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28 OCTOBER 2014

Fredrick Winslow Taylor and the Myth of Efficiency

"[Fredrick Winslow] Taylor sought to precisely measure the movements of factory workers and their timings to make them as efficient as humanly possible. This made him beloved by executives and detested on the factory floor, and it also made him one of the world's first management consultants. In a recent article in The New Yorker, 'Not So Fast,' the historian Jill Lepore takes a hard look at Taylor and his claims for scientific management. According to new research, he was a better salesman than consultant. Many of his facts were made up, and most of his results never materialized. We now know that Lillian Gilbreth, an early proponent of scientific management, had serious doubts about the movement she helped proselytize.

All this is important because Taylor, with his system of scientific management, was the father of efficiency. From scientific management we get the lust for efficiency in business. It became part of the dogma of business schools, almost none of which existed before his time. Business schools from their earliest days have promoted efficiency and the handling of business as something like industrial engineering. From operations to finance, from marketing to sales, business school education has focused on narrowing problems, identifying resources and working to get the most out of the least."

(Adam Hartung, 16 October 2009, Forbes)

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20th century • Adam Hartung • business education • business efficiency • business growth • business inertia • business leaders • business leadership • business management • business school education • business schools • Clayton Christensencompetitive advantagecost-cutting • cultural myth • customer demand • customer satisfactiondehumanisationdisruptive innovationdogmaefficiency • efficiency in business • factory floor • factory worker • ForbesFordismFrederick TaylorGary Hamel • history of technology • ideationincremental improvementsincremental innovationindustrial engineering • innovation resources • Jill Lepore • legacy businesses • Lillian Gilbrethman machine • management consultant • manufacturingmanufacturing industries • measuring movement • order and control • organisation leadership • organisational problems • price wars • products and services • Rakesh Khurana • scientific management • taylorism • The New Yorkerwaste prevention • what organisations do

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 OCTOBER 2014

Questioning the goal of efficiency in contemporary culture

"Efficiency in human behavior is a goal that is rarely questioned in contemporary culture. This course will study and draw connections between disparate fields to trace the development and influence of this view. The course, drawing a mix of humanities and engineering students, will include readings and lectures on 19th and 20th century philosophers with discussions of new technology and team experimental projects.

Frederick Taylor, the father of industrial engineering, analyzed human motion to optimize industrial productivity, which had great influence on Henry Ford, military logistics, and Stalin. Michel Foucault traced the history of the minute analysis of human motion from Napoleon's methods for transforming peasants into soldiers to modern methods for reforming prisoners. Martin Heidegger claimed that 'efficient ordering' was the defining characteristic of modern culture. Through the course, students will learn to recognize how this obsession with efficiency for its own sake relates to technology and to their daily lives."

(Questioning Efficiency: Human Factors and Existential Phenomenology, UC Berkeley course syllabus, Fall 2006)

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Albert Borgmann • Anson Rabinbach • Anton BragagliaBerkeley (University of California)capture a moment of timechronophotography • cooking in the kitchen • critique of technology • Dale Huchingson • dematerialization of objects in space • Eadweard Muybridgeefficiency • efficient ordering • Eliot Eliofson • Emily Fox • engineering students • Etienne-Jules Marey • everyday life • existential phenomenology • fotodinamismo • Frank Gilbreth • Frederick Taylor • geometric chronophotograph • goal • golfer • Henri BergsonHenry Ford • homemaker • Hubert Dreyfushuman behaviourhuman bodyhuman factors • human factors in design • human motion • Idris Khan • increased productivityindustrial engineering • industrial productivity • infinite continuity of time • James Gleick • Joseph Stalin • Ken Goldberg • kitchen • kitchen studies • Lillian Gilbrethlong exposure • management science • Marcel DuchampMartin Heideggermeasure performancemetrics • metritize • Michel Foucault • military logistics • model kitchen • modern culture • modern homemaker • motion studiesNapoleon Bonaparte • Nude Descending a Staircase (1912) • objects in motion • obsession with efficiency • philosophy of technologyproductivity • reconstruction of movement • schematic phases • scientific goalssimultaneityslow motion photography • studying motion • technology • The Kitchen Practical (1929) • time and motion studies • time saving • time-motion studies • Umberto Boccioni • wasted motion

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 OCTOBER 2014

Donald Norman: The Research-Practice Gulf

"There is a great gulf between the research community and practice. Moreover, there is often a great gull between what designers do and what industry needs. We believe we know how to do design, but this belief is based more on faith than on data, and this belief reinforces the gulf between the research community and practice.

I find that the things we take most for granted are seldom examined or questioned. As a result, it is often our most fundamental beliefs that are apt to be wrong.

In this talk, deliberately intended to be controversial. I examine some of our most cherished beliefs. Examples: design research helps create breakthrough products; complexity is bad and simplicity good; there is a natural chain from research to product."

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2010abstract models • applied social science • appropriately complex representationbreakthrough innovation • breakthrough products • call to actionChicagocomplexitydesign and innovationdesign communitydesign practicedesign research • design research conference • designer-centred designdisruptive innovationdogmaDonald Norman • dsign conference • ethnographic design approach • existing product categories • failure of design research • fundamental beliefs • generalised models • HCDhuman-centred designideation • IIT Institute of Design (ID) • Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) • incremental innovationinnovation process • innovative breakthroughs • keynote address • product developmentradical innovationrapid prototypingreal-world designreal-world projectsresearch community • research-product gulf • results-driven • simplicitytesting perpetuates mediocrity • translational engineering • translational sciencewhat designers do • what industry needs

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 OCTOBER 2014

What if scenario used to paper prototype DynaBook tablet interface

"In 1968 Kay created a very interesting concept - the Dynabook. He wanted to make A Personal Computer For Children Of All Ages - a thin portable computer, highly dynamic device that weighed no more than two pounds The ideas led to the development of the Xerox Alto prototype, which was originally called the interim Dynabook. It embodied all the elements of a graphical user interface, or GUI, as early as 1972. The software component of this research was Smalltalk, which went on to have a life of its own independent of the Dynabook concept."

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19681972 • Alan Kay • cardboard model • computer history • DynaBook • e-book reader • flat-screen display • games console • graphical user interfacehuman-computer interactioninteraction designkeyboard • netbook • paper prototype • pencil metaphor • personal computerphysical modelspioneering technology • portable PC • Smalltalkspeculative prototypestablet interfacetechnology convergencetechnology innovationtouchscreenUniversity of Illinoiswhat ifword processor • Xerox Palo Alto Research Center • Xerox PARC

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 OCTOBER 2014

AppSeed: interactive prototypes from pen and paper sketches

"AppSeed lets you take your sketches and make them into functioning prototypes, bridging the gap between pen/paper and digital, through computer vision. It allows you to sketch your designs as you normally would and then manipulate your sketches directly on your phone. Unlike similar products, the use of computer vision speeds up the process and understands your sketches. AppSeed can identify an enclosed space in your sketch, allowing you to make it into a button, input text, map, or another UI element. Making your sketch into a functioning prototype running on your phone."

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2013app • app prototyping • AppSeed (app) • design options • drawn shapes • functional prototype • Greg Goralski • hand-drawnideas start on paperinteractive elements • interactive paper prototype • interactive prototypes • interface designlook and feel • look and feel options • mockup • Open Source Computer Vision • OpenCVpaper prototypingpattern recognitionproduct prototype • prototyping app • sketching ideastest prototypeTorontoUI design • UI element • UI elements • user interface designUXvisual screen design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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