Form Follows Function

Form Follows Function

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in random inspiration, rivetings | No Comments

I’ve been waiting for a new camera, the Panasonic LUMIX LX100. It’s an upgrade for the LX7 I bought (and have used constantly) about eighteen months ago. Documenting projects on the hoof has become increasingly important, for us and for people generally I think. The LX100 has been out for six weeks or so in the black version, which I’d played with and loved. But what I wanted was the silver one, as seen below, so I waited.

Panasonic-LX100-Silver

I waited whilst I went to the University of Stirling, where I’d been as an undergraduate, and had gone back to lead a workshop on interdisciplinary for academics there. I wandered around, taking pictures with the old camera.

I waited whilst I went to Barcelona, with the team from the new Konica Minolta Business Innovation Centre here in the UK, to help create and run a session on the future of the digital workplace. We roamed the city, taking pictures with the old camera.

And I waited whilst I went to Stockholm, to play Popular Thing for Broken Thing for a group of unbelievably up-for-it Swedes at a Hyper Island breakfast. Again, the old camera worked hard through the streets.

All those pictures I could have taken with the LX100. But I had waited. Then the LX100 in silver came into stock this weekend. I was straight down to a store in Brighton that had it. I picked it up, played with it, looked at it, and looked at it again.

I couldn’t love it, because it couldn’t do the thing I needed it to do.

It couldn’t be inconspicuous.

The product shots didn’t quite get across how light the silver is. It’s really silver. It’s a massive beacon saying ‘hello, somebody’s taking a picture’. Which is fine when you want people to know. But not if you’re more interested in getting pictures of people doing what they’re doing.

Despite all the waiting, all the anticipation, all the convincing I’d done to myself that this was the camera I wanted, I didn’t buy the silver one.

It’s never too late to change your mind, no matter what the opportunity that arises, no matter how much time and effort you’ve invested in something else. Form Follows Function. It must do the thing you want it to do. Everything else is secondary.

I bought the black one. I love it. It does what it needs to do.

LX100 top

 

Knock Knock Recaptcha

Knock Knock Recaptcha

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 in random inspiration | No Comments

Short observation – I’ve become aware of the increasingly likelihood of Recaptcha asking you to read what looks like irregularly created door numbers on (presumably) street view data:

google door close

Several things occur; some to do with privacy, some to do with human vs computer power, and more besides. But the most obvious one is ‘why they need to do this at all’?

Surely the way streets work (series of numbers, evenly distributed) means that the computer should be able to work out, if 1804 is legible, and 1808 is legible, what that house might be…?

(If you don’t know, the idea behind ReCAPTCHA was: “Every time our CAPTCHAs are solved, that human effort helps digitize text, annotate images, and build machine learning datasets”)

Representation & Simulation

Representation & Simulation

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in random inspiration | No Comments

I started reading The Death of Drawing; Architecture in the Age of Simulation by David Ross Scheer today on a plane. I’m only a fifth of the way in, but already I’m hooked. It’s about how as the practice of drawing disappears from architecture, replaced by BIM (Building Information Modeling), a way of pulling together lots and lots of data to describe how it might interact, and therefore how a building should be designed. Scheer describes this as “representation” (drawing) versus “simulation” (BIM systems).

For Scheer, representations are loose, free. One drawing is one possible version of reality, but no more. A selection of drawings begins to build up a picture, but still, the viewer is left to fill in the gaps. Representations here allow space for creativity, not just of the drawer, but of all who look upon the drawings. We fill all the gaps in between the glimpses of reality we see.

Simulations, on the other hand, are “an artificial environment that creates an artificial experience that is felt to be reality”. They want the viewer to believe that they are real, because if they don’t, then they have failed in their task of simulation. Which means in turn there’s less space for creativity, for interpretation of meaning. If the simulation is not real, then the task is not to solve the problems, but to find a better simulation.

Scheer starts to ask some very interesting questions early on about Architecture (“When designs are evaluated in simulations, will the buildings themselves become simulations of the simulations? If architecture loses the idea of representation, how will buildings acquire meaning?“), and of course it’ll be fascinating to see where he goes in answer the three core questions he’s asking (my interpretations – i) What does it mean for the profession of an Architect? ii) What will become the nature of creativity in Architecture? iii) What role will Architecture play in culture in this world?).

