Reflections on a Day at the d.School: Part Three

I can split this up into 3 general categories:

The Debrief
Booty Calls of Design
An Ode to Modularity

For today we’re we’re looking at the third.

One of the cool features of the d.School is hangable whiteboards. Although these whiteboards hang on top of other whiteboards, they present a unique opportunity for team collaboration.

A consistent problem with using whiteboards in maker spaces is that the boards tend to get erased regularly, losing progress when you don’t take a picture. Even if you do take a picture, you still may need to recreate parts of it which is as much waste of time. Fortunately, the d.School’s approach to these hanging whiteboards is to have 30-40 of them. This means that each team working on a project in the main hacking area can have at least one, maybe two boards. This allows progress to be saved without resorting to pictures and recreating previous work.

The concept behind these whiteboards is modularity, and it’s rampant throughout the d.School. From the rolling couches tables, and chairs in studio one to the rolling dividers and movable everything in studio two to the incredible chaos and adaptability of the DEA room, the d.School is not fond of fixed structures.

In addition to the specific whiteboard case, the benefit of the school’s modularity is that a fixed space can work for nearly any team on any project. No longer does the hardware in the room limit it, nor do poorly placed objects hinder collaboration. Everything and anything can move to make the room perfect for any team.

Although extremely functional, these spaces aren’t as pretty as many shiny new ones. But as we know form follows function. And it makes me think, what functions are we limiting due to peoples desires to have attractive spaces that make good marketing material?

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