September 2014

Solving the right problems

Design is about solving problems that humans have, not problems that products have. – Mills Baker I’ve referenced this quote several times since reading it; this is harder to do than you might think.

Breathing is enough

Several nice thoughts on mindfulness here, but I love this one: Consume mindfully: Pause before buying and see if breathing is enough. This works for me with snacks; let’s see if it does the trick for purchasing.

Thinking in Three Horizons

Three Horizons is an interesting foresight method that embraces the messy part of innovation and change: The first horizon is the dominant present, which frames our current thinking about a domain…The third horizon is a possible future which may become dominant over time… In between, there is the second horizon. This is a space in…more

Social change and technology change

When we think about long-term change with the benefit of hindsight, the things we think are unfathomable are usually the technology – planes, cars, computers. But it is at least as likely that the things that time travellers would most struggle with are the shifts in social values, which are almost invisible to us because…more

Suckers for irrelevancy

I’ve recognized this in myself and others: A study from Stanford reports that heavy multi-taskers are worse at choosing which task to focus on. “They are suckers for irrelevancy”, as Cliff Nass, one of the researchers put it. Multi-taskers often think they are like gym rats, bulking up their ability to juggle tasks, when in…more

The pen is mightier than the keyboard

What I was noticing was that I’ve become such a fast typist that I could slam out great big blocks of text quite rapidly — anything that came into my head, it would just dribble out of my fingers onto the screen. That includes bad stuff as well as good stuff. Once it’s out there…more

The boring future

One of the defining challenges of writing science fiction is explaining to the audience the amazing new things in this world while respecting the fact that the characters already live in that world… For you, this future is cool, but for them it’s just another day with the same old problems. John Scalzi, speaking at…more

Work without attachment

If we do not attach ourselves to the work we do, it will not have any binding effect on our soul…This is the one central idea in the Gita: work incessantly, but be not attached to it… Do you ask anything from your children in return for what you have given them? It is your…more

Predict the future by forgetting yourself

A good summary of Philip Tetlock‘s research: As you might expect, these elite forecasters tended to score better on measures of intelligence than the other participants. But they all shared one other trait too: open-mindedness…Crucially, open-minded people tend to be able to see problems from all sides, which seems to help forecasters overcome their preconceptions…more