For me, broadly thinking about the roles of representations and simulations in other spheres becomes really interesting. What if advertising agencies created ‘representations’, and media agencies ‘simulations’? How does data-driven product design fit in? What does it not leave space for? Where in organisations would we benefit from more representations, and less simulations? And how do we recognise what is representation, and what is simulation? More soon.

 

 

 

 

 

MTPW > MPWT… in a book

MTPW > MPWT… in a book

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in advertising, rivetings | One Comment

This is a short written version of an even shorter talk I gave at the launch of the new Creative Social book, Hacker, Teacher, Maker, Thief, for which I’ve written a chapter on Making Things People Want > Making People Want Things.

You can buy it now, and you should; the other contributors are a stellar cast who’ve written cracking guidance for The Future of Advertising.

———————–

The problem with the ‘greater than’ symbol ( > ) is that it’s called the “greater than” symbol.

It doesn’t have a cool French or German name, or some abstract Latin origin. It is the Ronseal of mathematical characters; it does exactly what it says on the tin.

So when I say it out loud when saying “Making Thing People Wants > Making People Want Things“, I kind of improvise what I say in that tricky middle bit.

Sometimes I will say ‘greater than‘. It can sound a bit much, that’s true. But it’s a nod to the effort required, I think; it takes more to create new demand than exploit existing demand.

Sometimes I say ‘rather than‘. It’s when it represents a fork in the road, a choice in the short-term; which of these two roads will we travel down for a bit? The thing with roads is you can come back and go down the other one if you find yourself in a cul-de-sac.

Sometimes I say “is better than“. As a long-term strategy for clients, it is a better idea. Sure, some short-term Charlies want a quick hit and run to further their career and find another job somewhere else. Finding clients that want to make a real difference helps.

And sometimes I just say “beats“. Being selfish, it’s just that feeling it gives me inside, actually making something that makes a difference to people, helping people to help people. It’s a rush.

But I always, always try to never say “not“.

It isn’t “Making Things People Want, NOT Making People Want Things”.

It’s not an extreme position.

It’s an equation. It suggests balance, the existence of two things with different value, not the destruction of one to serve the other.

That’s advertising all over. Looking for extremes where there aren’t any. Forcing us to pick one thing and one thing only.

Perhaps advertising is an industry riddled with the wood worm of the mass media age, where the choice about “the big idea” and “the perfect line” had to be made, before it was printed a million times, or transmitted to 26 million people. That’s a problem that’s going away.

If advertising is to die of anything, it will be of a chronic case of extremes and ultimatums.

A Flow Guide For Field Trips

A Flow Guide For Field Trips

I’ve been using the Flow Engines principles a lot since late August, when it arose from the Culture Mapping blog project. It’s certainly the most developed, fully realised tool that came out of that burst of work.

Anyway, I used it last week to write a general guide for people to run field trips. I’m not going to detail out below the stuff under the bonnet, as that’d be a bit dull, but save to say it uses the three steps (Consequences, Environment, Embodiment) reinforced inside each other as before.

Why share it? Well, I love a good field trip. But I don’t think people do them enough. So I thought it’d be good to put it up here, as it might be useful to others, but also so that people can add thoughts and ideas on how to improve it.

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FIELD TRIPS: GETTING OUT, LOOKING AROUND, WRAPPING UP

A good field trip is something that everyone in any sort of business can get a lot from. Think of yourselves as giant, rechargeable ideas batteries; a field trip provides more good input to replace the output of looking down and typing (which, let’s be honest, we all do too much of).

A field trip doesn’t need to be planned meticulously (though you can if you wish), but you should have a plan in mind to at least give yourself something to deviate from should you need to.

This quick guide will help you write out a plan, and make sure the people you’re leading out have an interesting, useful time.

Step 1 – Getting out

When you have a location in mind to go to, don’t just say “we’re going to xxxx…”, make sure you have a short, focussed explanation in mind of what you want people to learn from going out.

e.g.

“We’re going to the Science Museum, to learn more about how scientists and inventors discover new ideas.”

“We’re going to Trafalgar Square, to see what happens when you take people out of their natural environments”

To get people to come along, make an invitation that has the location and the reason clearly explained. You can just send an email, or you can be more creative if you wish. What often works well is setting up a little fiction for the trip out; let’s pretend we’re another group of people, or let’s assume that the world is different in this particular way.

Step 2 – Looking around

You don’t have to have been to the location before yourself, but it’s useful. If you haven’t, you should make it clear to the people you’re taking; “we” are going on an exploration. Invite them to be complicit in the discovery of what’s there.

