Unknown Origins

Maggie Hendrie on Media Design

October 29, 2020 Maggie Hendrie Season 1 Episode 22
Unknown Origins
Maggie Hendrie on Media Design
Show Notes Transcript

Maggie Hendrie provides perspective on creativity in media design from working at the intersection of creative technology, critical frameworks, and studio practice in industry and education. Maggie is the founding chair of Art Center College of Design’s Bachelor of Science in Interaction Design and Chairs their Graduate Media Design Practices MFA. 


Creativity Without Frontiers available at all relevant book retailers

Stay in touch with Unknown Origins

Music by Iain Mutch 

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/unknownorigins)
Roy Sharples:

Hello, I'm Roy Sharples, and welcome to the unknown origins podcast series, the purpose of which is to provide inspirational conversations with creative industry personalities on entrepreneurship, pop culture, art, music, film and fashion. Today's focus is Media Design, for which I have the pleasure of chatting with Maggie Hendrie. Maggie works at the intersection of creative technology, critical framework studio practice in industry and education. She is the founding Chair of Art Center College of designs, Bachelor of Science and interaction design, and chairs. The Graduate media design practices MFA. Maggie is also the CO organizer of data to discovery and NASA JPL and Caltech program, which brings computer scientists, designers and artists together with researchers and engineers to develop interactive visualization tools. As a practicing designer for over 20 years, she has developed human centered design approaches to emerging technologies in Europe and the USA. She has worked with startups, incubators, software, and fortune 500 companies. In 2004. She established Sony Pictures and attainments user experience competency center, and as director worked with Sony divisions worldwide to integrate usability, user centric design and interaction into Sony produced devices and cross platform projects. Prior to that, she was creative director for career soft and senior user interface designer at Sabre media. Maggie received her Master of Arts in the liberal arts from Edinboro University, her master of science and Communication and Information Sciences from the Novell sir Bani University and our postgraduate from the Paris eight University and hypermedia design and multimedia communication. Hello, and welcome, Maggie. Hello, right, what inspired and attracted you to the world of media and interaction design.

Maggie Hendrie:

I think like many people, I had a kind of very flexible and unexpected path. I grew up on the west coast of Scotland in the 70s and 80s. And I went from high school to university in Edinburgh, where I did an AMA and I think I followed what I was interested at at school. So I studied English literature, philosophy, and I lived there when I was 20. And at that time, there were there were very few employment opportunities, I think, I think I was just following my interest and a very good friend and I went to France. And I did a lot of odd jobs, like many offers, I worked in a bar, I was a cleaner, but I also had the chance to work on magazines and with photographers and with sound engineers as part time work. And I eventually chose to go back to school in France where I studied Information Science and communication. And what I was really interested in actually were museums and galleries, I find it fascinating how an object or a painting could be part of a collection, what led to that how different people perceive and experience that when it's in a public space. And in parallel, I was as I was researching that I had some great teachers, I had the opportunity to study for example, with Deleuze and plhiv, and Raja loafer. And yeah, and the philosophy department actually just been started by Foucault at Patrick wheat. And everyone talked in critical theory about text, text, text text. And I became very aware that people's experience of it was what I was kind of thinking of as a hypertext, it was fairly rich and encyclopedic and personal and elastic, as well as a kind of phenomenology of what the actual objects and it communicated. So I started actually looking for tools that would articulate that and I came across things like hypertext. So I, when I went on to do future postgraduate studies, I was really looking at how people make tools to tell these kinds of stories, and what kind of experiences you could design with these new languages. So from there, technology changed and we moved on to like in France, designing for the meditel CD ROMs kiosks, and I got to really learn on the job about how to build and design kind of the woven in with how do you actually think about these technologies,

Roy Sharples:

how has growing up in Scotland affected your worldview.

