?

According to Tim Brown “design thinking” is to participate in a dance of four mental states :

Divergence – Is the path to innovation, not an obstacle.

Convergence – It is time to eliminate options and make choices.

Analytical – Without analytical forms of thinking would not be possible to understand complex problems.

Synthetic – is the act of extracting meaningful patterns of the totality of information collected.

These four states are not presented in a logical and predetermined sequence. Here is the intuition that is privileged.

When this dance is performed carefully consider that design can help solve many problems, however, Alan Van Pelt says people are predisposed to cognitive bias and to be led by emotions which can contribute to bad decisions.

In other words, not minimizing these cognitive biases dance is like to trod the foot of your partner.

When we are prone to the pitfalls of decision making, when uncertainty is large, this is where design thinking is more useful.

Often what looks like a useful thing becomes an auxiliary of discomfort. The automotive industry is one example as shown Jeffrey Henning by pointing to research by observation as a key to innovation.

The issues highlighted here reveal not only the need for careful observation and allows an analogy not superficial, but also clearly reveal the existence of excess optimism and its consequences.

Being over-optimistic allows innovation to happen.

The delusional optimism makes us cling to ideas more than we should.


por jabaldaia

Why design thinking is good for innovation?

According to Tim Brown “design thinking” is to participate in a dance of four mental states :

Divergence – Is the path to innovation, not an obstacle.

Convergence – It is time to eliminate options and make choices.

Analytical – Without analytical forms of thinking would not be possible to understand complex problems.

Synthetic – is the act of extracting meaningful patterns of the totality of information collected.

These four states are not presented in a logical and predetermined sequence. Here is the intuition that is privileged.

When this dance is performed carefully consider that design can help solve many problems, however, Alan Van Pelt says people are predisposed to cognitive bias and to be led by emotions which can contribute to bad decisions.

In other words, not minimizing these cognitive biases dance is like to trod the foot of your partner.

When we are prone to the pitfalls of decision making, when uncertainty is large, this is where design thinking is more useful.

Often what looks like a useful thing becomes an auxiliary of discomfort. The automotive industry is one example as shown Jeffrey Henning by pointing to research by observation as a key to innovation.

The issues highlighted here reveal not only the need for careful observation and allows an analogy not superficial, but also clearly reveal the existence of excess optimism and its consequences.

Being over-optimistic allows innovation to happen.

The delusional optimism makes us cling to ideas more than we should. Leer más “Teams innovation – cognitive bias and over-optimism”

Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and Articles

There are a lot of general design theories and principles out there that apply to all forms of design, whether in digital or print mediums. These include things like balance and scale, as well as more abstract topics like emotion and what makes for “good” design.

The Principles of Design
This article from Digital Web Magazine covers the basics of design theory, including balance, rhythm, proportion, dominance, and unity. It’s fully illustrated and makes each principle easy to understand.


General Design Theory

Graphicdesign1 in Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and  Articles

There are a lot of general design theories and principles out there that apply to all forms of design, whether in digital or print mediums. These include things like balance and scale, as well as more abstract topics like emotion and what makes for “good” design.

The Principles of Design
This article from Digital Web Magazine covers the basics of design theory, including balance, rhythm, proportion, dominance, and unity. It’s fully illustrated and makes each principle easy to understand.

Principlesofdesign in Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and  Articles

Graphic Design Theory?
This article from the AIGA archives offers a broad discussion of graphic design theory, offering guidance for designers on a host of topics, including their place within the current DIY culture.

How Good is Good?
This article from Typotheque talks about good design in relation to what the design is for, especially in relation to non-profit causes. There’s a heavy dose of ethical considerations here, as well as some practical information on what makes a good design.

Can Graphic Design Make You Cry?
This article from Design Observer discusses the question, “How…could you make design that communicated to human beings and deliberately drain it of all human content?”

Ten Graphic Design Paradoxes
This article discusses ten of the most common statements or opinions about graphic designers (or said by graphic designers) that are contrary to accepted wisdom. Included are things like “For designers, verbal skills are as important as visual skills,” and “I’m a professional: I know best.”

Graphicdesignparadoxes in Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and  Articles Leer más “Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and Articles”

Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and Articles

As designers, we often focus on the practical aspects of design above all else. We focus on what works, with little regard for why it works. And in our day-to-day work, that outlook serves us well. It lets us get our work done in an efficient, professional manner, and generally nets good results.

But spending some time on the theory behind the graphic design principles we use every day can expand our design horizons. It can open up new avenues of creativity and experimentation that can lead our designs from just good, to fantastic. On that note, below are 50 excellent resources and articles that discuss graphic design theory, including layout, color theory, and typography.


As designers, we often focus on the practical aspects of design above all else. We focus on what works, with little regard for why it works. And in our day-to-day work, that outlook serves us well. It lets us get our work done in an efficient, professional manner, and generally nets good results.

But spending some time on the theory behind the graphic design principles we use every day can expand our design horizons. It can open up new avenues of creativity and experimentation that can lead our designs from just good, to fantastic. On that note, below are 50 excellent resources and articles that discuss graphic design theory, including layout, color theory, and typography. Feel free to share additional resources and articles in the comments.

General Design Theory

Graphicdesign1 in Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and  Articles

There are a lot of general design theories and principles out there that apply to all forms of design, whether in digital or print mediums. These include things like balance and scale, as well as more abstract topics like emotion and what makes for “good” design.

The Principles of Design
This article from Digital Web Magazine covers the basics of design theory, including balance, rhythm, proportion, dominance, and unity. It’s fully illustrated and makes each principle easy to understand.

Principlesofdesign in Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and  Articles Leer más “Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and Articles”