MANU: Design & Imagination Session

* talking about magic and how even when you're shown the elements it still seems magical
* we're all about creating things in our minds and giving them life by creating them
* when something cannot be imagined, it does not exist (e.g. high-jumper jumping backwards for the first time ever; Spanish arriving in boats 10x size of what natives had seen)
* triggering imagination is all about becoming children (be a grown-up -- a grown-up is not an adult, it is a grown up child)
* single sock concept -- never lose any socks, wear mismatched socks all the time
* works at corporate strategy level to help companies create new businesses rather than just trying to protect the existing businesses
* start imagining the possible by finding the limits of possibility
* various examples -- barbie outnumbering people, looking at things twice, finding diff ways of examining things and being a grown-up
* Pingu language is intelligible -- but children understand what is being said. Better to have this rather than slowly articulated comprehensive
* there IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORK AND PLAY!
* play has been sub-contracted to other people (e.g. Tiger Woods)
* challenges to imagination are the keys to creativity
* the ecology of play is the ecology of imagination
* all about going from the accidental adult to the purposeful grown-up (it is not a weakness to realise you have never grown up!)

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ZELDMAN: Will The Last Blogger Out Please Turn Off The Lights?
* he's here to tell us what we already know, but like clients, we'll think he's amazing for doing so
* once did a design talk @ a Swedish design conference in Stockholm ("kind of like Rome, but less Pagan and more medieval") ... whilst everyone else was freaking out about how cool SXSWi was!
* amazing style -- he has slides, but they're just headings and there's a proper story thread
* tried to come last year but his wife was pregnant; this year she was meant to come (with baby) but there were car seat issues ("so we're looking at each other like the baby's on fire!")
* "The people here are so good that I'm in a really good mood, even though I kinda owe myself some depression"
* this conference is all about meeting people, talking to them, having fun, "putting meat on the virtual"
* you can catch up on everything you missed by coming here for a few days LOL
* helps you get out of your niche box -- and helps you care about what everyone else does a little bit more -- eg. sysadmins, copy writers, etc
* this a salad bowl conference -- all sorts of different groups all thrown in together
* is it "break brad with bread" or "break bread with brad" ?
* "the Creative Commons licence is like a virus that has spread across well certainly the blogging community"
* lots of developments and our communal psyche is initiated at and spread through SXSWi
* 'zines were the previous incarnation of free content on the web (pre-blogging)
* web standards (aka guilt) was promoted through SXSWi ("Jeffrey, hi, I'm sorry my site doesn't validate") -- walking down the hall and see all these people look ashamed...
* social software is kicking off now; new standard for social networking that is open source and freely available for research

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[email protected]: Hotwiring The Creative Process: Drive it like you stole it
* subtitle is just to give it redneck credibility ;-)
* he's writing a book, but the book isn't here because the reprint went wrong (but he'll sign someone else's book...!)
* graphic design process is always apparent -- sometimes its more obvious/conscious than other times
* Basic Design Process:
        1) Pre-design (interview, research, creative brief, etc)
        2) Design (theming, concepting, prototyping)
        3) Development (building, testing)
        4) Implementation (publication, distribution, maintenance -- going live & staying that way)
* Design Process Supplements: (to make the process come alive)
        - Strategies
        - Tools
        - Habits
        - Paradigms
* It's not just that you work the process, it's HOW you work the process...
* this session is not about the perfect background music!!

STRATEGIES
* don't be doubting yourself during the process -- leave that till another time -- you need to believe you don't suck when you're working (while you're doing it, assume you can do it)
* Oblique Strategies cards are cool as ways to stimulate yourself through designer's block (there's an electronic version)
* don't sit around waiting for inspiration to strike (that's called procrastination!)
* "If your Muse won't work for you, kick her in the ass and get her going" -- His Mom
* work with concepts -- they are an abstraction mechanism
* "A good concept poorly executed is more compelling than a bad concept well-executed"
* it's cool to have skills, but you really need to have powerful concept behind it otherwise it's all just frippery : examples include Nike swoosh, Smirnoff bottle shape
* Blitz -- give yourself 3 hours to go from start to finish (concept --> product)
        -- helps you do different types of work
* plunder art history -- go pre-Bauhaus and think about why they took the approach they took and how you can use that
* all these strategies are more about helping you do what you'd do anyway, it's all just to get you over blocks and stuff like that

