Saturday, April 25, 2009

When disruptions bring order...

Or- I knew that part 2 (for part one click here)

(Warning graphic photos-For those of you who wanted to know 
how the injury was coming along, almost perfect)

As you witness here from the effects of the "I knew better than to take the radiator cap off while hot moment" : Mistakes are disruptions, but there are other types of disruptions as well in the scheme of life. Weather, winning the lottery, bringing home a new baby; much of which are good disruptions on the face of things. I really think though that disruptions are what you make of them. It is a choice to make them a have a positive effect. Much like Jonathan Singer from my previous post. A diagnosis of Parkinson's brought disruption, yet it gave order to his life in a new vein. Photography.

In nature, destruction like wildfires and volcanoes, though immediately disruptive are followed with a new flush of life. Stronger and more vibrant than before because the destruction left behind nutrients that were exhausted in its old life. 

With the devastation of Katrina, brought the opportunity to rebuild a city far better than before. Provide jobs and new opportunities for families. I wouldn't wish Katrina on anyone, but if it had to happen those affected need look forward at possibilities. So in effect Katrina brought order to government, to the economy, to the people of the affected region. Much still to be done. I applaud those affected and those 
who are rebuilding. Major kudos to
 Brad Pitt with his organization "Make it Right Foundation" for putting his time, energy and monies where his mouth is. There are others, but full feature on blog will come later.

What does this have to do with design. I read a book recently by Jean-Marie Dru of TBWA/CHIAT.  The agency behind the Mac Ads. Actually he wrote several books all on the idea that to hit your mark you have to use disruption to create order.

I knew that...
Sometimes the disruption is unplanned, sometimes you have to create it.
Like I mentioned in the previous post, I get a lot of work from others mistakes (disruptions) they just don't know how to bring order and that's where I fit in.

Then there are times I create the disruption to bring order. Easiest and simplist way is just to ask, why? When you are in a room full of people whether architects, clients or professionals and they are going over their proposal-when they give you details ask why.

If you get a stare-it usually means no one has every asked them that before. It disrupts their thought pattern. If they answer quickly in defense, assure them you meant no harm, just interest. This is vital information in the design process. Some have taken this approach thinking I didn't know my job. Just the opposite. Sometimes I already know the answer, I just want to hear their views and to see if they have thought the issue through. You will be surprised at how many times I get, "well, that is the way it has always been done".  Not a good answer in design.

To the other extreme there are those who over analyze. I still ask why, then they give me a dissertation on their research. Uhh, TMI as my kids say. Design is a process of elimination. You start with a cacophony of input, get to the point.  As you see here, I can ramble with the best of them.

The point is this for good design:

1. Start with fresh facts, everything that you can come up with. Basically brainstorming without constraints on the project at hand.
2. Determine the "question". What is the main thing you are trying to achieve?
3. Sift data of 1 with questions of 2.
4. Outline the plan. (Mind  you,  outline, not detail)
5. Go out and have fun-no alcohol or illegal activity-. Prefer physical activity, but will accept mental exercises with exceptions. Much like a museum show, or artistic endeavor not related to the project. Still physical activity is the best followed by a period of relaxation. 
(Here's part of our crew out with me biking on the beach-they are easily distrupted)

6. Review the plan, tweak and detail.

Number 5 disrupts the process, but will bring order in the end. It keeps you from getting in the proverbial rut.  This is just a snapshot of what I do and try to teach people. Most of the time clients don't realize what I am doing, even if they are professionals. Number 5 can also be adapted in many other ways, the main thing is to disrupt the normal process to enable fresh thinking. It makes a difference in a static, cold design or one that just draws you in. 

Disruption is good if you choose to see it that way, but really you knew that right.

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