learning & institutions

How We Meet Is As Important As Why

This is the text of my talk at the OuiShare Festival in Paris today.  Did any of you wander around in a group last night – trying to agree on a place to eat? Welcome to the sharing economy! Sharing is hard! And that’s just about one meal. Think about the food systems of a […]

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Ways Of Knowing

[Photograph: Hans Sylvester] Interni and the Be Open Foundation are publishing a book, called Gallery Of The Senses, that explores the ways we experience the contemporary world through sight, hearing,smell, taste, and touch. It then asks: Are we missing a sixth sense? Here is my contribution.  Humanity’s troubles did not begin with with the industrial age, […]

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Bill Moggridge

Devastating news reaches me that Bill Moggridge has died. Many readers here will know that Bill Moggridge had been director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, since 2010, and this was the latest chapter in an illustrious and history-changing career. The Museum has just posted a fine tribute to Bill’s life and work here.

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In Praise of the Feral: Update on Xskool

Convention centres are expensive, filled with hard surfaces, and – unless you’re in the convention business – somewhere else than the subjects discussed in them. Being separated from the thing itself, they tend to foster groupthink – and abstract groupthink at that. A feral encounter, in contrast, is one that has changed from being domesticated, […]

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Ten Ways to Redesign Design Competitions

The image above is a Piezzoelectric skin that could be attached to vertical surfaces on buildings.The skin would generate electricity as wind moved across its tiny hairs. Wind Skin, as the project is called, so enchanted jurors at last week’s EDF Sustainable Design Challenge that it was selected as one of six winners that will […]

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xskool: breathing the same air

Last weekend the first xskool class took place at West Lexham in England. As previously reported, xskool at this moment is more a question, than a project: Does the world need a professional development program to support designers, architects and their teachers making the transition to a new kind of design? The class of West […]

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Do eco learning journeys need a travel agent?

I’ve written and spoken quite a lot in recent times about the changes designs institutions need to make. Sometimes, I was even asked to do so. Examples include a talk I did in Delhi earlier this year, What kind Of Design Institutes for India?; and a paper for Cumulus, the design schools network, called ‘Make […]

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What Kind of Design Institutes for India?

A decision by the Indian government set up four new National Institutes of Design [NIDs] in the country has sparked a lively debate about the kinds of design they should teach. An influential group of design thought-leaders has launched a campaign called VisionFirst that calls for a “rigorous co-creation process to bring clarity to the […]

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Africa, Where Events Are King. John Thackara talks to Mugendi M’Rithaa

First published in Design Observer. [Introduction] As the global crisis unfolds, interest in alternative economic and social models is growing – and with it, attention to what we might learn from Africa. Most of us in the North are badly informed about a continent that is home to over 900 million people, living in 53 […]

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