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This was written on the first day of the year, a day traditionally associated with introspection and planning for the year ahead. And so it is that this is how I have spent my day (as we as 3D printing out a bucket load of Prusa parts). One of the ideas that has cropped up again is the amount of information available to somebody at any one time, it’s affect on how we live our lives, and how we might manage our exposure.

If a person is sufficiently interested in a range of topics, the amount of new and novel information created hourly, and easily aggregated into your inbox, could never possibly be assimilated. However, that doesn’t always stop me trying. Unless disciplined, an entire day can be spent reading about the industriousness of others. The net result of this is that you will have created nothing yourself by the end of this period. This is certainly how some of my days slip by.

This has made me think about what an optimal daily amount of time drinking at the information fire hose might be…? Obviously there is no right answer to this, but a set amount of time - One hour - Spread throughout the day? - could force one to make good and efficient use of that time. Along side this, the issue of how one might monitor the progress of this allotted grazing period is raised. An old fashioned hour glass could be a nice interactive visual artefact; and not too literal. A simple timer that needs resetting every ten minutes could work well too. Probably the most useful timing device could be and app that resides on your phone/pad/PC that reminds you of how much grazing time you have left.

Software like Self Control that denies you access to the Internet for a user defined period of time was developed to tackle this problem (and stop procrastination). Perhaps an inverse version that only allowed you a user define time period with which to access certain content sources (the usual suspects: google reader, twitter, pocket) could go some way to helping you gain a level of control over your Internet content habit.

Anyway, I intend to explore this issue in the coming weeks and months. In 2013 I definitely want to graze less and make more.

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Idea for research: Saying no and moving on.

Sarah Birkett discovered through her PhD research that:

‘the language that designers use to articulate the scope of responsibility and ethics becomes broader, richer and more abstract with professional maturity’.

This has got me thinking about the effects of ethical maturity on the designer in terms of their continued engagement in the process of design. Not everybody can re-direct their practice towards more responsible outcomes. There must be design practitioners  who find themselves increasingly at odds with the decisions they must make as a result of ongoing ethical maturity. It would be interesting to find out if there has ever been a study to identify practitioners whom managed to extract themselves from roles that they could no longer justify ethically and moved on to use their skills in a more fulfilling or less dissonant way? Would one find similarities amongst such individuals? Did they employ similar tactics? Was it ultimately a positive thing for them to do?

Research in this area could lead to a web based tool-kit that could help an individual work through their ethical dilemmas and offer strategies for creating change or ultimately re-direction of their careers. It would be great to explore this further…