12.09.21
Lee Moreau + Sarah Nagle | Audio

The Futures Archive S1E8: Daruma Doll


What do your possessions say about you? Which ones speak the loudest? On this episode of The Futures Archive Lee Moreau and Sarah Nagle Parker discuss Daruma dolls and the importance of objects to people and design research.

With additional insights from Hiroko Yoda, Dori Tunstall, and Daria Loi.

Lee asked Sarah to tell us about an in-depth project researching people where she tracked the relationship between the objects that people have around them:
When I was with the innovation team we created the Advanced Mountain Kit for North Face. We spent a year with athletes at the top of their game—climbers that can climb the highest peaks in the world. These are the type of athletes that know exactly what their pack and everyting in their kit weighs. They were cutting toothbrushes down to an inch, that type of stuff. But there are always these things that they had with them that reminded them of home or the people that they love. These things weighed more than they needed it to weigh, but they had really significant stories.
Lee Moreau is President of Other Tomorrows, a design and innovation consultancy based in Boston, and a Lecturer in MIT’s D Minor program.

Sarah Nagle Parker is a Design research leader and Senior Director of Insights and Design Thinking, Venture Foundry at VF Corporation.

Daria Loi is the Head of Innovation at Avast, was recognized as one of Italy's 50 most inspiring women in tech, and is the principal at Studio Loi.

Dr. Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall
is Dean of Design at OCAD University. She is a design anthropologist and advocate who works at the intersections of critical theory, culture, and design.

Hiroko Yoda is co-founder of AltJapan Co., Ltd, a Tokyo based photographer, and author of Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide.


Subscribe to The Futures Archive on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app. And you can browse the show archive.

Kathleen Fu created the illustrations for each episode.

A big thanks to this season’s sponsor, Automattic.

And to our education partner, Adobe. For lesson plans created for each epsiode, visit Adobe's Education Exchange.



Transcript

Lee Moreau
Welcome to The Futures Archive, a show about human centered design, where this season we'll take an object, look for the human at the center, and keep asking questions. I'm Lee Moreau.

Sarah Nagle
And I'm Sarah Nagle.

Lee Moreau
On each episode, we're going to start with an object. Today, the object is the Daruma doll. We'll look at the history of that object from our perspective as designers who've done work in human centered design. Not just how the object looks and feels, but also the relationship between that object and the people it was designed for,

Sarah Nagle
and with other humans too.

Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive is brought to you by the design team at Automattic. Later on, we'll hear from product designer Jana Hernandez. The Futures Archive's education partner this season is Adobe.

Lee Moreau
Sarah, thank you so much for being here today. It's great to see you.

Sarah Nagle
You too.

Lee Moreau
So where where where are you right now? I see you're wearing a little beanie. Where are you?

Sarah Nagle
Right now I am in Kennebunkport, Maine. It's like twenty five degrees out as a little little chilly, but it looks beautiful. There's blue skies outside.

Lee Moreau
So maybe we'll use this as part of the way we think about research, the fact that you're in a cold climate. I think when I first met you, when I first met you, you were at REI, this was several years ago, working as a design researcher. And before that, I know you were at Smart Design, but tell me what you're up to now. Like, what's your story?

Sarah Nagle
Currently, I am at VF and VF is a company, a parent company that owns a bunch of brands like like North Face, like Vans, Timberland, Dickie's, Supreme and a bunch of others. When I first started there, I was part of the global innovation team, so I was doing design research with athletes that were doing super extreme stuff, climbing mountains and rocks and skiing and things like that. And so we were helping them redesign the future of apparel and footwear. But I most recently joined the team, called The VF— Venture Foundry, and the Venture Foundry is a venture studio that works with external entrepreneurs and internal brands to create new businesses. So I'm still doing design research, but in a very different way. So rather than creating physical products, I'm helping entrepreneurs think about the future of their their companies.

Lee Moreau
OK, so understanding and feedback kind of working together to bring new things to the world. So today we're going to be talking about the Daruma doll. And the reason we're going to talk about it is because it's the thing that people mention most commonly when they come into my apartment. I've got a couple of my friends here, so we've got some little ones...

Sarah Nagle
Do they have names?

