For designers who spend much of their time working in virtual environments, the act of creating something real with your hands can also be a vital tool to help innovate. I just read this interesting article which describes software giant Adobe’s daylong workshops in which their product designers are faced with creating motion games, using simple elements like plastic beads and tiny sensors.
If you’re a creative person I think you’ll find this a good read. It’s nothing revolutionary, but sometimes we need a little reminder to revisit the simpler tools as a way to help conceptualize the next new thing. If the continuous improvements made to Adobe products are any indication, it’s an investment worth your while.
In the last few years, I’ve found myself appreciating the tangible things I can create with my hands. Simple things like growing herbs or baking bread are activities I find satisfying because I can dig in and get a little dirty…and have something to show for it at the end. At work, taking the time to sketch concepts, build mockups or diagram relationships has only ever helped the problem solving process further along, yet it’s tempting to leap-frog over that step and grab my mouse. The thing is, not only is getting your hands dirty a great tool for designing a solution, but it’s fun too…think of it as therapy at work.
This Friday SCAD is holding it’s annual Sand Arts Festival. If like me, you spend most of your time staring at a computer monitor, this could be a great opportunity to get in some creativity and the great outdoors. Let’s call it dirt therapy.
And on a final dirt related note, I recently I came across this TED presentation by Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Chanel (a personal fav). While he starts out talking about the show, his ultimate point about the value of work is excellent.