7.2.4 Trap 4: words and wordiness

I have seen some effective rich pictures with lots of words in them but they are quite rare in my experience. More often, lots of words make the rich picture less rich. Part of the later use of a rich picture might include looking for patterns. Words inhibit your ability to spot patterns.

If you do use speech bubbles, use what people say, not your interpretation, unless the bubble is about some general attitude. Examples might be ‘Aaagh!’, ‘Help!’, ‘Oops!’ – the sort of th
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4.1 Something different

Perhaps it will not surprise you if I say you may experience this unit as rather different to any you may have previously encountered. Like any course of study, you are likely to find surprising and interesting material in it but there are three specific ways this unit may surprise and even challenge you. These three ways are concerned with:

  1. The nature of systems thinking and systems practice;

  2. A style of learning where you have to tak
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18.1 Introduction to diffusion

Having managed to get an innovation manufactured and ready for the market, there are a number of factors that influence how well it will sell and how rapidly it is likely to diffuse:

  • characteristics of the innovation itself

  • nature of the market

  • relevant government regulations.


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12.4 Coupling model

There are examples where either technology or the market appears to be more significant in stimulating invention but the majority of innovations involve a creative coupling of technological and market factors. In some respects successful innovation is a case of the survival of the fittest. Failure can come both from not getting the technology right and from misjudging the market. Success is more likely if the focus is not too one-dimensional but rather a balance between technology and market
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11.7 Characteristics of inventors

In their classic book The Sources of Invention (1969) John Jewkes, David Sawers and Richard Stillerman observe the following about inventors, whether working outside or inside an organisation.

  • Inventors tend to be absorbed with their own ideas and to feel strongly about their importance and potential.

  • Inventors can be impatient with those who don't share their optimism.

  • Inventors are often isolated because they are
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11.6 Step 5 – critical revision

Once a solution has been obtained it is then necessary to explore the extent to which it effectively solves the problem and where necessary revise it. Although more attention has been given to the moment of inspiration during the act of insight than to any other stage of invention, it is this process of critical revision that is usually the longest, most difficult and costly stage.

Genius is 1 per cent inspirati
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11.5.1 Adaptation

Adaptation is where a solution to a problem in one field is found by adapting an existing solution or a technical principle from another. For example Karl Dahlman adapted the hovercraft principle embodied in land and sea vehicles for use in the first hover lawn mower, the Flymo, in 1963 (Author(s): The Open University

10 Part 2: 1 How invention starts

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Wordsworth, De Quincy and Dove cottage
Can a location inspire great poetry? To what extent can a person’s environment influence their art? After leaving the area as a child the Romantic poet William Wordsworth returned to the Lake District and remained there from 1799 to 1802. Surrounded by scenery he cherished Wordsworth composed some of his best poetry in Dove Cottage, but the building was also the residence of friend Thomas De Quincy whom documented his time with the Wordsworth’s as well as his own experiences in the property.
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2 Part 1: 1 Living with innovation

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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • explain invention, design, innovation and diffusion as ongoing processes with a range of factors affecting success at each stage

  • explain how particular products you use have a history of invention and improvement, and appreciate the role that you and your family, as consumers, have played in this history

  • define key concepts such as invention, design, innovation, diffusion, product champion, entrepre
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4.7 Diagrams for communication

Commonly used diagrams for communication follow conventions that are widely understood, many diagrams used for connectivity as previously discussed also lend themselves to use in communicating ideas. A diagram developed for communication:

  • is large, clear and well laid out;

  • has shading and/or colour for emphasis;

  • has a title; and

  • has a key to the meaning of all the symbols used in the diagram.


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4.2 Diagrams for understanding

Diagrams for understanding are best developed within the creativity phase, though sometimes you can go straight on to using a diagram more suitable to the connectivity phase. Most diagrams for understanding begin at the centre of the sheet of paper and work outwards. Buzan's (1974) spray diagram is built up from an initial idea with its branches; these branches have their own branches and so on until you reach the detail at the end of each twig. This technique is particularly useful fo
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4.1 Systems diagrams and diagrams helpful for systems work

Diagrams are used extensively in systems thinking and practice. All of those types included in the animated tutorial, as well as other types not covered there, can or have been used in systems studies. As mentioned at the beginning of the course the use of diagrams is very personal. For instance I find it helpful to group diagrams into three sorts depending o
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3.9 Key points

Diagrams can be helpful in:

  • understanding a situation;

  • analysing a situation;

  • communicating with others about that analysis;

  • planning to deal with a situation, both logically and creatively; and

  • implementing, monitoring and evaluating those plans.

They are therefore used at different times and in different ways within the same investigation and many investigative meth
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12.1.2 Focus groups

A focus group is simply a group of people gathered together to discuss a particular issue. They have been used in all kinds of social and market research, including political policy making. In market research for product design, a focus group might be a group of purchasers of a particular product brought together to discuss their feelings and attitudes towards the product and rival products; or perhaps their general likes and dislikes about those types of products. The intention of the market
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5 Why not design for the ‘average’ user

This section explains why it can be misleading to design for an average user; a complete user population should be considered, and often it is more relevant to design for the smallest, tallest, weakest etc. Designing to include extreme users can also benefit the great majority of users.

Even when user needs are being considered in design, it is still relatively easy for the designer to fall into the trap of designing for the average user. On the face of it, it seems a good idea to desig
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5.1 ‘Religion’ and ‘the religions’: two new notions

I want to begin our closer discussion of the question ‘what is religion?’ by looking briefly at the history of the use and meaning of the term. You may be surprised to find how recently the word ‘religion’ has taken on the meanings attached to it today.

Contemporary scholars of religion emphasise not merely the cultural breadth but also the antiquity of religious activity. Yet, the term ‘religion’ as we understand it today is very much a Western concept.

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3.2 Assumptions

We are beginning to see that many of the assumptions we hold about the characteristics of ‘religion’ are given to us by the society we live in or by our immediate community, which for some people may be a religious community. Don't lose sight of your assumptions about religion. At this point, it may be that you have not thought much about them before, or you may be personally hostile to religion, or be approaching this course from the standpoint of a very specific, personal religious conv
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2.2 Early anti-Jewish policies in the Nazi government

Hitler's government was sworn in on 30 January 1933. On 28 March all Nazi Party organisations were urged to carry out a boycott of Jewish businesses and professionals on 1 April. The exhortation came from ‘the Party Leadership’ and claimed that the boycott was in response to the lies spread in the foreign press by Jewish emigrants; in reality, though, it was an attempt to impose some discipline on the freelance, anti-Semitic vandalism and violence of Nazi activists (especially the SA) in
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