Maggie Hendrie:

So growing up in Scotland in the 70s, and 80s, was really interesting, in fact, because I lived in a very kind of semi rural area. So on one side, it was very flirty, you know, go out in the morning, like a free range child and come back at night. So at a very flirty, very secured environment and a village of just under 2000 people at that time. But at the same time, Scotland was Riven with a lot of sectarian violence, the troubles were happening, our schools divided by religion, and it was very conservative and really quite isolated. At that time, you know, we had two television channels and no telephone. So I think that the way Scottish education worked was it was very broad, and you had to work hard. And it was kind of a path to making change was a path to changing your circumstances, a path to kind of seeing the rest of the world. So I think that's one side of it is the educational component and the social. But I also saw that people worked really hard. There's a very big work ethic, and that people are very down to earth, and their sense of humor. And an ability to approach people of all kinds of backgrounds is really important. What

Roy Sharples:

does media and interaction design mean to you?

Maggie Hendrie:

I've always been interested in, there's actually computation and medium, we see that you can make media using using technology, you can make JPEGs, you can make movies, sound files, all kinds of things. I was particularly interested in how algorithms change and actually pilot that and the media as a vehicle. So for me personally, Media Design has meant mixed media. So we can be talking about any kind of media, but underlying it, there's an architecture and an algorithm that brings that media to life, it actually doesn't exist if people aren't engaging with it and interacting with it. So I'd actually call myself an interaction designer, and I worked as an interaction designer for over 20 years, before I came to my role in education

Roy Sharples:

and the context of the creative process. How do you make the invisible visible, by conjuring up ideas, developing those ideas into concepts, and then implementing those concepts into actualization? I think at higher

Maggie Hendrie:

level that we want to be answering questions that nobody's asking. Right? Yes. So that that I think the first thing is to be very observant, and to see where there's contradiction, or a gap, or a need, or a story about a human experience that that's not evident. So I think what we're often looking for is paradox contradiction, valid than just seeing opportunity. So I like to think about that as being a design intent. And I'll look at Well, how do you inform your design intent? Are you reading? Are you looking at secondary research? Are you doing primary research? Are you getting critique? Do you work in a community of practice? Are you making, so that's kind of the higher level but in a very practical level, like many interaction designers, my own work involves doing participatory design. So a lot of things we know in UX about different kinds of interviews, observation, contextual inquiry, a lot of diagramming and sketching, a lot of low fidelity prototyping with and then mixed fidelity, prototyping some digital, a lot of paper, a lot of material. And that's kind of how I personally go through the process of building an interactive product or service. I would say though, is that the the two programs that I chair one is an undergraduate degree in interaction design, and it very much follows that kind of professional practice. But our graduate program media design practices, is much more focused on implication and impact. So our students are very much looking at the system in which technology loops, so for example, in recent years, they've looked at things like predictive policing. What does that tell us about encoding bias? They've looked at how democracy works through technology. They've been considering issues of gender representation and inclusion in technology, and their solutions are much more subjective. Much more about the actual installation and experience of the technology and what it reveals. Both those social, economic and technological systems in which they learn

Roy Sharples:

what are the essential skills for Media Design?

Maggie Hendrie:

I think the ability to ask interesting questions is hugely important, as I mentioned. But I also think asking questions such as What if this could be done? Yeah. And what would it take to do this? What would it look like? And rather than being the sole creative or being right, I think the ability to include others in a deep collaboration that really respects their expertise is probably a principal principal skill as as being observant, and we talk quite a lot about being empathetic. I don't think as an educator, my job is to make somebody anything, let alone empathetic. But I do believe we can create the environment and the framework from which emerges. So learning how to learning how to do great interviews, observations, learning techniques that allow other people to sketch and think out loads, I think are really important skills, as well as, as well as actually being quote, illiterate, I don't think we need to be able to do the engineering or the development. But understanding at a deep level, where design lives in an algorithm, or in data, or in the human experience of it, and its implications, I think, are real skills,

Roy Sharples:

you're in a time machine with the opportunity to go back. What would you see to a younger Maggie, based on the lessons learned, the pitfalls to avoid and the keys to success based on your professional experience to date?

Maggie Hendrie:

Well, I have the privilege of actually being able to speak to a lot of young people, as an educator, I do get to speak to 18 year olds and people who are just beginning their path in in this domain. So I think I would tell them to find or build a community of practice, not just an industry network, to really focus on your skills and your craft and your design intent. As much as you focus on Have I got a job, what's my next step? How am I building a career? And I think I also would want to probably be a little bit more compassionate 1018 year olds self, and see, don't be so anxious. And don't worry so much about getting it right, worries about really thinking it through and really experimenting and practicing different approaches,

Roy Sharples:

looking forward into the future. What is your vision for the future of media and interaction design? And where do you see the role of creativity play its part within the education of that whilst considering socio cultural, political, economical, and technological forces that are driving change within society?

