Monday, September 6, 2010

Go Far with... PIXAR! :D

This article was a very informative yet at the same time a light read because it sort of brings out what’s supposed to be common sense when talking about creativity and creative processes. I saw the point in all the dealings that Pixar has to go through in order to generate a successful movie and I agreed to them. This is why I said it’s almost like common sense – the dynamic methods that Pixar follows would make one say “yes of course that’s what you’re supposed to do when trying to foster creativity.” Yet, most companies don’t actually do these things in order to improve their work. It’s amazing how the people at Pixar REALIZE what needs to be done and actually APPLY these developments successfully to the company and its teams.

I think it is very important to realize the “openness” in the meaning of creativity in order to encourage it. What inspired me to come to this observation is Pixar’s sense of community and communication within that community. Everyone in the company contributes and communicates. There’s a sense of equality and trust that these people have in one another that they can do their jobs properly, and that all contributions are accepted, regardless of what position you hold. It was mentioned in the article that Pixar tries to construct “an environment that nurtures trusting and respectful relationships and unleashes everyone’s creativity.” In order for school or work to encourage creativity then, people have to look at it as openly as possible. For example, we can’t think of creativity merely as something that only artists can do/have. We have to think that creativity is what we make of it. We have to think that creativity is in all of us – it just needs to be nurtured, in this sense then, we can foster it because it is something we have in ourselves; it is something that is shared. Everyone will be encouraged to participate in situations involving creativity if we finally develop the mindset that creativity is in all of us. It is up to us to unleash it, and it is up to the people around us to help (like Pixar) cultivate an environment that encourages it – whether in school or at work. When we condition ourselves to think this way, or when we finally realize the “openness” in creativity then we can apply it to more concrete instances – situations in school and in work:

If we have this environment in school and in work, then ideas can flow freely without restrictions. In the first place, it is because of restrictions, such as fear of rejection, that people don’t mention ideas that could eventually be the start of something successful. A similar and very simple concept could be contributing in group work. Take our creativity class and what we are currently working on – innovating to improve a certain situation/phenomenon. If a group is brainstorming on how to develop or innovate and one group member imposes authority in such a way that only his/her ideas are what he/she accepts as good ones, then other group members would be discouraged to contribute ideas – ideas which could very possibly be better or more creative. If this certain self-appointed-group-leader-who-thinks-he-has-all-the-right-ideas realizes the “openness” of creativity, I believe he/she would be more willing to accept more ideas; in the same sense the other group mates would not hesitate to contribute and discuss their ideas and chip in a little bit of their own creativity. Thankfully though, my Com207 group mates and I are all actively creative and we have no self-appointed-group-leader-who-thinks-he-has-all-the-right-ideas (haha, hi group mates!). If educators, regardless of what field, realize and apply this “openness” of creativity in their work in school, then it will be reflected in the students. The openness of the meaning of creativity implies that everyone has it in them and can develop it, thus everyone can and should be encouraged to contribute to different activities.

Aside from great teamwork and communication, Pixar had another great way of promoting creativity – . “Pixar’s customers expect to see something new every time. That’s downright scary. But if Pixar’s executives aren’t always a little scared, they’re not doing their jobs.” This means that they always have to take huge risks. I believe by taking risks, you can unleash the potential of creativity. It is when you risk something, you think of all the creative ways to make that risk work. An example would be one from home. My dad and my lolo take care of the family business – construction. My dad told me about this bet one time (I called him just to make sure the facts are straight). They were supposed to be pouring concrete and my lolo said it could only be finished in 16 days. There was no way that the whole process could be finished anytime sooner, which is why they had to fix their schedules and allot that much time. By dad said no, it could be finished in 9 days, a week earlier than what my lolo had initially planned. My lolo didn’t believe him and any convincing that my dad tried, my lolo didn’t buy. So my dad decides to risk his week’s salary. I guess my lolo wasn’t “open” about creativity thus didn’t think that my dad could well, creatively finish the job. So anyway, if the job wasn’t finished in time, my lolo could keep his 1 week’s salary. My lolo said “ok, I’ll take you’re bet... but let’s make it 1 month.” He said that he’d take a way my dad’s salary for a month if the project wasn’t finished in exactly 9 days or less. Anything more than 9 days – bye bye salary. My dad readily agreed, and the first thing he thought of was how to speed up the process even more – he got creative. He then thought of giving the men various incentives such as giving free merienda when the men had to stay for over time. He of course told the men about his bet with my lolo. By the way, if my dad won, my lolo said that he’d treat all these men to lunch. In the end, all the ways my dad productively thought of to speed up the process had worked. Three days before due date, my lolo conceded because he saw that my dad could finish it even before the nine days. I think this proves that risk can be a good thing. It can bring out the best in a company or it could bring out the worst – which is why training is needed. Sometimes those who risk the most win the most, but it is important (like Pixar) to know how to stand up after failure. The point is, if you’re not willing to take risks, then you won’t be able to stretch that creativity or encourage it.

