About being sensible

Missives from Hothouse Design

The hilarious inner workings of an introvert

Deirdre Wilson – Thursday, November 26, 2015   

Doing business in Australia is so deeply rooted in building relationships. It can be really hard for people who don't have those relationship building skills or for the introverts who find the whole process of getting to know you excruciatingly difficult.    Read More . . .

Be Honest #1: I was wrong

Deirdre Wilson – Thursday, November 12, 2015   

I was wrong in a big way this week. And I am glad that I found out. We had a huge week with lots of deadlines and staff away on annual leave. Our biggest risk during weeks like these is the temptation to take shortcuts in order to meet tight deadlines. But, there is a difference between shortcuts and doing something a better way. One of our values is Be Honest - so I am 'fessing up to making the wrong call this week because I learnt from it.     Read More . . .

Citizen science, big data and birds

Deirdre Wilson – Thursday, October 29, 2015   

Migratory birds fly at night. Obviously right? Well they aren't sitting around waiting for the sun to come up before they take off in a big flock and continue their journey. But before radar technology became available, few people knew about migrating birds flying at night.    Read More . . .

I found extra time in my day - want to know how?

Deirdre Wilson – Wednesday, October 21, 2015   

I had a short holiday recently. On the first morning I learnt how dependant I have become on one of the robots in my life when I was wondering why it was taking so long to brush my teeth. The switch on the toothbrush must have broken, I thought, because it just kept going and going. Not so - I was using an ordinary hand driven toothbrush having left the electric one at home.    Read More . . .

We design schematics. What do you do?

Deirdre Wilson – Thursday, October 15, 2015   

When I am asked 'What do you do?' I want to tell the asker all about the schematics we produce because they are the most unusual work we do and the most interesting. But they are awfully hard to explain so I am going to have a crack at it here.    Read More . . .

Colour coding maps in a submarine

Deirdre Wilson – Friday, October 09, 2015   

If you explain something using familiar words, terms and expressions then the person you are explaining to is more likely to understand what you are explaining. Seems obvious. The same holds true with visual explanations. If you colour code then you get faster understanding: red for go, green for stop. Hmm, that doesn't seem right.    Read More . . .

The charismatic trap of solutions and how to avoid it

Deirdre Wilson – Friday, September 25, 2015   

We still start with pencil and paper for projects that have loads of complexity. Something special happens when we sketch stuff out. In our office, drawing very quickly takes over from text but the two are there, hand in hand. Patterns emerge in sketches, hidden traps are uncovered, conclusions are pushed away.   Read More . . .

Design to solve problems

Deirdre Wilson – Wednesday, September 09, 2015   

Know what problems really need to be solved - that is the big secret to good design and problem solving. I have posted previously about asking heaps of questions to uncover the right problems to solve. Happily I have found an article about a product that has been designed so that consumers use it in the way that will optimise its use. This is a superb example of working out what causes problems with use and designing so that those problems are eliminated.   Read More . . .

Throwing down the guantlet with a guarantee

Deirdre Wilson – Friday, September 04, 2015   

We are very good at producing public transport timetables. In fact, we think we are the best at it - so much so that we are now guaranteeing our level of accuracy. Our 100% accuracy guarantee is: If we don't get it right on the first draft, all author's corrections are on us.    Read More . . .

Rinse and repeat #2: storage with intent

Deirdre Wilson – Wednesday, August 26, 2015   

Rinse and Repeat is one of our company values is. It reminds us to avoid chasing our tails by putting processes in place or documenting anything that will save time later on. We report to each other on how we have behaved according to our values - we do this in our daily huddles. And this value: rinse and repeat, is the one we report on having demonstrated more than any other.    Read More . . .


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

About being sensible.

Reading List

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Turn the ship around! by David Marquet

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