Lectures on creativity and management

Copied liberally from the RSS feed comes a great link from Boing Boing.

Avi sez, “Andrew Hargadon used to work as a design engineer at IDEO. Then the academic bug bit him and he went on to research the innovation process from an insider’s perspective. His course notes are now online and provide simple but effective methods to understand and enhance your creative thought process.”


Thanks, Avi

and Boing Boing

Joint Venture

Brands are delicate. Your customers’ perception of who you are can erode instantly. And cobranding is inherently risky. You’re exposing one of your most valuable assets, your reputation, to the whims of a partner.

Yet adding your brand to another can equal more than the sum of the parts. Well-executed partnerships can make your site’s offerings both more complete and more competitive. Just remember that new content or services will only attract users if they are complementary to your current offerings and are consistent with your existing interface. And without an unrelenting focus on your users fueling your development, you risk having a confusing site and alienating your core audience. There’s one thing that both the online and offline worlds can agree on: It’s nearly impossible to stay viable without an audience.

Read: Joint Venture: A Commitment to Consistent Interface, Complementary Services, and User-Centered Strategy

Creating More Time

I think almost everyone would answer yes to the opening paragraphs questions, I know I did. It’s pretty difficult to manage some kind of balanced life. When living in Taiwan it’s hard to not get caught in what appears to be the center to most peoples lives, their work. While for the next few years I can see this as still being true for myself, the increased tempo of balancing work, study, and fun is something I need ideas on how to accomplish.

“Do you ever feel there is not enough time to do everything you want? Do you ever end the day with a list of things-to-do? Do you ever finish the week with more you need to get done? You are suffering from the common freelancer

Understanding the Web as Media

This article is certainly a good point of departure for a discussion.

“What is the web good for? What can the web do that other media can’t do? What can the web NOT do that other media CAN do?” In other words, what are the unique media characteristics of the web? What are its inherent strengths and weaknesses? How does the web “fit in” with existing media?

Read: Understanding the Web as Media

A Timely Article

What a timely article this is, as my 35th birthday approaches and I exit the “18-34 category–that much marketed-to demographic cohort that’s typically single, selfish, vulgar, and fun” and become a grown up. Yes I too looked upon last Thursday the incoming students to the graduate program at Chao Tung and remarked at how young they are. I am sure they looked at me and said the opposite. How did this happen? How did I get so old so quickly?

This cliche is poinant: Youth indicates health and an abundance of time. Age is the opposite, and requires us to accept a process that ends, if you are lucky enough to last that long, in death. No wonder I have no patience, hurry up my time is running out.

Read: Jugglezine – Life: A Mid-Term Evaluation

A Project Management Glossary

“Project Managers – can’t live with ’em, can’t lock ’em in a filing cabinet in a disused basement toilet with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

Project Managers have a large part to play in what work you’ll have to do, when you’ll have to do it by, and whether you get paid. So it’s pretty useful to gain credibility with them – and other stakeholders you meet – by understanding their language, and even using it on occasion.

What follows is a guide to the common terms used by Project Managers and other people within a project. Like most jargon, it seems pointless until you start working with it, at which point it becomes a very useful way of describing the many people, situations and processes which almost every development project will involve.

Many of the terms have a commercial tone to them, as if the only possible application is in pursuit of cash. Leaving aside the question of ‘so what?’, it’s worth bearing in mind that a project is a project, whether money changes hands or not, and whether the end goal is profit or not. “

A Project Management Glossary : evolt.org, Site Development

Private and Public

“The photographs shown on this site have all been taken within the confined space of a 30 metres long strip of sidewalk on Edgeware Road, Marble Arch, London.”

“All images are taken over a period of one year

Make Your Own Stock Photography

As today is Sunday and a bad headache is preventing any work from being done (yes we work 6-7 days a week in Taiwan), I am finding the time to catch up on some online reading. Though I doubt reading tiny text on a monitor is doing much for my headache, I have managed to find some interesting material in the archives of Digital Web Magazine. One article in particular seems timely as I often discuss the lack of quality stock photography that have Asian themes.

As a designer, making your own stock photography means that you’ll be approaching photography from an idea of a finished concept. This isn’t the way most photographers think. Most commercial photographers shooting for a design firm, need instructions from an art director. Photographers need to know what your client wants. They want to know what you know and share in your vision. This can be an interesting process with you as art director and photographer. Basically there is one goal to creating your own stock photography. Try to conceptualize a finished design and then shoot the image you’ll need for a mockup.

