#bucketfail

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Today’s Creative Morning was a treat. Liz Danzico hosted and the virtual guest was Swiss Miss herself with newborn Swiss Mister. Allan Chochinov of Core77 was the guest speaker and he kept it short and sweet with a song and a talk.
The song was “There A Hole in My Bucket” and Allan dedicated it to the virtual guests. Who knew that this song traces back to 1700, from a German collection of songs Bergliederbüchlein as a dialogue between an un-named man and a woman named Liese? Thanks to Wikipedia we find out that later versions were called “Heinrich und Liese” and credited as a folk song from Hesse.
Allan used the song as a metaphor for the design problem. A “cascading sequence of contingencies and consequences.” Who is the user? Is it @henry? We might call the bucket a container, or a vessel. We might say that the bucket is “a liquid containment and conveyance system.”
So what exactly does Henry need? What is the context? What about ergonomics? Ethnographics? And what about that relationship between Henry and Liza? Maybe “the bucket is the last thing we should be worried about.”
All important questions we ask when confronted with the design problem.
The client brief: “There’s a hole in our bucket!” Allan showed typical designer responses:

  • The systems approach (Honey Bucket)
  • The solution that doesn’t solve the problem (Lucky Bucket Brewing Co.)
  • The branded experience (Yankees-branded buckets)
  • In the end Allan called out for sustainable design: maybe all we need to do is re-imagine the good old-fashioned bucket. The old wooden one that’s been engineered to last forever. Sure it’s got a hole, but maybe the solution is right in front of us and needs rethinking (he showed great examples: the hippo water roller and the GRIP rake by Scott Henderson). Sometimes as designers our instinct is to add more design, more solution — stacked up solutions that are conceived as a patching together of more and more design. Perhaps we need less “might do,” less “can do,” and more “ought to do.”
    A thoughtful, important message for a snowed-in morning.

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