Get out of the cube for new ideas

23 Jan

Five of us from our design team went to the Bill Moggridge lecture at the California College of the Arts San Francisco campus last night. A great opportunity: the lecture was the inaugural event to kick off the new program in Interaction Design that will be offered at CCA beginning next year. Moggridge was a founder of IDEO and one of the original champions of user-centered design and interaction design as a discipline,  and now directs the Cooper Hewitt national design museum in New York.

The talk was fascinating, interspersed with video clips from his interviews with creative and technology leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg and Chad Hurley, as well as his own wonderful insights on design process and the future of interaction design. Many of the clips came from his most recent book, Designing Media. (BTW, you can download the ENTIRE book for free here. Pdfs and videos. That is pretty amazing! ) Most intriguing for me was his clip of Ira Glass (of This American Life) talking about story and narrative, and how, as designers we can use narrative in all three stages of prototyping ideas: for inspiring, evolving and validating design.

We also heard from Kristian Simsarian, chair of the new Interaction Design program, on how he and the rest of his team are structuring it. There aren’t many programs like this in the country. The challenge of creating a new program like this, an innovation in and of itself, was what drew him to the opportunity. Looking forward to seeing how it evolves and the types of designers who will emerge from it.

Also hope CCA offers more lectures like this for the rest of us! Kevin Kelly is speaking next week. I think they’ll need to get a bigger lecture hall eventually though… last night was packed.


Visiting CCA

Vicki Taniguchi, Cleo McMichael and Nick Nelson at CCA

And, a breath of fresh air: the big open spaces of the main CCA campus buildings are wonderful. Large walls with creative work in progress, pieces of new ideas waiting to happen. Reminded me that sometimes I feel like a fish out of water in cubicle land. Would the work we do be different, and produce different results, in an environment like that? I think so.


Adding up the evening: it was valuable as much from the context as the content. Going to the talk together, sharing the experience, discussing insights is so valuable. We need to get out more as a team! Good creative work, engagement with new ideas, solving problems, connecting as a group… all those don’t come from just showing up to the office everyday. It seems obvious, but we (I) forget that so easily. It’s on my list to look for other opportunities to get us out of the cube.


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