interesting aspect of design, as a disciple, is that
proof of concept rests entirely on the outcome. The
question is: can you take a set of ideas or desired
characteristics and build them into a process and
of some kind and achieve the desired result - and is
that result USEFUL? The answer is yes or
no. Neither result says anything definite about the
the basic concepts. However, it is true that some concepts
are better than others for getting results. Skill
the design process involves selecting the right ideas
to try out as much as executing them well. There
is a tight relationship between the
ideas, goals, materials and means in the process of
Design/Build/Use. Cycles of D/B/U promote the use
of feedback and, thus, improved design.
people, universally exhibit certain habits. Working
long and intensively (and to the exclusion of nearly
all else) during the incubation of an idea or work,
is but one example. These habits can be translated into
rules. In this case the rule of: Focus
intensively during the incubation period of an idea
or design to the exclusion of all else.
rules can be considered to be “command language”
in the mind of an individual or organization; they can
be “embodied” in a system-environment by
a series of means (protocols, work processes, technology
tool-kits, models and language, physical architecture
and symbolism, and so on). The sum of these as embedded
rule-sets, make up what many call the “culture”
of the organization; I prefer to think about this as
the Operating System (OS) of the organization.
is possible to employ Rapid
and Design/Build/Use [link] cycles
to explore ideas and concepts, translate them into
rules, embed them in working environments, operate
these environments, and employ documentation
and feedback [link] (of
a complex kind) to make this a self-correcting system.
This meta-process is what we
have been doing [link] at
MG Taylor for nearly a quarter of a century. The means of
creating our System and Method is our System
and Method. This is why I refer to it as an ENGINE of
creation. At each step of creating a facet of it,
of Emergence [link] is employed. Complex systems
are not predictable; they are emergent; minimal
into the specific arena in focus is necessary to minimize
unintended consequences. Thus, the System and
is a bootstrap operation using the best existing version
of itself to create an improved version of itself
one discrete step at a time.
you take the rules I have outlined as reflecting
of creative people [link], and string them together,
you get the following:
feedback with skepticism, craft and deliberation; Focus
intensively during the incubation period of an idea
or design to the exclusion of all else: Let passion
drive you and express it appropriately; Execute with
levels of process control and precision; Employ eclectic
learning methods (modes); periodically explore a broad
content range; and bring this content to carefully
selected subject areas related to your work; Sustain
high physical energy levels; focus this energy during
intense work periods; punctuate work periods with appropriate
re-creation; Practice a technical discipline
at state-of-the-art levels; Follow your Intuition; Document
your progress; Practice work-living integration and
24/7/365 work-flow; Rule out failure as an option; know
when to retire from the field; keep the long view; Develop
and use your “reset” button; Employ a “hands
on” approach to product creation; Challenge
Convention; Work in rapid iterations - ship a product
- again and again; produce a rapid series of working
prototypes; Create a language around your field of interest
and creative work; Hold context and keep goals intact
on a lifetime scale; employ ritual; maintain the “observer;”
Invest everything; Message broadly; communicate intensely
with peers; build functional networks; Serve a higher
cause; Create a community; Organize your workplace so
that it works for you.
all together, these make up a strong instruction
No matter how different from another one human “agent” [link]”
may interpret these “commands,” there is
a clear direction stated and the things-to-do
are clearly implied; in total, a mandate is established.
Non-human agents, require a less ambiguous instruction
set and language. How these commands get embedded in
non-human agents varies from kind of agent to kind
agent, and, the agent’s circumstance and use.
The interesting thing is, that as the environment
the human agent is increasingly made up of other agents
thus “commanded,” the ambiguity of human
“command” language is consequently diminished.
It takes this “embedding” of non-human
agents to bring precision, without interference,
to the human
communicated instruction set. As humans practice these
creative habits, in the space, there is a feedback
to the inanimate environment that, through morphic
brings the inanimate alive thus completing the loop
and reinforcing the efficacy of the entire
to build creative agency into the total environment
(made up of agents of various kinds) of the human agent,
to create a coherent embedded message of these creative
rules, is the subject of the following comments.
are a great number of agents, that make up the environment
of a human agent, that can represent, in their actions
and messaging an instruction set (and capacity) of immense
power. Conversely, as is too common, the environment
can be filled with opaque, contradictory, confusing
and competing messages. Even though each human will
respond differently to each of the agents (messages),
individually, the SUM is almost certain to
work given proper execution of the components, an effective
process design, and an adequate understanding of symbolism.