Maggie Hendrie:

Obviously, our current situation where many people are dating, working, shopping, living traveling online, has really brought to the fore how's the quality of interaction? breeds in so many facets of life, and it's really, pm and then and everybody's day to day experience? I think many more people are aware that a lot of work remains to be done. Yeah. And, and also, I think, understanding that we do see a lot happening in kind of cultural media, whether it's social media or influencer driven content, but many people are still working in enterprise software, and the software industry has existed for a long time. So rather than it being radical changes, I, I actually think it's more an expansion of what we know about interaction design and media design into new domains. So we're seeing it coming into how we, how we try to plan cities, or how we think about transportation, or education or health care. So I would invite young designers to pay attention to those domains as much as they do to Media Design. Yeah. And then the other piece that I think is is really exciting is Media Design. See in our MFA program, where we have an absolute abundance of arts, critical thinking critical making about its cultural and economic impact. And I think we see a lot more creativity and opportunity in digital experiences that are not all about e commerce or work or enterprise solutions.

Roy Sharples:

how critical is creativity, as a discipline in terms of how you practice edge and deliver education. And do you think its future role will be even more critical, especially given the impact of what the pandemic has had, and the disruption, it's caused upon education and business and people's lives.

Maggie Hendrie:

I think I approached designing syllabus and curriculum, the way I approach designing an interaction system, I can design the framework, the way classes fit together, the way different faculty members are included in creating that, and also the way the students experience it. So I can think of education as actually being putting the student at the heart of the user experience and designing a student and faculty experience. So their their actual, day to day, year to year creative engagement with it, is the actual curriculum. So creativity, I think, I try not to see creativity with a big capital C, because I find that frightening thing that you were asking earlier about what it was like to grow up in Scotland, I thought artists came with a big capital he already baked was born. And I didn't know that design existence. So I've tried to look at creativity with a small C, right? And that can mean asking, what are some of the other options? Who else could have an opinion about this? Where could I see an analogous an analogous situation, right, and that means I would encourage designers to be creative, to nurture, music, travel, literature, anthropology, politics, good foot, and not to think that it's instead of work to understand that that is your work, I sometimes tell our students that, at least in my work, I've had every kind of title and label you can imagine. And really, it changes depending on who I'm talking to. So I tell my family that I've tried to make technology easier for people to use. And then in different contexts, I might be telling a client or a partner that, you know, I don't know what the outcome is, but I know how to find out and that the process is the product. And then with C or students or in the work, I do know, and I'm very much engaged in thinking about my job is to help you be creative. Yes, worried about my creativity, we're here to nurture yours. The job titles have ranged depending on on the context, right. And I think our work is very context specific. So it's been an information architect and interaction designer and UX strategist. All kinds of titles that are really about the collaboration in the organization, as much as about the work

Roy Sharples:

that must be rejuvenating to be around talented, young people. day in day out. However, I have a question for you. Do you think youth is wasted on the young?

Maggie Hendrie:

