The Human Side of Creativity, Writing, and Designing

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After twenty-six hours of travel that entailed two 10+ hour-long flights, a train ride, a tube ride, and four blocks of tugging a suitcase, I found myself sitting on my sofa in London with eyes at half mast. My to-do list was as long as ever yet my eyes could nearly stay open. Sitting in a dark flat 9,000 miles away and seven time zones ahead, my husband reminded me of something important. “You can’t do it all. You need sleep,” he told me. “Start tomorrow refreshed. You’ll feel better.”

Ten years ago, pushing through all-nighters–and sometimes multiple days–constantly awake and (somehow) designing and creating was no problem. My younger self had an insatiable drive to match my peers’ willingness to work despite all indications for sleep. All nighters are a thing of the past for me, now, but the desire to fill my to-do list and calendar still prevails.Continue Reading

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Sharing More about Social Impact Design Metrics on GOOD FORM!

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The new podcast GOOD FORM! has recently hit the internet airwaves and I was lucky enough to sit down with the hosts for their second episode to share my current endeavors with social impact design and measurement.

Started by young architects Bryan Mock and Brandon Wlosinski of The Iterative, the podcast is aimed at giving an inside view of how designers and studios are doing great work. As a “studio of one” with a network of collaborators, I spoke about my current pursuits with PublicInterestDesign.org, the Autodesk Foundation, AzuKo, and a forthcoming research project into impact measurement for design along with my journey into this work.

I hope you enjoy the interview and make sure to check out the other interviews with Audrey Galo of Architecture for Humanity and Ced Funches.

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Why You Need to Define Your “Other 90%”

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It was a muggy summer day in New York City. After traversing through the meandering paths in Central Park, I quickly crossed the bustling Museum Mile to enter Cooper Hewitt’s smaller but equally green garden exhibit on “Design for the Other 90%.” With roots in a rural, agricultural-centered California town, the Day Labor Station caught my attention immediately. Architecturally it was beautiful and well designed. The intricate construction details, solar panel roof, and integrated toilet made for a completely off-the-grid design that any architect would be proud of. Then I noticed the bright blue Q Drum for transporting water and then the small LifeStraw to purify water. I was captivated by these products and structures that were addressing things I take for granted.Continue Reading

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Friday Fiver: Privilege, LEGOs, Storytelling, a Drinkable Book, and Creativity

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If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably seen the many things I find and share throughout the week. There is an immense amount of content I consume each day (which–oddly enough–I am competing against as a blogger) and through all the sifting, sorting, clicking, browsing, and closing, there usually emerges profound, inspiring, and must-share content.

Channeling the short-post style on PublicInterestDesign.org, below are my top five from this week that I think are worthy of your time. Think of it as: if you missed it on Twitter, I hope you click-through here to read or watch.Continue Reading

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3 Launching Points into Social Impact Design

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Over the past two months, I’ve been fortunate to attend three conferences on humanitarian and social impact design, each in relatively different locations around the world—Glasgow, Paris, and New Orleans. Each one has brought a slightly different perspective to the evolving field of design for impact, from practitioners focused on learning by doing, to in-depth conversations on moving practice and projects forward, to providing an intensive, 5-day ‘school’ experience. One commonality between each of these events was the large amount of young designers eager to use their skills for good, who were all asking the same question: how do you begin?

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