Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Build First, Plan Later"

"This is you know..."
"I am trying to..."

These are some of the responses from some makers when I asked them "what are you working on mate?". I was puzzled at first. They develop stuff - but they don't know what they are doing??? Then David filled me in when I visited Gold Coast Techspace once.
"We build first, plan later"
That is what they do in makerspaces. They scavenge for gadgets - some they get as donations, some they seek out. One of the guys brought in a box full of computer casing fans. David asked:

"Can we control the speed of them?"
The other guy replied
"Yes you will have to alter the voltage"

I would never have thought about changing the speed of a fan. Breaking stuff creates new affordances that were hidden before. New affordances leads to new designs.

Looking out for things inspires creativity. You begin to think of appropriating them to your purpose. But, you don't have a manual to do so. You need to challenge your own mind. Makers make a mess of objects around them. And they find a way out of the mess. They become naturally creative. Why as humans we are distancing from creativity? We are not messy enough! We use calendars, notepads and planners to plan stuff. In fact we plan too much. In a planned world we don't need to find new paths. Path is written. We just need to follow the script. Makers differ from this. They standout.

How do they improve creativity? They make errors. They are not afraid of doing things wrong. This is not something unfamiliar.
    "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep"
    - Scott Adams
It's just that we don't use them in our lives, let alone design. We are so used to manuals and how-to videos. Makers like to take risks. They allow themselves to be challenged. Results are awesome - techs that are useful yet aesthetic. Why aesthetic? Because they let some of their mistakes be. That is in fact the whole idea of a hack. Useful and unique to the context.

Makers make errors, they make a mess. So, how do they come out of it? They don't waste time planning. They start 'making'. They accept the challenges and come out on the winning side. They build first which leads to errors. They solve errors using creative thinking - plan. They continue to do this. They harvest ripe fruits in the end. Intrinsic satisfactions of building something valuable to serve you and others. Extrinsic satisfaction of possibly reaching out new markets. 
“When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Some of their 'fruits' will be showcased on 16th August in a Science and Tech fair. I will volunteer there! Makers inspire me. And will continue to do so. Can we adopt their practices not only in design, but also in everyday life?
"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting"
-Lord Buddha

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