What smart companies do, for the most part, is not “innovate” but find what “lead users” are hacking together and figure out how to make that simpler for the general population to tap into. Research often plays its most important role after the fact, not in producing designs, but allowing us to determine which lead-user designs work best in common scenarios, and to understand what, exactly, is making them work.
This great essay by Mike Caulifield - Educational Technology and the Sources of Innovation - talks specifically about innovation in education, but there’re important ideas here for everyone.
This is one of those ideas that seems so obvious upon first hearing it that you wonder why you hadn’t always thought in those terms before.
I’m still gnawing on it, but the thing that excites me is this:
If this idea is correct, then the existential question that companies face - “How do we endure?” - is easily answered: “Find what people are already doing and make it more accesible.”
The thing that bothers me is this:
If this idea is correct, then does this mean that companies can only be predatory? Are they doomed to always snatch fire from the margins, sell solutions back to the communities that spawned them, and disrupt the abilities of those productive communities to organize (i.e. create competition)?
Mike Caulified believes that companies and the communities they rely on (prey on? :( ) can exist in a symbiotic relationship (scroll down to the section about LEGO), but it’s a topic of debate.
I’m trying this thing where I’m attempting to turn vague waves of emotion into words. I’m trying to go beyond saying something is “interesting.” So in the spirit of that exercise:
Why does this interest me?
It interests me because it’s positing an answer to the question “Where do ideas come from?” That fits into my ongoing fascination with the way thought things become said things become made things, and back again.
When you work in form, be it a sonnet or villanelle or whatever, the form is there and you have to fill it. And you have to find how to make that form say what you want to say. But what you find, always—I think any poet who’s worked in form will agree with me—is that the form leads you to what you want to say. It is wonderful and mysterious. I think something similar happens in fiction. A genre is a form, in a sense, and that can lead you to ideas that you would not have just thought up if you were working in an undefined field. It must have something to do with the way our minds are constructed.
(via The Paris Review)
I was always be thankful to architecture for teaching me that containers influence the behaviour of the things within them.
A decision about whether to place a line here, or a beat there, or whether to make something easy or hard influences what happens when you pour people or ideas into the vessel.
Shapes tell things what they can become.
Idle observation: DeviantART does a better job than Behance of optimizing pages for Twitter.
This is what it looks like when you share a DeviantART link on Twitter:
Twitter knows to pull in the image, so that it displays inside your Twitter stream.
This is what it looks like when you share a Behance link on Twitter:
There’s a little image preview, but the majority of the space is taken by the title.
I suspect that Behance does this intentionally to incentivise people to click through and go to the Behance site (much like how Instagram infamously prevents images from displaying on Twitter).
This is disappointing, The introduction of display images inside the tweet stream means that gorgeous images are going to get seen. By hiding the image behind the link, Behance hurts the visibility of the creatives on its platform. As someone who occasionally makes visual things, I now know that if I have the option of choosing between sharing a link to a DeviantART account or a Behance page, I should go with DeviantART.
That said, I guess Behance could argue that by drawing people to the Behance site, it’s pulling people further into an artist’s portfolio…or it could also be that this isn’t intentional at all, and Behance simply hasn’t gotten around to optimizing its pages.
I wonder how Dribble handles shared links on Twitter.
I forgot how to read in college.
I still go through lots of text, sure, but reading has become this sick game where I thoughtlessly skip over as many words in as little time as possible. It’s not reading so much as … gliding over a landscape of symbols and white noise.
It’s gotten to the point where I’ll hit the bottom of a page and realize that I literally can’t remember anything I just read.
So I’m trying to do something about it.
I’m trying to read more intentionally. Trying to actually look at the words in front of me and internalize their meaning.
It’s surprisingly difficult, almost painful, but undeniably satisfying.