But you should definitely have a good idea of what might be there, from using the internet, or intel from other people who have been.

Once you’re all there, you’re playing two roles.

Firstly, you’re scouting around, looking for the sorts of things that you suspected may be useful. If you spot things, invite others over to see, and think back to the  reason you outlined for coming in the first place in order to ask questions?

e.g.

“What’s interesting about the way Watt discovered a new idea here?”

“How can we tell who are the tourists here? What are they doing that others aren’t?”

Secondly, you’re bringing up the rear, just checking around to make sure that people are happy and comfortable discovering new things for themselves. As you have different conversations with different people who’re on the field trip, try to cross-pollinate thoughts and discoveries – “oh, David was just talking about that with Gillian, you should catch up with them and talk about it”.

Step 3 – Wrapping up

Finally, at the end of the trip, make sure you have time to all sit together and discuss what you’ve all found, in relation to what you set up to explore.

Having a way to write a communal set of notes around the table is really useful; it locks in the learning of the trip, and will help people remember for future use. I usually use Artefact Cards for this, of course, but whatever you want to use is fine. It needs to be in the middle of the table between you all though, to prompt discussion.

If you go somewhere with a gift shop, for instance, you can get everyone to buy a thing that represents what you’ve learned from the trip, and get everyone to explain their object.

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There you go then, hope it’s useful. As always, builds and critiques most welcome.

Work In Progress

Work In Progress

Posted by on Nov 20, 2014 in random inspiration | One Comment

Every so often, I find myself mucking about in Illustrator, playing with a new something or other for a piece of work, and it’ll just make me think ‘oh, that’s good, that could be a new Smithery thing’. For a company that’s been running for three and a half years, to have had three different logos and styles is good going. Perhaps it’s a bit like a Doctor Who regeneration. Looks different, acts different, yet is the same thing.

Anyway, I haven’t decided if this is defintely one yet. But it’s work in progress. It’s always good to share work in progress. It’s based on the series of tools and models that have popped out of the People & Space project, we’ll see if it sticks.

 

 

FLOW ENGINE

 

 

Playspace Logo-01

 

 

Playspace-01

 

Smithery 2015 logo-01

Fictional Recommendations

Posted by on Nov 15, 2014 in rivetings | No Comments

Interesting: what sort of things would fictional characters recommend if they watched Netflix? Only probably doable if you own the IP to the characters… Which of course in this case, Netflix do.

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Interview with Beth Kolko

Interview with Beth Kolko

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Making, people, social, technology | No Comments

As part of the preparation for running the third lab of the Stirling Crucible at the University of Stirling, I spoke to Beth Kolko, Professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington, about an Experiment called Hackademia, which is “an attempt to infect academic pursuits with a hacker ethos and challenge non-experts to see themselves as potentially significant contributors to innovative technologies.”

It’s not just great as an example of creating new conditions for learning in an academic setting, but also offers some great inspiration for other types of organisation where there’s a need to break down the barriers of ‘expertise’. Here’s what Beth said:

Beth_Kolko_web_bw_pic

Hackademia had two starting points. The first was my own personal journey as an academic who stumbled into hacker communities around 2005/06, the early days of the maker community. I did that work solely as a non-professional activity, it was what I did in my off-hours. I would think “wow, this is really interesting, it’s an alternative research community”. It was like a third place, not academic or corporate, with its own emergent social and organisational practices.

Part of my interest was that people didn’t have formal expertise or credentials. My PHD is from an English department, but I’m a professor in an Engineering department; this means that all of my technical knowledge has been gained through informal means. Essentially, I studied the internet before it had pictures, and as the technology changed I kept up.

So I was an academic within hacker communities, really interested in how non-experts were gaining technical expertise. It is uncommon for someone at my stage of career to be a novice learner. There was something quite magical about that.

The second piece of the genesis of Hackademia was an undergraduate student I was working with, who was changing her major from social work to our department in Engineering. She said she’d never really thought of herself as someone who’d major in a technological discipline, and then we started talking about gender and technical fields. I said to her “well, I don’t know what makes women, or anyone, who is non-technical feel that they can enter a technical field… but let’s figure it out”.

I advertised for a group of students as an independent study, something they could take and get extra credit for it. You didn’t have to have a technical background to apply. We bought a first generation Makerbot, and I said “We’re going to build it. I don’t know how to do this, but you guys are going to have to figure it out, and you’re going to keep track of how you learn. You will be your own object of study”.

