I have described my design technology strategy as having five imperatives, the 4th being Master Data Management. Having read many of William Gibson's works I called the search to identify promising Master Data Management technologies.
Project Wintermute- The visualisation of information generated during the design process ...an ongoing programme to deliver reusable design visual information and rationale.
(In Neuromancer, Wintermute is one half of a planned Artificial Intelligence entity- in our case it is an application set that acts a tool for our dream teams.)
The description of the programme was driven by x pieces of knowledge acquired practising the design process we were responsible for.
1. Using the first version of Groove on a project had enabled the process facilitator to observe that after each physical meeting of the team there was a flurry of activity from each member who had returned home but this decayed with time as the day job exerted its pull. This could be offset by injecting something interesting andchallenging into the mix of information and alerting people that it is there.
2. Visual data relating to the progress of the project is more inviting than Gantt charts so planning around "events" is a powerful way of getting people to relate and stay involved.
3. Time saving made explicit can motivate as achieving goals in a timely way (see(2) above) can be celebrated.
4. The reporting of Michele Milano's thesis: Personal Infostructures- Virtual Library Builder and Design Process Recorder; summarised in the book Bits and Spaces
Connecting 1. and 4. together leads us to surmise whether we can actually visualise and make sense of the knowledge we are creating on a project, so counteracting that overload feeling that Melanie Mcgrath described in Motel Nirvana:
"information flows into us faster than we can bail it out again as neat packaged theories“
Michele's efforts to track and visualise, in 3-dimensions, the data and relations are shown on p. 134-135 of the book... a fragment of her work from the book is shown here
Consider Design Space -opportunity and constraints - if we map the growth of discovery and collection of data and information around the 8 faces of the octagonal Design Space then we can, over time monitor the accumulation of information and make value judgements about what and how much we are generating versus the type of project and position on the Design Journey. We can have a conversation around the information collected and ask if we should be doing more to obtain information on faces where there is a slower build up relative to our expectations; we can also ask "Does it matter?" at this stage on the Design Journey.
Various views of the project tracking that Michele Milano undertook is shown here. There are comments about how new tools are needed to move on to a more usable system.
I know that if we can visualise the discovered of information around the faces of Design Space and also could play and interact with the stuff in a "social" way we could uncover insights, inspire and energise the team to create more exciting solutions. So the physical interface is important. We could arrange for group discussion around the digital artifacts and using a different interface from the mouse promote interaction around the "model" (illustration of an early version of PortfolioWall ).
We will look at how we can use all these blocks of information to help create a path to better products next.