Archive | Design RSS feed for this section

Just Say Yes

20 Oct


Have you ever had a great idea of yours immediately rejected? Or do you find yourself shaking your head when faced with opinions or ideas you haven’t heard before? Researchers have found that people tend to react negatively to new ideas. Novelty can triggers feeling of uncertainty and discomfort. This “anti-creativity bias” often leads us to dismiss new and good ideas for tried and true solutions that we are comfortable with.

“Uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most,” states the study. Yet we know we need innovation. Science and technology developments make lives better and easier while being highly profitable. We do embrace innovation eventually. For example, Steve Jobs had to become the CEO of Apple twice before achieving mainstream success.

So now that we recognize this reaction but that it is limiting, what do we do? So can we change this instinctive reaction to novelty? The Rules of Improv, as summarized by Tina Fey in Bossypants, provide a ready made solution. When engaging in an improvised dialogue, always being by responding affirmatively, then add something of your own. Not a question, but a statement. Finally, enjoy the process. There is no right or wrong, but my continuing happy accidents will occur.

1. Agree – Always agree and say yes

  • Respect what your partner has created
  • Start from an open-minded place

2. Yes, And – Agree, and add something of your own

  • Don’t be afraid to contribute
  • Always make sure to add something to the discussion

3. Make Statements – Whatever the problem, be part of the solution

  • Don’t ask questions all the time
  • Offer opinions and suggestions

4. There are no mistakes, only opportunities

  • Many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been beautiful, happy accidents

By following these steps, we can not only begin to embrace new ideas but begin to build on them. It is so much more rewarding to create and contribute than disagree and criticize. Let’s all be part of the solution, whatetever the proble.

image via Shepard Fairey


Mueller, J. S., S. Melwani and J. A. Goncalo. 2011. The Bias Against Creativity: Why People Desire But Reject Creative Ideas. In press at Psychological Science.

Catt, M. People are biased against creative ideas, studies find. Cornell University press release, August 25, 2011.


Good design is

7 Oct

Explore each principle further at: inksie


7 Oct
Art for Esquire magazine by Laser Bread
Art for Esquire magazine, a photo by Laser Bread on Flickr.

More excellent work from Brock Davis,  also responsible for the fabulous broccoli treehouse.



28 Jun

Finally, my love of treehouses and birdhouses have merged!

via Brock Davis


Steal this remix

22 Jun

<iframe src=”;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&#8243; width=”400″ height=”225″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href=”″>Everything is a Remix Part 3</a> from <a href=””>Kirby Ferguson</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

“If you love it, steal it” was a statement I heard throughout design school. Innovation and creativity are more about repetition and standing on the shoulder of giants than flashes of insight by geniuses.

But ideas are works of bricolage. They are, almost inevitably, networks of other ideas. We take the ideas we’ve inherited or stumbled across, and we jigger them together into some new shape.

– “The Genius of the Tinkerer,” Stephen Johnson in WSJ

Of course, another inspiration for creation is filling a need you have identified.



100 Day Project

20 Jun

I’m taking on Michael Beirut’s 100-Day Design Workshop assignment:

Do a design operation that you are capable of repeating every day. Do it every day.

I had been wanting to do this for a while but my design choice finally came to me the other day as I have been enjoying the summer foliage. Although photography is not an act of creation, it is an intriguing form of editing and I’m curious to see how repetition inspires creativity.


Still going with the FLO

24 May

10 timeless and universal design lessons from Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of landscape architecture and designer of many loved public spaces, including Central Park, Boston’s Emerald Necklace and Mont Royal.