Lee Moreau
They're all named Daruma doll— I haven't named them. And these are all hand-painted, handcrafted, and they're made of papier maché. So when you tap on them, they're kind of hollow. This is a large one. And this is the one that I got— it has a date on the bottom— it says my name, Lee, and then February 7th, 2009, which is when I finished my architecture exams that was like a kind of a big day for me, but I've got lots of these guys here. We're going to talk about these partly because as a design researcher, you know what it's like to go into people's house and then ask about stuff, right? We're going to talk to some folks about the history of the Daruma doll. We're going to talk to some historians and also some designers who work in design research in the cultural sphere of understanding people and what makes them tick and what motivates them. So to make sense of the Daruma doll, I'm going to share a couple of clips with you, and this is what we've heard so far.

Hiroko Yoda
Daruma is a traditional kind of Japanese doll made out of papier maché,

Lee Moreau
Hiroko Yoda is the coauthor of numerous books about Japanese folklore.

Hiroko Yoda
They are rounded and weighted on the bottom. And they have fierce looking faces, but no arms or legs. They are very common, and they are believed to bring good luck. You can buy them at certain temples or Japanese souvenir shops.

Lee Moreau
So, you know, I showed you my Daruma doll, they-basically there are two eyes, and when you first get them, there are no eyes there at all. So like this blank one has no eyes or has one eye here and you fill in the one eye when you aspire to doing something in your life, you want to accomplish something or satisfy some goal. And so you sort of activate the Daruma doll by filling in that one eye. And then after you work really hard and you finally achieve your goal, you fill in that other eye. But in the meantime, that Daruma doll sits on your shelf or somewhere in your house and stares at you with one eye. At least that's my perception is— they're staring at you and they're saying, like, Get, let's go. This is it's go time. Let's let's let's do this task.

Sarah Nagle
So like when you are like when it has the one I like, where does it sit in a certain place and when it has the two eyes does it go somewhere else or like?

Lee Moreau
To be honest, when it's both eyes are filled, it takes a back seat, so to speak. When it has just the one, I feel like it's more prominent and it definitely is watching you. So it's I think it's I feel like its occupation is to like, make sure you get this thing done. That's its job for me. I had no idea about their religious significance or their cultural history until we started doing research on this episode

Hiroko Yoda
Daruma dolls are based on the founder of the Zen tradition of Buddhism. His name is Bodhidharma. He lived around the 6th century in China. Zen practice had had a big influence on Japanese religion. There's a legend about Bodhidharma: He faced a war for 90 years in meditation and his arms and legs shirveled up and it fell off. That's where the Daruma doll gets in shape. Sounds a little horrifying, but the point of the story, is that he attained spiritual enlightenment. The moral is that he dedicated himself to this effort. And eventually he became a character to help make your wishes come true.

Lee Moreau
Did I know this context? Not at all. I had no idea when we first brought these things into our lives and we started using them or mobilizing them for the ambitions and desires and projects that we had in our lives. But somehow, this object, it had a very specific meaning for us without understanding all of that history. And that's what we do to things we bring them into our lives and we give them significance.

Hiroko Yoda
I mean, if you think about the background, it's horrifying. I mean, like when I when I learned about it, I flipped out, to be honest with you. But you know, today, you know, no, I don't think a lot of people knew about the background because today Daruma dolls are very cute.

Lee Moreau
So it's about the context, right? It's, you know, I didn't know the story of Bodhidharma, it didn't horrify me. Now I know I feel a little bit uncomfortable, to be honest with you. But in your understanding the cultural significance in the outside world, when you bring them into our own house, we we give them a new context. From your background in design research, tell us about what this sort of behavior communicates about people.

Sarah Nagle
Well, it's interesting because you know, the first thing that comes to mind is like spending time with people that are doing like this outdoor stuff and I think, maybe because it's kind of closest to me. And what's interesting about that is that these objects represent these like transformational moments in their life. So, you know, when you talk to people about these, these objects and the meaning that they put on these things, it's about these stories and it's about these adventures that they've had in their past. But at the same time, I think when they look at like the chalk bags or they look at all of these things, it's the adventures that they're going to have to, you know, in the future.

Lee Moreau
It's interesting relative to my Daruma dolls, the things that you're talking about are they need to be activated. It's almost like when they're in someone's home, they don't have a purpose, but when you get them out in the field — wow, everything comes to life. And so there's this kind of use factor. But then also memory factor, right? That kind of you kind of go back and forth between engagement and memories. Here's Hiroko Yoda again:

Hiroko Yoda
The image of the Daruma in modern Japan is less religious and more associated with good luck or striving to do your best. That's why they are so common. You see students with them studying for exams, using politicians with them in painting in second eye when when they get elected. So they are really everywhere and all the levels of society.

