China Girl

I have had an exciting few days in the city of Beijing. What an experience! I was invited to be part of the China Beijing International Cultural and Creative Industry Expo International. I spent time with The People's Government of Beijing Municipality and the Deputy Secretary General of China. The outcome of my trip is the creation of a new Service Design Training Course. In collaboration with China University of Communication, Snook will work with twenty teachers to design a new Service Design course.

I don't think I had quite understood how unusual it was to have "a young girl from the west" present at this kind of event. I am so flattered to have received such VIP treatment and met some amazing people! During my trip I met one person who knew of / had practiced Service Design, but their site seems to be under construction - I will be keeping a close eye...

During an interview with the Shezen Daily I was asked questions about the Chinese design industry, advice for young Chinese designers, the environment creatives need to flourish and the effect creativity can have on the economic crisis...

This little video below captures my short time being a China Girl :)

[vimeo 17047480]

I delivered a ten minute talk about Service Design, Scotland as a creative city and the newly published This is Service Design Thinking.  I was lucky to have the great company of Rudolf Van Wezel, the founder of Creative Company Conference, an event that is known for it's mantra:

"Business people  don't need to understand designers better. They need to be designers. That makes them better business people."

You can see me and Rudolf talk in the video below:

[vimeo 17074286]

A huge thank you to Chen and Tony for making my trip happen!

Rip and Mix at Glasgow Caledonian University

Rip and Mix is a creative process. It is a tool that enables you to come up with lots of ideas very quickly. It is a very visual way of working and highlights that starting with user needs is not the only approach to innovation. The tricky bit is sketching ideas very quickly and intuitively. This month I spent an afternoon running  a workshop on Rip and Mix with design students at Glasgow Caledonian University. In the past I have used this method to design communication products and services for the elderly - ripping and mixing communication products used by a wide range of stakeholders with communication products specifically designed for the elderly. I have used this tool addressing the question "How can we reduce waiting times in NHS surgeries?" - ripping and mixing products and services focused on time and the passing of time with various health services and other services that require 'waiting' such as the theatre...

The students have been working on semiotics and affordance so for this workshop I decided to work around cash machines for the visually impaired - ripping and mixing all products designed for visually impaired people and all products and services around retrieving finance (ranging from physical money to intangible information )

This worked really well as it had a good balance of product / interactive / 3D elements - hence catering for all the disciplines who were there:

"For example, a drawing of a three-dimensional button on a computer screen leverages our knowledge of the physical characteristics of the buttons and, therefore, appears to afford pressing. The popular 'desktop' metaphor used by computer operating systems is based on this idea - images of common items like trash cans and folders leverage our knowledge of how those items function in the real world and thus, suggest their function in a software environment. Mimic familiar objects and environments in abstract contexts to imply the way in which new systems can be used."

You can see photos of the workshops here.

One workshop was held in an bright, open plan  room whereas in the other we were confined to room filled with computers. This had a huge impact on the energy of the group.  I got asked questions about 'stakeholders' and what that really means. I also got asked to explain the meaning of 'sensual and emotional form' ... this is something that I always use real life examples to explain.

This workshop was about quantity rather than quality and teaching the students how to 'let go' and not be so precious about their ideas. I will be uploading the main ideas generated soon so you will be able to see what elements the students ripped and mixed to come up with new solutions.

Here is some feedback from Dave Wood, a lecturer in Digital Design at Glasgow Caledonia University.

"Lauren's (SNOOK's) Rip and Mix workshop was just what my year 1 and 2 undergraduate design students needed. It enabled them to move out of their design comfort zones and propose, through sketching, twenty ideas each on a design problem. The technique utilises semiotics which really helped the students understand the importance of visual analysis. It was fun, energetic, engaging and above all useful. At a post-workshop de-brief the vast majority of students said they would use the technique in the future on a variety of design problems - product, interactive and 3D.  Not one student reacted negatively to the technique - and those who were initially unsure began to see the relevance after the workshop. Overall it was a fantastic opportunity that I'd like to build into next year's curriculum again."

If you would like Snook to come and talk to your students or class mates about Rip and Mix then please do get in touch!


A little movie about creativity from the advertising world  via Thinking Aloud "The frightening and most difficult thing about being what somebody calls a creative person is that you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from."


ART & COPY trailer from Baldwin& on Vimeo.

Do you believe creativity can solve anything? Where do your thoughts come from?


"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." - Sir Ken Robinson Intentions, is a collaborative project between Arne van Oosterom and Kate Andrews.

The aim of this project is to create a book of compelling stories from around the world, capturing how creative people struggle to make a difference, in an indifferent world.


The book 'Intentions' will tell stories about the importance of making mistakes. Because from failure we learn and grow. This is what being creative is all about. It is about learning by trying, sketching and experimenting. It is failure which makes us grow the most, not 'success'.

Intentions puts the importance of failure center stage for a change. As project researcher I would like to request your help! So, do you have a story to tell us about?

Please send your story (400 words max) before Tuesday 14th April 2009, to kcandr (at) gmail (dot)com, arne (at) designthinkers (dot) nl or myredjotter (at) gmail (dot) com