Islands and icebergs

Spent all week working on something and I just trashed it. Wasn’t coming together. Hate to do it because you never know if you were almost there. Sometimes you’re hating it and hating it, and you keep sailing on, and then blam-oh! There she is! I see land, boys! But maybe you stopped just before…

Sometimes the box is more fun

One of the first times I presented on ecosystem mapping, an attendee shared an image of their own map they’d been inspired to create. It was interesting, colorful, and information-rich. But also? It wasn’t what I’d call an ecosystem map. At first I worried about the quality and clarity of my presentation. But others shared…

Being the thing

Recently finished reading Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I probably should have read it before I wrote a book about writing? But I’m happy to report it didn’t leave me second-guessing my guidance in Writing for Designers. Just envious of King’s prose and storytelling skills. Like many books on creative practices,…

The Only Bad Idea in Brainstorming

Going through some old scans and found this card from when I was working on a talk about brainstorming. This still stands out to me as one of the more important aspects of a sucessful ideation meeting: Decide at the beginning what you’re going to do at the end. If you don’t constrain a brainstorming conversation…

A Different Kind of Freedom

One of my favorite quotes of late, on freedom: Like most Americans, I shrink from the thought of subservience of mind or person. I too cherish the word freedom. But I want to be free to be painstaking if I want to, to be responsible, to be involved; to be free to exercise whatever intellect…

Smaller Paper

A big blank canvas? Scary. A new Powerpoint deck with no slides? Scary. Designer notebooks packed with crisp, white, empty pages? I’ve abandoned dozens. My big ideas are built out of small ideas. I try to capture my small ideas in small, simple ways. Index cards. Plain text files. A few words added to a…