Design Methods #6 – Fly-on-the-wall Observation

Apr 10 2013 Published by Neil Gains under design

Researchers can unobtrusively collect information using fly-on-the-wall observation, where there is no direct participation or interference with the people or behaviours that are being observed. This is a different approach to other types of observation (eg participant observation), intentionally avoiding direct involvement and therefore minimising the biases and influences that such involvement brings. However, the inability to connect with those observed or to probe behaviours and motivations can limit this approach.This makes such observation relatively less structured and more flexible than other approaches, although often guided by frameworks such as AEIOU which will be described in another article). Read more »

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Where Can We Find Solitude?

Dec 27 2010 Published by Neil Gains under simplicity

“Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone.” – Octavio Paz

“We are rarely proud when we are alone.”  - Voltaire Read more »

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Principles of Design #4 – Not Invented Here

Sep 23 2010 Published by Neil Gains under design

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it”  - Alan Kay Read more »

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The Funny Thing About Creativity

Aug 16 2010 Published by admin under creativity

“He who laughs most, learns best.”  - John Cleese

John Cleese talks about the basis of creativity in our unconscious mind in this great video clip (thanks to @heartofinnovation for drawing my attention to this).  He also highlights some great tips for creating the right conditions for creativity :

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Cracking creativity

Aug 03 2010 Published by admin under creativity

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”  - Edward de Bono

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.”  - John Cleese

Is there a secret?

The secret to creativity is not to overcomplicate the creative process.  At heart, most of us know what’s really required.  There is no magic solution or silver bullet.  No one can guarantee a ground-breaking idea either, and the secret to success is to keep doing it!

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Kids Inspiring Creativty

Jul 20 2010 Published by admin under creativity

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”  - Mary Lou Cook

“Stay young, stay foolish.”  - Steve Jobs

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How language shapes the future

Jul 13 2010 Published by admin under language

“Words form the thread on which we string our experiences.”  - Aldous Huxley

Two interesting articles I read today focus on the impact of language on our behaviour, providing evidence that the way we frame choices and how we describe those choices shape our subsequent behaviour.

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Asking Why?

Jul 05 2010 Published by admin under creativity

“I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.”  - Albert Einstein

“Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.”  - Steven Wright

I really enjoyed Dave Trott’s article “A creative mind is an enquiring mind” and recommend everyone to read it.  He is right that curiosity is what makes us creative, having an open mind, pursuing diverse interests, challenging assumptions, and above all asking lots of questions.  We are naturally born to be curious, and as children are enthusiastic in asking ‘why?’ (and just as importantly ‘why not?’).  The key to creativity is to keep the child within us, the enjoyment of playing, and to never be afraid to ask ‘why?’.  Albert Einstein was known for his playful side and his childlike enthusiasm for new ideas and challenges – similarly Dave Trott describes the sheer fun and enjoyment that four modern scientists had in talking about some of their favourite heroes and ideas.

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Reasons to be Cheerful

Jun 28 2010 Published by admin under innovation

“All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.”  from Candide by Voltaire

“Cheddar cheese and pickle, the Vincent motorsickle

Slap and tickle

Woody Allen, Dali, Dimitri and Pasquale

balabalabala and Volare

Something nice to study, phoning up a buddy

Being in my nuddy

Saying hokey-dokey, singalonga Smokey

Coming out of chokey

Reasons to be cheerful part 3”  – Ian Dury & the Blockheads

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Failure is good

Jun 15 2010 Published by admin under innovation

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.”  - Thomas Edison

Football fans will enjoy an article by Gregg Fraley, which I saw yesterday after writing on the same theme.  He writes about the importance of expecting and accepting failure and of persistence in achieving your innovation goals (remember Nikola Tesla’s description of Thomas Edison).  I like the description of experimentation as planned failure and learning, and of thinking beyond getting things perfect every time. Psychologists and others have shown that we learn more from mistakes than from failure – we all know that failure is more likely to change our future behaviour than success!

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