Pixar taught me a lot in this article (thank you Ed Catmull). And I think, by following Pixar’s example and allowing yourself to feel inspired by the processes of their work, we can encourage creativity everywhere, even in school or at work.

Other sources (was going to imbed it, but there was always an error):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iizL2iCMe28 - Ed Catmull, founder of Pixar -- Interview with iinnovate

Monday, August 9, 2010

"ShhhhNOOPing!"


Victim
: My friend’s sister, Arielle (She was in school when I snooped around her room, but her older sister was there to “tour” me! I asked her to ask Arielle if it was ok that I look through her stuff and take some pictures but my friend said it was totally ok and that Arielle would’ve said yes anyway. OK! I was just going to take a few pics – just a few of her stuff, nothing that would make me feel guilty of exposing. I actually deleted a few pics before actually uploading them on my blog. J ...Although I’ve known Arielle for many years now, we don’t talk at all... just HIs and hellos... even if her sister is my close friend. I also barely see Arielle.)

Room Location: Petersville Subdivision, Baguio City ( that’s right, I went up to Baguio for a few days, yey! J )

The Room.

I walk up the big staircase of my friend’s house in Petersville, I take a right turn and, after a few steps more, I face left and there I am looking inside Arielle’s room. First impressions? It’s a neat looking room; no clutter, and lots of space. I take a few steps in. The first things I see are the two beds right next to each other on my right. They’re facing a few windows that were covered. Right in front of those windows are a treadmill and a wooden desk and chair. The treadmill was plugged in, so I assumed it was used often. On top of that desk is a box with stuffed toys in them and small jar-like pen holder with pens and pencils in it. There are also a few notebooks and papers. Right beside the desk, on the floor, sat a basket-like organizer with books, notebooks, papers, and folders in it. “Hmm... I’m pretty sure Arielle’s a good student.” To my left is a bigger desk with a few drawers. On top of that big desk is a TV and DVD Player. Above the desk are mini shelves with pictures and trophies on them, facing straight ahead. None of them are tilted to face the beds. It was obvious to me that these pictures and trophies are “other-directed.” The pictures were from years and years back; they were of Arielle, Arielle and her family, Arielle and her sister... there was also a Tumbler behind the pictures. This tumbler looked liked one of those tumblers you buy in Starbucks; the ones where you get to make your own design. The tumbler had more recent pictures of Arielle, and a few with her sister. This tumbler, sitting on the shelf, is obviously other-directed. There were also a few books on one of the shelves, organized according to series. They were all obviously “Chick Lit,” with titles like “Twilight” and “Just For You To Know."

To the left of that desk is the door to the bathroom. I decide to observe the bathroom after the room itself. I turn to my right slightly and look at the rest of the room. There’s a desk beside the beds with one picture frame on it facing straight, right at me. Inside the frame is a picture of Arielle when she was a baby. Again, I observed that this is an “other-directed” thing. On the other side of the two beds is a wall. On that side of the room are the cabinets and one big chair on front of one of the cabinets.