Lee Moreau
So for-for Hiroko, in her day to day life, it's not strange to have a Daruma doll. But in my sort of white Boston home here, there's a totally different context to contend with. Can you tell us about maybe an in-depth project that you've done, researching people where you were able to kind of track the relationship between the objects that people have around them and their lives?

Sarah Nagle
There is actually a kit that just recently came out called the Advanced Mountain Kit for North Face, and it was a project that I did when I was with the innovation team. And we spent almost like a year with with these athletes, these athletes that are at the top of their game like these are these climbers that can climb the highest peaks in the world and do all this crazy stuff. And so we're designing a kit for them for like kind of the base layer all the way out to kind of the outer layer jacket. And we worked with them over time and went really in-depth with them to understand the gear that they had and the things that they needed to survive. But you know, there's some really cool things to kind of related to the Daruma doll, and these guys are the type of athletes that try to— they know exactly what their pack in their kit and everything weighs. These guys were cutting like toothbrushes down to like an inch, you know, like that type of stuff. But there is always these like things that they had with them that reminded them of like home or, you know, the people that they loved or, you know, just these things that probably weighed a little bit more than they needed it to weigh. But it, like had so much significance and value, like these types of things that were just like these really significant objects that had really significant stories.

Lee Moreau
So we're going to hear more about the world of design research. I think this this is a brilliant case study of the kind of set that up. So let's continue our journey on the Daruma doll and where that takes us in research.

Dori Tunstall
Traditionally, as an anthropologist, it is assumed that you're studying a community that you're not part of and you're studying a community in which in some ways you may not even be fluent in the language.

Lee Moreau
Dori Tunstall is a design anthropologist and dean of the Faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto.

Dori Tunstall
So observation- that walking into someone's space and observing how they lay out the space, what are the objects in the space, in many ways was your first-first attempt of language acquisition. So in many ways, when I think of that, that as a technique which we do in context research, I might use those objects to be able to say, I notice you have this photograph of your family on your desk. Tell me more about your family life and how it relates to what is it you're doing. And it's that first attempt to establish a common language between what you're quickly able to see and then to use that to begin to build rapport.

Sarah Nagle
Building empathy is-is so important and kind of like just being observant of like the space around you when you walk into someone's home, and I don't ask about things right away. I try to make connections between different objects and things that I see in their in their home. You see something else that kind of connects to an object that you're seeing, like in another another room or, you know, it's maybe connected to something that they say. You can start to dig in and learn a little bit more about their values and learn about kind of what makes them tick and their aspirations and, you know, kind of where they came from.

Lee Moreau
It sounds like you're looking for patterns.

Sarah Nagle
Yeah, because you're trying to just— you're trying to get the whole picture of the person. And I think you can get a lot of that through a conversation, but you got even more of it from kind of being in context and observing their world. Kind of, it's a little bit of a puzzle, you know, like you start to like, pick out little pieces of things and then through questions and then it gets a little bit deeper. It's, you know, I don't know if the analogy is great, but it is an onion. You know you kind of just you start to peel back this onion of of who this human is and kind of what they're all about.

Lee Moreau
The Futures Archive is brought to you by the design team at Automattic, which is building a new web and a new workplace all around the world.

Jana Hernandez
I'm Jana Hernandez. I live in Barcelona, Spain, and I'm a product designer in WordPress dot com in Automattic.

Lee Moreau
Jana likes working for a distributed company.

Jana Hernandez
Sometimes at my previous job, I was thinking what would make my life better? And I always thought like to have like the ability of the manage my hours and have the balance of-of work life that would be better. Here at Automattic, things are different. We work globally, so when I'm sleeping, some people are working my team and this is awesome because kind of like, we never stop. So being remote, the philosophy of like balancing work time and life time, whatever it is that you do outside, that was very, very, very appealing to me. Especially like right now, I have a little one. So this is perfect for me. Like, I can find my balance, I can manage my hours. It was a dream come true almost, you know.

Lee Moreau
Designing a better web. Join us an Automattic dot com slash design. That's auto-m-a-double t-i c dot com slash design.

Lee Moreau
So this is getting to the importance of having these objects around us that can kind of ground the conversation. You know, as designers were intentional about the way that we think about objects and we use objects with a purpose. So, you know, like when you have a you see someone and they have a ring on their finger, which might suggest something, but you're not entirely sure what that ring means, it has a meaning and it can stimulate a conversation.

Daria Loi
I think objects are a quintessential way, right, for us to project who we are.

Lee Moreau
Daria Loi is the head of innovation at Avast Technology and previously worked as a design researcher at Intel.