Metrix-3-9-10-0232

(Hackademia class of Winter 2010 – with honorary member Bre Pettis)

So that was the first ten weeks, and I did it again, and again, and again. Every quarter for the first two years, keeping track of the failures and the successes… there were many more project/experiment failures than successes, but the programme has been very successful.

People had to learn the vocabulary of a new area. We had a room, and we had tools, and at the end of each quarter the room would be a mess. So what I would do is start each new cohort and say “we’re going to clean up, and we’re going to put things away”. It gave everyone the chance to learn the names of things, as we labelled the shelves and the bins that they would go in.

Instead of giving people the vocabulary on a list, it was a functional activity; they were creating the space that they were going to work in so that they would have ownership of that space. The conversation around the activity emerges to introduce vocabulary, which is really important; if you don’t even know the name of something, you can’t go and look it up online.

There was then a series of activities that were designed for success, but also to make people curious. I would always start people out with making an LED blink, by writing a few lines of Arduino code. Then you learn about copying; you can copy other peoples’ code, then refine it yourself. Usually there would be people who knew how to do that, and they would show people who didn’t know how to do it, which showed co-operative learning. Then they moved on to gradually more sophisticated tasks, then they’d finally do their own task.

I’d make them go off-campus, and see what was available in the real world, activities that took them outside their momentary learning community. Everything we did also leveraged online resources. I didn’t teach them anything; I wanted them to get into the habit of navigating the knowledge universe.

We created some data collection sheets, and started a blog about the technical aspects, they wrote reflective autoethnographies of their learning process; we produced a lot of documents. We then did exit interviews at the end of each quarter, with retrospectives of peoples’ experiences. Eventually, we’d put on our academic hats and analyse the data available to us (the autoethnographies, individual journals, and a bunch of other artefacts) and extracted six dimensions of technical learning, around which the Hackademia curriculum is built:

Identity, Motivation, Self-efficacy, Social Capital, Material Technical Practice, and Conception.

They’re built on top of what we know about informal science learning, but tweaked for engineers.

In the university community, we value expertise, and that is the death knell of innovation. If you really want interdisciplinary, transformative inquiry, professors like myself who are ‘experts’ have to learn to talk to people who have different expertise, and overlap these vocabularies and come to some sort of shared understanding.

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Thanks to Beth for kindly taking the time to share the Hackdemia experiences with me. You can read more on the Hackademia blog over here, or read the full Hackademia paper that Beth and the team produced for the Participatory Design 2012 conference.

Interview with Nell Haynes

Interview with Nell Haynes

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in people, social | No Comments

As part of the preparation for running the third lab of the Stirling Crucible at the University of Stirling, I spoke to Dr Nell Haynes, one of the team who’s working on the Global Social Media Impact Study, about their approach to recording and sharing the project as they go. It’s very interesting specifically in terms of open academic research projects, but also more broadly in terms of how open working might apply to other types of organisation too. Here’s what Nell said…

nell haynes profile

It’s certainly the intention that this project is more open and visible; we’ve been doing the blog for about two years, which gets a fair number of hits, but there’s only really one post that got ‘picked up’. The idea is that it’s not just for an academic audience, or for an english-speaking audience, but it’s a global project that everybody should be able to learn from it.

We’re currently all writing a book about each field site [the locations around the world where each of the team is researching], but the idea is that they’re quite short and accessible; the ultimate goal is to have everything translated into eight languages (possibly more), everything open access, a final website with videos, photographs and all of the documents, and whatever else we come up with along the way.

My previous work had nothing to do with social media or technology, but I do think that in an anthropologically foundational way, social media is important to humanity, so it’s easy to get excited about those aspects of the project.

I finished my PHD in 2013, having started the research for that in 2011, and one of my Professors has had a blog for years and years, for as long as blogging has existed really. But she’s the one who encouraged me to blog, to put field notes, to put random thoughts on that. I’m not sure I’m the most effective blogger, but I’ve at least been trying it for a while. I think it’s helpful to the process for me because if I even just write a little description of what I did that day, I can go back in and slip that into the project later as it’s already in language that’s accessible. And if I need to make it sound more academic-y, then I can stick stuff in there. I try to make my writing interesting, rather than theoretically dense.

In terms of collaboration, when we were still in the field sites, every month we would write a 5,000 word report, and send it out and read everyone else’s. It was helpful to make yourself write something every month but also read other perspectives.

