Week 17 « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

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Week 17 – Vincent’s book review

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Vincent shared with us his review of The Smart Swarm by Peter Miller today. The Smart Swarm looks to ants, honeybees, and fish amongst others, for lessons humans can apply to leadership, self-organisation and collaboration. Using a personalised and entertaining style of writing, Miller poses questions, such as ‘Where do ants take their orders from?’. By experimenting on ant’s to see how they find the shortest route to food – by excreting pheromones – the ant’s can find the shortest route, and share their knowledge with one another. Businesses, companies and teams can learn lessons of decentralised control and distributing problem solving from the ant’s style of swarm intelligence.

The conclusions that Miller reaches challenges the traditional model of businesses, putting forward a strong argument for businesses to apply swarm behaviours to better organise itself and to encourage more independent thinking. A very interesting book, Vincent highly recommends it. The rest of the DD team are fighting to be the next to read it!

Week 17 – Open Day in the Markets

Friday, January 28th, 2011

To hear from the people of the City as effectively as possible, the team on Thursday and Friday, divided and conquered a Designing Dublin style Open Day! The team have been undertaking a site study of the Markets area to understand what is happening, where is there potential and who are key stakeholders. The next task was to engage with and listen to the people who use the area, live in it, work in it, pass through it or avoid it, to hear where their needs lie and what change they would love to see.

Over the two days, one team set up at the MACRO (Markets Area Community Resource Organisation) Centre to talk to residents and the groups and organisations who are active in the area. Another team explored the less community focused groups in the area, such as pubs, café’s and artist studios. We also had three nomad street stands who targeted different groupings through the day such as passers-through, law court workers, market traders and users, residents, school pupils and their parents and mass attendees. We gathered a multitude of perspectives in two days, and were taken aback at many points by the enthusiasm people had for engaging with us, groups frequently queuing to give their feedback and insights. To gain rich insights, the team asked open questions, such as “how would you describe the markets area to a friend?”, “what hopes do you have for the markets area?” and “what’s the best kept secret in the markets area?”. We are now working to distil this information into 100 ideas we heard from the Market’s area. If you missed us on Thursday and Friday and would like to provide your feedback, please email us at info@designingdublin.com. We love to hear all thoughts, perspectives and opinions!

Week 17 – Visit from Mark O’Halloran

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

We were delighted to be joined by Mark O’Halloran, a writer and actor, who has been voicing the true character and grit of the City for many years. Coming to Dublin at age 20 from Ennis, he was initially dazzled by City Hall and the feeling of being in a capital City. He became quite fascinated by heroin addicts in the City, keeping diaries filled with different observations about what they were doing, reflections on their curious place in society and their daily struggles as invisible people in the City. Mark soon became involved in RADE (Recovery through art, drama and education) and was exposed to working with heroin users there, which provided the inspiration for Adam and Paul, which he wrote and starred in.

Prosperity, is a four-part television drama series Mark wrote to show the bleakness of the day. Beginning on O’Connell Street, he picked 10 people and followed them around the City. The story that emerged from these 10 people’s day was a reflection of how the Celtic Tiger was embraced by the City and the many sections of society that never experienced this sudden wealth.

Reflecting on the qualities of Dublin City now, Mark enjoys the great creative energy from young people, the room that has been created for people to put forward ideas, and also the financial viability of living in the City. “We got a little ostentatious to the end!” Mark shared sound advice with the team of “Just do things: don’t wait for permission, if it’s the right time and place for you to do it and just see what happens”. We really enjoyed Mark’s refreshingly honest perspective on the City and the current state of the country, and the passion that drives him to represent the real people and the real stories.