02/09/2013

a 21st-century apprenticeship

Once upon a time appren­tice­ships pro­vided a means to gain exper­tise in a trade or craft. The arrange­ment was not per­fect but when it worked it passed essen­tial knowl­edge and prac­tices of craft from a master’s  hand to a poten­tial master’s hand, cre­at­ing a lin­eage of intel­li­gence, skill, and standards.

Much of what we do at BDW has been shaped by John Seely Brown’s work on learn­ing. While his book is worth read­ing, you can get the basics of why we need a new cul­ture of learn­ing and how to have it by lis­ten­ing to him talk about it. Here’s Maria Sharpova’s take with some good video of JSB and Dou­glas Thomas: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/01/18/a-new-culture-of-learning/

Give this a look, espe­cially per­tain­ing to a stu­dio envi­ron­ment, teacher as guide, the impor­tance of tin­ker­ing, and cri­tiques. Doing this will pro­vide you with essen­tial insight into how to teach at BDW and why and how we are dif­fer­ent from schools that cling to more tra­di­tional modes of

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02/17/2013

is advertising necessary?

Given the com­bined cultural-communication lev­el­ing and business-model havoc reaped by dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies in the cre­ative industries––music, film, and publishing––the ques­tion needs to be asked: Is adver­tis­ing headed for a sim­i­lar and pos­si­bly mar­gin­al­ized future? The future of adver­tis­ing may well be up for grabs or will man­i­fest as a model and prac­tice so evolved that work done yes­ter­day will look retro, depend­ing on your POV.

One pos­i­tive take is Rob Schwarz’s recent piece in Forbes, “I  Saw the Future of Adver­tis­ing and It is Pretty Awe­some.” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/robschwartz/2012/11/11/i-sawthe-future-of-advertising-and-its-pretty-awesome) Herein, he sur­veys the best and bright­est in the Tomor­row Awards, “an adver­tis­ing award show ded­i­cated to show­ing the future of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, today.

A not-so-positive take is pro­vided in Adap­tive Path’s Peter Merholz’s Novem­ber 18, 2010 blog post, the title of which pretty much says it all: “The Per­ni­cious Effects of Adver­tis­ing & Mar­ket­ing Agen­cies Try­ing to Deliver User Expe­ri­ence Design.” He writes: “Such agen­cies have been able to hang on because Chief Mar­ket­ing Offi­cers and other exec­u­tives are trained to buy mar­ket­ing ser­vices from them, and they see user expe­ri­ence as sim­ply another mar­ket­ing ser­vice. I fore­see gen­er­a­tional change, when the cur­rent crop of CMOs retire, and are replaced by peo­ple who grok how things actu­ally work. When that time comes, and it will, ad agen­cies will find them­selves mar­gin­al­ized, as it becomes clearer that manip­u­la­tion and media buy­ing is not nearly as impor­tant as an hon­est engage­ment with cus­tomers through delight­ful and desir­able experiences.”

As a school that grows tal­ent for the cre­ative indus­tries, BDW (bdw.colorado.edu) pos­si­bly occu­pies a mid­dle ground. We have two paths to grad­u­a­tion: a con­cen­tra­tion in user expe­ri­ence in which the stu­dents are best described as designer-developers, and a path that focuses on prod­uct and ser­vice design. Stu­dents in this sec­ond path are best described as developer-designers. We are a maker cul­ture. And every­one is entre­pre­neur­ial, a claim that is tested in our Startup semester.

Our grad­u­ated stu­dents head off to a vari­ety of futures. Some go to work in agen­cies and some love that expe­ri­ence and some very much agree with Peter Merholz’s con­clu­sions. Other grad­u­ates start their own com­pa­nies, head to com­pa­nies such as Adobe or Star­tups like Send­Grid or to very dif­fer­ent types of agen­cies like DeepLocal.

All that said, there is one ques­tion that per­sists through­out our var­i­ous projects at BDW, which tend to hack exist­ing tech to cre­ate expe­ri­ences that bridge dig­i­tal and phys­i­cal envi­ron­ments. Here is the ques­tion: “Is Adver­tis­ing Necessary?”

This is not a triv­ial or merely provoca­tive ques­tion and I we are explor­ing its impli­ca­tions with mem­bers of the BDW board with an eye to hold­ing a sum­mit in Boul­der in early Octo­ber 2013. We are early in our dis­cus­sion, so watch this space for new ideas around this topic.

