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177 truths of innovation

After reading Scott Berkun’s excellent mega summary of 177 Myths of Innovation I was inspired to create a list of 177 truths of innovation, derived solely from reversing…

Understand your design framework

Design frameworks define the fundamental patterns, workflows, architectures and and layouts that comprise a product. Frameworks provide system coherence and allow for efficiencies in the building of products…

If you can’t back your design up with data you’re just another expert with an opinion

Even really badass designers make poor calls. We sometimes design things that can’t work or don’t make sense to users. We have personal pet preferences and theories. We…

The benefit of speed is that you get there quickly, a drawback is once you’re airborne it’s harder to adjust course

When you’re building digital products speed is a critical. Developers and designers need to practice getting their work done quickly and iterating toward perfection.  There’s little doubt that…

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Limited mastery makes you timid or reckless, expert mastery makes you either careful or fearless

Novices and experts come in two flavors.

Commute schedule visualizer

Occasionally I ride the bus to work. Its a bus that doesn’t run all day, and it only comes a few times an hour. If you miss it…

Should you ditch your interface?

What if instead of designing explicit interfaces we aimed instead at eliminating them altogether? If instead of adding a screen we found ways to remove it? Wouldn’t the…

Musical augmentation of play structure

After prototyping a number of crude stringed instruments I had refined how to attach the strings and tune them. I noticed that when I placed the instruments on…

Rough stringed instruments

What started as an experiment in different ways to attach rubber surgical tubing to wood became a set of crude stringed instruments. I found I could drive a…

Cairn building

Cairn building is a meditation in stone, balance, patience and creativity. Anywhere you find rocks you can work to build tall standing structures. I like making cairns because…

Heavy work table

I own a portable table saw, but often work alone. I needed a table at the same height as the table saw to allow me rip longer boards…

Wax figures

I grew up sculpting with my hands. Perhaps because my mom was a professional potter, or because I had lots of bees wax to work with at a…

Transforming a chain-link gate

All the gates and fences for our backyard are made of chain link. While this provides excellent structure and security it leaves much to be desired from an…

Fixing a broken user experience

Originally published in Smashing Magazine 9/27/2012 Unless you’re developing completely new products at a startup it’s likely that you’re working in an organization that’s accumulated years of legacy…

Storytelling that inspires and delivers vision: Lessons from Google Glass

Telling visionary stories takes more than great tech, it takes imagination, warmth and a devotion to showing a world made better by your inventions.

More, better, faster: UX design for startups

Startups don’t have capital to burn or luxurious schedules for big-design-up-front. But unless your idea is by-and-for-engineers, design isn’t something you want to skip on your way to…

Wooden topographic

After noticing that a straight bit on my router could carve delicious layers into a block of wood I sketched out a rough topographic “map” on a piece…

4×4 lap joint jig

Making lap joints takes time and effort. When the joints are at 90 degree angles the cuts are relatively simple. When the cuts are at other angles it’s…

Play sculpture

Better together; the practice of successful creative collaboration

Savant. Rockstar. Gifted genius. Many of the ways we talk about creative work only capture the brilliance of a single individual. But creativity also thrives on diversity, tension,…