Read: A Designer’s Guide to Making Your Own Stock Photography (for non-photographers)

Being a “Yes (Wo)Man” Is No Good

Meg Hourihan’s article comes at a time that I have been given a project to create a GUI standard for web application development for a internal knowledge management site. Their current problems can be partially attributed to what Meg has to say in her article. By continuing to agree to implement requests without proper analysis and usability testing, we can become part of, rather than a solution to, the unusable UI problem. By using elements in non-standard ways, the sanctity of the elements is disrupted.

Read: The Sanctity of Elements, or Why You Shouldn’t be Double-clicking in a textarea

The Social Life of Paper

Courtesy of Metafilter:
“This is one of the great puzzles of the modern workplace. Computer technology was supposed to replace paper. But that hasn’t happened. Every country in the Western world uses more paper today, on a per-capita basis, than it did ten years ago. The consumption of uncoated free-sheet paper, for instancethe most common kind of office paperrose almost fifteen per cent in the United States between 1995 and 2000. This is generally taken as evidence of how hard it is to eradicate old, wasteful habits and of how stubbornly resistant we are to the efficiencies offered by computerization. A number of cognitive psychologists and ergonomics experts, however, don’t agree. Paper has persisted, they argue, for very good reasons: when it comes to performing certain kinds of cognitive tasks, paper has many advantages over computers. The dismay people feel at the sight of a messy deskor the spectacle of air-traffic controllers tracking flights through notes scribbled on paper stripsarises from a fundamental confusion about the role that paper plays in our lives.”

Read: The Social Life of Paper

Shear Idiocy

The shear idiocy of some online advertisers escapes me. How can they be so f****** stupid. I clicked on a url this afternoon to check out a persons site and was taken to a indescript “portal” page whereby I was bombarded by pop-up ads. Now I am quite accustomed to this form of rude invasion but what happened next is something new to me (outside the realm of those other idiots – porn ads). Once I did the obligatory click to close the ad pop-up another pop-up spawns, closes all my other open browser windows, and then centers itself in the middle of my screen. As well it kept an “invisible” browser window open which is probably performing some kind of tracking or was readying another ad barrage.

Now what person in their right mind is going to postively respond to this kind of ad. And can’t these no mind losers who create these pop-ups get it through their thick skull that it doesn’t work? If I had the time and skill I’d track down the creator of this particlular rudeness and make her/his online life miserable. <\anger>


Thank God for ugly old motorcycles. I was leaving work this evening and realised that I didn’t have the keys to my old wreck of a Honda. I was in such a sorry state this morning that I left the keys in the ignition and my helmet on the seat – a ready made ticket to free transportation. It would be nice to say that this is a fine example of how honest people truly are but I know deep down that my bike is so terrible that no one would want it.

Peace is War

Wired magazine has in an unusual move published their latest issue both in print and on the web. Unusual in that they are owned by different companies and apparently have always had separate teams for web and print. With articles like Peace Is War by Bruce Sterling I’ll be sure to buy the latest issue on the newstand. I’ve long since given up on the website. I read this article a week or two ago but had no idea it was from the print version. Hats off to Acts of Volition for the tip.

Lifes Embarrassing Moments

Yesterday seems to be a flash back to the past. In the not so distant past I was a terrible student. I lacked discipline and focused my energies on the learning that gave me the most pleasure. I worked hard then but seemed to have little regard for the consequences of my actions. Yesterday was a mid term for a silly little c programming class that I am taking as part of my graduate studies. I am sure that I failed. I am sure everyone else passed. Unlike in Canada, there is no comradery in my failure as all Taiwan students are completely professional in their studies. I don’t think anyone has ever done poorly. Of course I have certain challenges that make things more difficult and my study time seems to be nill but in the end, as many mothers would say, I have only myself to blame. My mother used to always tell me, “Its time to get your nose to the grind stone”. Rather painful analogy but I agree. It’s time to regain face.

Wooing the Sandman

“Now blessings light on him that first invented sleep. . .’Tis the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap.”–Don Quixote de la Mancha.

“As Cervantes pointed out almost 400 years ago, sleep is a wonderful thing. Now if only we (I) could get more of it.” This weeks feature in Jugglezine called Wooing the Sandman comes at a rather appropriate time considering my sometimes herculan efforts to acquire some sleep.

