Hello! You’re getting the email because you’ve either (1) joined The Mighty Minds Club, (YAY!!) or (2) asked to be notified about The Might Minds Club at launch.
Despite the numbering scheme foisted on these newsletters, welcome to 7th ever Mighty Minds Newsletter!
Yep. You guessed it. Part 2 of the “Exploring Alternative Futures” report is still work in progress. To feel (and share!) a sense of progress, I might just start releasing the mini-lessons as they are completed. Or all at once. We’ll see. It is what it is. And I am making progress. In the meanwhile, here are even more teaser images:
I’m thrilled to announced what I hope to be the first of many Mighty Minds Club salons (<- ‘salons?’). We’ll explore different formats, from open forums to more formal webinars. For this first salon, I wanted to spotlight John V Willshire, a fellow Mighty Mind with some mighty things to share! This will be more of relaxed interview, with room for your questions (and I’m sure you’ll have some!).
I’ve written a bit more here, on the registration page .
(And, you do need to register for this event!)
Speaking of salons, I’d like to setup a regular time to meet as a group. For the open forum discussions, what are some topics you’d like to see discussed? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the general thread on Slack.
Question of the Week is back (in Slack), What does the phrase “new normal” mean to you? 😳
John Willshire tweeted “think in four dimensions but explain in 2” after reading this post that pokes at the origins of the 2x2 matrix. On the subject of 2x2s, I’ve written (but never published) a short piece on why these three models (sometimes used interchangeably) are fundamentally different from each other:
I love toolkits. And, the idea that simple rules govern complex systems. Naturally, this praise from Caitlin Conners for The Long Time Tools (PDF) grabbed my attention “As I work through the Long Time Tools toolkit I’m struck by the simple, powerful utility - a wonderful resource for those urging decision makers and systems to think about the future implications of decisions made now.” Looks like something worth checking out (and it’s a toolkit!).
Whoa. Look no further if you’re looking for a great roundup of articles on Practical Data Ethics. Mis/disinformation. Bias & fairness. Ethical foundations. Practical tools you can use towards tech ethics. Privacy & surveillance. Broader trends & factors related to data ethics. Algorithmic colonialism… (via Per Axbom)
Here’s an interesting idea: Focusmate helps you “get your work done” by working quietly in tandem with a stranger. 🤨
A shirt, about trust. This simple visual says so much!
These are uncertain times. This article on Aeon offers a great explanation of what we can learn from nature and complexity science. I’m going to reread this one, with a highlighter. “Seeing human society as a complex system opens a better future for us all.”
I have this crazy idea for a book series. But, I’ll come back to that.
In our book Figure It Out, my co-author and I distinguish between pragmatic and epistemic interactions. Pragmatic actions are those that affect a change in the world. Flip a switch and the light turns on. Move a bishop to a new spot on the chess board. Click a link that takes you to a new page. We make a change in the world. Following from this logic, what do we make of the person who clicks a link and then clicks the back button? If we view these interactions solely as pragmatic things, then we conclude this click was a mistake. The user took an action, then clicked undo. But what if this action wasn’t a mistake? What if there’s more to this interaction than simply causing a change in the world? Let’s go to the chess example. Think about what happens when I take my bishop and I hover over a possible space, think about that move for a few moments, then return the bishop to the original position. Was this action a mistake? We’d say no. This is an epistemic interaction. We’ve left no change in the world, yet we have changed something in us, in our understanding of the problem space. By moving the bishop in space and holding it over a possible option, we are able to see a few more plays ahead and see how that might or might not be a good move. This is the difference between ‘thinking, then doing’ versus ‘thinking through doing’. This a foundational point we make in our book, as we talk about the role our bodies play in working with information.
Back my crazy book series idea.
This is something I mocked up (for myself) last week:
Don’t get too excited. I’m 90% certain this will not happen, at least not in this form. The book(s) concept I have has some really gnarly structural / information architecture challenges that I haven’t yet resolved. I created this high fidelity visual as a way to help me organize my thoughts in a new way and / or unlock new perspectives. This thing I made will likely get thrown away, after it serves its purpose: to help me think.
And then I thought about something designers do: We make things—prototypes, sketches, and even high fidelity mockups—that we know will be thrown away; the sole purpose of these creations is exploration. Not experimentation, that’s different. Exploration. We create these things, alone or together, to change our own understanding. To see differently. To make a serendipitous discovery. We create not to produce or publish, but to think. And then, we throw that thing away. It’s not a mistake—it has served its purpose. Of course, this act of disposal may baffle outsiders “but that was a perfectly good ‘x’.” We didn’t make something for pragmatic reasons, our reasons were epistemic.
I hadn’t made this connection between what Karl and I wrote about and this habit of designers, until I paused to reflect upon why I was creating these imagined book covers—for what purpose? To scaffold my thinking, in a way that words alone have not. I may iterate on this, but that was never the intent. I created this for myself to help me think.
Oh, and here’s “A recipe for starting & prototyping new projects”. I like how the post concludes: “Throw the prototype away. It’s a learning exercise, not a product.”
In Broken Images
He is quick, thinking in clear images;
I am slow, thinking in broken images.
He becomes dull, trusting to his clear images;
I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images…