Category: design

  • Reflections on Innovation & Future Thinking

    Reflections on Innovation & Future Thinking

    Toban Shadlyn and John V Willshire Introduction We are approaching the tenth anniversary year of the Innovation and Future Thinking course at IED Barcelona. In the summer of 2024, it will run from Monday 9th July for two weeks. Usually, around this time, we write an explanation of what the theme will be for the…

  • Revisiting Metadesign for Murph

    Revisiting Metadesign for Murph

    I’m going to be opening up the second day of UX London 2024, 18th-20th June. As part of that talk, I’ll be revisiting a talk called Metadesign for Murph which I gave at dConstruct in 2015. It might be one of my favourite talks that I’ve ever given. There’s something very fitting about this, given…

  • Punk Participative Principles

    Yesterday was the third edition of The Steps Collective, which Lizzie Shupak and I took up the speaking reins for. I brought two things together; my experience at Future Days in Lisbon during the last week, and a talk on Participative Futures I explored earlier this year. I’ve uploaded the slides below too, if you…

  • Future Days – City Scanning

    Future Days – City Scanning

    As part of the first day at Future Days in Lisbon this week, I was invited to conduct a city scanning exercise Futures Days is a festival for futures and systemic thinkers, innovation-seekers, creatives, purpose-driven organizations and policy-makers to collectively create the futures of urban lives, equitable societies through and beyond technology. Working with the…

  • Resurrecting web marginalia

    Resurrecting web marginalia

    I’ve just spent a few minutes with Stephen Anderson‘s reflections on the Mighty Mind community experiment on Circle (which, as a platform… kinda sucks). Stephen wondered if the thing he actually wanted didn’t quite exist, and in amongst ideas threw out the term… wait for it… Webrings. The description from Wikipedia, if that doesn’t mean…

  • It helps open things out

    It helps open things out

    We launched Where The Light Gets In, a regenerative design field kit, last week in the Artefact Shop. It’s gone really well, driven in a good part by a LinkedIn post. Once upon a time, that would have been Twitter, but blog posts on a radically different social media landscape are for another day. We…

  • Mystery Thumbs and Feature Debt

    Mystery Thumbs and Feature Debt

    On video calls recently, I’ve been confused by a mystery thumb reaction which appears above my head at the mere glance of a thumb, like in the picture here. Was it a Zoom thing? Or an Opal Camera thing? Whenever it happened, I’d spend five minutes poking at various bits of software trying to work…

  • Towards a regenerative design toolkit

    Towards a regenerative design toolkit

    I have been working on a side project in the moments where I get the chance; a regenerative design toolkit called Where the light gets in. It’s a corruption of the Leonard Cohen lyric “There are cracks in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. I am less interested in the how, and more interested…

  • How to rewild a new garden

    How to rewild a new garden

    You may be thinking you’ve stumbled into the wrong blog. And I can understand why. Smithery is a strategic design practice, which admittedly encompasses many things. But never gardens. What follows, however, is a documentation of our personal experience of a nature-based design intervention, and then some broader systemic thoughts on what might have worked…

  • Exploring Regenerative Triangulation

    Exploring Regenerative Triangulation

    I started articulating some thoughts in the last newsletter about a triad, in the fashion of fragile–robust–antifragile (from Taleb’s 2012 book) , which contained the states of unsustainable, sustainable and regenerative. The main thing bugging me was that making something sustainable, and moving towards a regenerative version of it, aren’t necessarily in the same direction.…

  • Deliberate Data Leaks

    Deliberate Data Leaks

    For the past five years or so, I’ve been taking photos at Gatwick Airport. No, not of planes taking off. Nothing as exciting as that. Photos of the water refill machines. I know. Exciting, right? It’s up there with my growing photo collection of crap hand dryers inspired by Dyson’s increasing terrible forays into the…

  • Making the most of moments that matter

    Making the most of moments that matter

    As perhaps we all have, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting in the last few months about how to make those precious moments when people are together really matter. For a lot of people, the working week has been transformed by the pandemic, of course. Moving into this year, it feels that businesses now…