October 31, 2011
One of the things I love so much about design is its magpie nature and ability of its practitioners to take inspiration from the most unexpected places. That’s why I was excited that, along with all the design world gurus, we were able to include more left-field, speakers at Design at Scale. Christopher Robbins was one of them. A public artist, Robbins became disillusioned with the official world of international development and channeled this frustration into an ongoing series of compelling projects and experiments. Misguided Machines, for example, are machines he built whose goals are totally misplaced: “All they really succeed in doing is show how little they understand about the world in which they live.”
Robbins is also a member of the collective, Ghana Think Tank, a network of think tanks looking to solve local problems in the “developed world” by seeking solution from those elsewhere, a neat inversion of the usual development equation. What I particularly loved about these thought-provoking projects was their supporting philosophy. As the collective writes, some of the projects have been successful, “but others have created intensely awkward situations.” Let’s face it, learning how to process such moments effectively is a key skill for anyone looking to foster change or innovation. 
[Photo c/o DMI.]

One of the things I love so much about design is its magpie nature and ability of its practitioners to take inspiration from the most unexpected places. That’s why I was excited that, along with all the design world gurus, we were able to include more left-field, speakers at Design at Scale. Christopher Robbins was one of them. A public artist, Robbins became disillusioned with the official world of international development and channeled this frustration into an ongoing series of compelling projects and experiments. Misguided Machines, for example, are machines he built whose goals are totally misplaced: “All they really succeed in doing is show how little they understand about the world in which they live.”

Robbins is also a member of the collective, Ghana Think Tank, a network of think tanks looking to solve local problems in the “developed world” by seeking solution from those elsewhere, a neat inversion of the usual development equation. What I particularly loved about these thought-provoking projects was their supporting philosophy. As the collective writes, some of the projects have been successful, “but others have created intensely awkward situations.” Let’s face it, learning how to process such moments effectively is a key skill for anyone looking to foster change or innovation. 

[Photo c/o DMI.]

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