Captain Nemo

The Phoenix 1000 is a 65-meter (213′) personal luxury submarine. As proposed, the submarine would constitute the single largest private undersea vehicle ever built, and arguably, the most significant personal transportation device of the 20th century.

NYTimes:”As the Web Matures, Fun Is Hard to Find”

An article in the NYTimes is prompting allot of response and discussion. The article states that web is no longer cool and fun. It’s old hat and lacks a sense of wonder.

I agree to a certain extent but there are still many great things being developed and many cool web sites to visit. The main problem I find is actually being able to filter through all this mass of data to find what I truly want or need. In the past this seemed less of a problem because there was simply less data. Sites like Google and Metafilter help but somehow I feel that relying on them exclusively is not the answer.

You can read the article here and read the responses at Metafilter and Powazek

When is there time for fun?

During my Chinese class last night we practiced a simple conversation about what we liked to do on the weekend. Many of my classmates responded with the typical answers like, ” playing tennis, going to Taipei to go clubbing, listening to music, and sleeping”. When it came to my turn I was at a loss for words, not because I had trouble with the language but because I don’t do anything. All it seems that I do is work or at least what used to be fun I consider laborious and boring.

I seem to remember when I lived in Canada this simple concept that we I think inherited from the Americans, whereby you work five days a week and play for two. Friday night was night out. Saturday was for recovering from Friday night, some fun, and perhaps household chores. Sunday was for family, God, and sleep. Working on anything else on Sunday was a big cultural taboo. This simple concept seems to have disappeared from my life.

Now its not because I have been busy these past few years. I have. But there

How times have changed

Culled from MacIntouch
“Connick Gets Patent: entertainer Harry Connick, Jr. has received a patent for an electronic sheet music distribution system that he created and uses for his own big band; the system runs on G3 Power Macs, and was developed after Harry and his band played an outdoor concert; the sheet music was being blown around, and he figured why not have his band members read their music from computer screens instead; Harry first used the system for his 1999 big band tour, and each member has their own work station; here’s a photo
photo of the system, courtesy of Connick Big Band trumpeter Leroy Jones.”

False Promises

Why is it when the read me file says,… this script is very easy to set-up … it shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes to get it up and running… you end up spending 2 full days trying to make it work?

Ikea pictures

How exciting! Pictures from the Ikea Taipei store. Part of a continuation of a discussion of the “I.A” of Ikea started by Kate Hagedorn some time ago. It’s interesting and important to apply “real world” metaphors to what we create on the web. Obvious but often not investigated.

Study Time

The last two weeks have witnessed a dramatic increase in the amount of work I have to complete on week by week basis. This year I started the long march towards completing a graduate degree in visual communications at a

What did I do.

I need something to cheer me up. I should have known that a Chinese class scheduled for the middle of a Saturday afternoon was doomed to fail. But being the optimist I rearranged and rushed my schedule to make it happen – only to arrive and see the look of suprise on peoples faces. Ah yes and of course they did ask for more money. Must I be punished.

Google and pop-up ads

Google doesn’t do pop-up ads, and explains its reasons here. I can’t quite understand how pop-ups are an effective marketing tool. Is annoying potential customers really good for business? Google appears have a greater respect for their customers than many others and their success shows that it pays off in the end. It’s only common sense – treat your customers well and they will return the favour.


Resident Evil – Now here is a movie I want to see. The dogs, zombies, freaky mutations and the girl hologram. Oh and of course…. the oh so great Milla Jovovich. Good trailer.

Chinese language lessons

The pressure is on. It is now common knowledge that I am taking three Chinese language lessons per week. It seems to be brought up at every gathering of my co-workers. They’ll expect results now. They love to relate to me the stories about foreigners learning their language in 6 months. Afterwards I get a look of – “whats the matter with you”? Which is I suppose deserved. The shocking truth came to me when one of my Chinese teachers said to me in a forceful tone during my first class “… you should know this”. Scared me. With all this pressure I have no choice but to give it my best shot.

Can’t say this word in public

Some how I have garnered an international reputation — an overwhelming number of search terms for my sites include the word masturbate. The latest, “pinyin masturbate”. Now there is a word you hear alot when you are beginning Chinese conversation. Unless perhaps I am hanging out with the wrong crowd.