Category Archives: Theories

How to build your creative confidence

Is your school or workplace divided into “creatives” versus practical people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create… (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

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Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving

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Written by Jon Kolko from AC4D this book is available to read for free online or can by purchased.  Inspirational, with a clear focus and easy to read style. As described by the authors:

This book was started with the intent of changing design and social entrepreneurship education. As these disciplines converge, it becomes evident that existing pedagogy doesn’t support either students or practicioners attempting to design for impact. This text is a reaction to that convergence, and will ideally be used by various students, educators, and practitioners

To enjoy this great read, click here.

HELTASA Conference: Great Resources for Teaching and Learning

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The annual HELTASA conference kicked off today and I have to say the sessions I attended were excellent. HELTASA, the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa, is a professional association for educators and other significant role-players in the tertiary sector. The 2013 conference is themed

Higher Education in a shifting landscape: emergence, fragmentation and convergence

The role of technology, paradigm shifts in higher education and the relationship between higher and basic education were explored in sessions attended. One of the great things about conferences is the collecting a range of useful and exciting resources. Here are a few mentioned today – the presenter who mentioned them is indicated in brackets.

Oasis for Learning {} A great resource for research practice, research writing, writing inspiration and teaching and learning. (Professor Gina Wisker. Professor of Higher Education & Contemporary Literature, Head of Centre for Learning and Teaching)

NMC Horizon Report {} Identifies and describes new technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education. (Professor Grainne Conole, Professor of Learning Innovation, Director of Institute of Learning Innovation) 

 The MATEL report on key Technologies for educational change {} (Professor Grainne Conole, Professor of Learning Innovation, Director of Institute of Learning Innovation)
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Service Design Soft Skill Builder: Empathy

I really love this article by . I would suggest giving it a read. The world on design and interaction is changing to rapidly I sometimes wonder where the ‘humanity’ is in what we do. I keep hearing that ‘design can be a force for change’, and less often that ‘design WAS a force for change’ in a project.

We, the design community, talk (and write and speak) a lot about empathy.1 We lament the empathy deficit in our companies and clients and cry “something must be done about this.”  We tout personas, empathy maps, experience maps, and other methods as empathy deficit reducers that lead to better experiences (and profits). Some, at the extremes, position human-centered designers as Platonic figures releasing stakeholders from the shadows of opinion and faceless analytics into the reality of human emotions, needs, and desires.

We talk a lot about other people’s empathy. But what about your own? What about mine?

The article also features a great video on outrospection.  Please give this article a read – sometimes we just need to stop… and listen.

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Act fast, start cheap, reimagine your city: Notes & quotes from TEDCity2.0 (afternoon)

I love TEDtalks and TEDx – an amazing space for professionals, dreamers, entrepreneurs and creatives to share ideas.

TED Blog

Anyone in the room here today, at the glossy Times Center in Times Square, has been affected by the imagination and tenacity of Janette Sadik-Khan. It was her vision that created the much-loved pedestrian zones on Broadway and the cool new CitiBikes. In 2008, when Sadik-Khan took the job as New York’s traffic commissioner, she saw how hard it was for a pedestrian to cross many lanes of vehicle traffic to move through Times Square — and yet hundreds of thousands of people were trying to each day. Her idea: Let’s block off a pedestrian zone and … see what happens. What surprised her? “How quickly people flocked to the space. We put up orange barrels and people just immediately materialized. I don’t know where they came from. It was like a Star Trek episode.” The orange barrels soon became permanent concrete barriers and planters. Now, a pedestrian zone extends…

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A homage to De Bono

The work of Edward de Bono has always fascinated me. His book Six Thinking Hats was published in 1985. The term Six Thinking Hats is used to describe the tool for group discussion and individual thinking. The premise of De Bono’s book is that we all think in specific, distinct ways which we can control and change. If we can control the different types of thinking we use, we can develop specific methods for thinking about specific issues. De Bono’s six hats are explained by MindTools as:


  • White Hat:
    With this thinking hat you focus on the data available. Look at the information you have, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge, and either try to fill them or take account of them. This is where you analyze past trends, and try to extrapolate from historical data.
  • Red Hat:
    ‘Wearing’ the red hat, you look at problems using intuition, gut reaction, and emotion. Also try to think how other people will react emotionally. Try to understand the responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning.
  • Black Hat:
    Using black hat thinking, look at all the bad points of the decision. Look at it cautiously and defensively. Try to see why it might not work. This is important because it highlights the weak points in a plan. It allows you to eliminate them, alter them, or prepare contingency plans to counter them.
  • Black Hat thinking helps to make your plans ‘tougher’ and more resilient. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you embark on a course of action. Black Hat thinking is one of the real benefits of this technique, as many successful people get so used to thinking positively that often they cannot see problems in advance. This leaves them under-prepared for difficulties.
  • Yellow Hat:
    The yellow hat helps you to think positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you to see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.
  • Green Hat:
    The Green Hat stands for creativity. This is where you can develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a freewheeling way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas. A whole range of creativity tools can help you here.
  • Blue Hat:
    The Blue Hat stands for process control. This is the hat worn by people chairing meetings. When running into difficulties because ideas are running dry, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking. When contingency plans are needed, they will ask for Black Hat thinking, etc.

Six Thinking Hats Book Cover Edward de Bono



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