Daria Loi
Like, if you have like certain objects in your room that projects that are extensions of your own being. This is what we have telling to the world, this is who I am.

Lee Moreau
Daria is interested in objects, as she said, but not because of the way that Dori Tunstall is interested as an anthropologist, but because she does a lot of working with and thinking about cultural probes. Sarah, I know you, and part of why you're in this conversation is at one point you spoke in my class at MIT and I think you described yourself as a activity monster. And I was-and it was, it struck me. But explain what an activity monster could be and how that connects us to cultural probes and activities and stimulus in interviews.

Sarah Nagle
Well, I'm an activity monster in a lot of different things in my life. But as a researcher, I describe myself as an activity monster because I love designing activities and I think about kind of cultural probes and activities, it's like a designed exercise or activity that can help people become part of the design process. And the reason that I love making those and creating them is it gives people who aren't designers the ability to kind of help co-create and make and become a designer. So I like to make it as approachable as possible. I mean, there's a lot of different fun ways to do it. One of my favorites is this like velcro backpack that I've done, where I've also done it with shoes, but you have like the soft side of the velcro and you kind of cover a backpack in it, and then you have like, I like to make these like little cards or attach or have like these like, you know, like for a backpack would be like carabiners or a little card that has like pockets on it or water bottles or different things like that. And then a bunch of words to describe like the design of it. And then those are all things that could attach to the outside. So when you talk to somebody,.

Lee Moreau
Oh, that's cool.

Sarah Nagle
Yeah. When you talk to someone, you can say, like, Hey, do you— help me design this backpack. So then they can kind of co-create and you can start to prioritize like the descriptors or kind of like does does need to be soft here or squishy? Or do you need like this like loop here for something? Do you need to attach stuff? So you can do it in a number of ways, but it's a way to kind of like, help help people like become part of the design process.

Lee Moreau
This notion of cultural is sounds incredibly powerful, but also playful. Here's Daria Loi again to tell us more:

Daria Loi
That if you take objects out of their normal everyday context and you craft and curate and experience that is ambiguous enough to enable the recipient to find space in that ambiguity, then that individual will be inspired and make brain connections— so you don't know what the connections will be, but what you learn by doing is that there will be connections.

Lee Moreau
You know, the everyday person brings stuff into their home to give them meaning and to share with others. And we do the same thing with cultural probes bringing things into the design process or into the interview to kind of build connections and establish a shared understanding and a vocabulary and a context for openness and dialog. Tell us more about how that works with in your research and what that helps you do. What can what do you do with that knowledge?

Sarah Nagle
Sometimes it's not always about the object. I think it's kind of like, you know, to what we were talking about to help us better understand who the person is talking about. Again, something else to help us understand, like the things that they value and what they're looking for. But yeah, I think, you know, in kind of in the product design process, it's about understanding that from a number of people to understand how do we see patterns here? It's kind of a toolkit that's handed to the designers to say like, this is what people want. And it gives them more description about the things that they need to do to the design.

Lee Moreau
Have you ever had an experience where you were bringing in a specific activity into a conversation, and it led to something completely unexpected where it really pushed you into a different type of conversation, something you weren't expecting?

Sarah Nagle
You actually, just like just a couple of weeks ago, doing this project, I'm working with a- one of our entrepreneurs on a new business around adventure women and connecting them. And we did this journey mapping exercise. So helping these women talk about like where they how they started in their sport and where they're going or how they've changed. And I didn't expect it to be an emotional thing. But for a few of the women, you know, talking about those stories and talking about their past and how they started to learn and who introduced them to these sports, I mean, yeah, people cry in interviews and sometimes you're just you're not expecting that sometimes, and it catches you off guard a little bit. But at the same time, it's like, Wow, OK, like, there's something really interesting here and you want to you want to dig into it. You just have to be, this is when you have to be really sensitive about the kind of like the questions you ask and and how you ask them as well.

Lee Moreau
I mean, you work for a company that makes stuff right. And and so, so much of the conversations that you're having with people is about stuff. And yet you can go into these territories in these conversations. That sounds like are no longer about stuff. They get to the core of the the human beneath this stuff.

Sarah Nagle
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, I've had, you know, kind of going back to that athlete project where we were designing stuff for top of mountain. I mean, I had a lot of conversations about life and death and you know, that fine line and talking about, you know, friends and, you know, that have passed and it can get really, really deep, really quickly. You know, as a researcher, I wanted— I'm more interested in that sometimes than the product, you know, because you just want to like you want to learn about the person. But then there's that moment too where it's like, OK, I still I still need to figure out how to design this mop like we can like, we can't go like super deep, you know, over here for a long time. But it does help you in context to understand kind of the values, for sure.