Inside the first cabinet I open are a variety of things. Comforters, more of those box-type organizers (like the one on top of her desk, holding her stuffed toys), a case for badminton shuttlecocks, books, a big automatic sharpener, still more organizers, a paper bag, and this long black oval container (I didn’t know what it was for). My friend said that inside those organizers in the closet are Arielle’s “old stuff” and “sentimental things.” I didn’t want to dig through them anymore, since Arielle herself wasn’t around. I take a step to my right, push the chair forward a little bit and open the next cabinet. Pillows galore! Everything inside the cabinet was pillows. I spot those neck pillows that you use for travelling... she has a lot of them, and that immediately told me she likes to travel, and well, be comfortable while travelling. I thought to myself, I should really get me one of those neck pillows. I close the cabinet, push the chair back and look at the two beds. My friend, standing in the doorway tells me that Arielle’s maid sleeps with her; in my head I wonder why. I walk and look around some more and decided to (with permission from um, Arielle’s sister... she was speaking for Arielle) open the drawers of the cabinet that the TV was on top of. Inside I found lots of random things, BUT, somehow they were still organized.

I said to myself “huh. The insides of my drawers are never organized... except maybe when I first started putting stuff in them... and the rare times I’m OC enough to include my drawer contents when I’m organizing.” Teen magazines (Total Girl, Girlfriend – I would describe them as “teeny-boppy”), DVDS (Gossip Girl, Clueless, etc.), more organizers and cases, “Wii” controllers, and this big remote control that could be used for both the TV and DVD player, were the contents of these drawers. I close the cabinets and took a few steps to enter the bathroom.

The Bathroom/Walk-In Closet.

It was a neat bathroom. The cabinet doors were full length sliding mirrors, there was a small shower area and then to the right of that, the toilet seat and the sink; such a cute and neat bathroom. My friend opens Arielle’s cabinets for me and I see all kinds of stuff. Aside from the clothes, there were bags (maletas – another sign that she travels) , shoes, more of those box-type organizers, and shopping bags. My friend then immediately says to me “sorry, I kinda messed up her clothes ‘cos I was looking for something to wear.” I take pictures. I ask my friend to pull out something that was typically Arielle. She pulls out a long plaid top, looks some more and says “aha! This is so Arielle” and then she pulls out a rough grey zipper vest (they’re worn separately). After taking pics, I say “hmm, Arielle must like wearing leggings and rocker-ish outfits, hehe.” “Yup, all the time kaya.” my friend says. And then I connect that thought to the few times I actually see Arielle, and yes, her clothes aren’t girly like her sisters. This was interesting because Arielle’s magazines were very girly, “teeny-boppy-ish” magazines. Hmmmm. I look at the dresses hanging on the right of the closet and my friend says to me “oh, some of these dresses are mine and some are my mom’s old dresses.” I walk over to the shower area and look at the toiletries. Arielle uses the exact same conditioner I use. There were no shampoo bottles or anything like that on the floor. I look at the toilet bowl, and then the sick. Toiletries were organized. Her tubes of toothpaste were placed on a small black plate. I see these groovy sunglasses and my friend said she used to wear them at parties, back when those kinds of sunglasses were uso. Below the sink I see more magazines and folded towels. And that was it! My snooping has come to an end.

Snoopology and The Ocean’s 5.

Indeed, I saw a lot of Identity Claims (I think these were the most obvious), Feeling Regulators, and Behavioral Residue. But taking in all the stuff I saw, I was able to gauge her habits and attitude. Because of all the organized stuff (the books on her shelves, stuff in her closet, in her bathroom, in her drawers, etc.), the treadmill and the trophies (which to me symbolized dedication and perseverance), and even the plate that the tubes of toothpaste were on – all these things added up to her being thorough, efficient, reliable and dependable. Her study desk and the stuff on it and beside it (notebooks etc. in the basket on the floor), told me that she was a good student. Thus, I would have to say that Arielle had the Big C type of personality trait.

The Birthday Gift!

I think it would be nice that I give her a really fancy, detailed Planner from Fully Booked/Power Books. She’d need this as a student, and would enjoy it because of well, her Big C personality. :)


Monday, July 26, 2010

More OUCH than YUCK, but still, YUUUCK!

Rubber bands.

