Inspiration from balance : when the day = night

This week day equalled night.

I see the seasons as sine and cosine waves. Peaks and troughs for different phenomena offset from one another.

At the summer solstice, the hours of day light peak, but the rate of change of day light is zero. Nothing much seems to change.

At this time of year the hours of daylight are only half way between their winter and summer extremes, but the rate of change is at its maximum.

For an instant everything is in balance, when day equals night. But there is no pause. This is also the time of maximum change. We are now moving away from balance at the highest rate of the year.

Close up it is moving rapidly but taking the longview there is dynamic equilibrium.

I find lots I can draw inspiration from in my creative and design work at this time of year.

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The Designer’s Paradox – the key to unlocking the brief

Oliver Broadbent miming weighing up different factors to illustrate the concept of the Designer's Paradox

For me the Designer’s Paradox is a key concept in helping people understand what the process of design is. The term was coined by my colleague at Think Up Ed McCann.

The Designer’s Paradox states that the client doesn’t know what they want until they know what they can have

Ed McCann – see Think Up (2018). Conceptual Design for Structural Engineers (online) – notes and resources. Available here [Accessed: January 2021].

In this post I’ll explain why I think this observation is so useful and how we can use it.

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How do you know if your idea is any good?

I regularly ask this question on my ‘How to Have Better Ideas’ workshops (the sequel to ‘How to Have Ideas’). It’s a short question that triggers a wide range of answers. But the one I am looking for is this:

‘A good idea is one that meets the brief’

My aim is marrying up the brief and the idea. I want to emphasise that the two should match. If the idea doesn’t meet the brief, then we have three consequences:

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The email that knocks out creative surplus

You are in a state of flow. The next action flows from the previous. You are in the moment. Then boom, in comes an email that sets off a chain reaction of anxiety and worry. At least that’s what just happened to me. Your creative surplus – time and attention – gets burned on managing your personal response to that email. You are back to zero. What do you do next?

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