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February 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Tom Wetterer!!

Love this article I just read, here is the ending (I can’t hyperlink the url at the end for some reason)

On the one hand, they remind us that if we are thoughtful about when, where, and how we take action as members of a community, we can positively influence a system or the world around us, even building a movement. In line with Jonah Lehrer and others’ recent critique of “groupthink” and collaboration, my experiments in the Lego room demonstrate the incredible importance of having the right people at the right table at the right time.

On the other hand, it is both exciting and humbling to know that if we put a five-year-old girl next to a seasoned designer, whether we ask them to collaborate or not, they are most likely going to influence each other’s work. The seasoned designer or “expert,” better able to recognize patterns, is going to be able to more quickly expand on them. The five-year-old girl, unencumbered by those patterns, will head off in an entirely different direction. Proximity allows both of them to “scaffold” off one another, reaching a point of creation that neither could have reached alone. Ultimately, who is the expert here? I say this with a wink, because the lessons gained from Legos and a five-year-old girl are not directly transferable to every challenge, discipline, or situation.

Prototyping and “showing” new behaviors, expertise, and relationships is essential to best meeting the substantial needs of society today. As we all know, many systems and organizations for solving our cities’ most pressing problems are broken, and by extension our understanding of how to solve them and who participates is also often broken. As such, we need more places and generative opportunities, like Lego rooms, to fundamentally rethink how people might engage with one another to make our cities great.


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