Science Fiction Evening Snack: Interfaces and the Future of Design

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Make It So with Nathan Shedroff

Interfaces in sci-fi serve a primarily narrative purpose. They’re there to help tell the story of how a character disables the tractor beam, or hacks into the corporate database, or diagnoses the alien infection. But what would happen if we tried to build these same interfaces for the real world? Some would fare just fine. Most would need a little redesign. A few appear to be just plain stupid or broken. They couldn’t work the way they appear to. That is, until you use the technique of apologetics to discover that in fact far from being stupid, they’re brilliant. Join Nathan Shedroff, co-author of the book Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Sci-Fi (Rosenfeld Media, 2012), as he discusses this critical technique, shows how it works across several sci-fi interfaces, and challenges the audience to apologize for some other “bad” sci-fi interfaces. Stick around for a “Snack Chat” Q & A with Nathan on storytelling, strategy and how designers can prepare for the future.


Nathan Shedroff is the chair of the ground-breaking MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, Calif. This program prepares the next-generation of innovation leaders for a world that is profitable, sustainable, ethical, and truly meaningful by uniting the perspectives of systems thinking, design thinking, sustainability and generative leadership into a holistic strategic framework.

He is a pioneer in Experience Design, Interaction Design and Information Design, is a serial entrepreneur, and researches, speaks and teaches internationally about meaning, strategic innovation, and science fiction interfaces. His many books include: Experience Design 1.1, Making Meaning, Design is the Problem, Design Strategy in Action, and the new Make It So.

He holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School (San Francisco) and a BS in Industrial Design from Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.). He worked with Richard Saul Wurman at The Understanding Business and later co-founded vivid studios, a decade-old pioneering company in interactive media and one of the first Web services firms on the planet.vivid’s hallmark was helping to establish and validate the field of information architecture by training an entire generation of designers in the newly emerging Web industry.

Nathan is on the board of directors for Teague and the AIGA.

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