So it's funny what you say ROI because they stayed the same age they stay 18? I get older. We writing Yeah. I actually am very heartened by and I get a lot of optimism and courage from our young people. This is not an easy time, their world has been turned upside down. And what I've seen is that they have really engage deeply with their work, they think a lot more about the systems in which their work glyphs than I think I did it their age, their questioning what is big tech, or the ethics of AI? What does it mean to use dark design patterns? How What does it mean to actually create a profile or an avatar, or digital extension of a person? So I'm really encouraged by their questions, and also by their solutions and their points of view. And I also think that, you know, people said about a lot of young people or they're so entitled actually think that they're there. They're unaware of what they're truly entitled to, which is some security, a lack of debt or opportunities to experiment. So I actually find myself quite humbled by the ingenuity and the commitment by our young people. Today, you asked a question of AI about making the invisible visible. Yes, I caught a co director program called data to discovery with colleagues at NASA, JPL and Caltech, both here in Pasadena. And our goal was to create through interactive data visualization tools that would allow science to actually see and understand things that may have been a hypothesis. So that's been a really exciting program in that we've had, over the course of 10 weeks, we've done about 21 projects. And those projects can range from What does rover see on Mars? And how does that help us program its path to how do you understand what's happening in vents in the deep sea? And how does that affect oceanography and ultimately, the climate. And I think that opportunity to really look at the tool sets that scientists use brings me back to some of my original interests in when I said hypertext, it was you need to sometimes build the tools that you're going to use to discover something. And you do that in partnership with people who have deep subject matter expertise. And there's a really big requirement, I think, as a designer to be incredibly elastic to go from the big hypothesis, to the micro interaction in the detail. And I think that program is one for me that deep collaboration, as I mentioned, with people with expertise in human computer interaction, science, and art, has allowed us to work with scientists to build tools that enable their science. And that's working at a scale that I didn't think was possible when I started out. But it's very much focused on making the invisible visible,

Roy Sharples:

where you live and work in northeast Los Angeles has such great access to a vibrant ecosystem and community,

Maggie Hendrie:

it's actually interesting to be working in an art and design, school. That's right next door to Caltech and also NASA JPL. That means that our kind of local community has a lot of science, engineering, some incredible artists and designers, as well as the Los Angeles creative economy, that creative community. And I think a lot of people consider Los Angeles and we're all aware of the glossy media site of Los Angeles. Yes, but the the way that we actually apply design is very relevant to Los Angeles. It's where there are electrician, set designers, lighting experts, yeah. Music Composition, all of these, all of these people who have incredible craft and skills in the creative, creative sphere live and work in Los Angeles, when I started the interaction program, a lot of people asked, Well, why not Silicon Valley? Why not go. And I think I was really interested in creating a program that would lead to interaction design and creative technology, in the places that can be applied entertainment, automotive, hospitality, art, as much as being embedded in the heart of where the technology itself is designed and developed. The biggest shift I've seen in creative tech, since I started making software for all kinds of startups and companies and also in agencies, has actually been the shift in the underlying economic model. And I find it very hard to see that what began as an e commerce permission marketing model, if it's free, I'll get advertised that using some of my data, which began in the supermarket, right with your loyalty cards. That was that we have completely conflated being a consumer with being a citizen. Yes. And we're using the same tools as we used for marketing and e commerce and advertising to actually share information about our civic shared community life. And I find that really disturbing, because that is purely transactional. model, queer data, personal profiling and micro targeting became the preeminent and requirement for success. Yeah, I find that pretty disturbing. And I think there are other places that are thinking about their entry and creation of creative tech in a very different way. So the places I'm looking to right now that I think are really interesting are in in Africa, Latin America. Many of our students come from China. They have some very interesting ideas with pros and cons of how we use technology. But I think the can a heck of money of North America and Europe for a lot of the work we do has thankfully shifted or beginning slowly to shift And I can see both the personal the creative and the professional for me shifting to Oh, how's

Roy Sharples:

the impact of the pandemic disrupted the experience that you're delivering to your students?

Maggie Hendrie:

Well, I think there are two parts to that. I think there's how are we delivering education, but there's also how our students learning. And in terms of delivery, it's awesome all the time. But we are using lots of lots of things, tools that I think we might not have used before, right. So we're on Twitch, we're even went back to do an exhibition this week in Second Life. We're using lots of whiteboarding tools, lots of collaboration tools. And I've noticed that the students installation, which might have been physical at one point is no more performative because it's in a streaming, streaming platform. Yeah. So I think that I have to say, I'm absolutely impressed at the ingenuity of our students to adapt and to actually kind of subvert some of these technologies and use them in different ways. So that's, that's the positive. The negative i would say is that at Art Center College of Design, we have some incredible facilities. It's a culture of makers. Yes. So we have people who design everything from automotive to feature films, photography, industrial design. So all of our interaction students and media design practice students typically work in the shops as well. And that's obviously not available to them. No. So we send packages to people with materials. They're working on their desktops and filming. They're using some hubs that might be available to them locally. But in general, we haven't been on campus since March.