Lee Moreau
So this isn't just about the Daruma doll, which is the topic of today's conversation, we're now in week eight and this is what the show is doing every week that we're starting with an object and trying to understand a shared history around that object and with you, our co-host. And we have no idea where this conversation is going to go, but we try to establish a datum with that object that we can all share and engage in. Every week is sort of like a cultural probe on this on this podcast.

Sarah Nagle
It must be so interesting to talk to all these different people about, like— because as a researcher and you know, there's just so many stories and so like, you can just go in so many different directions

Lee Moreau
So the objects that we have, the activities, the conversations are really there to spark connection. And it's important that you're in the room while this conversation is happening. In fact, you're hosting the conversation as a designer. So the design part of your mind is also activated while the researcher part of your mind is happening in the kind of questioning part. And then we're looking for sparks, right? And that's part of this. Like as a designer, you're looking for things that can lead to new outcomes that can represent new behaviors, potentially respond to values that are not being satisfied, needs that are not being satisfied.

Sarah Nagle
Yeah, it's just it's observing those connections. I think we've talked about like, yeah, it's just kind of like it's pulling these puzzle pieces together, catching someone in like. They're about to say something, but then you're like, but you stopped yourself, you know, can you can you go a little bit deeper there? What did you what did you mean? Why did you stop yourself? Sometimes when you catch someone in moments like that, that's when just kind of the floodgates open a little bit and they're like, Oh, I've always wanted this to like, be a certain way. And I didn't think it could be that way because I think it's hard for some, some folks that aren't in design to imagine that it could be another way. And think about some like cleaning projects that we did that were just like super like easy little changes and things like do you just like silly little brush heads and, you know, able to reach in certain areas and stuff like that. But like people imagining like, Oh wow, but it actually could be that way. That's pretty cool. And I think that's why, you know, these cultural probes are so important too in kind of helping people describe it or even having the prototypes in people's homes too. Like if you give them all these different options of things and prototypes are super important too to, like not feel really finished because you want them to be invited into that process. They don't want to feel like it's super finished and they can't change things. You kind of need to let them in a bit. So, yeah, I mean, there's there's I mean, a million moments like that, but I think it's yeah, when people realize that they can change it or someone can change it, is is pretty cool.

Lee Moreau
To continue this conversation let's hear more from Dori Tunstall:

Dori Tunstall
This is why observation isn't enough. You have to combine it with some sort of interviewing, some sort of way in which you get the internal story around what it is that you're seeing, what those objects may mean, right? What what's behind the object? What's the history of the object? Because if you don't, you could be telling an incorrect story.

Lee Moreau
So it's one thing to go through somebody's house and take a tour. And of course, if you're in my house, you'd see my Daruma dolls. They might have made you think that I am have Japanese heritage, right? Or I'm Japanese or I just like the color red or something like that. But the next step really is after the object is to engage in a conversation about the object. So we we kind of like the way that you're talking about this Sarah is like, you're building assumptions. You're kind of like, there are little clues that you're putting together and you're starting to paint a picture. When you do that, you're really engaged in What Dori Tunstall calls respectful design.

Dori Tunstall
As a precondition for participatory design you actually have to cultivate a sense of respect. You have to know who you are and be centered within yourself and know the limitations of your own knowledge and your own perspective. And from that sense of humility, be able to be open to the perspectives of others, the ways of being of others, and then buikd that as part of the solution.

Lee Moreau
So taking us home a little bit, you know, in our podcast about human centered design, do you think that human centered design encourages us to participate respectfully as designers? Is that is that what this is brought to the world of design?

Sarah Nagle
Yeah, you have to kind of go in with a kind of a clean slate. I remember hearing from a researcher and I forgot who it was a long time ago, pretend you're from the moon. So you go walking in and asking the questions kind of from a place that is a bit naive is OK because it also puts the person in the place of being an expert, which when people feel like an expert, they'll tell you more.

Lee Moreau
So you're not out there just harvesting ideas. You're trying to improve people's lives,

Sarah Nagle
Trying to, trying to. I mean, you know, with, yeah, you want people to have those moments. You want that that surprise and delight in their day, you want them to have a great experience and then also like the sustainability part of my brain, you want them to keep this object for a long time. You don't want them to look at this thing and just like use it a few times and toss it like you. You want it to be really meaningful. And I think that's what human centered design is able to do. It's able to really understand what's valuable to people and create these experiences and objects that people want to keep and they want to continue to experience.

