• June 15, 2006

    The Young Foundation has published a manifesto for social innovation Written by a team led by Geoff Mulgan, Social Silicon Valleys compares the vast investments made each year in scientific R&D (nearly 12 billion euros of public spending on R&D in the UK alone) with the piecemeal and marginal [continue …]

  • June 14, 2006

    Jet Blue’s new credit card slogan wins my vote for the 2006 meaningless bollocks perpetrated by a creative agency award.

  • June 14, 2006

    The way of thinking and acting that Slow Food proposes goes well beyond food and food systems. The idea of “slow” brings tradition to life, and links the quality perceived in products with the social and environmental quality of their production, and places of origin. An international seminar on the [continue …]

  • June 13, 2006

    If a client offers you a budget of $1500 per person to design a large event for thousands of people, do you refuse? I don’t think so.The environmental impact of large trade shows and conferences might be damaging – and the experience for those attending them may be impoverished – [continue …]

  • June 2, 2006

    Do ethnographers need exotic names to do well in business? A story in Business Week features two guys called “J. Wilton L. Agatstein Jr” (who runs Intel’s new emerging-markets unit) and “Timothy deWaal Malefyt” (an anthropologist who runs ‘cultural discovery’ at ad firm BBDO Worldwide). The readers [continue …]

  • May 31, 2006

    Is it time to put the future out of our misery? Design can be valuable as a forecasting tool, and designers are great hunter-gatherers of ideas. We should develop that role further. But we should not just look ahead in time, and not just look for technology trends. In particular, [continue …]

  • May 25, 2006

    tram.jpg

    This has my vote for most sublime mobility project of the year.

    A team of Karachi vehicle decorators has transformed a Melbourne tram to bring the experience of a journey on a W-11 Karachi mini-bus to the streets of Melbourne. Vibrant dancing colour in hand-cut [continue …]

  • May 21, 2006

    AIGA, the US professional association for design, and IDCA, the International Design Conference at Aspen, invited John Thackara to chair the Aspen Design Summit.
    Conceived as “a new type of gathering for a new century”, this celebrated event brought design-minded leaders from around the world to Aspen, Colorado to make [continue …]

  • May 4, 2006

    A few weeks back I gave a lecture at the Royal Society of Arts in London entitled “Solidarity economics & design”. The lecture was provoked by the sick-making antics of Bob Geldof and the assumptions he and others made about ‘development’. I argued that the word ‘development’ implies that we [continue …]

  • April 29, 2006

    Someone programmed Word to flash this pop-up at me Every…. Single…. Time…. that I press “Save” whilst typing. “You have 22 days remaining until the Microsoft Office Test Drive expires. To order your copy of Office 2004, click Buy Now”. This happens every 30 seconds or so. Now whether or [continue …]

  • April 23, 2006

    Juha Huuskonen has invited Doors of Perception to run a two hour session as part of Mal au Pixel. The session takes place in Paris on the afternoon of Saturday 29 April – ie in a week from now. Juha and Aditya Dev Sood will be on the platform, [continue …]

  • April 22, 2006

    Sorry ’bout the silence this last week,; I’ve been on the road. Still am, but Allan Cholnikov has started a discussion about what we are trying to achive with the Aspen Design Summit here. You don’t have to register or sign in, and you can choose to receive email [continue …]

  • April 11, 2006

    Did we say that green design needs to be less sad and more glamorous? Brad Pitt, who has few reasons to be sad that we’re aware of, narrates a six-part television series on ecologically friendly architecture, called Design-e², which launches in June on PBS in the US. The [continue …]

  • April 10, 2006

    What, in broad terms, is happening to design right now? According to a new paper from RED in London, we are experiencing two important shifts: Firstly, in where design skills are being applied; and secondly, in who is doing the designing. A new discipline is emerging, they say, that [continue …]

  • April 3, 2006

    More and more companies are using so-called “design ethnographers” to help them develop products in real-life situations (rather than in design studios). This has sparked debate about the ethics of using other peoples’ daily lives as raw material for product development. But is design ethnography new? At Doors 8 in [continue …]

  • April 3, 2006

    Intel has launched a PC platform to meet the needs of rural villages and communities in India. The “ruggedized” Community PC is equipped to operate in a community setting while accommodating the varying environmental conditions prevalent in the country. Intel also announced an initiative called “Jaagruti” (“Awakening”) to support [continue …]

  • April 1, 2006

    Cluster is running a series of pieces on the spontaneous cities, favelas, bidonvilles and squatter cities that grow independently “creating their own networks without the help of traditional planning or design”. In the new issue Frederica Verona describes her visits to numerous dormitories, day centres, and soup kitchens in [continue …]

