Tom Hulme interview

2 Jun 2011 - 3:16pm
3 years ago
5 replies
900 reads
DrWex
2006

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/06/01/interview-tom-hulme.html

Boingboing interviewed Tom Hulme of IDEO on design, process, and self-description. Good reading.

Comments

2 Jun 2011 - 7:10pm
willdonovan
2009

I second that.
Great interview

William Donovan
t, fb, in, b: @willdonovan
http://www.willdonovan.com.au/

Projects:
KiN : http://flavors.me/kin
State of Design Festival: India-Melbourne Service Design Jam Come join us!



On 3 June 2011 08:49, DrWex <awexelblat@gmail.com> wrote:

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/06/01/interview-tom-hulme.html

Boingboing interviewed Tom Hulme of IDEO on design, process, and
self-description. Good reading.

3 Jun 2011 - 12:06pm
Tom Hobbs
2004

It is good read and there's some great insights in here. However, there's one point that I found disconcerting and makes me worry about the state of the profession. I know someone people are going to take issue with this, but the notion "that anyone can be a designer" isn't correct or helpful. Not everyone can be a designer, just like not everyone can be (or should be) a doctor, a lawyer, a flight attendant, or a professional footballer. On one level, I've experienced many people are not cut out for design for one reason or another. It's not easy. On another level, it devalues the profession by generalizing the definition of a designer (and therefore 'design') to a point where it is so broad and non-specific that it means nothing. I believe is a fundamental problem with design today. It also sends a message to anyone, specifically clients, that 'you could do my job', which devalues your expertise and ability to practice effectively. I can assure that you that not one of your clients or non-designer colleagues thinks that 'anyone' could do their job. Therefore, It is counter productive to the common goal of getting our clients and organizations to place more value on 'design.' 
At the end of the day, without getting into whether one needs to be able to draw or not, design does require some innate abilities, a certain temperament, and capacity to approach the world that not everyone possesses. Design needs greater definition, greater substance and as designers we need to stop implying it is 'free-for-all'. 
-tom

On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 6:40 PM, willdonovan <donovan.william@gmail.com> wrote:

I second that.
Great interview
William Donovan
t, fb, in, b: @willdonovan
http://www.willdonovan.com.au/ [1]

Projects:
KiN : http://flavors.me/kin [2]
State of Design Festival: India-Melbourne Service Design Jam [3]Come join us!

On 3 June 2011 08:49, DrWex <awexelblat@gmail.com [4]> wrote:

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/06/01/interview-tom-hulme.html [5]

Boingboing interviewed Tom Hulme of IDEO on design, process, and
self-description. Good reading.

((
3 Jun 2011 - 4:06pm
Jim Ungar
2006

Hi Tom -
I don't usually respond to the list, but find myself diametrically opposed to the ideas in your response. Not only can "anyone be a designer" - everyone IS a designer. Level of expertise and understanding of foundational principles and best practices are what separates a Pro from everyone else. With or without us, design happens. It is our job to harvest great ideas from the non-professionals and turn them into effective designs. 
IMO - the greatest detriment to the design profession today is the "artiste" elitism that stems from a misguided attempt to totally control the design. Transparency i.e. accepting that other folks have good design ideas and putting them on the table brings respect to the design profession and results (most often in my experience) in a better product for the users. 
You can try to contain design ideas if you like, but its uphill all the way. There are DaVincis out there, but most of us are not that person. Where we excel is putting great ideas to work, they don't necessarily need to be our own.
Peace,
Jim Ungar

On Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 2:11 PM, Tom Hobbs <tom@non-objective.com> wrote:

It is good read and there's some great insights in here. However, there's one point that I found disconcerting and makes me worry about the state of the profession. I know someone people are going to take issue with this, but the notion "that anyone can be a designer" isn't correct or helpful. Not everyone can be a designer, just like not everyone can be (or should be) a doctor, a lawyer, a flight attendant, or a professional footballer. On one level, I've experienced many people are not cut out for design for one reason or another. It's not easy. On another level, it devalues the profession by generalizing the definition of a designer (and therefore 'design') to a point where it is so broad and non-specific that it means nothing. I believe is a fundamental problem with design today. It also sends a message to anyone, specifically clients, that 'you could do my job', which devalues your expertise and ability to practice effectively. I can assure that you that not one of your clients or non-designer colleagues thinks that 'anyone' could do their job. Therefore, It is counter productive to the common goal of getting our clients and organizations to place more value on 'design.' 
At the end of the day, without getting into whether one needs to be able to draw or not, design does require some innate abilities, a certain temperament, and capacity to approach the world that not everyone possesses. Design needs greater definition, greater substance and as designers we need to stop implying it is 'free-for-all'. 
-tom

On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 6:40 PM, willdonovan <donovan.william@gmail.com [1]> wrote:

I second that.
Great interview
William Donovan
t, fb, in, b: @willdonovan
http://www.willdonovan.com.au/ [2] [1]

Projects:
KiN : http://flavors.me/kin [3] [2]
State of Design Festival: India-Melbourne Service Design Jam [3]Come join us!

