Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Best 15:37 of Your Day: Rob Forbes on Ways of Seeing

This TED talk delivered all the way back in 2006, is even more relevant today. Looking at the world and interpreting the patterns and designs around us becomes more difficult by the day.

Rob Forbes, the founder of Design Within Reach, and more recently PUBLIC, a design-based alternate transit business, takes us on a tour of how he views the world.

Mr. Forbes shares some great ideas in his TED talk. Here are a few more ideas to consider when working to spark your own creativity:
1. Walk the streets. Walking in places both familiar and new will bring new ideas and patterns to you. You will be able to experience them with all of your senses and consider how they function collectively.

2. Put down the phone. You can only experience the world when you are in it.

3. Pick up your phone, but as a camera. Archive your experiences. This can be accomplished by photos, notes, sketches or verbal notes. Whatever works for you. Organize them in different ways. Consider viewing your various collections by color, or subject. You might be surprised what ideas develop.

4. Small can be huge. The smallest vignette sometimes brings the biggest ideas. I like to call them the 'unexpected delight.' These can be a sidewalk pattern, a handwritten sign, most anything.

5. Be a consummate student. Ask questions. Read, read, read. Then read some more. Learn about the bridge you walk over daily. Find out why that sculpture you enjoy is there. Knowledge is truly power.

6. Don't view the world with a commercial mind. If you are seeking a specific product to develop or monetize, you won't get the full value of your experience. File away your specific challenges, but stay open to simply experiencing the world around you. Then overlay later how those ideas may be used to address your challenges.

7. Frequency equals success. The more often you can turn your mind to truly viewing the world, the more you will get out of it. Try an attempt it once a week on your walk to lunch. Then continue to increase the frequency.    
As we enter 2013, we should all take a fresh look at how we view the world. We are entering a time that Mr. Forbes saw forming years ago. An age that values fewer material goods, but ones that are quality and well-designed. An age of curation over our lives and our possessions. It is exciting, but will require that the innovators work hard to interpret our world and respond to it.

Enjoy. Then start really seeing your world.

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