About being sensible

Missives from Hothouse Design

Think like a designer and stop solving problems that don't exist

Deirdre Wilson – Monday, May 22, 2017   

Good ideas come from following a design processAre you annoyed by ‘ideas people’? Every time I hear someone described as an ‘ideas person’ I hear ‘loose cannon’. It is so much worse when someone tells me that they are an ideas person because I have to try and keep a straight face and not say something rude. As a designer I find it as annoying as having design described as that ‘arty-farty’ stuff.   Read More . . .

Bad design traps people in low value work

Deirdre Wilson – Monday, May 15, 2017   

Bad design costs companies moneyThis is a story about a piece of ill-considered graphic design that created low value work, added cost and produced waste. The waste caused by poor design is much greater than just piles of printed rubbish, it extends all the way through to demotivating high value staff with low value tasks.   Read More . . .

Why 'story-telling' isn't going to go away any time soon

Deirdre Wilson – Monday, May 08, 2017   

Information design helps people leap the gulf between information and knowledgeExperience is the gulf that separates information from knowledge. You need experience to turn information into knowledge that you can put to use. But, not all experiences should be had first hand. It is not necessary to experience falling from a tall building to know that the outcome is not going to be good. Seeing someone else take that fall will do the trick. Or for a much less traumatic option: being told a story about someone falling from a building will do just fine as an experience.   Read More . . .

How unfettered creativity makes you look stupid

Deirdre Wilson – Monday, May 01, 2017   

Use the visual language that matches your audienceI found the example for this post on a blog from a company that was all about providing the mechanism for you to explain stuff to your audience. I am not going to reveal where I found it because that is just pointing the finger at someone’s poor performance.   Read More . . .

Talking about lazy thinking

Deirdre Wilson – Monday, September 26, 2016   

Talking about lazy thinkingLater this week I am giving a talk to a bunch of clever women working in the supply chain industry. I have been thinking about what I can talk about that will be interesting and either refreshing or a inspiration top up.   Read More . . .

Your boring forms are a major cause of stupid work and brand damage

Deirdre Wilson – Monday, June 06, 2016   

Boring forms – Stupid workStupid work is what we used to call poor productivity. Brand damage is caused by anything that annoys your customers, users or staff. Stupid work that causes brand damage would therefore seem to be a good place to make changes – and quickly! The source will be easy to find in any organisation – go and take a look at your forms.   Read More . . .

What exploding mice have to do with executing a plan

Deirdre Wilson – Wednesday, May 25, 2016   

Execute a planWe have had a bit of a mouse plague. It feels like a plague because I have mice everywhere I am – in the office and at home. The mice in the office left their 'calling cards' all over the kitchen bench but the mice at home exploded behind the fridge creating an unholy smell.   Read More . . .

How using schematics facilitates better decision making

Deirdre Wilson – Tuesday, April 12, 2016   

Everyone has experienced the destructive nature of 'decisions made in isolation'. It is usually abundantly clear to those affected by these terrible decisions that there was an absence of facts, information and understanding in the decision making process. When the decisions are about a system, there is an easy way to make that decision making process much better. Schematics are the type of diagrams that provide information about how a system works. They are an invaluable tool for turning information about how a system works into understanding because they put information in context.

We love putting information in context. It is at the core of what we do. We even have a diagram to explain where it fits into the wisdom getting process. For example, we recently created some schematics showing options for changing existing roads - changes that were designed to move traffic from a residential area to an industrial area. Whilst the diagrams looked like maps they were actually schematics because they were not geographically correct. Instead they showed the planned traffic routes in each of the options and the relationship between the residential areas and the industrial areas. They showed the system of roads and facilities.

   Read More . . .

Being patient - adding experience to information

Deirdre Wilson – Tuesday, April 05, 2016   

At Hothouse Design we have a diagram that describes the process of turning data into wisdom. We didn't invent this process but it resonates for us because it mimics our experience and it explains the process of turning data into wisdom is a very succinct way. In this process, information turns into knowledge once you add experience to the mix.    Read More . . .

Filling systems are dead, tagging rules!

Deirdre Wilson – Tuesday, March 22, 2016   

If enough people do stuff the same inefficient way for long enough someone else will solve the problem that those people are are avoiding. We all know someone who has one folder on their computer called My Files and everything is dumped into that folder. Ghastly way to store and try to find anything.   Read More . . .


Basics. Know what they are. Get them right. Repeat.

About being sensible.

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Turn the ship around! by David Marquet

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