About being sensible

Missives from Hothouse Design

Beware over reliance on tools

Deirdre Wilson – Tuesday, July 18, 2017   

Beware over reliance on toolsTools of all sorts are being sold to us as the latest desirable purchase. The latest time-waster to plague meetings is the chorus of competing suggestions for new tools that happens whenever someone mentions a problem.   Read More . . .

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 . . .

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 . . .

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 . . .

Disruption is dangerous language

Deirdre Wilson – Tuesday, March 22, 2016   

Business jargon is a dangerous thing. People grab hold of new jargonistic terms as if they have found the only life raft in a sea boiling with sharks. Problem is, most jargon is an illusion. It is a smoke screen. The life raft is an illusion, only the sharks are real.    Read More . . .

Running a creative business - finding my tribe

Deirdre Wilson – Wednesday, January 13, 2016   

This is the first of a series of occasional posts about what happens in creative businesses - small creative businesses. But, I have to clarify already, small is a whole different definition when it comes to creative businesses. There are four and a half people and one kelpie in our business which makes us bigger than small in our industry but teeny, tiny in other industries.   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 . . .

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 . . .


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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