Happy to be at the inaugural second year for Products of Design at SVA. Following through on a promise many years ago to Allan Chochinov, I’ll be teaching Lifecycle and Flows with Rebecca Silver, and adapting a systems thinking approach to product backstories.
Lifecycle and Flows will expose students to the hidden forces behind how consumer objects are made. Systems Thinking, Life Cycle Analysis, and Stakeholder Management Theory will be used as frameworks for understanding the industrial process. Deeper exploration of Life Cycle Analysis will expose students to the ecological, social, and financial impact of a consumer product across the full product lifecycle. Students will gain skills in critical analysis, business logic, design research, and thing-making consciousness.
I was obsessed with product backstories and book years ago when I left frog design to do my own innovation consulting work, and taught a class on backstories at ITP for a number of years inspired by Bruce Sterling’s Shaping Things. I’m thoroughly foregrounded in health, tech, and open data, and will have a point of convergence in this course as a few of the students will be hacking, deconstructing, and thoroughly investigating the product history of health and wellness tracking devices. These days, we are badass, putting sensors into EVERYTHING. What would be superbadass: understanding the human and environmental impact of sensors, everywhere, and tasking these sensors with telling the whole truth.