 

 

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02/14/2013

The Story Project

THE STORY PROJECT  explores the many uses and oppor­tu­ni­ties for sto­ry­telling in a vari­ety of media and forms––from writ­ten word to sound sto­ries, visual nar­ra­tive, data sto­ries, and more. As an ongo­ing studio-based project, THE STORY PROJECT is taught by a vari­ety of BDW fac­ulty, each work­ing with stu­dents to dis­cover and develop the pos­si­bil­i­ties of difer­ent story forms and the poten­tial in the means of mak­ing them.

Launched in the sum­mer of 2012, stu­dents  at BDW who were inter­ested in the uses of story and how to tell them worked in a six-week stu­dio class that encour­aged them to develop a story in what­ever medium they chose. Michael Lan­ning chose ani­ma­tion. Heres is a look at how he devel­oped his sotry and teh fin­ished prod­uct which landed him a job in NYC at Indeli­ble.   http://www.mrlanning.com/projects/balloons.html

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02/09/2013

permanent beta

Nor­man is home from Havana, talk­ing cig­ars, rum, and rev­o­lu­tion. His face stub­bled and turned the color of wet sand. Vickie is at that early unrea­son­able stage of love, giddy with his return.Come evening they drink tum­blers of ice cold gin with cran­berry juice and gos­sip about a cou­ple they know––encumbered with chil­dren, who rise at dawn for work and return home at seven to bathe the three-year old, con­sole the eight-year old, and strug­gle through din­ner in time to col­lapse in bed by ten.“But they do have a great house,” she says. “And nice things. They make a lot of money.”Norman nods and says matter-of-factly, “I’d rather inherit it.”The state­ment shocks both of them.  A bub­ble of silence rises to the sur­face. Vickie swal­lows the last of her gin, and with it the real­iza­tion that she is in love with a man who has just trav­eled to a third-world nation to smoke and drink.

By the by.…” He looks up, full of guilt but mak­ing a game of it. “Promise me you’ll never tell any­one that I said that.”And this releases the knot that had formed in her stom­ach, makes her laugh. They laugh some more and talk, slowly pass­ing the time toward din­ner. Watch the boy play­ing in the yard next door, his glasses taped at the bridge and secured to his head by a makeshift elas­tic band.  Make love with the win­dows open and then lie there lis­ten­ing to the mari­achi music that drifts through her Los Ange­les bar­rio neighborhood.

Every­thing is easy, soft as dawn.  And luck abun­dant as John­son grass. The palm trees heavy with their ripen­ing fruit.  And the mock­ing­birds, not yet vicious, wait­ing for the fierce end of summer.

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iteration

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experimentation

Leonardo’s machine gu

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covers

As a means of learn­ing, grow­ing, per­form­ing, think­ing. Mashups. MIchael Chabon on copying.Norman is home from Havana, talk­ing cig­ars, rum, and rev­o­lu­tion. His face stub­bled and turned the color of wet sand. Vickie is at that early unrea­son­able stage of love, giddy with his return. Come evening they drink tum­blers of ice cold gin with cran­berry juice and gos­sip about a cou­ple they know––encumbered with chil­dren, who rise at dawn for work and return home at seven to bathe the three-year old, con­sole the eight-year old, and strug­gle through din­ner in time to col­lapse in bed by ten. “But they do have a great house,” she says. “And nice things. They make a lot of money.” Nor­man nods and says matter-of-factly, “I’d rather inherit it.” 

The state­ment shocks both of them.  A bub­ble of silence rises to the sur­face. Vickie swal­lows the last of her gin, and with it the real­iza­tion that she is in love with a man who has just trav­eled to a third-world nation to smoke and drink. “By the by.…” He looks up, full of guilt but mak­ing a game of it. “Promise me you’ll never tell any­one that I said that.” And this releases the knot that had formed in her stom­ach, makes her laugh. They laugh some more and talk, slowly pass­ing the time toward din­ner. Watch the boy play­ing in the yard next door, his glasses taped at the bridge and secured to his head by a makeshift elas­tic band.  Make love with the win­dows open and then lie there lis­ten­ing to the mari­achi music that drifts through her Los Ange­les bar­rio neighborhood. 

Every­thing is easy, soft as dawn.  And luck abun­dant as John­son grass. The palm trees heavy with their ripen­ing fruit.  And the mock­ing­birds, not yet vicious, wait­ing for the fierce end of summer. 

