Dreams and Design: Synthesis

The notion of being playful is to appreciate and encourage divergent, abductive thinking and to encourage the shifting, flexing, and removing of constraints and the exploring of “what-if’ scenarios; that is, dream states.

Our lives, jobs, and compensation are so frequently tied to rational thought that we have often forgotten how to actively dream, yet these dreams – the ability to generate ideas, outlandish or otherwise – are the core of design innovation.

Design synthesis embraces this divergent dreaming.

Jon Kolko, thank you!
cit. Exposing the magic of design


UX London 2012 Bill Buxton: On Long Noses, Sampling, Synthesis, Design and Innovation

Bill Buxton gave the opening talk at UX London 2012. It was a 45 min intense speech about Design, Innovation, Research and predictability of technology adaptation curve that looks like a long nose.








Here my notes:

  • You can define yourself as a professional if you are in hangover, your partner left you, you are economically broke, but you are still able to do your job.
  • New products and ideas come from observing history and the evolution of the ecosystem. Eg:  ipod took aesthetical inspiration from Dieter Rams’ Braun T3 radio, produced in 1958.








  • Creativity is the art of making the obvious.
  • It is very important to understand the evolution and the mental models behind it. Understand the genesis to provide continuity.
  • You have to work like a minor to find the gold gem!
  • Being the 1st to introduce/discovery an innovation is not necessary. Filing a patent does not make necessary you the recognized innovator.
  • The long nose: it takes about 20 years for a new technology to become an innovation. Anything that looks like a technology innovation has been around for around 15 years already.
  • Eg: early multitouch devices first appeared in 1984, but it was only in 2007 that we were ready for the ipod.
  • The best designers are drawing from history and moving forward with their translation.








  • Take things beyond function and create multiple options.
  • Synthesis and sampling are parallel processes.
  • The more you know about the past, the more you are prepared about the future. Never stop researching an understanding the roots of what you see and have in your hands.
  • Make a personal repository of what you see and like – it will become an historical reference.











  • Changing 1 thing in a product can drive a change in human behavior: remote control forced TV stations to synchronize adv.
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Design = Development. Same functionality, same sprint, different location.

Yes, that is the goal.
In the company I work for we have outsourced part of the development work to a third part company that sits quite far from Europe.
I am in the middle of the second Project developed in Scrum, after more than a year, and we are still trying to figure out how to work together, how to integrate UED better, how to culturally change. All of us.
We are 1 team, in 4 locations.

We started quite well, with the approach Design in Sprint 1 – Dev in Sprint 2.

After a couple of Sprints we figured out that it is hard to make it work. Design and Development part gets far and far as the Sprints go on.
Design is pretty much isolated – acting like a deliverables builder and feedback figure during Demo session.
The communication is not great, also following daily Stand ups or making and receiving questions on something that is not on your focus since 2 Sprints does not make things easier.

I am working closely with a PjM, expert on how to make Scrum work and we are brainstorming around how to avoid the situation where UED is an isolated resource and just works alone.

We want to get to the point where we, as a team, pick up functionality for the Sprint. This translates to Design and Development working together, hand in hand- iterating.
To overcome the physical distance matters I just ordered a Graphic Tablet to be used as a whiteboard to sketch and visually communicate with the Development side of the team. Ideally this will lead to a lot of questions, collaboration, proactive proposals and mutual exchange of knowledge.

How do you work with remote teams? How do you make communication and iterations work?

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Reading the book “Designing for the Social Web” by Joshua Porter I read for the first time about the Kurt Lewin’s equation:

B= ƒ(P,E)

Behaviour is ƒunction of both their Personality and their Environment.

How true is this? If you stop thinking for a moment about everyday life behaviours, this is definitely a big Truth.

The example reported is the way people use Amazon (and by on it), are the review made by users. Naked, unpaid, honest reviews. Because this is what miss in Adv and marketing in general: an opinion which is NOT stated to make money.
This is also the time of the big reviews on Youtube. Last week I had to buy a mascara and the first thing I did was to search reviews on Youtube, watching them while I was brushing my teeth (as time is the real richness, but this might be discussed in another topic).