Yes, these small but terrible things are a pain to society, literally. Who hasn’t gotten hurt by a rubber band? I think the very first use of a rubber band that actually comes to mind is not that it can tie things together… it’s how you can make a gun with it using your fingers and shoot people.

Sure, rubber bands are handy and helpful, but that just helps mask that fact that they can hurt. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve hated rubber bands. Of course it wasn’t always like that. Sure I did make those stars other kids would make with rubber bands but then something happened... >>>I forgot how to make stars so I made a letter "K" instead... see it?

...You see, I was traumatized by a sharp hit to the cheek when I was a little girl. That was it for me. Whenever someone would hold one up and stretch it (even if it wasn’t pointed towards me) my hands would shoot up automatically in defense position and I would then attempt to cover all the parts of my skin that was exposed (so my hands were always moving). I still do that now, but please don’t try me. My brother though has his fun (rarely, or else there’d be a fight) and stretches them in front of me, my hands automatically raised and I prepare for the pain.

(I'm not sure this video will work cos it failed on me the first few times I tried to play it... I don't know what the problem is... I wouldn't be that sad if it didn't though haha... this is a video demonstration of "my hands in defense position trying to cover all the parts of my skin that was exposed" ... it's a little embarrassing but what the hell... just giving a visual demo here... enjoy!(?) haha)

video

Rubber bands aren’t the strongest material in the world. They break easily and when they do, they snap and you’d be unlucky if you were in its path. I don’t like that they snap unexpectedly sometimes because they’re too flimsy. I don’t know, to me they feel unsafe in a way (haha). I prefer using strings to tie things together or those “pull-and-snap” wires you buy at Handyman. There are so many alternatives for rubber bands, which is why I don’t keep any rubber bands with me. I had to get these in the pictures from a salon. Also, as mentioned earlier, I don’t like how they can be used as weapons. Kiddy weapons sure, but they still hurt, whether you use your finger gun or just stretch them and shoot. I can’t and won’t use them to tie my hair; a rubber band pulls strands of my hair because of its texture/the material itself. This happens both in the process of tying the hair and when I try to pull it out of a ponytail. You can’t really use them as accessories either, and they aren’t the prettiest things in the world. Lastly, they stink. Sure this is a teeny-weeny reason, but if you’ve ever tried opening a new box of rubber bands, you’ll get the picture. Of course this has to do with the material itself again. Overall, although the rubber band is useful and can help with quick fix-its, but I still avoid using them because of that negative image they hold in my mind since I was a kid.

Let’s Tie It Together!

The OUCH! Factor – That is definitely a category that some characteristics of a rubber band would fall under. Firstly, because of its elasticity and you can say “snapping factor,” the rubber band can cause a sharp pain to your skin when snapped at you. Also, the material itself also actually causes the snap to hurt more. The fact that they can be used as weapons definitely falls under this category. In addition, the material itself is an OUCH! Factor because of what I mentioned it can do to the hair. And we all know from my first Design Observation how sensitive I can get with my hair (hahaha). The next category is sort of, for me, a sub-category of the OUCH! Factor. I call it the Trauma Factor. Under this category would fall the simple yet very real fact that I was “traumatized by a rubber band” as a kid (that sharp hit to the cheek… I forgot who did it though). I think that a lot of people could relate to this “Trauma Factor” when thinking about why they don’t like a product. I think another category would be, again from Design Observation 1, the “WIL” Factor. This is the “would it last?” factor. As mentioned earlier, these rubber bands are flimsy things. They can be used to tie things but they can snap unexpectedly in the process. They aren’t as reliable as their alternatives. They are too flimsy. I think the last category I would group these factors in would be the “I Sense a Small” Category. This category describes what the product can do with the “senses” – whether it appeals to your eyes, your nose, that sort of thing. In this group would fall all the small things I don’t like about rubber bands. The fact that they can’t be used as accessories (because honestly, they would look cheap and ugly on you… wouldn’t you agree?), the fact that well, they aren’t the most attractive looking things, and lastly again, the little, little fact that they stink – these are the factors that would fall under my Small Category.