It was good for generating ideas of methodological things, or connections to think about. The man who is working in China talked a lot about Chinese spiritual beliefs, and how that’s connected to morality and social media, and that forced me to think about these things in context of the work I was doing in Chile.

Chinese family watch television on computer

(Photos from the GSMIS Flickr group)

I was actually the last person on the programme – they applied for a grant for eight people, and then a Chilean University got a separate grant and I started later. They’d had several months of planning here, and had been on field sites for four or five months. So I had to play catch up, but they had already collaboratively made a methodology plan, surveys already. I had to catch up, but I also had a lot of resources that were handed to me to help.

For me, this approach is very different from any other anthropology project I’ve encountered. I think it is a new thing that’s gaining a little bit of traction and respect. I did the US academic system, and as far as I know I’ve never seen anything as collaborative. And certainly there are senior researchers who write blogs in partnership, but usually they go to the same place to do it. In terms of having nine different field sites, I’m not aware of anything else like it.

We have a central blog, a Flickr, a Facebook and a Twitter, technically we have a Pinterest (but I don’t think anyone’s ever done anything with it). But the blog has definitely been the central piece to it, and the website has a lot of descriptions of the project and little bios of everyone working on it, but most of the traffic comes in through the blog. There are certain posts that get a lot of comments, but in generally speaking it’s about one a week.

There have been several people who have said “I’m really interested in the project, is there any way I can help?”. So we have various people translating things into different languages, and some people helping out with some social media stuff. There are some film-makers who’re not academic film makers, and there are some masters students too. It’s either educated professionals or academics, we’ve been fairly visible amongst the academic community. There’s not a lot of interest from the people in the field sites. Part of that is there are only a few posts translated.

Danny Miller wrote a blog post, and in it used the phrase “dead and buried”; I think what he actually said was “for teens, in this small English Town, Facebook may as well be dead and buried”.

The title of the post was then reworded slightly [“Facebook is dead amongst teens]”, and that’s what got picked up. It prompted everyone to go back to the blog post, but not necessarily paying attention to the exact wording of the blog post. [The headline of the post in question was picked up by several national and international news organisations].

It was what prompted us to put a disclaimer on the top of blog, “this is still in process, these are initial insights, not to be taken as forecasts”. We had a lot of discussions in December (2013) after it happened, and a US academic wrote this critique saying that ‘anthropologists shouldn’t be in the business of making predictions’, when actually we weren’t.

So it created some tension there, but we discussed it a lot, and vetted the blogs a little more, and making sure there was nothing scandalous. I don’t think it’s changed what we blog though. There’s been an increasing awareness though about making sure that if we are going to make some sort of bigger claim, we have some more data included.

For me, and the way I blog, it always starts with a story. I just sit down and write it, and whilst I’m writing it. I feel it should be something good, and have a point. I edit it a lot, it tends to be much longer the first time I write it. Part of it is figuring out what your style is, and how you like to write, and not putting too much pressure on yourself.

Readability is important. I have an audience in mind, for the most part; my sister, she’s an artist who lives in Madrid, she’s nothing to do with academia, so I send her things and she’s like “I have no idea what this word means, what do you mean by this sentence…”. She’s my imaginary audience because she’s a really smart person, but not at all in an academic sense, or not at all part of the academy. So if I say something pointless or dumb, she’ll say “don’t say that”.

There’s a tendency to try to fit in; you have to use this particular big word to try to fit in with a crowd of people who’re particularly into a specific topic. It’s almost like a rite of passage, a social norm. You have to perform this academic identity in order to be accepted, or even just feel like you’re part of it. And I think for some people, it becomes a kind of crutch. But at the same time, to be published in prestigious academic journals, you have to play that game.

 

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Thanks to Nell for her generousity of both time and openness. Follow the Global Social Media Impact Study here, and if you’re interested, a good further read on the implications of the reaction to the Facebook post is this piece by Peter Spear, “Qualitative Illiteracy and the One-Eyed Business“.

A Planner’s Day Of Things To Make

A Planner’s Day Of Things To Make

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in advertising | No Comments

Two really interesting posts were written in close proximity recently, about Planning.

NB – By which is meant Account Planning, an advertising term for a specific role in an agency. If you want to know what it used to mean, before the jump, then read this APG definition introduced by Merry Baskin from 2001. I have never been an Account Planner, but reading that definition back realise my work comprised a lot of the skills and activities listed whilst in Adland. So, you know, these are my thoughts, YMMV.

