learning & design

On ‘think and do tanks’

An article by Rob Blackhurst in the UK’s New Statesman states that “whilst think tanks and their policy wonks have proliferated, their influence on policy has declined sharply”. This piece has sparked a lively debate at the Demos blog about “how to stay influential and competitive, without drifting away from the very people whose lives […]

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Design education (cont)

There’s a curious mismatch between the demand for design and art education among school leavers (see my story about “Study art and never be unemployed” below) and the reluctance of industry to fund research. Design Observer drew my attention to a claim in Fortune that, in the USA, a master of fine arts (MFA) degree […]

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Professor of flows

When the Dutch word for urban planning, “planologie’, was first used in 1929, its literal meaning was ‘the study of surfaces’. Planners today work in a more multi-dimensional context – one that Luuk Boelens describes as ‘a motley assemblage of multiple times and spatial realities’. Urban planning is doomed to fail, says Boelens, when it […]

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Kaos Pilots

On the heels of news that Media Lab Europe is to close, and that European IT research is failing (see below) comes a more cheerful message: Kaos Pilots in Denmark is to stay open. A new prospectus has been published with the announcement of a plan to make this unique institution, which is rather like […]

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Why European IT research is failing

According to Computer Weekly today, a high-level European Commission assessment panel has concluded that European Union research into information society technologies (IST) is failing, despite it spending more than a billion euros a year on the area. The panel said “more investment and less bureaucracy” are required for success. Red-tape is indeed a problem: it […]

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More b-school tosh

Am I alone in becoming terminally irritated by the macho posturing that passes for thought in business schools and their journals? An article about service design by Uday Karmarkar, in Harvard Business Review, is typical of the genre. “A tidal-wave of change bearing down on the services sector should make you rethink your strategy and […]

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Fit, or fried?

Tech-filled “houses of the future” are usually grotesque but darkly entertaining, and MIT’s new one does not disappoint. Hundreds of sensing components are installed in nearly every part of Live-In Place Lab. The sensors are used to develop ‘innovative user interface applications that help people easily control their environment, save resources, remain mentally and physically […]

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Design school reputations

When potential students or project clients ask me which is the best architecture or design school, I usually give them the names of a few institutions but also insist: ‘don’t take my word for it, get hold of current students or researchers there, and ask them what it’s like’. Even that approach is limited: people […]

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Weighed down by what we know

I was sorting through some old and priceless documents, such as the five year-old proceedings of a CHI (Computer Human Interaction) conference. In it I encountered a thesaurus that lists 137 terms that crop up in the papers selected for the event. The list runs from agents, to work analysis, and includes, in-between, such subjects […]

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