08 January 2014

A Dispatch from 2013

 Image from Stamp Auction Network 

It has been a long time since I took the time to write here.

I'm convinced this year offered a new phase of learning and growth and like most things that involve change, time is needed to sift through and settle on ideas before you can actually attach words to them. I know I like to write, need to write and must keep up my writing. It as part catharsis, part learning. So bear with me as I attempt to put down some initial thoughts about the last year in an attempt to make a foray back into this part of my practice.

Moving to Munich #lifeinthemuc
The most significant change was a move to a new country and city. The question most commonly asked of me is: "How is your German?" The answer is typically, "Not good," which means 2014 will find me doing my best to develop it further. I've been posting a photo a day on Instagram to document my first year in pictures since that seems to be easier than words.

Working at frog
Being hired as a Senior Design Researcher was a definite highlight of the year. Getting to work with all disciplines of design on various scales of projects has definitely brought life to my career. Having input from the likes of David Sherwin and Jan Chipchase has made the transition smoother than expected! I've also appreciated some of the nuances that arise when travelling and working in a European business context.

Reading books
I've been busier this year but have thankfully found the time to read a few books:
Hidden In Plain Sight highlights great stories, insights and examples of the type of work I do.
Creative Confidence was a great reminder of the joy found in being a creative and highlighted a few things worth remembering: the difference between resistance and procrastination, the value of nurturing a prepared mind and the benefit of having a language for constructive feedback.
Beautiful Ruins was a lovely read about life, love and travel.
Religion for Atheists offered me another chance to ingest the wonderful writing of Alain de Botton. I'm not an atheist but I appreciated his review of the way that faith and belief can be instructive in our lives.

Visiting cities
Vienna for a holiday: Double-decker bus tour, Hotel Daniel and Tasting Menu at Le Loft. Magical.
London for client meetings and research programs. I could visit this city regularly.
Leeds for a research program. Met a gardener who knew the history of the rich and famous there.
Stockholm for a research program. Down time? Cocktails in an ice bar.
Klaipeda for a speaking engagement, workshop on CAT and design research mentoring for the 2013 Global Sustainability Jam.
Paris for a conference workshop and talk. Je t'aime, Paris.
Toronto for my first ever interaction design conference. And a bout of shingles. Blergh.
Boston for client meetings. And OYSTERS!

Attending conferences
IxDA '13
Despite getting shingles while I was there, IxDA was a fabulous convergence of all the good design people I've met through the internets.
A highlight was meeting and talking with Ezio Manzini. Legend.
OuiShare Fest
Engaging discussions at the first sharing economy conference in Europe. Google and Airbnb participated and we hosted a fun CAT workshop.

All round good things
Being part of and seeing the launch of Regarding Humanity
Having my research and design be part of the first in-home food fortification program in Africa
Dancing with the Marines

Here's to pursuing more writing, books, cities, conferences and overall living!