Archive for July 2011

Independent Study: Week 5

There's not much to talk about this week. I took a family-based trip to Canada which took up a good part of the week, but still I was able to finish working through Todd Henry's new book. I was also able to conduct the first of a series of interviews with church leaders which will comprise a portion of my research.

On a different note entirely, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and learned about the Group of Seven. These turn-of-the-century painters had an approach that I absolutely love: they hiked or canoed into remote places in Ontario and painted, often in a very personal and expressive style. More about that later.

I also became acquainted with the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) and learned a little bit about their programs.

Next week there will be more interviews, and some deep digging into Marty Neumeier's work.

One more thing: Ontario can be just beautiful in late July.

Published on July 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm | | 0 Comments

Independent Study: Week 4

This week was a mashup of running a high school art and design camp, preparing for a trip, and moving things forward on the thesis development project. I the beginning of the week I set out to do the following:

  • develop a clear definition of innovation by finishing the book The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry and by reviewing The Designful Company by Marty Neumeier;
  • establish a thesis committee by contacting each of the prospects on my list and getting a reply from each;
  • refining the thesis proposal.

Right now I am in Toronto, am halfway through Henry's book and did not even get reconnected to Neumeier's material. I have one confirmed thesis committee member and still need to contact two to ask for their participation. With everything going on I really lost focus on this project. However, there are some important insights that I have gained this week, insights that will help me as continue refining the thesis components:

[1] Establish the three most important aspects of the project that I want my mind to work on. These are

  • define innovation
  • refine my ideas about how innovation can impact faith-based organizations without significantly altering their message or their most essential practices
  • consider effective ways to express these in visual terms

[2]Develop a list of individuals to interview regarding the role of innovation in the church, specifically Fundamental Bible-believing churches.
[3]Begin researching the effect that design thinking has already had when applied to faith-based organizations.

My goals for this coming week are to conduct a few interviews with church leaders in the Toronto area, finish Henry's book, and to brainstorm ideas for the visual component of the thesis.


Published on July 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm | | 0 Comments

Independent Study: Week 3

As I continue to delve into the subject of Design Thinking and Innovation and how it might relate to the church and other faith-based organizations, I have felt like I've been swimming out from shore into an ever-deepening sea of issues and possibilities. Right now I need to do a lot more reading and begin some interviewing in an effort to better understand the conceptual topography as well as defining what the conversation is. I want to better understand what I mean by "design thinking" and "innovation." I want to know in what ways the church has already begun to embrace creativity and innovation, and it what ways it has not. I want to define what about this topic is personal for me, and what is corporate. And I want to understand where my ideas about design thinking fit into the greater conversation of the relevance of the church in today's culture. 

Published on July 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm | | 0 Comments

Another definition of Graphic Design

One of the things that I often ask the students in Graphic Design I and 2 is, "What is your definition of Graphic Design?" I've collected quite a few from different sources and from my own thoughts. Here's the latest, distilled from a lecture by Richard Buchanan:

"Graphic Design is information visualization. Good Graphic Design is information visualization that leads to conversation and builds community." 

Published on July 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm | | 0 Comments

Independent Study: Week 2

This week I added several more readings to my list*, and did additional research into the content of some of the books listed. I expanded the thesis proposal somewhat, but am understanding more and more that there are two concepts that I will need to define in order to move forward substantially with this study:

Innovation—I think I will need to re-read some Neumeier and Brown to get a core definition of "innovation" as they propound it. I also want to read more Buchanan and locate some of Golsby-Smith's writing to fill out my understanding of Innovation.

Resistance—While not on my To Do list for this course, it may be time to begin conducting some interviews to gauge the level of creativity promoted and allowed in various church communities. This may need to be survey or it could be personal interviews that I initiate with individuals.

The thesis proposal seems very general at this point (which may be perfectly fine) but I'd like to focus it a bit more before submitting it.

It may be early yet for this as well, but I am growing anxious that no visual component is materializing for me yet. When I peer into that part of the thesis project I am seeing nothing. A little worrying, that.

I don't feel that I am getting much traction yet, so I will need to get busy with reading and taking notes. The thoughts right now are vague unfocused.

*I came across a great book and ordered two copies: The Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant At A Moment's Notice by Todd Henry. This newly-published work speaks to creatives in general and church creatives in particular. Since I haven't read it yet I can't say much more than that Todd seems to have written my thesis. I could be wrong: he may be barking up a different tree entirely. I'll let you know.


Published on July 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm | | 0 Comments

Independent Study: Week 1

During Summer Quarter 2011 I will be posting a weekly report about the development of my thesis, which I am working on through Independent Study at SCAD. This is the first installment.

This week I directed a high school art & design camp at BJU. Since we spent nearly 10 hours a day with the campers, I didn't have much time to put into thesis development. My goal for this week was to write a draft of the thesis proposal and to begin building a reading list. I was able to do both of these, but feel that I have just barely begun to really consider how I will approach the topic.

I am going to be writing and designing about how to foster a culture of innovation in faith-based organizations. I am going to do an analysis of design thinking and innovation first (looking closely at the ideas of Richard Buchanan, Tony Golsby-Smith, and Marty Neumeier). My reading list so far includes mostly books, essays, and articles relating to design thinking and business. I want to do a lot more research into church marketing and the viewpoint of religious institutions on creativity/innovation in how they function (faith and practice).

More to come next week.

Published on July 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm | | 0 Comments