Presented by Erin Kissane.
- Little Big Planet is the marriage of Systems and Craft.
- Content Strategy is system design.
- A system is an interlocking set of problems.
- Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language
- All big projects are ultimately systems (content management systems, most “software”, social networks); they are an interdependent set of features/problems.
Bringing Craft to Systems
There’s tremendous value in focusing on workmanship and mastering one’s craft. Systems need craft.
The five principles of craft:
Learn Your Artifact
- Japanese wagashi are made by artisans who only make these craft confections.
- Contrast these with Nestlé Aero bars: factory-made, mass-produced.
- We must establish an intimate knowledge of our artifacts.
- Famous woodworker and furniture maker James Krenov understood intimately how to build systems that worked in many climates and seasons:
A true achievement is to make a fine cabinet—elegant, graceful, one with real character—and fit it with drawers and doors that work properly the year round.
- Craft and workmanship come from a genuine understanding of the artifact.
- James Krenov: “The craftsman works, looking and looking again, from one revelation to another.”
Make For Makers
- Mast Brothers Chocolate: New York-based chocolatiers who spend three months every year in South America working on cocoa plantations.
- 54 million active Wordpress installations worldwide.
- We have unintentionally been making systems that strangle excellence. Think: horrible, horrible CMSes.
- When we fail to make for the makers, we are making it that much more difficult for them to serve the end users.
- Create content systems built around workflow.
- Voice & Tone is a tool absolutely created for makers. Dig through this site.
Take The Time
- Big projects suck because of time: teams rotate in or out, feels like nothing really gets done, or there’s not enough time to complete the project. The process is either too long or too short: never just right.
- Craft requires time: The Enchanted Doll by Marina Bychkova take 350-500 hours to complete each doll.
- Craft requires more than talent or skill: it requires time.
- Craft is time-travel: take future problems that are risky in ways you can’t understand and deal with them in a controlled space. Move troubles forward in time so that we can deal with them.
- It seems more costly to take more time, but in the end it’s that you can’t afford not to take the time.
- Time must be won: Excellent project management is the single most important factor in running a successful project.
- Don’t say “No,” but say, “No, but what I can do is this…” We can work on something smaller and take the time to get it right.
- James Krenov: “What did the doing take, and what did it give?”
- At the end of every project, what did the doing take out of you and what did it give to you and to the people using it?
Ship Small, But Excellent
- Work from large to small. Ship small to large.
- Do as little as you can in your work and in your process. Don’t do things for the sake of doing things.
- Work small and build on your sucesses. Narrow the scope.
It’s better to get a sub-system right than to work on a whole system and get it wrong.
Seek Deep Knowledge
Reinvent only with reason. Charles and Ray Eames:
Innovate as a last resort.
- Patrizio Bertelli, Prada CEO: “Young people are not necessarily the key to innovation”
- Uncover institutional knowledge and find the old hands. Do apprenticeships! Take on apprentices!
Dear Sugar (Cheryl Strayed):
You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work.