Friday, March 10, 2006

slow design and repetition

I heard that at TED, Tony Robbins asked"How many of you have rented a movie you've seen before?"

His right answer: "Get a life!" As in: don’t do it!

Really struck a nerve.

I have books I've read and movies I've seen dozens of times. I have songs I still enjoy after knowing them for years. I welcome the familiarity. Each time I find another nuance, or reinforce some meaning. I cant imagine having put these away after just the first time through.

When I snowboard, I like to find a run I like and hit it again and again. Explore the edges of it. Find the hidden powder stashed behind the washed out turn. I don’t understand people who like to cross off runs like tasks on a checklist. How can you actually have experienced that slice of the mountain, have just brushed by it once?

I actually don't mind the mindless repetition of vacuuming.

I have an art project in my head where I drag my finger down a length of wood, an infinite amount of times, until a path is created.

Is this wrong?

One of the big draws to being a designer at a consultancy is that the work doesn’t get stale. One is always learning about different businesses, meeting new clients, experiencing new things. I really enjoy that.

On the other hand, I think design is like running, you get better by doing it, which means doing it again. And again. Skills like prototyping are about repetition, about allowing yourself to learn new things about the same idea. About not expecting -actually not allowing- perfection. But expecting to get one step closer to somethign worth knowing.

"Deep experience of the world — meaningful and revealing relationships with the people, places and things we interact with — requires many speeds of engagement, and especially the slower ones."

There is a group called slowLab which seems to resonate with that appreciation for the slow. The quote above is from their website.

Credit to metacool and design observer for seeding some of the thoughts that coalesced here.


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