There, that’s the small print, up front, in bold.

Firstly, there’s Heidi Hackemer’s post on Planning’s Lost Generation. It points out that, through that perfect storm of increased complexity, not enough time, reduced tenure in the labour market, and so on and so forth, agencies aren’t really training the next generation of planners anymore. Which causes even bigger future problems, as how do expect a geneation who hasn’t been trained to do any training themselves when the time comes. As Heidi says:

“When these young planners do threaten to leave, instead of having a hole that needs to get filled by another hop-along young planner, which is painful for everyone involved, we promote them beyond their skill set and give people that have no business having the title Senior Planner, Planning Director or even Head of Department these titles. And because they don’t have the skills, they can’t teach the next generation.”

Secondly, there’s Richard Huntington’s Can Any Planners Still Plan? He questions whether this younger generation even want to plan anymore, to understand what that is:

“I have long argued that while there are many ways strategists add value to their agencies and the business of their clients, the greatest contribution that we make is taking those brands to new places in the lives and minds of their customers. It is our ability to help brands and businesses re-invent the future that makes us most useful.

And yet I am beginning to lose count of the number of planners I come across in my wanderings that don’t want to do that. That either are not interested at all or who have little idea that this is what they are supposed capable of doing.

These planners seem to want to do one thing and one thing alone, something that they call making things.”

In short, the two posts together suggest a generation who Can’t Plan, Won’t Plan.

Of course, there followed a massive twitter exchange as happens in Planning when anyone mentions Planning and its inevitable worth/decline/reinvention/hopelessness.

But I thought I’d just stretch out a couple of points that can’t be made on twitter.

Firstly, if there’s no time and resource to teach a new generation what Planning is, there’s undoubtedly a complex variety of reasons, all of which are at odds with each other yet all true.

But reading back on that APG list of what roles a planner should play, you realise that so much of what actual Planning consisted of is now being done elsewhere:

  • market researcher
  • data analyst
  • qualitative focus group moderator
  • information centre
  • bad cop (to account management’s/client service’s good cop)
  • NPD consultant
  • brainstorming facilitator
  • target audience representative/voice of the consumer
  • soothsayer/futurologist
  • media/communications planner
  • strategic thinker/strategy developer
  • writer of the creative brief

In a way, perhaps Planning won. It raised the importance of all of these requirements for companies, and so now there a multitude of specialists that do them instead. Planning happens everywhere, just not by “Planners”.

Secondly, on Making as Thinking.

For the last three years at Smithery, and for several years before that at PHD, I’ve been using making as a way to explore things, to find things out. It’s a different sort of learning approach, one that helps you bridge the gap between ‘novice’ and ‘expert’ by playing with and creating different things in the spaces you find to aid understanding of the spaces themselves.

For the ongoing background research for Artefact Cards, I’ve recently fallen down the rabbit hole of “Constructionism”, a brilliant learning theory. If you want a useful place to start with this stuff, this post by Steve Wheeler is the shorthand version, then this talk by Edith Ackermann from MIT will give you some ideas of how you might set up learning structures like that:

 

However, it seems a bit disingenuous to talk about the value on “Constructionism” vs “Instructionism” by writing blog posts, debating on twitter, and largely doing nothing but talking lots. This is a part of Planning’s problem, perhaps.

It all made me think of a talk I did years ago at an IPA course, which I called The Planner’s Book of Things To Make.

It was an exhortation for young planners to make more things; not because these would be the things that would become a central campaign idea, or sell a million units, but because they would inform thinking, draw in users, reach out to niche interest groups, create feedback loops to steer brands and so on.

But, in hindsight, it was a talk, and talk is cheap.

So as I wind my way up to London on a train towards Playful at the Conway Hall, I’m wondering if it would be more useful to put on The Planner’s Day of Things To Make sometime in the New Year.

It would be an exploration of how to use making as a route into a lot of the things that Planners need to be doing to Plan properly.

Sounds niche, huh? Well, yeah, maybe. So here’s how I’m going to gauge demand.

If it sounds of interest, go here and sign up.

And when you sign up, sign up to “yes, I will buy a ticket to this woolly sounding nondescript event and not show up”.

Price wise: no idea. We will pay all people running sessions, and the required materials, and refreshments, and lunch. So whatever that’s going to cost.

Anyway, that’s it at the moment. Let’s see what people make of that, and we’ll go from there.