Tag Archives: Discovery

Creativity and Ambiguity

DressAgainstTreesCongratulations to the City of Frisco for supporting the Arts and infrastructure to ensure a great community continues amid all the growth.

For those who opposed the commitment toward a performing arts center because in their words, “There was no plan” I will tell you what I tell my colleagues in the IT business – And it is this:

“You can be included in the creative process to shape a plan or you can have only finished plans presented to you for approval, but you cannot have both”. – belveal

Everything starts with an idea and a sketch.  A sketch is a representation of an idea, but not everything in detail.  A sketch by its nature contains immense ambiguity.  That ambiguity inspires creative minds to fill in the rest with possibilities.

It is often the same people who complain about being left out of the process that,  when you include them, choke on the unanswered questions. Design is about  solving problems and working hard over a period of time to find and develop answers to all those questions.

Anyone who has ever been successful at creating anything fully understands that there is ambiguity in the early stages. If you cannot handle that, you cannot be successful yourself and you will be in the way of others. The creative process is what converts great ideas filled with questions into finished viable plans with every detail worked out. I suppose this explains why some people perceive new innovations as magic. They just really have no idea what creativity is or how to do it.

For those creatives that do get it, thank you for your vision. There is a lot of work to do to do to make this dream a reality.  Let’s build something awesome!

– roger

http://www.friscobonds.com/

Great Grapevine Show opening

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It was fun watching people interact with my art at the Texas Sculpture Association show opening reception this evening. This show is in the tower building in the center of old downtown Grapevine, TX and runs through the end of October.

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Kids get it. Many adults don’t, including many artists. I am surprised by how many artists I talk to who have no idea what I am doing. They are fixated on making pretty things. Using art as a means to explore new concepts or to comment on contemporary culture doesn’t cross their mind.

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I think if I ever win an award from the art crowd I should start to worry that I have stopped innovating, Fitting into one of their categories is not my ideal. In fact, in case you didn’t get it, crossing boundaries is much of what I am about,

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Merging art and tech should be the obvious, but it is also about blending real and virtual experiences, high tech and primitive, historic with contemporary, in one continuum, Breaking rules such as “don’t touch the art” and inviting audience participation physically, mentally, and emotionally is my intention,

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TechXpressionism is a celebration of the digital experience but also a kind of relief from it. Like comic relief in a serious story, it intends to inspire a breath of response from the audience. It is a form of experience design. It’s what I do. Get it?

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Its fun watching people react to the at and get drawn into it.  Then it can become a social experience as they invite others in.   It’s not uncommon that people want their photos taken or do selfies with the art.  When art becomes a social event, that to me is cool.

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This show is in the Tower building in the center of old downtown Grapevine, TX and runs through the end of October,  2014

Hosted by the Grapevine Visitors Bureau
636 South Main Street
Grapevine, TX. 76051

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– roger

Fishbone-to-Wishbone: A Recipe for BrainstormChasers

BrainStorming or just Storming?

Somehow, brainstorming has gotten a bad rap. I was actively brainstorming at the white board with a product manager one day. As we were having excellent success at nailing the key elements of the design, he looked at me and said, “My business professor told me this wouldn’t work”.  Hmmm. I wasn’t sure what to say other than I’ve heard that theoretically, bumble bees cannot fly, yet somehow they do.

By the way, rigorous usability testing later on confirmed that the concepts we came up with in that brainstorming session were dead on target. So, I am still a little confused about who is saying brainstorming doesn’t work and why. Perhaps they’re just doing it wrong?? Or maybe I am just using the term too loosely to describe using your brain to analyze and solve problems. ??
Brainstorming  Recipes
As with all recipes, ingredients are important.  So first of all, before you begin, make sure to have an ample supply of good quality brains on hand.  This will make things go better as the process gets messy. Having these ingredients will enable you to improvise in case something doesn’t work as expected or you spot a new opportunity  that  was not anticipated.
Fishbone2Wishbone Recipe

Having been trained in Six Sigma, my tendency is to look for root causes of pain points following the five whys to begin forming hypotheses. Of course, Six Sigma was invented for manufacturing where a given product or process was already defined and typically the tools were used for trouble shooting to reduce defect rates, hence the name.  That has always made it a weird fit for design, where the purpose is the define the not yet defined product or process.

But wait.  Here’s the deal, Flipping this method on its head, one can use the same cause & effect logic to trace the root causes of a good effect, such as customer delight.  Brainstorming potential causes of customer delight based on things you know about the audience (personas), their tasks, the context, the business domain, etc. can produce some very good hypotheses for taking into design.  This can feed the lean methodology.  I have named this my “fish bone to wishbone” method. i.e., Fish bone (Ishikawa diagram) leading to an A B test (wishbone).  Get it?

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Maybe my point here is to not simply open the table to ideas, but to have some cause  & effect rationale for forming hypotheses that can then be explored and tested.  Testing hypotheses need not always require a design exercise.  In fact whether you do proceed with a design to test or not, you should attempt to prove or disprove each hypothesis with existing available data.  Sometimes this along is enough. Or it may direct you to a more focused design exercise. 

Typically, there maybe multiple ideas swirling as to what is the way forward.  Simply gathering up everyone’s assumptions and ideas is constructive IF you restate all of them as testable hypotheses. This can be a great way to cut through folk lore, eliminate churn and move the team forward. Of course (here comes the disclaimer) group dynamics are still at work and your mileage may vary. Cheers.

– roger

 FocusFast_Card_SideB_2015-09-05
wishbone-to-wishbone
or Fishbone2wishbone
copyright 2013 Roger Belveal  😉

Andy, Warhol and 4 more

The Flash List Entertainment Guide, covering the Indie Festival has a nice mention of my work.

http://www.theflashlist.com/dallas/events/2014/06/events/usa-texas-dallas-indie-festival.html

http://www.whiterocklakeweekly.com/view/full_story/25244361/article-Bath-House-to-host-Dallas-Indie-Festival

So, I am being called “the Andy Warhol of the digital age’.  i think that’s pretty cool.   i have always admired the Warhol knack for capturing the essence of the contemporary pop culture and reflecting it in his so so vividly!   the excitement in Warhol images never goes out of style. And it speaks as eloquently of yesteryear today as it spoke of then at the time.

Actually, I aspire to be like five Andy’s:

Warhol – for giving us compelling images about contemporary culture.  The definitive Warhol image? Marilyn Monroe, of course.

Griffith – for being plain spoken, honest, and approachable

Kaufman – He messed with our minds and our sense of reality, just for fun. And we liked it!

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Andy Rooney – for the ability to poke fun and laugh at just about everything!

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And lastly, Andy, Pixar kid – for reminding us how much we love toys!

But my name is Roger.