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immersive learning

A few words about Boul­der Dig­i­tal Works and how things hap­pen there. from immer­sion to trans­for­ma­tion to gen­er­a­tive thinking

process result play imag­i­na­tion lead­ing from the future.

about change.

break it. fuck it up. put it together again in a new and more meanig­ful way

story is at the heart because story orga­nizes expe­ri­ence into pat­terns that pro­vide a log­i­cal emo­tional true puz­zle that peo­ple can use to make mean­ing of the data of their experiences.

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the future of reading

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11/22/2010

retro is nouveau

this is a post in progress about apps etc, and tube amps for phone etc. that mimic older technologies.http://hipstamaticapp.com/

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11/13/2010

creative thinking

OUR WORLD VIEW
At Boul­der Dig­i­tal Works. We think that cre­ativ­ity is the last unfair advan­tage, because the indus­trial age—in think­ing as well as in production—is over. For every­one who expects to thrive in the 21st cen­tury, cre­ativ­ity is nec­es­sary, prac­ti­cal, and pos­si­ble. Cre­ative think­ing that mat­ters solves exist­ing prob­lems and points to future pos­si­bil­i­ties. Com­bined with tech­nol­ogy and busi­ness, cre­ativ­ity can take indi­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies in new and pos­i­tive directions.

Dig­i­tal and cre­ativ­ity go hand in hand, break­ing down exist­ing ways of think­ing and doing and reassem­bling ideas and exe­cu­tion into unex­pected solu­tions. Some call this process inte­gra­tive think­ing. Oth­ers might label it cre­ative destruc­tion. What­ever the nomen­cla­ture or processes involved, the result is escap­ing fixed­ness and lead­ing from the future. Cre­ative think­ing is the con­nec­tive tis­sue that threads through every­thing we do at BDW and points us con­sis­tently toward what we should be doing well and next. Cre­ative think­ing pro­vides a com­pass for the dig­i­tal future.
Why we’re here. In mid-winter 2009 we ded­i­cated our­selves to cre­at­ing a place where peo­ple could learn how to learn. Dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies are chang­ing everything—–how we work and play, inter­act as indi­vid­u­als and groups, and how and what we learn. Yet, too many edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions have become muse­ums of what we used to learn at the expense of why and how we learn.
We decided to cre­ate a place that would do more than remem­ber the past. We wanted to cre­ate a place that would lead into the future. We under­stood that it would have to be dif­fer­ent.
Boul­der Dig­i­tal Works is an alter­na­tive. We develop peo­ple who are gen­er­a­tive, inte­grated thinkers, and can work col­lab­o­ra­tively. Every­thing we do evolves from a foun­da­tion that com­bines cre­ativ­ity, tech­nol­ogy, and busi­ness. Peo­ple from dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines in indus­try and acad­eme come here to ask ques­tions, share ideas, and solve prob­lems. BDW bridges the widen­ing crit­i­cal gap between acad­eme and indus­try, between think­ing and doing.
Eras­ing the line between pro­fes­sions and dis­ci­plines, BDW attracts a unique com­bi­na­tion of people—-all of whom rec­og­nize that a world in per­ma­nent beta poses a vari­ety of chal­lenges to even the most adap­tive minds. We are com­pelled to iden­tify mean­ing­ful chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties. We have con­ver­sa­tions about what is nec­es­sary and urgent. And we con­fess that dig­i­tal cre­ates a good deal of anx­i­ety about remain­ing rel­e­vant.
Who comes to BDW and what they do here. In any given week, BDW is a col­lec­tion of peo­ple from indus­try and acad­eme who real­ize that dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies are chang­ing every­thing and want to be a pos­i­tive part of that change. We are always evolv­ing. We wel­come exper­i­men­ta­tion. We are a des­ti­na­tion for inter­ac­tions among inter­ested and inter­est­ing peo­ple.
Most peo­ple who come to BDW return again and again—-to explore exist­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties or to pro­pose new ones.

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integrative thinking

This blog is very new. The text here is a sum­mary and a place­holder, serv­ing as A DESIGN TEST. Full arti­cle will be com­ing soon. Thanks for your patience.

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11/11/2010

boulder digital works

This blog is very new. The text here is a sum­mary and a place­holder, serv­ing as A DESIGN TEST. Full arti­cle will be com­ing soon. Thanks for your patience.

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11/06/2010

leonardo’s machine gun

A great artist but also a great inno­va­tor, Leonardo had a patron and for this patron designed any num­ber of weapons and assist­ing devices of war.

This blog is very new. The text here is a sum­mary and a place­holder, serv­ing as A DESIGN TEST. Full arti­cle will be com­ing soon. Thanks for your patience.

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