Roy Sharples:

Oh, wow. And, you know, it's it's hard to tell, but you think when all this is over and done by Do you think education will kind of go back to how it was? Don't you think it kind of goes to a new plateau?

Maggie Hendrie:

I do think it's changed. Yes. And it will continue to it will continue to be hybrid. I think we're we're, I think what we think this again, robots that can start again, of course, yeah. Education won't go back to the way it was in 2019. I think we'll maintain a hybrid digital and hopefully in person, when available. Can a model what is interesting, and I work with our, our online educational professionals and colleagues. And this is the idea that we have often said that we want to, we want to support lifelong learning. So that means people potentially working in hubs, different duration of educational experience shorter, sometimes in a group, sometimes online courses, it may also mean that we're looking at people who are still in the workplace, but choosing to change career and taking modules that build towards a degree law residency programs. We have created, what we're calling hubs, in areas that parts of the world where we have a group of groups of students, they've been really successful. And that means that they're working online for their classes from Pasadena, but they're also having mentorship from alums their visit, where appropriate, they're visiting studios, they're doing internships, either online or in person. Yeah. So I think the idea of a linear education that starts after high school, and then you're complete with a terminal degree in your mid 20s. I'm thankful to see that that's been kind of blown up with our current situation. But I will say I would like to add, though, about the education is like, delivering education online, also reveals all of the cracks and pitfalls and inadequacies of the system, but also the inequities in the system. Not every student has access to a quiet, safe place. That's all technology enabled. And many of them are struggling to, you know, maintain Family Health and income, as well as their studies. So as an educator, I think in our teaching, we're also very aware of how to support the student through that as much as in their work. You've recently left a job with a major tech company and you've now started A new kind of practice. Can you talk a little bit about choosing to do that at this time, and how you see your practice developing in the short and longer term

Roy Sharples:

Purely out of passion and an assessee, I established unknown origins on a mission to unlock everyone's creative potential. And the first phase, it's about blending the art and science of aesthetics with excellence and craftsmanship, by creating novel solutions that ultimately drive audience engagement and brand love. This is manifested in four core services that we provide advisory envisioning training and talks. So for advisory, it's about helping organizations and teams and individuals develop their creative strategy, that brand strategy culture curation, and storytelling, by helping them light the way into the future by applying their Do It Yourself sensibility to originate craft, make and do. envisioning is about challenging the status quo by imagining the impossible, and to make the invisible visible. Training is about helping build knowledge, skills, abilities, and know how to game the creative process by helping people and teams to build capability and capacity that drives sustained discovery, invention, and innovation. And then finally, talks is about providing inspirational perspectives about creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership, that provoke action. To change means to inspire thinking to take action by building connections, understand perspectives, and to broaden capacity. We also have two books that we have crafted and they're going to be published in due course, the first one is going to be CREATIVITY WITHOUT frontiers. And then the second one, is going to be storytelling without frontiers. And then finally, there is a community component that we help champion and facilitate. And that includes a podcast series, where we've assembled various personalities from the creative industry to provide inspirational conversations, specifically about their point of view, on creativity, and their creative process from pop culture, music, art, film, fashion, and entrepreneurship.

Maggie Hendrie:

So when people ask you, what is creativity? How do you describe it to them?

Roy Sharples:

Creativity is the ability to see the unseen, to make what is from what is not. Authentically creative people are iconoclasts, they walk to the beat of their own drum, and manifest their inner feelings and the world around them by influencing their innate point of view and talents. By crafting poetry in a world whether whether that is only prose, and produce art, or that is only architecture, they help us view the world in a new dimension, by lighting the way into the future. They don't fit a particular formula or mold. They define their own pathway. They stretch the imagination, navigate the ambiguity, take risks, experiment, and critically and constructively analyze and provide an alternative that transcends the obvious and the routine. imitation is not creation. It's about connecting the past with the present and creating something new. It isn't incidental, it is core to the human condition, and should be treated as a core discipline like reading, writing, arithmetic, and nurtured not just through education. But through your entire life experience.

