systemic thinking

I think a lot of things are fun, but a theme that ties most everything in this portfolio together is my lifelong fascination with a systemic filter; a conscious, if arbitrary, decision to view things systemically, for better or worse. 

It’s interesting to “zoom out” on processes which I might normally approach intuitively or as one-offs, and see what happens when I think of them in terms of systems instead; in other words, in context with other things like them.

It seems to me that this “systemic thinking” is both the thing that built human technological culture and yet (when we are lazy and use it as a paradigm, shorthanding chaotic complexity into comforting but false certainties), it lies behind bigotry, hatred, prejudice and war. 

The positive side of systemic thinking is that this mindset encourages the long view.  I find this is very good for relationships, whether personal or cultural.  Applying the strategic long view to art or design practice is certainly fun and interesting.

Maker community

I worked for many years in and around the world of contemporary art, and taught art and technology courses.  More recently I have worked in embedded systems design and product design.  In a third career I enjoyed struggling with the many challenges of toy engineering, design and play innovation.

Currently, I’m intrigued by the possibilities around crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, open-source hardware and software, and the maker community. My current experiment is a DIY projects and kists business called playhacker, check it out!.   

Art and play

A few random “systemy” things my career path has revealed to me:

  1. Art and play share some fundamental conceptual and emotional space;
  2. Sculptures are toys by and for grownups;
  3. Toys are, as facilitators of imagination and expression, artworks for children;
  4. Design, engineering, innovation, software and systems are mental playgrounds for adults;
  5. Normally invisible design (software, circuitry, conceptual design) can be strikingly beautiful.

Let’s make something together!

  1. I’m always interested in conversation about art, design, new technology and innovation, toys, culture, etc. Reach out to me on LinkedIn!
  2. Like building things? Looking for your next hobby project? Have an idea for a kit or product-hacking project? Join me on playhacker!
  3. I have a wide range of expertise across consumer product development, toy design, embedded systems engineering, web design, and chatbots. Whatever you’re building, I can probably help you. Connect with me via my consulting business, Tangent Method!