SXSW 2010: Your Design Process is Killing You

Sunday, March 14, 2010 2:00pm
Sara Summers, Microsoft

Session Description

Designers and developers are efficiency experts for our clients, yet we struggle to provide that expertise for ourselves and how we work. Learn how to collaborate and craft an effective process for teamwork and the hectic nature the business. This is a call to arms to every designer and developer in the community. No more smoke and mirrors. Let’s unify our efforts and make a real product the first time.


The use of play and collaboration is best to get innovative ideas.

So what’s the deal with play? There’s no rules, it’s fun, it puts you in the moment.

Dr. Stuart Brown made the Institute of Play. What’s in teresting is how he came to study play. After the shooting on cthe campus of Texas in the 60s they brought Brown in to see why the shooter would have done what he did. He found this was due to a non-play childhood.

Play gives us empathy, trust, joy, etc. The absence of play gives you depression, rigidify, etc. The science of play is critical to our adaptation. The science of play is hard wired in us to play throughout our lifecycle. The science of play, if don’t for it’s own sake, makes us more progressive. It also drives us to seek out innovative products.

Tina Seelig, Executive Director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program does exercises with her students. Paper and sharpies were passed out to the audience to do an exercise. On one side of the paper you were to write down the best business idea you could think of, and on the other side give the most horrendous business idea you could think of… and do it in only 2 minutes. Ripping the page in half, you only keep the bad business idea. The whole idea Dr. Seelig teaches is by simply getting people out of their typical creativity.

Kacie Kinzer’s Tweenbots were little robots which could only go straight placed around new york with a little flag that said, “Help Me” and the destination they wanted to reach. Every robot released eventually got to the correct spot.

Antonio Damasio’s experiment gave $2000 of fake money to all of his participants, and offered them two decks of poker cards to draw from. The participants needed to draw, on average, 50 cards from the more profitable pile before realizing it was better. After 80 cards they knew what to do.

Rationality requires feeling. So empathetic great design is needed to achieve great results.

…and I left.

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Posted in Geeky, SXSW 2010.

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