IC Week 2 (Nov 19-23)

It’s been an incredible week of meetings.

The biggest was the Imagination Catalyst Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday afternoon, which featured Helmut and Sara presenting an update on the IC to the (very distinguished!) group. Included were some slides depicting the IC’s role in relation to many other OCADU programmes, which was particularly valuable to me, as I’m still getting a feel for how all the parts fit together. To illustrate the work that’s going on in the IC, Mandad presented Heal.X, Henry presented the LIFEbike, and Mark presented Qualia. The council had some helpful feedback, and were clearly interested in more opportunities to participate in a hands-on way.

My first priority with the IC has been to get up-to-speed with current participants’ projects. This week I met with Mike, Henry, Mandad, Mark, Mauricio, Stephanie, Michi, Loretta and Arash. The set of projects is hugely diverse, in subject matter, form, materials and stage of development, and as such are a good representation of the work developed by OCADU students.

Another high priority is to develop mechanisms to share information about these projects, both internally and externally. I had a preliminary conversation with Christine about internal communication, and a great meeting with Ramtin about developing the IC’s presence on the web.

This week was also the first time I attended a Research Rendezvous event. RRs are organized by OCADU’s Office of Research, as a monthly forum for faculty to present their research projects to the OCADU community. This time Martha Ladly and Paula Gardner presented on their work. It’s a great step towards creating a community of research, and helping demystify the world of academic research.

In the not-yet-directly-related-to-IC-but-perhaps-someday department:

  • I was invited by Peter Foley to an exploratory meeting about developing a Toronto event about urban prototyping; I’m very excited about this.
  • I met Jon from (Extreme Startups accelerator participant) Kera; we talked about the emergence of designers as startup founders, and investors’ growing recognition of the value of having a designer on a founder team.
  • I had a meeting with the City of Toronto about developing visualizations to depict the complex process of policymaking.
  • I participated in Mike’s Mindfulness for Designers event, which I think could be the most intriguing research community/practice at OCADU.
  • I attended Jer Thorp’s talk, part of the DFI’s TALKxTALK series. Not only was the best presentation I’ve seen in 2012, it attracted the most interesting and most diverse crowds I’ve seen in one room in recent memory. Sorry if you missed it!

Finally, I’ve started reading A New Culture of Learning, by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown. It’s been on my shelf for a few months, and I’ve been seeing references to it in all of my favourite places. I suspect that it will help me articulate the unique value of art and design practice for business/organizations/government. Which is, perhaps, also the heart of the IC’s value proposition.

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