Maggie Hendrie:

I was thinking a lot about your question around, you know, what is Media Design and how we describe what we do to different people. And I think one of the things that as a career develops, one gets more comfortable with is being an imposter, coming at things slant, knowing that I don't necessarily have those foundational skills, but I know how to find out. And that is, that's kind of precarious, exciting place to be. Because by definition, if it's new, it doesn't have a pre existing framework. And it often sits at the heart of, you know, critical thinking, yes, different forms of making different business models, different social and economic implications, different new teams of people that you may or may not have worked with before. So I think the ability to look for what you're prepared to work hard that as well as what you're intuitively excited by is is a form of creativity, too. As the getting comfortable with with that, sitting in that interstitial space, that liminal space, expressing and telling stories about what could be and why are probably some of the key creative skills, that kind of nurture all along the different platforms you may or may not be working in.

Roy Sharples:

We've built a creativity excellence model that will be published within our forthcoming book, Creativity Without Frontiers, what it looks at the key learning stages for creativity, and how people move through these stages. So for example, as a novice, you're fledgling. So how are you acquiring knowledge and know how they're moving into like a journey person where you're applying insight and contributing independently, to then becoming an expert, where you're guiding through domain expertise to then becoming an innovator, where you're innovating through breakthrough execution, and then ultimately, an artist where you're leading through artistry and personal mastery, or you're creating a culture and a movement. Many influential artists, designers, musicians, filmmakers, actors, writers, poets, industrialists, technologists, started off as being imitators of the crafts current greats. Take the Beatles, for example. As fledglings, they started off, imitating American gospel, r&b, rockabilly and early rock and roll, the themes of the music dealt with love songs and teen relationships. They became journeymen up until they mastered the technical expertise as musicians and songwriters, which then elevated them to becoming experts. Then about halfway through their duration. They then found their own unique, authentic voice and style, and produce the lyrics and music about everyday life and observations in their native Liverpudlian accents, ultimately becoming artists, where they revolutionized how music was made, and acted as a catalyst and soundtrack for social justice movements such as this the Summer of Love, and the sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album becoming the soundtrack for that generation. The Beatles have endured a canonize status on precedent it for musicians to date, expertise is not enough to change the world. Innovation and artistry requires the ability to transcend time and create a culture and movement manifested through your own unique identity and aesthetics. There's lots of great experts out there are great guitar players, great drummers, great painters, but there's much few true artists out there that have their own unique aesthetic and identity. And what's the difference? And what are the skills and capabilities needed to take that leap from expert to artistic innovator?

Maggie Hendrie:

Wow, that's, that's a fabulous question. Because when we talk to or give credit to around fledgling artists, yeah, one of the one of the most painful things you can say is that your work is imitation or derivative. Yes, yes. So I think it's a part about being aware that you're kind of reverse engineering as a way to build your skill. Yes, build your unravel and unpack what was happening in the can a mental model and the practice of somebody who you admire or can learn from? Yes, right, that that moment where there's a shift, to saying no, I'm going to break the grip? No, I'm going to do it differently. I think it may. I don't know, I think it's different for everyone. But I think it may come from play and experimentation and a drive to try and make something so and in some ways, we kind of reverse engineer ourselves. Yes, thing, oh, I had a strategy. I have a plan.

Roy Sharples:

You triggered another thought, Maggie, around mentorship and standing on the shoulders of giants by seeking counsel from people, you know, trust, respect, and the mayor, and who are positive role models that can share their skills, insights and expertise to help you nurture your ideals. But I think the key point around, you know, defined authentic, true originality. It's not about imitation is not creation. And when it comes to our influences, it's not about being like the things that influenced us. It's about being as good as so it's not about ripping them off or imitate and it's about understanding Why did they influence you? And how did they do that? And then infusing that into your arsenal that then inspires you to go forth and multiply and to do creative pursuits as influential as those influences were on you. So

