Archive for December, 2010

Question: How do you behave when something unexpected happens in a project?

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Projects often don’t go according to the first plan. How do you adapt to changes (team, requirements, competitive landscape, budget…)? Do you use your instincts or is there a formula?

We should enhance the project (or assignment) by doing something unexpected and challenging. Will students change direction, start from scratch, give up, argue or find a workaround efficiently?

Concept: Cradle-to-Cradle

Friday, December 17th, 2010

There was a meeting Dec 13 with “Bridgett Luther, former Director of Conservation for California and now President of Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (a Non-Profit that will evaluate products and provide C2C certification) will be coming to Stanford with some of her Institute’s partners from China.” I didn’t go, but the meeting was about Craig Criddle’s work with bioplastics and biocomposites. I Googled “Cradle to Cradle” to find out what it means and found “Cradle to Cradle Design (sometimes abbreviated to C2C, or Cradle 2 Cradle, or in some circles referred to as regenerative) is a biomimetic approach to the design of systems. It models human industry on nature’s processes in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. It suggests that industry must protect and enrich ecosystems and nature’s biological metabolism while also maintaining safe, productive technical metabolism for the high-quality use and circulation of organic and synthetic materials.” This is a step more than the preceding “Cradle to Grave” approach of which we now hear a lot about Life Cycle Analysis. It may be an interesting thought exercise for students to graph the C2C cycle of something that they own such as a laptop, cell phone or digital camera (or maybe something that actually decomposes).

Question: Where do you do your best thinking?

Friday, December 17th, 2010

My daughter studies with her iPod on – I used to do the same (with my Sony Walkman) – but it probably contributes to her slower pace. Does it affect her retention rate too? I don’t know. Anyway, when you get away from school learning, there are probably times when creative thinking emerges. Short spurts of creative imagination probably lead to nowhere and are easily forgotten, but sometimes you might just get into one of those really deep moments and think that you’re a genius. I get my best ideas in the shower (can you think of another place besides the bathroom where you get 10 minutes or more of privacy…every day?). Sometimes, I get good ideas on my commute (if I’m alone and the radio isn’t on). Where do you get your best ideas? The strength of our program is that we create that moment of privacy and make it long enough to get somewhere. As icing to this experience, we enlist peers and counselors as a focus group to give you feedback.