TOOLS
* Designer as editor (nothing is "from scratch")
* Heads up as you tweak
* Don't just harvest "final solutions" -- keep your attempts too
* Create & evaluate in turn:
     -- "you can't kiss someone and evaluate at the same time"
* Showed some autogenerative design software
* tools all for OS 9:
     -- based on a series of rules; good for ideas
* Similar things for font creation are available too
* Grid system can help guide you through the design process too (analog tool)
* Various eleemnts of meta-design --> showed us a particular guy's work
* Ideas for Std Software:
     -- tweak unfamiliar software
     -- tweak obsolete software
     -- use your usual software unusually (e.g. Photoshop layers designed separately (grid makes them in dialogue with each other) then experiment with layer combos)

HABITS
* Everybody needs a place to fail -- you need to honour failure, because it surrounds success
* Fail early, fail often (cafeteria plates analogy)
* Fail semi-publicly (playdamage.org)
* test pilot collective, upose ocalart
* be less derivative (e.g. go camping)
* be hyper-derivative

PARADIGM
* Balance five levels of design context:
     -- general aesthetics
     -- media constraints (info vs advertising of diff media types)
     -- audience needs
     -- client needs (sell solutions not goods)
     -- ethical considerations

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PANEL: MAKE BIG THINGS HAPPEN WITH SMALL TEAMS
* Jason Fried -- runs 37Signals in Chicago; mainly web design and usability
              -- now moved to doing products
              -- team is just 3-4 people
Outline:
     1) Reducing Mass
     2) Making Things Manageable
     3) Lowering Cost of Change (secret weapon!)
     4) Staying Out of Debt (money, code, design)

* Small has big advantages
     -- big companies should envy them!
     -- customer is closer to you (by default)
     -- you can count the customer as an employee -> less middle/muddle -> change is easier
* It's all about having the right people:
     -- passionate & happy
     -- well-rounded (multi-disciplinary)
     -- quick learner
     -- good writer (for communication!)
     -- trustworthy
* Act your size:
     -- less formalities/mass/fear
     -- more flexibility/change/freedom
* Mass is the stuff that stops you moving quickly (rent, software, etc...)
* Help people feel comfortable speaking up
     -- e.g. in Japanese TQM anyone can stop the entire production line if they think something is wrong
* Work within your constraints -- use them to boost creativity
     -- e.g. GE head would fire people and not fill the position for 6 months, to see how people coped
* "Build half a product, not a half-ass product"
     -- build half first and then add
     -- say no by default
     -- listen to teh product
     -- ignore details early on
     -- improve what you have
     -- decisions are temporary
* Build less software
     -- lower cost of change
     -- less room for error
     -- less support required!! (minimal feature list)
     -- encourage human solutions!
          - "Give peopel just enough to solve their own problems their own way. Then get out of their way"
* Get Real, start with the UI
     -- no functional spec
     -- start designing, prototyping, experiencing, changing
     -- rinse & repeat
     -- better products come from iterative work
          - build it and you'll see what's right quickly
NB Peope get locked in to crap designs because of the team/effort/mass invested at the outset in func specs, etc
* How do you decide when the project's done?
     -- pick two elements of the triangle and run with that
* Make most decisions JIT:
     -- scalability
     -- admin interfaces (build in 2 days!)
     -- Basecamp billing example -> gave everyone a 30-day trial, so didn't need to build the billing system until then!
                                 -> they launched without a billing system!
     -- "Make decisions when you have the real information"

* Always work on the next most important thing -- worry about the future when it happens
* Celebrate small victories
* Feel the hurt
     -- builders support it
     -- chefs become waiters
     -- shared annoyance
* Publicity amplifies:
     -- feature food -> stuff people want to eat up (e.g. iCal & RSS feature getting into Mac mags)
     -- promote through education
     -- 30-day major upgrade
     -- transparency == trust
     -- bloggle