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Friday, March 10, 2006

Pink's Book Inspires a Whole New Look

The new look around here is thanks to Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind. The book is all about integrating the left and right sides of the brain. The future, or as he calls it, the Conceptual Age will require the mastery of six domains or senses. Those are design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. The best part about the book is that it has expanded the way I think, create, and learn. I view Pink’s book as a blue print for maximizing knowledge/power/action in the new economy. Pink even provides “portfolio” exercises to build capacity in each of the six domains. Cool stuff.

In part one of the book, Pink argues that developing the six domains will be critical in a world of abundance, Asian outsourcing, and automation. I was aware of most this stuff, but it was interesting to note the huge number of programmers and accountants that are working on the cheap. Bill Gates knows this. Why pay American programmers to do what Asian programmers can do at a fraction of the cost. All those kids being told that computers are a cash cow are being sold a bad bill of goods. According to Pink, the people who will make it in the emerging economy will be the creative-MFA types who blend traditional left-brain smarts with creative, empathetic right-brain smarts or as Pink calls it L-Directed and R-Directed aptitudes.

Isn’t it ironic that NCLB focuses exclusively on left-brain smarts? I think Pink is on to this too when he writes about a battery of assessments from Yale called the Rainbow Project that measures R-Directed aptitudes. The test asks students to provide humorous captions to New Yorker cartoons, to write a story “using only a provided title as their guide, and they are given several scenarios to problem solve. The Rainbow Project sure sounds more enjoyable to take than the SAT. Of note is the fact that the Rainbow Project Test is more a better predictor of how well students will do in college than the SAT.

Anyway, one of the activities Pink recommends is to C-R-A-P-ify your graphic design. CRAP is an acronym for Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. With this in mind, I examined the old layout and decided it wasn’t CRAP. It could be argued that the old layout had no CRAP. So, I looked at some other blogs and spent some time looking at the Webby Awards. Anyway, what you see is what you get. At least it looks a lot cleaner. What started off as a means to post pictures of the kids and write about education now has design principles behind it. Form and function are now in harmony.

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