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What Am I Talking About?

I talk a lot of gibberish, but this is the age of conversation, and apparently somebody is listening while I am blabbing.

From the desk of B. Glazo:
Drew writes about the changes - including a move to Amazon - here. You still have time this week to grab a couple copies at the initial price level. It would be nice for the book to get a good bump before holiday time descends upon us. I mean, when was the last time you were able to be part of the Internet crashing to a standstill? Everybody seems to be talking about the news - Chris even suggests trying to explode the web on December 14 :)

Remember it comes down to helping Variety - its mission is children.

The quality, breadth and diversity of these contributors continues to astound me.

Gavin Heaton, Drew McLellan, CK, Valeria Maltoni, Emily Reed, Katie Chatfield, Greg Verdino, Mack Collier, Lewis Green, Ann Handley, Mike Sansone, Paul McEnany, Roger von Oech, Anna Farmery, David Armano, Bob Glaza, Mark Goren, Matt Dickman, Scott Monty, Richard Huntington, Cam Beck, David Reich, Luc Debaisieux, Sean Howard, Tim Jackson, Patrick Schaber, Roberta Rosenberg, Uwe Hook, Tony D. Clark, Todd Andrlik, Toby Bloomberg, Steve Woodruff, Steve Bannister, Steve Roesler, Stanley Johnson, Spike Jones, Nathan Snell, Simon Payn, Ryan Rasmussen, Ron Shevlin, Roger Anderson, Robert Hruzek, Rishi Desai, Phil Gerbyshak, Peter Corbett, Pete Deutschman, Nick Rice, Nick Wright, Michael Morton, Mark Earls, Mark Blair, Mario Vellandi, Lori Magno, Kristin Gorski, Kris Hoet, G. Kofi Annan, Kimberly Dawn Wells, Karl Long, Julie Fleischer, Jordan Behan, John La Grou, Joe Raasch, Jim Kukral, Jessica Hagy, Janet Green, Jamey Shiels, Dr. Graham Hill, Gia Facchini, Geert Desager, Gaurav Mishra, Gary Schoeniger, Gareth Kay, Faris Yakob, Emily Clasper, Ed Cotton, Dustin Jacobsen, Tom Clifford, David Polinchock, David Koopmans, David Brazeal, David Berkowitz, Carolyn Manning, Craig Wilson, Cord Silverstein, Connie Reece, Colin McKay, Chris Newlan, Chris Corrigan, Cedric Giorgi, Brian Reich, Becky Carroll, Arun Rajagopal, Andy Nulman, Amy Jussel, Kim Klaver, Sandy Renshaw, Susan Bird, Ryan Barrett, Troy Worman, CB Whittemore, S. Neil Vineberg

Emergence of Poetics

The emergence of poetics in design is an underlying motif of complete design: that which encompasses the emotional and physical need to inhabit, utilize, or observe. The emergence of the poetic in design is regulated by, not by the designer, but by the design’s user. The world of users – at – large, constitute the ability to begin, exist, and finish the body poetic.

Aristotle speaks of mimesis in man’s natural activity, and the pleasure derived thereof. Moreover, by leveraging the mimetic nature to engage the audience in purposeful unexpected use, we have built what Aristotle defines as “superior” theme. The correlation that we can derive from this, in light of Zambonini;s writings, can be see in the process of Design. The process of designing with the audience, in order to better impact this audience, is the basis of the poetic in design, in my view. This process will inculcate the ability to encompass the underlying emotional needs and physical (practical) needs of the audience. The poetic here is defined as the “completeness” of a designed artifact or space.

The beginning (start), middle (existence), and end (conclusion) are defined as the body-poetic in the designed artifact or space. Aristotle appropriately touches upon this aspect in Chapter 7, where this information has helped lend my sense of order in this the amalgam and amorphous world of poetics. The structure so defined, is helping to define my personal interpretation of this course – and the writings (which at times are very confusing and often increasing my frustration with the course). His use of “beginning” is appropriately stated as that which does not necessarily have a connection to the previous, but brings rise to some other fact or ideal. I have implemented this aspect of thinking in understanding the processes which formulate design, in order to understand the poetic in design. The “whole” is constituted and “unleashed” by a complete development of design in conjunction with the audience’s way of receiving and understanding.