Maggie Hendrie:

something I'm I've been thinking about in light of our conversation is things that aren't we're in software and hypermedia multimedia new media, is that it was relatively new. And at least when I began work in it in the early 90s, and you couldn't directly say, oh, there's somebody who's done this before, and I can deconstruct what they did and learn my craft, I think we had to look at all of the strands that fed into it. So teams were actually made up of architects and video artists and computing scientists and engineers and developers, and I was deeply influenced by choreography. The way Twyla Tharp's creative process was very meaningful to me. I was interested in Rebecca Horne, who was an artist that had a very embodied engagement, a very an interaction with like physical felt breathing apparatus, walking through fields, as well as people who were involved in education. Hmm. People who were involved in, as I mentioned, different forms of sound design or media making. And I really kind of think that that mix of disciplines and skills and approaches were really vital in generating these platforms. And in some ways, we couldn't directly point to one person and say, oh, that person has done this before. Yes. So there was an interesting mix of trying to understand all of these disciplines, but also understand that you were forward trying to forge something new,

Roy Sharples:

yes, and in the pursuit of doing something new. What I've learned over the years, is that high performance creative teams tend to be self organizing, and their performance emerges from the joint actions of the experts within the project itself. In the same way, the most innovative teams are those that can restructure themselves in response to unexpected shifts in the environment. They don't need a strong leader per se, to tell them what to do, or how to do it. People who have the expertise and the passion, or step up at the right time and the creative process to lead and drive completion of their respective input and add value to the team and solution. Moreover, they tend to form spontaneously, when like minded people find each other, a group emerges and shares a common vision, purpose and motivation to execute the mission at hand. And the improvisation. The improvisational collaboration of the entire group translates moments of individual creativity into group innovation, allowing the space for the self organizing emergence to a car. This is difficult for many traditional teams, organizations and managers in organizations, typically, because the outcome is not controlled by the management team's agenda, and is therefore less predictable. So most business executives like to start with a big picture and then work out the deep the details. The creative atmosphere cultivated, needs to be liberal, inclusive, and meritocratic. So no hierarchy, politics, prejudice, and hungers on, should be allowed or tolerated within the nucleus. And it starts with a big idea and a shared vision, then the team works through the details to then come up with the big picture. And then to bring that whole brief to life.

Maggie Hendrie:

I was really attracted to creative tech, in part because of the kind of agile methodology so agile is the term is relatively new. But I had the opportunity to work with, in particular, some amazing technologists. And I could ask just questions every day. How does that work? How do we know this? I think that's the question I asked when I was a kid that I still ask every day is how do we know this? And they had the patience to explain to whiteboard to diagram, how the technology worked, why and I had the opportunity to see Have you ever considered what if, and that was not considered to be a lack of expertise, or somehow not effective or efficient, that was considered to be the way we build teams. And I do think it's, it's hard. If you've ever worked as a consultant in agency, you're always caught in this tender spot where you're being engaged to provide something to to a client who's paying. And when you go in and you say, I don't know the answer. Yeah. That's, that's kind of not what they want to hear. So what actually happens is that we were caught in this place where predictability is, is considered desirable. And in some places, it's right. When I work with people at GPL, they still use in some ways, in a lot of places a waterfall method, right? Yeah. Which is not the same as designing something for a play or a game. Yeah. So I think the opportunity to pull from all of these different methods, and being able to design a team, and then design a method is just as important as thinking about designing what the outcome is going to be. And that takes craft to, I think the other thing that's useful for people is to consider as they build a team, how are they also building an ongoing practice? Not just for themselves, but for other people? Yeah. So how are you building roles in your team for people to learn for mentorship for internship? Are you building roles where people can move in a transdisciplinary? way into maybe another discipline? Yeah, not just be the person who provides their segment, I think of transdisciplinary as something that that kind of goes beyond it can, is more than the sum of all the disciplines that make it up. Consciously, it goes across disciplines, as multi disciplinary might be many disciplines working in concert, I try to avoid overly nuanced semantics, semantic definitions, and ask, What are you trying to do? Why is that word important to you? And is it going to help you build a team or think of a method or develop a new approach? Yeah, in which case, whether we call it multi disciplinary or transdisciplinary, is not. It's not necessarily relevant material yet, right? Yeah. Right. I really enjoy working in an art and design College, where we have the opportunity to blend academic frameworks with the practice of making, yes. Because we always ask this question of how is this informing what you're making? Are you a call it thing curring, where you're thinking to make and making to think, and if the definition of terms doesn't help inform that,then you may need to invent a new word. So I wondered if you could talk a little bit about your first memories of story making, as well as storytelling, and how that's informed the way you work

