Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Jul 2019

Senses of Approaches

Many approaches, just as there are many senses

Having been involved with connected technology since the late 90s, there has been decent evolution in working methods. Where it was once, “only use online research for what can be validated,” now there’s “make sure there are qualitative and quantitative sources for materials.” The funny thing about the latter, is that often the approach still boils down to what can be seen or read. A visual literacy is the preamble to any declarative approach. And yet, we see time and time again, visual artifacts contain only so much information — to arrive at better conclusions, we often have to engage other senses to our approaches.

Engaging other senses sounds as if it could be more involved. And to some degree, that is true. For the beginning parts of our learning days, we are given multi sensory inputs: blocks to touch, colors to recognize, sounds to it knowledge, and more. Over time, our learning environment changes to include more memory retention and recall. If this makes sense, we move to what is understood as higher-order affects. Yet, these higher-order types of mental activities often make us feel so disengaged we run to other tactile, audial, and other senses in order to feel refreshed so that we can reengage with the productive environment.

How do we take the best advantage of using more senses in our environment in order to come to traditional, and often times more innovative outcomes?

Some of this may come out of the way that we evolve what we understand about our natural environment and productivity. For example, one client splits work across several segments of the day. We make a point to have a walking session for one of them, alongside the seated ones, when the weather permits. Those walking sessions tend to expose the deeper problems that we were trying to solve. For another client, we make certain to put exercise and time under the trees as part of the creative method. Yet, outcomes for this client usually require deeper thought. And there is some research which seems to acknowledge that getting under trees, sitting next to still/running water, or smelling different scents as being a catalyst to creative efforts.

This is not an approach that is conductive, or traditional, to the office environment. As a matter fact, it is so different it can look like anarchy to such an environment or culture. However, it is not. Getting in touch with ones other senses enables approaches to creative endeavors which respond heartily to outside of the box perspectives. What’s created then resonates with more than just what is input thru the pupils.