It is through this involvement and process that we can see the poetic existing as an artifact or space of appropriate scale, impact, and efficient usage (my interpretation of poetics in design). The scope of architects today are far reaching, as they define what and where we exist and live. In this avenue of reasoning, we can find raison d’etre of understanding the poetic. In order to achieve optimal efficiency (in usage, impact, and scale), the designer is bound to developing a set of plans that inculcate the desired audience in the process. Through this, the necessity to bring rise to ideals of the designer’s intention are presented as unobstructed, given that the start, middle, and end are independently created through the audience’s feedback. This gives space to give rise to the said fact or ideal, and allows for the message to be communicated freely.

In my understanding, the poetic is nurtured through the desired usage, inhabitance, or observance of the designed artifact or space. By the designer seeing the intended audience executing these tasks, in vivo, he sees the poetic of his work (the unfettered ideal) nurtured and subsequently living. The start, middle, and end are used in this context as understanding that the design’s poetic itself has a requirement of knowing how to begin and exist, and end, thus completing the requirement of being a emotional encompassing design.

Trials and Tribulations of Management

I was recently invited to become the project manager for a new company, and its associated business plan and launch program. I was hired, because I had worked with the sponsoring company before as a consultant and they saw that I was results oriented.

It was difficult though, I was responsible for managing a team to bring a product to launch, while simultaneously being out of the inner circle of creative of the sponsoring company. Not only this, but the owner of the sponsoring company was a designer. Hence him hiring me to manage the people, time, money, and other resources to bring product to launch.

Berkin talks about making things happen, and that is exactly what I was required to do here. Nonetheless, there were some experiences that were didactic and humiliating.

An ordered list was the priority of my start of project planning with the company. Moreover, inculcating the creative views of the team was paramount to my success here, and that includes working with them on the priorities list. This is something that I did not do originally, causing unspoken animosity. The team thought that I had assumed (and egotistically) the list was without regard to their thoughts. That I was there to order them.

Recommendations in this avenue, going forward, would be to have that initial pre-meeting meeting. One where voices are heard, accepted, discussed, and established. Moreover, I find it beneficial (especially with creative, in the interest of making deadlines) to set aside a meeting time for this. A few hours, but the catch here is that this is the limitation of input. In order to move forward, we can’t sit and discuss a creative possibility over a certain limit. This limit forces constraints upon the discussion, and therefore ensures that results will be generated.

Directly following this step, is the outline of tasks, milestones, and resources projections. The important step here, is a consideration towards the systemic nature of a creative project. This systemic factor is why there is a project manager. If something were to change in the finance aspect of things, or a delivery date, then this will have a rippling effect throughout the project plan. Berkin was right when he said “make sure that they always map to each other” in reference to the deliverables, resources, and overall plan.

Some of my work...


Rishi Desai a student of Parsons The New School for Design in New York City is one of 104 marketing bloggers from 10 nations authoring The Age of Conversation, an e-book to benefit children’s charity

New York City -- A local blogger is part of what may be a first-of-its-kind collaboration via the internet, involving more than 100 marketing professionals who blog from 24 states and 10 nations. Rishi Desai of New York City joined online with other bloggers to write The Age of Conversation, a book that will be published July 16. In addition to the downloadable e-version, the book will be available in hardcover and softcover. All proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to Variety, the Children’s Charity.

The book has an unusual story behind it, involving online connections between people around the world who have never met each other.

Drew McLellan, who heads McLellan Marketing Group, an advertising agency here, has been writing a blog online for since September 2006. His blog is among the 25 most-read marketing blogs in the world. McLellan’s partner in this adventure is another marketing blogger in the top 25, Gavin Heaton. Heaton is the Interactive Director of one of the world’s leading marketing and promotions agencies, Creata, where he is Director of Interactive.