  • March 31, 2006

    As noted yesterday, it makes me nervous that so much money is pouring into biotech clusters; the sector has bubble-like features and is based on a absurd proposition: that technology will help us cheat death. New and renewable energy is a surer bet for a region’s economic future. World [continue …]

  • March 30, 2006

    An intriguing story in next month’s Cluster magazine describes plans in China for the world’s first urban biomedical hub. Sascha Haselmayer, one of its advisors, writes that Fenglin Biomedical Centre will concentrate life science, medical care services, medical education, business incubation, and medical exhibitions, in the Xuhui district of [continue …]

  • March 30, 2006

    What will life be like when our growing economy overshoots its carrying capacity, degrades its resource base, and collapses? A gripping description of this more-likely-than-not outcome is included in a British government report about Intelligent Infrastructure Futures. Andrew Curry and colleagues developed four contrasting scenarios of life in 2050, [continue …]

  • March 25, 2006

    Warm congratulations to one of our favourite and most respected newsletter-website things, Ninfomania aka Protein° Feed aka Protein° Supplement. Today, Protein celebrates it’s 300th issue, having first been published in September 1997 to 14 people. It is now enjoyed by an international audience of over 9,000 select subscribers. [continue …]

  • March 25, 2006

    I’ll be in Washington DC for the nights of 29, 30, 31 March (for IDSA/Business Week jury duty). If you’re in DC (or know Doors persons there) we could meet for a Doors brunch on Saturday morning (April 1). Interested? Then mail me: john@doorsofperception.com

  • March 17, 2006

    An international seminar on design, welfare and local development takes place in Milan on 28 March. The event concludes the two year Emude project (in which Doors is a partner) that explored social innovation in 10 European countries. Emude is a Europe-wide investigation into the phenomenon of people who, in [continue …]

  • March 1, 2006

    The Situationists were early critics of the creative industries. They rejected the idea that art is a specialized profession, or that its task is to produce spectacles for consumption. The only time their leaders came to London (in 1961), one of them, Guy Debord, was to speak at the [continue …]

  • February 28, 2006

    AV Festival 06 is the UK’s newest, and largest international festival of digital arts, music, games, film & new media. With the theme of Life, it explores what happens as expectations rise that we might be able modify and improve our bodies and/or minds. More than 90 events will [continue …]

  • February 24, 2006

    I have always assumed that sprawl is a Bad Thing. For Jane Jacobs, in ‘Dark Age Ahead’, urban sprawl is something that “murders communities, and wastes land, time, and energy”. Sprawl is frequently blamed for environmentally-damaging transport intensity, the collapse of communities, even obesity. But James Woudhuysen, for one, thinks [continue …]

  • February 23, 2006

    As part of our preparations for Doors 9 in India next year (March 2007) there will be a small round table meeting of art curators and cultural producers in New Delhi in the afternoon of March 10. Representatives from funding agencies, cultural missions, art galleries, event spaces, museums, schools of [continue …]

  • February 23, 2006

    The Guardian is flogging an absurdly over-the-top watch on its website. Because the watch is radio-controlled, accuracy is guaranteed to “within one second in a million years”. The watch also boasts five daily alarms, a 1/100 second stopwatch, and world time. The Guardian promises that “you should never be [continue …]

  • February 22, 2006

    Many of you probably know about Michael Darnell’s website Bad Designs – but it’s always growing, and always worth a re-visit. If there are other bad design collections out there, please let us know: we want to organise a Worst Design In The World Oscars. Meanwhile, because this [continue …]

  • February 20, 2006

    Have cultural producers and designers become the stooges of property development? Guy Julier has invited me to stir things up in a talk at the inauguration on 2 March of DesignLeeds, a new research and consulting centre at Leeds School of Architecture, Landscape and Design. Invitations are available from [continue …]

  • February 19, 2006

    Transhumanists believe in efforts by human beings to “reshape their inherited physical, cognitive and emotional identities by extending lifespan and enhancing human capacities”. I admit to a prejudice that transhumanists share this enthusiasm because they are all bald, bearded, and barking. But not all transhumanists are death-fearing loony-tunes [continue …]

  • February 17, 2006

    The subject of car-free mobility sounds necessary but unappealing. But news reaches me of a sublime-sounding event called The Walking Project. It’s an exploration, on foot, of desire lines – the paths made by people who walk across fields in South Africa – and across vacant [continue …]

  • February 13, 2006

    Harry Whittington, 78, was “alert and doing fine” after being shot by Vice President Cheney. The same could be said of US bloggers for whom the story has been a much appreciated gift.

