Design Transformations at CHI 2008

I arrived in Florence last week fairly alert, considering the time difference from Sydney. I’d done the right thing and stayed awake for the last 20 hours of the flight, crashed at my hotel on arrival in the evening and got a good 10 hours sleep before the opening plenary.

It was worth it. I hadn’t heard of Irene McAra-McWilliam (Head of the School of Design at the Glasgow School of Art) before but I’m a fan now. Her speech was uplifting. She wove a tapestry of design history and theory, to come elegantly to the conclusion that designers in a connected world have a responsibility to enable others; to come to some problems not with a solution but with a box of tools.

This is just what I hope to do with my research into creativity support tools, and it’s what I’m seeing in my studies of creative place. I don’t need to design the perfect virtual studio; I need to design an environment with the right parts and the right affordances, to enable inhabitants to configure the perfect studio for their task.

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