Each of these agents can be thought of as a voice.
One of our axioms for setting up a Taylor environment
is “everything speaks.” These voices may
be graphic, sound or written language; the modality
may be denotative or connotative; the message may be
conveyed through form, texture, rhythm, space; the content
may be transferred intellectually or experientially;
it may be in the form of a metaphor, a model, a proof,
data, mathematical statement; the media may be electronic,
paper or modeling materials; and, of course, all are
intermingled with a high variety mix of other human
agents engaging in the space, all other agents
and each other.
the past, architecture, learning, information, experience,
facilitation, work processes and media, were seen as
different; in this approach they are ONE;
all engaged in an entrained creative process/artifact
that makes strong
memory [link] as a deliberate consequence of the
experience of working within it.
how is it done? It is done by a thousand intentional
design decisions that makes the desired condition
become real; it is BUILT. This building is
a conscious act of putting idea into process, structure
and form. It is the act of creating real (i.e.
in fact) architecture. In a practice, the
results of these acts are experienced, evaluated and
proceeds anew; iterative, recursive, feedback driven
- a deliberate process of bringing THERE (the
to HERE (the existing condition),
making something, and then recreating
the vision [link].
This is, essentially, the ACT
of art [link] brought
to all aspects of work and life.
Characteristic phenomenon of the contemporary epoch
advancement is not longer anteceded, even less induced,
by new spiritual-philosophic cognitions as in previous
ages. Instead, science and technique advance autonomously,
without the moral control and intellectual preparation
that religion and philosophy provide. Each new phase
in the rapid transformation of the contemporary physical
environment meets man unprepared and hence remains
outside his full control.
a result, new scientific-technical achievements no
longer address human sentiment. Consequently, they
not longer assume the role of art as in previous ages,
when all creative manifestations of man were within
popular conception. That is to say, science and technique
- the two major forces that shape the contemporary
environment - are without art and the humanizing force
that art gives.
alienation is evident in man’s emotional indifference
to the forms created by science and technique. It
is apparent in his failure to grasp the new dimensions
conquered in space and energy or to imagine their
meaning for the human race on this planet. Indeed,
science and technique - the two most efficient instruments
of human progress - now virtually endanger the very
existence of mankind.
challenge of the present, thus, is not discovery of
the new but the total comprehension of the existing
and its integration into contemporary ethics; hence,
its human application and aesthetic appreciation.
The tragedy of the present is that any such spiritual
search or the meaning of man’s existence in
the contemporary epoch is no longer a noble expression
of Man’s inner desire for enlightenment, but
a necessity forced upon him by technical-scientific
challenge exists also for the architecture in the
industrial society. for even through building technology
lags far behind other industries, it has, nevertheless,
progressed so far that its forms remain largely neutral
to human emotions. Not being incorporated into the
universal order of contemporary thought, architecture
constitutes still another alien and inhuman element
among man’s scientific and technical creations
and, especially in residential architecture, revives
an unrealistic escape to romanticism.
it is not the improvement of technical, economical,
functional hygienic or visual factors of building,
but the establishment of organic relationships between
man, society, technique, and shelter within the total
framework of contemporary ethics that is the task
of contemporary architecture.
this universal theme the residential architecture
of japan, more than any other, holds instructive comparisons
and discloses basic problems. for in Japan the spiritual
order of the epoch was successful in an unique way:
brought man into intimate emotional relationship to
most simple shelter and most humble living;
gave aesthetic meaning to an architecture that was
a pure expression of necessity;
humanized an environment that was largely standardized
established an accord between feeling and thinking.”
The Japanese House
A Tradition for Contemporary Architecture
are a few examples of embedding creative habits
in the workplace. The possibilities are endless.
7 Domains Model [link] can
be useful as a frame of reference to facilitate the
process that is implied by these
intensively during the incubation period...
today’s world this is an extremely important
“command.” Life and work are chopped
up into periods of time with a transactional
This is extremely disruptive to the creative
process. No matter your talent, you have to
get a measure of control of your time and you
have to give yourself the metal space for prolonged
is true as a generality. It is particularly
true when you are “hatching” a
new idea or design. Great work is demanding.
not happen according to a schedule. This
is true of individual effort as wells as
collaborative work. Finding white space for
a team to work together is even a greater
challenge than maintaining your personal
time. A one hour meeting, once a week, is
is not easy to do nor is it understood in
our society which still runs on a 9 to 5
industrial model. This is one reason why
social creatives are considered anti-social.
