Posts tagged “Design

The Lightning Field, Part 1

Posted on May 26, 2017

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Visiting Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field is like going to an event. You might know the framework, but you can’t predict the exact experience. So after some fortunate advance planning (I read about visitors waiting 10+ years for schedules to align) and a journey into Western New Mexico, I stand with my main art friend and four other overnight visitors in an isolated cabin next to a grid of 400 polished stainless steel poles. A simple framework. We congregate on the back porch of the cabin. Clear skies, no lightning expected. In the washed-out afternoon light the poles blend into the high desert landscape. Wind comes and goes, loud then silent. Rabbits scurry from beneath the cabin, a few cows stroll in the distance. Without connectivity to the outside world,…

Double Negative

Posted on April 16, 2017

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In 1969, artist Michael Heizer began displacing 240,000 tons of rock in a Nevada mesa. Dynamiting two facing trenches across a canyon, he cut downward into the earth, contrasting both the canyon ridge and physical art structures built upward into the sky. When he finished in 1970, he left behind negative space in the landscape and one of his first monumental earthworks: Double Negative. Nearly fifty years later I wait alone in the darkness above the mesa, listening to the wind and watching for sunrise. As dawn breaks over the desert, I hike into the North cut and toward the Virgin River below. Sometimes it’s not what you add, it’s what you strip away. “There is nothing there, yet it is still a sculpture.” –Michael Heizer *

Decoupling

Posted on October 21, 2016

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Some drive-through restaurants utilize off-site locations to receive orders – the speaker by the menu board is run through a call center team, and orders are routed electronically to a screen in the restaurant. You don’t actually interact with someone at the restaurant location until you get to the pick-up window. The ability to distribute process activities across physical locations has been convincingly demonstrated. You can decouple activities and geography, people from organization reporting lines, processes from technology, and products from sales channels. It’s an opportunity and a challenge to appropriately balance the dimensions. I once had a social conversation with a business executive who could not understand the difference between television content (shows) and television networks (channels). It’s no wonder some companies go…

Who Gets to Say

Posted on April 17, 2015

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One of my clients once told me he didn’t want to scare people with upcoming work requirements. I told the team we should. They were facing a large, global project with a range of stakeholders. We needed the entire group to be ready, and we didn’t have the luxury of simplifying to the lowest common denominator. Why get pushed to average before you start? “Their value proposition was ‘Make it whatever you want. You can choose whatever color you want.’ And I believe that’s abdicating your responsibility as a designer.” –Jonathan Ive Decision rights can be complex. What is bottom-up versus top-down? Internal versus external? Supply-driven versus demand-driven? How simple does it have to be? Intentionally decide the who and decide the say…and study the people setting the…