In March, McLellan wrote about Wharton’s effort to create a collaborative book and Heaton commented, “And it sounds like it could be fun ... but you know what, Drew? I reckon between a few of us we could knock out a short book and publish it. All we need is a theme and a charity ... “

“Three e-mails later, we had named the book and the charity. It just fell into place, McLellan said. “The Age of Conversation was the prefect topic. The marketing industry is abuzz about how the citizen marketers are changing the landscape. This book captures that new phenomenon,” he added.

McLellan and Heaton, through their blogs, invited other marketing professionals and other bloggers to commit to writing an essay about conversation. They set what they thought would be an impossible goal – 100 bloggers. They received commitments from 104 authors in less than 7 days.

“What began as a comment online has grown into a major collaborative effort by marketing professionals from 24 states and nations, beyond the U.S.,” said McLellan. “Gavin and I were overwhelmed with the response.”

“We heard from people, telling us what they planned to write about,” Heaton added. “We’ve been amazed at the variety of approaches that have been taken, and with hardly any duplication or overlap. This book really explores the art of conversation and how that is changing the face of marketing from virtually every angle possible.”

My contribution is already printed for you below..

A fellow marketing blogger in New York, Christina Kerley, had just lost her mother and many in the marketing blogging community were looking for a way to comfort her from afar. McLellan and Heaton decided that they would dedicate the book to Sandra Kerley, their colleague’s mother.

The Age of Conversation will be available in all three formats on July 16. Prices will be:
e-book: $9.99 ($7.99 going to charity)
paperback book: $16.95 ($8.10 to charity)
hardback book: $29.99 ($8.55 to charity)

Orders will be taken online at:

Authenticity in Design: What¿?¿

The notion of authenticity is a motif that seems to be surfacing in this time. Transparancy, authenticity, and trust... things that I can refer my relationships to. This doesn´t seem to surprise me that it is becoming apparant to ¨people¨ that a secure and authentic connection to their designed environments is ever important.

Moreover, recognizing that the design of the table at which you sit needs to be authentic is a difficult idea to understand. By this, I mean that you must see the designer´s true intentions manifested in the design that you use, and those intentions were not distorted for other purposes.

But what are a designer´s intentions? I think a designer´s intentions should be that which one designs for facil use.

Facilitate Better Learning by Breaking The Cycle

Conversations are taking place all around us, and in this Conversation Age, we are looking to learn a thing or two from them. My idea for this chapter came while reading an article in Harvard Business Review by Chris Argyris.

What is the quality of insight gained for the curator of the conversation? Moreover, ask yourself the question, are we addressing the more fundamental impulsions behind the responses from the newly formed community of conversationalists?

As the curator of the conversation, you are seeking to learn from the players involved. But also, you are seeking to further facilitate and massage the conversation forward with hopes to gain maximum insight. The problem arises with curatorial benevolence.

The curator strays from questioning the assumptions and fundamental biases in responses from the players of the conversation. These assumptions and fundamental biases are laid in the early formation of the group involved. A sense of communal identification is borne from active listening, conscious participation, and purposeful speaking. 

This initial process of respectful engagement will inherently lay a foundation that must be shaken for optimal insight. Most importantly, as this identity develops, the curator usually takes a passive role. Passivity is the result of the curator’s fear that he or she will discourage the players from participation.

This passivity is a disservice to net learning. As a sense of community develops, fundamental assumptions are not addressed behind player responses. A cyclical process of learning develops as a result. The sense of communal assumptions (identification) with other conversationalists contributes to closing the circle, further continuing the cyclical process. This continues until the curator steps in to question the communal assumptions, thus breaking the circle, and allowing for deeper insight.

