I was in the Manchester Waterstones bookshop last night and flicked through the monograph on Naoto Fukasawa. There was a piece, I believe, by Masato Sasaki: Affordance and design: Product design from the core of awareness which included this description of Affordance:
A key concept in ecological psychology JJ Gibson coined the noun from the verb "to afford" to describe the property of things at large in providing organisms with perceived or latent potentials - "meaning", "values" or what Gibson called "action possibilities" - thus casting the otherwise passive environment in an active determinant role ( e.g. a chair is said to possess an affordance for sitting) 2 points of note: Affordance is not a stimulus that provokes a reaction or reflex (a chair does not compel a person to sit. Affordance is objectively measurable and not affected by ones ability to recognise those possibilities (a chair affords the possibility of sitting regardless of a person's mood or state of health). (first Published in Kokokuninyo monthly no 293 June 05 p.86). One of my first blogs was about this topic and I return to explore it further... The Thinking Allowed broadcast I mentioned here talked of the challenge of increasing personal skills in the context of an environment that enabled or inhibited natural creative interactions between people. Richard Sennett talked of laboratories, studios, workshops, ateliers as potential environments for more effective exchange of thoughts leading to interesting connections and the creation of new and hopefully useful knowledge.
So are cubicles affording more effective conversations?
picture uploaded on by webg33k. Used with thanks under CC.
or do we need a different form that affords a different interaction?
It really comes down to what you are trying to achieve... and a mixture of places is perhaps what we need to achieve... because
[from an essay Light and Space in “Louis I. Kahn”]
maybe the "wet, dry and damp spaces" that Rich Gold described... as long as they are spaces that possess an affordance for creative conversation... for creative activity... what we might call 'design spaces' filled with opportunity for the prepared mind.
Naoto Fukasawa senses what is the world around him possesses in the way of affordances but they may not be obvious to other people... on a 'cool' mobile phone he said
Picture uploaded by xeeliz. Used with thanks under CC.
Creative people often use unrelated objects to seed their creative behaviour... IDEO talk of the inspiration of a Dove soap bar
for the design of the Microsoft 2-button Mouse discussed here.
A final thought from Michael Schrage in his book Serious Play ...