  • February 6, 2006

    To a car company, replacing the chrome wing mirror on an SUV with a carbon fibre one is a step towards sustainable transportation. To a radical ecologist, all motorised movement is unsustainable. So when is transportation sustainable, and when is it not?

    Eric Britton, an expert on the subject, had the [continue …]

  • February 3, 2006

    A fabulous-sounding event this Sunday is Aurora Feast. Heureka Science Centre, Vantaa, Finland, hosts a celebration of the mysterious, dynamic and whimsical Northern Lights. Recapturing of the mood of traditional feasts, Aurora Feast intertwines the spectacle of sights and sounds with talk and food. Artists and scientists will [continue …]

  • January 31, 2006

    I thought I’d escaped from the quicksands of of learning-speak when I completed the chapter on learning (which nearly did me in) for my book. But no! A new tsunami of learning lingo is upon us. Teachers having been exhausted by years of enforced modernisation, the hapless victims this [continue …]

  • January 30, 2006

    For service design, public services are an enormous opportunity – half the economy in most industrial countries. This seminar in Helsinki, on Friday 10 February, is about framing the welfare and care story as a series of design opportunities. Speakers include Ezio Manzini (on creative communities and active welfare); John [continue …]

  • January 27, 2006

    SOM, the global architecture firm, believes that we are entering an age of comprehensive, pervasive, simulation of the physical world. It has appointed a Digital Design Director, Paul Seletsky, to develop its expertise in Building Information Modeling (BIM). With BIM, models of all a building’s physical components [continue …]

  • January 24, 2006

    My lonely campaign against the concept and practice of “emotional design” is failing. I learned with horror this morning that an International Journal of Emotional Labour and Organisations has been launched, and that it is for people who study emotionology. A journal and an ‘ology in [continue …]

  • January 22, 2006

    I’ve been called priggish for insisting that some issues deserve more design attention than others. The trouble is that we are not good at judging risk – especially long-term ones – as a society, and when big issues get overlooked at the expense of insignificant ones, we end [continue …]

  • January 20, 2006

    What are the key design tasks facing the new post-agricultural rural economies and settlements? A conference in the UK in September will map out a new role for the arts and design in response to new social, environmental and economic regeneration priorities. Among the strands and seminar topics currently being [continue …]

  • January 16, 2006

    “Enjoy the future” raves British Telecom, in its Technology Timeline for 2006-2050. BT spoils the effect by warning of wildcards, that “may happen at any time”, that include “international financial collapse” and “the possible rise of a machine dictator”. I’m sanguine about the second of these problems: [continue …]

  • January 12, 2006

    Africans are twice as optimistic as Europeans. According to a survey of 52,000 people around the world by Gallup International (reported in The Economist of 17 January), African people come top when asked if they expect this year to be better than last year. Asked to explain the apparent anomaly [continue …]

  • January 9, 2006

    Is advertising a source of harmful emissions? Industry forecasts anticipate that advertising spending will break through the $400 billion mark this year. That’s $555 per person in the USA, (compared to $209 per head in France, $25 in Latin America and $8 in China). Those billions have just [continue …]

  • January 5, 2006

    If humans can live in skyscrapers, why not pigs and fish? When the Dutch architect Winy Maas first proposed that 600 metre-high skyscrapers, filled with pigs, could supply most of Europe�s pork needs, he was accused of proposing �concentration camps for animals�. But why should agriculture be restricted to the [continue …]

  • January 2, 2006

    On January 13, Donald Norman will receive an honorary doctorate from the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering in Delft. On January 12 a symposium will take place on how the human sciences infuse design, with Donald Norman, Josephine Green, Henk Janssen (Indes) and Paul Hekkert (IO) as the [continue …]

  • December 31, 2005

    Emude, a consortium of design schools and research institutions – and Doors – has spent the last two years years looking at social innovation among creative communities in different parts of Europe. Having observed the emergence of what we call “active welfare” in many of these situations, we realise that [continue …]

  • December 29, 2005

    A fascinating essay by Henry Jenkins explores the changing spaces of childhood. In the nineteenth century, children living on America’s farms enjoyed free range over a space which was ten square miles or more; boys of nine or 10 would go camping alone for days on end, returning [continue …]

  • December 29, 2005

    Thanks to Europe’s most horrible company, Wanadon’t, our internet connection has again been down for days. So we have had to access our email by telephone. Your warmly-meant illustrated seasons greetings have taken literally hours to download. Next year, maybe think about sending us a poem?

  • December 20, 2005

    An edited podcast of my lecture last week at the Royal Society of Arts in London is available online.