The curator must act as a catalyst at his or her recognition of this cyclical learning. The curator must seek to disturb the harmony when they detect cyclical or homogeneous responses, by questioning fundamental impulsions behind the responses. They are not destroying communal identification, but allowing for a more sustainable and beneficial learning process. Argryis calls this the double loop and single loop phenomenon, I am adapting it here, calling it “a need for cyclical breakout.”

Are Designers the Enemy Of Design?

Nussbaum recently gave a talk at my school, that caused quite the stir. He details how the dynamic and evolution of the design process has brought us to this new form of design, where everyone is a designer and that design by ego is destroying the potential and requisite of today's designs. (Pic: Philip Stark Juicer)

Nussbaum said that "designers suck" and are in need of a paradigm shift for sustainability. I have to agree, but disagree. As a student of Design Management, we are not IN NEED of a paradigm shift, at least I don't see that, but rather, we are undergoing a paradigm shift. To me, when I graduate in a year, I will work in a market where sustainability is presumed to take importance. Maybe bottom line business men will tell me otherwise, but more and more I am reading of how they, too, now realize the impetus in sustainability to grow that bottom line over time.

As we breed this new form of designer, we are making history, in fact, defining the management of the process. Design management is the facilitation of the design process in the interests of all of those at stake. This inculcates sustainability amongst other things, but it is not apparent (reference to apple's counter-sustainable products).

My thoughts? In response, NextD did a whole write up drawing from the brightest minds in design of today and yesterday. There is strong potential in society for sustainability and participatory design. This process and its importance in the administration of business is exemplified by the emergence of Design&Management departments at Parsons, Pratt, Stanford, and Harvard.

This nascent industry embodies the profit-potential held in participatory design while strongly entertaining sustainability as a priority before achieving anything with popular culture. I would know, I am a student who is on the receiving end of courses and lectures of design management training.

I am frankly excited by the emergence of this MANAGEMENT-DESIGN pedagogy, as it transfers power to those who know and appreciate from those who are ignorant... so designers don't suck, business sucks. Good thing though, because as I see it, business models for the day after tomorrow are being learned today, in dschools.

One Shape For All and For All One Shape

Alan McCollum, who turns 63 this year, has a long-standing interest in formal replication, and his work frequently addresses questions of materiality and value. (His installations lead one to rapidly conclude that the lofty promises of modernism aren't likely to be fulfilled anytime soon: here in McCollum's orbit, more = less.) He also possesses the entrepreneurial spirit that has come to characterize a number of contemporary artists who think pluralistically about making work. His shapes, for example, can be used for many different purposes, “not only for fine art and design projects,” notes his gallery’s press release, “but also for various social practices: as gifts, awards, identity markers, emblems, insignias, logos, toys, souvenirs, educational tools and so forth.”

The relationship between shapes and social practices is, at its core, an essential design conceit — from typographic identity to architectural megastructure, giving form to ideas is what designers do. But McCollum’s project goes beyond mere morphology, embracing a kind of ├╝ber-solution in its very claim. Endlessly permutable, teeming with indefinite potential, McCollum’s strategic genius lies in his appeal to a culture hungry for the quick fix. The Shapes Project promises maximum gain with minimum effort: better living through geometry.

It's not so much the shapes themselves as the idea of the shapes, the very notion of a system of forms that's so captivating. And so unnerving. If I were to identify the one prevailing topical interest that has most surfaced in the last year — among students, in juries, at conferences and exhibitions — it would have to be this obsession with series and systems. How to identify them; how and where to introduce them; the question of whether, once a series is identified, your work is done. It's the illusion of certainty that's so mesmerizing — the idea that not everything is in flux, unfixed and mashed-up and dislocated. Systems by their very nature introduce an armature as well as a roadmap for their own completion. You look at one iteration, then two — then ten — and you get it. Once demystified, you can concentrate on other things — form, perhaps, or beauty. A glorious insect. A Trollope poem. Your lunch.