On 3 June 2011 08:49, DrWex <awexelblat@gmail.com [4] [4]> wrote:

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/06/01/interview-tom-hulme.html [5] [5]

Boingboing interviewed Tom Hulme of IDEO on design, process, and
self-description. Good reading.

((

(((Pleas
3 Jun 2011 - 6:06pm
Tom Hobbs
2004

Jim, much of what you say I actually agree with; but there's some subtly in here. In the sense that design is 'inevitable', i.e. everyone is making decisions all the time without necessarily thinking of it 'design', everyone is a designer. Even if some of these decisions are 'good' ones, does that really mean everyone is designer? This implies that doing anything with a level of consciousness, with a understanding of foundational principles and best practices defines them as X with a Capitalized pre-fix. Many write, not everyone is Writer. Many cook, not everyone is Chef. Many kick a ball, not everyone is Footballer. 
Personally, I do not understand why suggesting there is a level of rigor and expertise to profession of design that is not for everyone means opacity, 'control' or needs to be categorized as 'artiste' elitism, or assume one thinks of themselves as a 'Da-vinci'. Design is not 'art', it is not black magic, but it is about observing the world around us, being empathetic, and being open. Therefore it fundamentally does not preclude a designers from accepting that 'non-designers' have great design ideas. But that doesn't make everyone 'designers' and it is damaging to assume it is does.
On Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 2:07 PM, Jim Ungar <jmungar@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Tom -
I don't usually respond to the list, but find myself diametrically opposed to the ideas in your response. Not only can "anyone be a designer" - everyone IS a designer. Level of expertise and understanding of foundational principles and best practices are what separates a Pro from everyone else. With or without us, design happens. It is our job to harvest great ideas from the non-professionals and turn them into effective designs. 
IMO - the greatest detriment to the design profession today is the "artiste" elitism that stems from a misguided attempt to totally control the design. Transparency i.e. accepting that other folks have good design ideas and putting them on the table brings respect to the design profession and results (most often in my experience) in a better product for the users. 
You can try to contain design ideas if you like, but its uphill all the way. There are DaVincis out there, but most of us are not that person. Where we excel is putting great ideas to work, they don't necessarily need to be our own.
Peace,
Jim Ungar

On Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 2:11 PM, Tom Hobbs <tom@non-objective.com [1]> wrote:

It is good read and there's some great insights in here. However, there's one point that I found disconcerting and makes me worry about the state of the profession. I know someone people are going to take issue with this, but the notion "that anyone can be a designer" isn't correct or helpful. Not everyone can be a designer, just like not everyone can be (or should be) a doctor, a lawyer, a flight attendant, or a professional footballer. On one level, I've experienced many people are not cut out for design for one reason or another. It's not easy. On another level, it devalues the profession by generalizing the definition of a designer (and therefore 'design') to a point where it is so broad and non-specific that it means nothing. I believe is a fundamental problem with design today. It also sends a message to anyone, specifically clients, that 'you could do my job', which devalues your expertise and ability to practice effectively. I can assure that you that not one of your clients or non-designer colleagues thinks that 'anyone' could do their job. Therefore, It is counter productive to the common goal of getting our clients and organizations to place more value on 'design.' 

At the end of the day, without getting into whether one needs to be able to draw or not, design does require some innate abilities, a certain temperament, and capacity to approach the world that not everyone possesses. Design needs greater definition, greater substance and as designers we need to stop implying it is 'free-for-all'. 

-tom

On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 6:40 PM, willdonovan <donovan.william@gmail.com [2] [1]> wrote:

I second that.
Great interview
William Donovan
t, fb, in, b: @willdonovan
http://www.willdonovan.com.au/ [3] [2] [1]

Projects:
KiN : http://flavors.me/kin [4] [3] [2]
State of Design Festival: India-Melbourne Service Design Jam [3]Come join us!

On 3 June 2011 08:49, DrWex <awexelblat@gmail.com [5] [4] [4]> wrote:

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/06/01/interview-tom-hulme.html [6] [5] [5]

Boingboing interviewed Tom Hulme of IDEO on design, process, and
self-description. Good reading.

((

(((Pleas

(((Please le
6 Jun 2011 - 1:12pm
smitty777
2010

Jim, I think the answer is in a quote from your note above " It is our job to harvest great ideas from the non-professionals and turn them into effective designs."  So if that's the case, than we're all designers, but we're not all effective designers.  I agree with you 100% on the artistic eleitism statement you made.  But on the other hand, I"ve seen some very very bad decisions made because of the "I know what I like" attitude.  

I'm a usability engineer, and I think the biggest value I add to a team is my ability to see the world from many people's eyes.  One person might suggest a design solution, and it might be a very good one.  But I"m paid to know all the design considerations and compromises, and to know why a particular solution might mitigate more of the risks than the others.  I've found over the years that any single solution rarely works for all people in all situations.  

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