Roy Sharples:

For story making. I almost see that as a formulaic way of reversing a case study, if you will, whereby you start with the end in mind. And then you formulate the brief the engagement, the project, around how you're going to get to that end Nirvana state based on the story, you want to be able to tell at the end of it and almost like reverse engineer, the process to make that happen. being clear about your audience, what do they care about? What stories will resonate best with them? Why should they care? What is our goal? Is it to entertain? Is it to inspire is it to excite? Is it to influence? What's the call to action that we're that we want the audience to take away? And how do we want to make them feel Mayo, Angelou put it nicely, I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. Then also connect them to the old ancient proverb. Tell me a fact and awareness. Tell me a truth and I'll believe, but tell me a story. And it will live in my heart forever. So stories they bring us together, they help us understand our past and reach towards the future. And the world tells story engages main heart, and soul. and powerful narrative is built from simple principles. And these are principles that I've used within story making, but also storytelling as well. And those are truth, voice and style, change and humanity. So for truth, it's how we connect emotionally with a story and relate it to ourselves by bringing genuine moments to life, celebrating relationships between people, and not just facts about things. And we can make inspiring stories. Our chosen voice and style have the potential to reveal meaning and with ease or bury in confusion. If you're not honest with what the story is, then we will wisely choose how it's told. the right style and voice will bring clarity to stories both simple and complex. We exist in time, our lives have beginnings, middles, and ends, filled with ups and downs, sudden reversals and unexpected successes. Conflict is the engine of narrative. It's what keeps us listening, and a story without setbacks. It's not worth telling. We tell stories to share and understand human experiences. And great stories are both personal and universal. And they build connections, and they pass on wisdom, and effective story has value and inspires us to take action. So whether that's within story making storytelling, it's what action Do you want to deliver as an outcome in terms of how you want people to feel? How do you want to provoke action that will change mains?

Maggie Hendrie:

This year, we did a partner project with a social media company. And they had asked us to think about the future of storytelling. Yeah. And AR and VR. Yeah. And the more that we worked on it, we came to think about story making, not storytelling, and that, especially in social media, it's it's a collaborative process. And that story is not a staple thing. Yeah, story shifts and moves in its language, its tone, its choice of characters, its flow, depending on the context. And that the what we used to think of us in the audience are actually participating in that it's very performative, it's very dynamic that way. And I think the use of story allows for, for that flexibility, so that more people hopefully can be included so that it can be sensitive to that context. But also still have a drive, there's still an author, there are students are very aware of the systems and the implications of the work they do. And recently, we were having a conversation around his data, the new plastic. And the question that came up was, if we keep saying that just get the data is the solution to everything in our human experience that these creative technologies, what do we do with that data? And is it just as noxious and as toxic as plastic turned out to be? So the analogy was a really interesting one. And I think it's really valuable as we have this kind of techno determinism where everything quarters the future, is, what do we what can we stop doing? What can we as designers, as creatives, what can we just say, stop? Yeah, we don't need to do it, or we even need to de design, we need to design to divest ourselves from those systems. And those those outcomes, right? Yeah. So I think those are some of the kind of ways we're thinking about creativity is also a way to say no, sometimes when you come at things slant, when you tell a story that might be speculative, but provocative or different, who actually open up the opportunity to make that change happens subtly. And ultimately, we're changing our, the way we express ourselves, and therefore how we discovered the world. Yes. Because of these very media ties, normative forces, that include a lot of questions that today we would be like, yeah, it's all about class and yeah, inclusion and diversity. And I don't think we had that vocabulary at the time. We still didn't have vocabulary, the time to understand that's what we're experiencing.

Roy Sharples:

Really enjoyed the conversation.

Maggie Hendrie:

Me too, and I'm really grateful for the opportunity to share, you know what we're doing at art center, as well as my own personal practice in media and creative

Roy Sharples:

tech for more inspirational conversations with creative industry personalities on entrepreneurship, pop culture, art, music, film and fashion. Please go to unknown origins.com