Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes, We Can!

Design Thinking has just become one of the most important basic skills for students in K-12 schools. The new basics are now "Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and Design." Design is the ability to create change.

Everyone now has a renewed desire to make the changes in our society that have been neglected for so long. Many people, however, lack the knowledge and skills that would enable them to create the change we seek.

Along with words (reading and writing) and numbers (mathematics), American students need Design Thinking skills to create the images, objects, places and experiences (design) that will shape a future worth living into.

From President Abraham Lincoln to computer scientist Alan Kay, we have heard that "The best way to predict the future is to create it!" Design Thinking is the set of basic skills students will use to create the innovative communication, everyday objects, environments, and experiences that will shape our future in a global economy.

In Design Thinking, students learn how to identify important challenges, develop empathy, identify the opportunities, do the research, develop criteria, visualize solutions, brainstorm possibilities, create viable prototypes and models, and implement new forms of communication, products, environments and experiences. These skills not only enable students to be productive citizens but, quite literally, enable them to create a sustainable future for everyone on the planet!

A short list of the design problems being worked on right now:

1. The Universe - Create a picture or model of the nature of the universe. What do multiple dimensions, supersymmetry, dark matter, black holes, and the multiverse look like?
2. The Solar System - Design systems to support life when the solar system's dying energy source (the Sun) makes Earth uninhabitable in 1 billion years.
3. Life - Visualize the proteomic systems that enable and sustain life to enable advanced solutions to medical, genetic, and life-enhancing challenges.
4. Consciousness - Enhance visualization of systems within the brain to enable neuroscientists and others (artificial intelligence) to understand the complex relationships that enable human cognition and artificial intelligence.
5. Civilization - Design sustainable environments and products to provide a high quality of life (life, liberty, safety, food, shelter, and the pursuit of happiness) and a productive economy for everyone on the planet.
6. Technology - Continue the amazing advances in technology (transportation, communication, production, education, etc.) that enable people to access and productively use the information, objects, environments and experiences available across the globe.
7. Information - Design the next generation of information tools (computers, mobile devices, Internet, global positioning systems, information access, etc.) and create new systems to deal with abundance in all forms of life. What will education look like in a world of ubiquitous knowledge and connectivity?

Monday, November 3, 2008

David Rockwell to Design Oscar Set

Each fall, from around Thanksgiving through Christmas, many of the best movies of the year are in theatres because the industry believe this gives them a better chance of winning an Academy Award. When the nominations are out early next year we will be covering the Oscars for design categories like Costume, Art Direction, Animation, etc.

But the news right now is that David Rockwell has been chosen to design the fabulous set for the 81st Academy Awards that will be broadcast by ABC on Feb. 22.

Rockwell has never designed a set for the Oscars but is familiar with the Academy's venue, since his design firm, the Rockwell Group, designed the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center where the awards ceremony is held.

Rockwell Group's credits include set design for the upcoming Broadway productions "Catch Me If You Can" and "Houdini," as well as the sets for the stage productions of "Hairspray," "Legally Blonde," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "The Rocky Horror Show." The firm also did production design work for the 2004 film "Team America: World Police."

The Rockwell Group is the 2008 recipient of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Interior Design. Their other projects have included a freestanding building for Cirque du Soleil at Walt Disney World in Florida; the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center in New York, and the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, scheduled to open in 2009.

Click on the heading above or go to to see the Rockwell Group's website.