Reasons to be Creative 2012 round-up: Monday

Kevin Warwick

The Cyborg Experiments

brains & bodies don’t have to be in the same place… that’s just evolution

Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, was an thought provoking and unusual speaker for a design/development conference. He probed people’s instinctive fear of cyborgs (probably driven by dystopian Hollywood movies), by discussing enhancement of human capabilities through the implantation of electronic chips. But then made a good case for using the same cybernetic devices in humans to help overcome disabilities and illness, such as Parkinson’s Disease.


Matt Barringer

Design to divs via data and some bits in between

Matt took us through his work for visualising data starting with Flash built applications, such as his South Africa 2010 World Cup Twitter buzz app. He then went on to show us his work in HTML – prompted by a CNN boss, who having purchased the first iPad at launch was disappointed to discover the Flash based visualisations wouldn’t display on the device. Matt described the problems of supporting a wide variety of browsers/devices, how he had tried HTML5 based methods, but ended up using divs and Javascript to deliver his visualisations.


Mr. Data Converter: a useful tool for converting tabular data into JSON or XML.


Inayaili De León

The most important part of your job

saying don’t assume clients will understand the jargon you use as a designer. It’s your responsibility to explain it

Yaili’s session focused on communication. She emphasised the importance of listening, reading & writing to designers. With regard to listening, she challenged us to actually listen fully to people in our offices when holding a conversation; as opposed to dis-interestedly listening while attending to other tasks. Another challenge was for us to ensure we get our point across to other people, instead of blaming it on them for “not getting it”.


Onotate: feedback tool for designs


Stephanie Posavec

Hand-crafted data

Stephanie’s session focused on her work as a ‘Data Illustrator’, which she sees as being different from ‘data visualisation’ – the distinction that I drew was that she feels emotion is present in the former, and absent from the latter.

There’s great craft and obsession in Stephanie’s work, her data-sets are created, painstakingly, by hand. She also eschews logarithms to generate her art, preferring instead to place element by hand. A result of this is that her beautiful artwork has a very human feel.


Mike Kus

Twitter, Berocca, Microsoft – 10 questions that helped me help them

Mike’s session took the format of an interview, with Mark Boulton in the ‘Parkinson’ role. We were reminded of the importance of the content of our portfolios; the work we include will determine the future work we get. Mike also described how emotional investment in projects is important for maintaining motivation and producing great work. He also advised against providing clients with multiple versions of designs, instead just provide them with the right design. I can, from experience, heartily agree with this. Multiple versions are fine as we iterate through designs to find the solution. But as designers we’re supposed to be answering the client’s problem with a solution, not providing them with a multiple choice question.


Mark Bolton

Failing and doing it well

Perfectionism is a serious mental health problem

Twitter is often like a verbal drive-by [on criticism on Twitter]

Mark’s session covered his recent work for CERN, but was mostly concerned with failure and learning from it. I really agreed with ‪him‬ on talking about projects within teams and with clients – talking is a great way to thrash out issues in a design.



This is our Momento!

The Brosmind brothers were Monday’s inspiration session, and they certainly delivered, Their highly detailed drawings and infectious enthusiasm entertaining the crowd. They also show some great videos they made as children, complete with lo-fi SFX.