B. E.

"Stop thinking about artworks as objects
and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences."

This quote by Brian Eno is an example of both the magnificent mind of the aforementioned [B.E.] and the pure potential of an artist or designer's power in entering and answering problems. Based on research at MIT, the following strategy is an active move beyond brainstorming and is applicable to any creative pursuit. See the original MIT Sloan Management article.

1. Define the problem and solution space. What are the parameters of the problem? What are the limitations? To solve this prompt, you will need to define the boundaries of the problem.

2. Break the problem down. Use visual techniques like brainstorming, mind mapping, image inventories or any other ways your can explore visual representation.

3. Make the problem personal. How do you feel about the problem and THEN, what does your problem mean to people affected by it. How is your personal stance, also universal? Where does your perspective fit in the bigger picture?

4. Seek the perspective of outsiders. Get feedback, talk to peers, experts and other people within the system of the problem/solution being explored.

5. Diverge before you converge. Explore ALL of your ideas. Get them down on paper. Don't limit any potential solution before you have exhausted all relevant ideas

6. Create 'idea resumes.' An idea resume is a one-page document that explores where you see your work existing and what materials, resources and processes are needed to make it a reality.

7. Create a plan to learn. Even the 'best' ideas will inherently contain assumptions that need testing. The seventh step is to design these tests and to be clear and open to what you aim to learn from them.

Herbert Matter.

Known as a quintessential designer's designer, Swiss born Herbert Matter is largely credited with expanding the use of photography as a design tool and bringing the semantics of fine art into the realm of applied arts. When Matter got the job to design a new logo for the New Haven Railroad he literally went through hundreds of sketches before arriving at the final logo.

A little secret.

It may surprise students to know that at the beginning any given semester I have only a very loose idea of what we will be doing, making and thinking as a class. Somewhere in the intersection of class dynamics and current cultural and social atmosphere, something vibrant always comes into focus. I relate this directly to the creative process on a personal level—patterns of intuitive expression extend out towards the realization of a class, a corporate identity, a sculpture, the composition of a song or a painting—they are actually not that different. Below is a still from the Ray + Charles Eames movie The Powers of Ten.

Now, look at the work of dutch artist Helmut Smits, below. In his work for public spaces he plays with the size of the pixel. Smits imagines the pixel viewed one kilometer from the earth's surface. From this great distance it becomes a dead void, unmeasurable by Google Earth. A pixel missing from our computer screens and PDA's.

How will you change your perspective on what you already know? How can you take concepts and ideas and make them your own or use a current language or medium to truly innovate? Are you doing that already?