This is but one aspect of the passive-aggressive
relationship between the creative individual
and the present social order. It is a major
barrier to the formation of creative teams.
a major block to the emergence of a truly
web site and my hand drawn Notebooks- which
are also published on this web site [link] -
are my first level of effort in documenting
my work. It would be impossible to “hold” so
many long term intentions intack, and to track
my progress in regards them, if I did not diligently
practice this documentation process. You must
find your own way of doing this. But, whatever
the method and style, you must do it.
the organization level, this practice has
to be augmented by the 10 Set Process [link].
Otherwise, there is no group MEMORY - if
there is no group memory, there cannot be
a “hands on” approach to product creation...
creative process is organic, it is physical
and it employs all of the senses. It is not
a creature of passionless dry intellect alone.
It requires experimentation. It cannot be delegated.
It is the consequence of dedicated practice
whch is the consequence of habits which are
the consequence of mental commands [link].
is feedback between a vision of an object,
the wood to be carved, the knife that cuts.
The moment of creation is when the blade,
sustained by accumulated skill, driven by
a vision actually meets the wood - what happens
is a synergy not determined by any of these
factors but the sum of them all.
a higher cause...
problem cannot be solved on the level it was
created. Great work is birthed from the stimulus
of a greater mission.
nor projects, are created in a vacuum. Everywhere
you see great innovation, you see a movement,
a community of like-minded individuals.At the
root of it, ALL creative work is a
group process. This is true even in the case
of the “lone artist” struggling against the
dictates of a time and place - it is still
the environment where most people work this
an absurd statement. The same can be said for
the schools they attended. How many people
have an environment that can be adjusted, let
alone “created,” to facilitate
creative work? Was creating an environment
to promote creative
taught? Despite these inherent gaps, however,
environments can be much more supportive of
creativity than they now are.
one’s environment - NESTING - is
an essential ritual as well as a logistical necessity.
In the specific, everyone works differently;
left hand, right hand; standing, sitting; pacing,
not; work spread out, put away; open access (prospect),
quite niche (refuge); sparse setup, abundant “mess;”
and, there are a wide variety of work processes
that vary from person to person. The workplace
should adapt to people; people should not have
to adapt to the workplace.
is this rule EMBEDDED? First by making
a place that is flexible and adaptable based on
an understanding of creative protocols. Create
standards and examples of productive environments.
Facilitate knowledge workers through work processes
that produce value and entrain ne habits. Bring
beauty, symbol and quality back into the workplace.
Populate the space with books, toys, models, graphics,
plants and examples of the work being produced.
Celebrate creativity in every THING that
workplace [link] does
not WORK very well. It is
tolerated; I know few who actually say they like
it. This presents a great opportunity to remake it
into a far better expression of human values. Today,
a somewhat more pleasant vestige of the medieval structure.
It has to become far more participatory and democratic.
It has to embrace moral (not moralistic) principals.
It has to be made physically and emotionally healthy
for today it is not. The cult of efficiency and utilitarianism
has to give way to creativity and art; dogma has to
give way to work processes based on real results not
on old, left over, worn out deeply embedded practices
that do not rest on evidence but on unchallenged habit.
The sharing of wealth produced has to become much
equitable. It has to become, in its process and product,
- today it is neither. The root of the ills of the
workplace is its lack of creativity for
is, by definition, the expression of the human; this
lack of creative impulse can be seen in how it is made,
in how it is conducted, in the products that emanate
from it. We have, today, an abundance of incremental
invention and innovation; a proliferation of technique
practiced by legions of over-trained and under educated
hired guns. These are mostly, in my experience, highly
skilled and dedicated people who do not know what they
do not know and who, because of their innatehumanness,
long to do far more and BE better than the
system in which they presently exist allows. Unleash
this genius and an abundance of true wealth will result;
chain it and the system will, with the power that
been unleashed, self destruct. It seems like a simple
am not saying that there should be a greater integration
between our culture and the place where we manufacture
it; that integration already exists. What
comes out of our present system is the product
that it was
designed to produce. If you question this consequence
in any way; if you wonder what another decade of
same may become; then, change the machine that has
ceased to promote life and replace it with a process
that does. We create
our environment and, then, it creates us.
November 28, 2002
voice of this document:
INSIGHT POLICY PROGRAM
November 28, 2002
June 17, 2005
20021128.611390.mt • 20021206.202209.mt •
• 20050617.889011.mt •
this document is about 40% finished)
Matt Taylor 2002, 2005
note: aspects of the processes described in this document
are patented and patent pending by iterations