In February, the Center for Architecture and Design Kansas City (CFADKC) hosted a 2-day intensive workshop by Gravity Tank, an innovation consultancy out of Chicago, focused on their WORKdifferently process. Sarah Beshears of Floc5, and I signed up for the potential to apply this process to our collaborations in architecture and environmental graphic design. The purpose of WORKdifferently is to create a streamlined method of design that inspires the client group to fully invest in the project and focus on visioning with the designer, and the intended result is a design that exceeds their expectations.
The 2-day focus allowed for a deep dive into this process while also tackling the development of new ideas for the future of professional learning spaces. Leaders from Gravity Tank walked us through a variety of scenarios in individual and group work, while giving context by providing references from a number of sources along the way. One of the most interesting of these was a description of Pixar Animation Studios’ process of storytelling and collaboration. It exemplified how the juxtaposition between reality and creativity are at the crux of every design process.
This event followed a similar presentation hosted by CFADKC in 2014, which was an introductory session on Design Thinking put on by IDEO, a global design company. Gravity Tank’s WORKdifferently process and IDEO’s Design Thinking process follow a similar rigor. The central tenets of each company’s process are outlined below:
Whatever methodology is applied, the core idea is to provide a system for a successful design process with real, applicable outcomes. You can’t put design in a box, but this kind of method provides a framework for diving in deep to rethink and reposition an idea; for shifting perspective. Channeling the energy and ideas of often disparate views into something new takes focus, and trust in your fellow collaborators.
Overall, the workshop was a great walkthrough of another approach to a design methodology. The experience also reinforced the idea that collaboration happens most seamlessly when a baseline of trust has been formed. Sarah and I developed some of our most important takeaways during a 45 minute session where together we stepped back from the core problem to be solved and applied ideas from other disrupters in a completely different market. We were able to be open, honest and ultimately fruitful in the development of our ideas because of the trust we’ve built through the intense collaboration we’ve had over the past 8 months for the launch of Odimo. We’re now taking this approach to collaboration to other shared clients including Simple Science Juices, who launches their second store at 1914 Main this week.
Center for Architecture & Design is a PLACE, a COLLECTIVE, and a RESOURCE for our community to benefit from the creativity and ingenuity of design professionals. This is CFADKC’s second year in operation, and the events and conversations it advances tie all disciplines together for a cohesive look at design in our community. The seventh annual Design Week was a great success in April, hosting 20 events in 10 days, with over 2,100 tickets sold. I’m looking forward to what they show the Kansas City Design Network next.