There we have it, all the big and small reasons why I think rubber bands are YUCK-y. The categories are design features in themselves. And, the ones I made, I think, would help other people decipher their feeling about any other product as well. Let’s see, nobody likes pain (OUCH! Factor) and nobody would like a product if they were traumatized by it (Trauma Factor – which can be a category on its own, depending on the person’s experience), nobody likes things that can’t hold or would give up unexpectedly (WIL Factor), and lastly, people have so many small reasons they don’t like about a product and this usually has something to do with the senses, which is why my I Sense a Small Category exists (well, it depends on the product of course whether it really does have a small or big impact on your senses which would then alter your judgment accordingly – you can maybe change it to I Sense a Big Category). The last category would allow you to judge a product based on its look, its smell, how its sounds, etc. I think this group would be very helpful in pointing out what you don’t like about a product, whether it’s a big thing or a small thing. As I mentioned earlier, these categories are design features in themselves (like my WOW observation), so go ahead, it’s your turn to test them on your own product.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wrapping My Mind Around Mind Mapping

First there was this...


...and then finally, this:




In Parts:




Monday, July 12, 2010

Let Me WOW You.

The product I chose to “WOW” you with is… my hairbrush. My hairbrush beat a lot of other interesting things that I was reflecting on to choose for this design observation. It beat my pair of quirky shoes that I just can’t stop wearing and my really loud, portable speaker that I got on an airplane coming from Ukraine. Why? Because my hairbrush really is a unique thing, and although I have a lot of other hairbrushes with different shapes and textures, this hairbrush never gets replaced or forgotten. This sounds very dramatic so I really do hope nobody in classs ever seen a hairbrush like this (haha).

Since as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble with people “dealing with” my hair. I really don’t know why but I get really sensitive when my hair gets pulled. When I was a kid, just a little tug in the wrong areas would make me cry. I would even hesitate to let my mom ponytail my hair or dry it after I take a shower. Back then, she’d have to talk to the stylists in the salon to be extra careful with my hair because if they treated it “normally,” there’s a big chance I’d cry. It’s funny because thinking about it now, I feel like I was such a brat and just plain maarte. But, it was true though, I really had a problem dealing with the pain of my hair being pulled; It “extra hurt” for me. Thus, it was because of this problem that I started my search for the perfect hairbrush, not comb, hairbrush. Combs were just plain hard. I needed a hairbrush with bristles that were not too hard, not too sharp, etc. I had very high standards… Thankfully I found it! It was such a long time ago. I forgot how old I was, but I still remember how I found it. I was walking along the aisles of the grocery section of Duty Free (here in Manila) and I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular. But, as I was about to leave for the checkout counter to join my parents, I spotted something very interesting on the lowest part of the grocery rack. It was a bunch of big hairbrushes. Sadly, I don’t remember the brand and it doesn’t have an imprint of the hairbrush itself. Anyway, I bent to pick one up and it was “love at first touch.” The texture of the bristles was perfect. I chose the “newest-looking” one and ran to the checkout counter.

There are so many reasons why I like this hairbrush. The obvious reason is because of its bristles. The bristles are very thin and flexible. They have little circles on their tips, so even if the bristles are thin, they’re not sharp. It doesn’t hurt my scalp, even if I “brush hard.” Also, since the bristles are flexible, when I have tangles in my hair, they bend to untangle the knots carefully.

I really do feel the difference when I brush my hair with a normal, hard plastic brush and when I use my own flexible-bristle brush. You could now see why I loved it so much as a kid. It was gentle to my head. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even feel my tangles anymore. My brush would untangle them very “subtly.” Another benefit it gave me (one that I didn’t discover as a kid) is that I could stick it in my hair and leave it there. Okay this sounds strange so let me clarify. My brush also acts like a giant hair curler. Because I don’t want my hair to fly away, I use the brush to roll it inwards and just leave it there as my hair sort of “adapts” the form of the big round brush. This is better explained using pictures :

The bristles are long enough and set close enough to each other to stick to my head and hair without dropping off (it does after a while though because of my moving around). After I take the brush out easily, my hair is fixed and I don’t have to dry it with a hair dryer. There are times though that the brush would get tangled up in my hair because I’d take it out the wrong way, but these times are very rare and it doesn’t take me long to ease it out.

