Adventures in Generative Transformation: Trying to Break Client’s Design Ideas

Hey all. I’m liking the rhythm of a post at least once a week currently, I must say. However, in the lead up to a workshop on Holistic Decision Making in the middle of nowhere that started yesterday, I’m not going to be making the time to see through either of a few longer posts-in-preparation. I’ll instead keep the ball rolling by sharing a recent short video of a fun moment on a design consult with my clients-become-friends Luke, Christy and Tully who are developing their 30 acres in Clunes, Victoria with a bit of help here and there from myself.

I trust this won’t come across the wrong way, but an essential aspect of an living process where generative transformation is at play is that you thoroughly interview incoming ideas before you give them a role in the system being developed. Here is how Christopher Alexander puts it in Volume Two of his The Nature of Order series.

We should therefore be extremely skeptical about the first possibilities that present themselves to our minds. We should run through the possibilities first, and reject most of them. If we do accept it, reluctantly, only when we finally find something that for which no good reason presents itself to reject it, which appears genuinely wonderful to us, and which demonstrably makes the feeling of the whole become more profound.

But of course, if one merely jumps at the image that presents itself, and if one carries a self-deluded idea that it must be good because it came up in one’s own brain — the chances are good that this first or second, or third ‘inspiration’ is something not good, but more likely something bad (p. 258)

It was in this spirit that I tried to politely destroy Christy and Luke’s idea during this design session…

1 Comment

  1. This is absolutely something I’d love some practical skill in! How to softly and gently tell clients that their idea is rubbish until the whole picture has been fully designed. I guess starting off with well articulated goals allows for this more easily, which itself is another process I’d like more practical experience and skill in facilitating…

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