Or not. Which begs the question: does a system invite psychological repose precisely because it is so clear and comprehensible — or does it lead us to search for precisely its opposite — a kind of exotic deviation from the norm, an abstraction or glimmer of novelty? McCollum stresses that he laboriously created each of these shapes, and resists the notion that this body of work emerged from a kind of robotic (read "vector generated") process. Is artistry compromised if software is involved? Is design?

A Note on Design Pedagogy

Reading a recent article on the theory behind Gropius' Bauhaus and the Applied Art Schools in Breslau and Dusseldorf, led me to finally construct a valid argument to defend both this very blog and the very basis of my current daily works. The theory is best illustrated by the 1907 creation of the Deutscher Werkbund. This association of architects, designers, and industrialists helps illustrate state-sponsored evidence of the need to commercialize artistic talent.

The pedagogical nature of the Bauhaus and congruently Parsons are exhibited in the curricula of both institutions, while formed around the same time, developed independently of each other on two different continents. The need to industrialize raw artistic talent; to bridge the then widening gap between industry and art was expressed in the Deustcher Werkbund, the Bauhaus, and Parsons itself. Academia failed to adequately prepare students for real life expression of their artistic talent, the manifestation of their ideas were doomed to failure without being prepared for real media to express themselves with. Creativity was lost in the swirls of vocal academics who, given their university training, were able to effectively express and accomplish.

This quote helps express what I am trying to say: "True creative work can be done only by the man whose knowledge and mastery of the physical laws of statics, dynamics, optics, acoustics equip him to give life and shape to his inner vision." Therefore we can see the pedagogical importance of the Bauhaus, and currently my education at Parsons. I am being given the vehicle and required training to effectively link my creative talents with industrial processes. I am being given the tools I need to graduate and work and earn a living, rather than squander any creativity in futile attempts of recognition. Practical and theoretical, simultaneously releasing the creative powers contained in the students at this and other design schools. Maybe we can say teaching us how to talk the talk and walk the walk.

Listening to Bob Dylan.

iPhone: Planning vs. Implementation

The new Apple iPhone, the craze of all design industry. After much awaited time, Jobs has taken advantage of delayed market entry to observe and capitalize on past PDA-Phone-Entertainment devices. Nonetheless, let's look at the practicality behind the $500+ device in terms of its implementation.

Most importantly, the iPhone will be available exclusively on the Cingular network. The number of people that will switch to Cingular to take advantage of the newest Apple creation (we can define these people as the die-hard Apple fans, which are none too few) are those that we can say that are the first-adopters of the device. In fact, we can say that there will be a great number of people who will buy the device at any given cost, only because they are so focused on buying the next hottest Apple device. For the rest of us, as much as we like this device, and at its incredible cost, we must now seek to weigh the cost of breaking our contracts and leaving our beloved carriers simply to buy into a trend. Practically, I have Verizon, my friends have Verizon, as much as the iPhone looks appealing, I dont think I will be breaking my contract anytime soon.

On the design front of the device, it has appealing features, but holistically it is the spokesman of the "creative" type. What the iPhone does for us creative types is help provide an alternative to the highly formal blackberry or treo. We are no longer mislabeled by the phone we carry, and we can succumb to our ever-vocal choice in electronics (MacBook, iPod, and iPhone to match). The software on the iPhone nonetheless (yes I have had a unique chance to test drive) is what sells it for me. Intuitive interfaces that are familiar to us from our work and play interactions, the iPhone plays upon the ease, adaptability, and error-free operation that us users of OSX have grown to love and those users of Windows XP have not realized exist in digital interactions.

All in all, I give kudos to Apple and its next-obvious step in innovative production, but their terms are too selfish. Apple knows it has cornered a certain type of market and is seeking to expand that market everyday (see the latest TV ads obviously geared towards older PC-using men). Knowing this, reviewing past failed deals, Apple had demanded way too much in past talks with Verizon and maybe T-Mobile and thus failed in being able to introduce on several carriers (like Treo, Blackberry, etc).


Listening to Paolo Nutini.

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