My brush looks big because of its long bristles, but I still think it’s portable. Since the bristles bend easily, I can stuff it in my bag and the bristles would bend to fit. It’s not the prettiest brush because some of the bristles stick out unevenly, but I like that “imperfection” because it looks interesting. It’s an all-black brush and an all-plastic one. I like how the color doesn’t fade or chip off. It’s just really an all black brush and it stays that way. It could pass for a brand new brush but I think the bristles would give it away. One more feature to mention is that at the end of the plastic handle, there’s a hole. I don’t really use this feature because I don’t hang it anywhere; I just leave it on my desk. But, when I’m typing articles like this, or when I’m surfing the net, I stick my pinky in that little hole and see how many rounds I can do by swinging the brush around with my pinky. I’m not lying, I really do this when I pause and take my hands off the keypad or mouse.

My brush has been with me for as long as I can remember. I can’t replace it because I know I’d never get a brush like this again. There is no way of knowing its brand because there is nothing on the plastic that would even give me a clue. It’s not in the grocery section of Duty Free anymore and I haven’t seen anything like it here and abroad. I can’t throw it away, and I don’t need to. Although I mentioned that some of the bristles kind of stick out in different directions, it doesn’t affect the function of the brush. This favorite brush of mine still works perfectly, and to think I’ve dropped it millions of times from different heights. It stays the same. And, I guess since it’s been with me for so long, it already has sentimental value. It’s been my favorite brush ever since, and I really do think it will stay that way.

Now it’s time to sort all these reasons and characteristics into their groups. I’m going to call this each group a “factor.” I think one important group that I can gather some characteristics of my hairbrush into is the “why do I need it?” group. Let’s call this the WyDINI (pronounced like “Houdini” except with a “y”) Factor. Sometimes we need to ask questions like these to remind ourselves of the value of our things, or even the things we plan on buying maybe. Under the WyDINI Factor we have the flexible bristles and their ability to solve my problem of being too sensitive about detangling. Basically what goes under this factor is the “softness” of the bristles and the benefits they give me by making brushing and fixing my hair a less painful process. The next group would be the “what else can it do for me?” group. This is yet another question, similar to the first that we need to ask ourselves when thinking about products and why we need/use it. Let’s call this the WECID (weh-kid) Factor. Under this go the other functions of my hair brush, apart from its main one which was mentioned earlier. The function that I would put under WECID is the giant-hair-curler-function. Because of this function, aside from brushing my hair gently, my brush can also fix it without me having to use the hair dryer and damaging my hair. Now that is wicked (hehehe). The next group would be the “would it last?” group. This is called the WIL Factor. This factor would be referring to the sturdiness and/or durability of my brush and how it would look like in the long run, and if indeed it can last long. Under the WIL Factor would be the fact that the plastic doesn’t break even if I’ve dropped it millions of times from different heights. Also under this factor will be the fact that the color doesn’t fade or chip. Because of these characteristics under the WIL Factor, my brush will never look old and ugly. The last group is the one with my favorite label. It’s the “wait! There’s more!”group. Let’s call this the WAIT Factor. I think the name is very appropriate because after listing all the important functions/characteristics of the brush, you would think, “Is that it?” And the reply would precisely be, no, WAIT! There’s more. Under this factor would be the less important features of the brush, but still features none-the-less. The “portability” of the brush, the hole of the brush that you can use to hang it, and the tiny fact that it would be less painful to get it out of your hair (if and only if it gets stuck of course) because of the flexible bristles – these are the things that would fall under the WAIT Factor.

Given my “W” Factors, WyDINI, WECID, WIL, and WAIT, I could say in summation that I like a product because of the need/s that it fulfills, the multi-function factor of it, its ability to last long enough (with me) or its durability, and because of other little things I can do with it. The “W” factors makes it easier for me, and I believe will make it easier for other people to determine whether or not they like the product, need the product, or simply gauge how they feel about the product.

Let's Try It!

Let's try testing these Factors on something else to see if they work:

There we have it! I think my Factors worked. What about yours?

The End. :)