Ok. The Tipping Point. Ok, well this book is taken over my hEAd. Everything is seeming to relate do it at every possibility (see previous posts). As is sit in studio trying to concentrate on how I can biodegrade a piece of jute in a week, half listening to others conversations, I can't help categorize my classmates on who is a Connector, who is a Salesman and who of us are just those people following the fashions whilst aiding the epidemic on it's way. An example of this in todays fashion are 'jeggings'. These are leggings that are meant to look like tight jeans without being uncomfortable like skinny jeans. When did people become not just so fashion obsessed but so lazy that they can't just wear real denim? When will this tip? For the sake of us all these sort of ideas need to be addressed and questioned, is this necessary?! Followers aka sheep, follow the herd not even wondering why oh why they are doing such a thing. Just like what Gladwell talks about in The Tipping Point with the epidemic of Hush Puppies. They became popular by the Power of the Few, but started by the Innovators, who just decided to wear them as they were uncool, then the Connectors spread this 'virus' and before you know it, an epedemic has begun.
The idea Stuck. No questions about it it just stuck. That's how epidemics work. Like 'jeggings', no-one as asked why, they just did it. Not because they look good, because lets face it, Hush Puppies aren't exactly a pair of cool ice blue Converse sneakers. But they still stick (not the actual shoe). One of the main points in The Tipping Point for me was the reason why things stick. Gladwell goes into great depth about childrens TV programmes as a great example of this. Everyone has heard and watched at some point Sesame Street. And we probably never questioned why we were watching it, like I said, we just don't. Wrong. Designers do, we ask questions.To me, this is a reason why this text was set. If we don't ask questions things will never evolve and people wont learn. Sesame Street was successful because 'creative geniuses' such as Ed Palmer and Gerald Lesser questioned what works and what doesn't, then they researched and experimented to find out what tiny tweeks have to be made to make something stick. An example of this was the Distractor which was a test for children to look at how they watch a programme and their attention to this. He put two screens in a room, one playing Sesame Street and the other a distractive programme. They watched the children watching with intricate detail to see what parts of the programme kept attention and which didn't. From this research they could then make small adjustments which made a huge difference, this making Sesame Street sticky and successful. That is the point - one minute change can make a major impact.
This is like the design process and that is why the Tipping Point is a great read for an aspiring designer. I have to research, research, research and repeat and then experiment, test and experiment some more, and in the end it might look like there is little change, but actually makes all the difference and makes it stick.
Yesterday I was privileged to get the chance to talk to the head of Interior Design of The Academy of Design in Slovenia. She spoke of how in today's world we are not trying to design new things, (due to the economy....and the rest) but researching to improve what we already know, to make it more sticky. We might not physically see a change in what the design is but something is different. And we look again. And we understand. And we follow it. And then its too late - it has stuck. And do we question it?