Dori Tunstall
I try to move away from human centered design because part of decolonization is decentering the human.

Lee Moreau
Again, this is Dori Tunstall:

Dori Tunstall
Understanding that the human is just one nodal point in a series of relationships, and thus expansively, how do you understand again, the inner world of a tree, the inner world of a centipede and inner worlds of water? Which means you have to be connected to those things to be able to build that into your design process and your design outcomes.

Lee Moreau
So in the end, it's not about the object itself that is the end result of all this and maybe not about the object that is my Daruma doll that begins the conversation. It's actually an investment in a broader conversation around these objects in our designed lives and the things we have around us within design practice. And that's what we're really trying to highlight in this episode. How can engagement through artifacts and dialog lead us to different and hopefully better, brighter outcomes.

Sarah Nagle
Yeah, I mean, it's about building the whole picture, it's about building kind of like, you know, as a researcher, you collect all of these stories. It's not about the individual things that you're designing. It's about kind of like, I, yeah, it sounds really big, but you're learning about humanity, you're learning about cultures, you're kind of understanding what makes them tick and how we can just do better and how we can, the things that we put out there will mean something and they'll be, you know, artifacts for the future, you know, and not just kind of like something that's going to end up in some sort of landfill somewhere. It's it's the things that people could potentially, I'm not saying that are going to pass my mop down to my kiddo, but like, there's going to be these things that I, you know, that I have really good experiences with that I'll I'll tell people about. And then for a lot of them, or hopefully some of them you keep.

Lee Moreau
And some of them outlive you.

Sarah Nagle
A lot of them, I think right now with me.

Lee Moreau
Let's go to the future. So my little Daruma dolls opened up a whole conversation about objects, the things that we have around us, and ultimately opened up a series of conversations about how we begin to engage and understand other people. But when you're out there in the field doing this, it's true that if I go into somebody's house, if you come into my house, you learn a lot about me. But also, if you like, look at my social media feeds, you understand a lot about me, probably a very curated, highly curated, almost absurdist version of me. But you know how, as we think about the future of design research and where this is going, what are some of the other avenues and channels we or we're starting to use for understanding people?

Sarah Nagle
Yeah, it's a good question. I mean, there's you know, for design research has been so different over the last couple of years with COVID. And you know, how do you how as a design researcher, do I connect with people? Been a lot of Zoom, it's very, very different. And I and I feel so hungry to be in people's homes again in person. You can't replicate it. You can't replicate being in somebody's house.

Lee Moreau
But this is an it really involved process. So the kind of rigor and depth that we're talking about, it's it's a big effort, and I sometimes struggle with my clients trying to tell them why we're spending and investing so much time and money in doing this research. Do you think that every single product that's released into the world needs to have this level of design research rigor for it to actually be well-designed?

Sarah Nagle
When they're objects that they're that you're using in home objects or like for the stuff that I'm doing like, you know, in in the world or like on the side of the mountain. I think that the, in context is necessary because it's like it's the world in which that thing is going to live and you need to understand the world that that thing is going to live to be able to make it a meaningful design. And I think I've found the best way to do that is is to bring those clients that may ask the really silly questions into the home with you, because I think the experiences I've had is every client that I've had or kind of a nonbeliever believes after they've been able to ask somebody a question while they're sitting on there at their kitchen table.

Lee Moreau
And then how do we scale that up to if we think of Dori Tunstall talking about water and centipedes, right, and, you know, and being mindful of them, you talked about how long some of the things that you the sustainability angle and how long some of the things that you, your company creates,How long they last in the planet, right? And how important it is that people kind of cherish them and use them and make the most of that opportunity. When we start to factor in all of these other things, that's kind of it's kind of it- it's a lot to think about.

Sarah Nagle
It becomes really complicated. And I think the most important thing is just to keep that in your mind, because that isn't always part of the conversation. Sustainability isn't always there. And I think that there's a lot of ways to do that. There's a lot of like, you know, in the position that we're in thinking about, like the supply chain and thinking about where the materials come from. And so some of it is part of the interaction that we have with people that I think a lot of it is actually behind the scenes. So it's just be doing good as an organization, and VF has done a really good job with that, you know, with all the brands that we have to think about it because it's so important to us. But it is. I mean, we make a lot of stuff and there's going to be a lot of things out there. And it's just one of those things you have to balance with understanding the needs that people have and also the the good that we want to do as well.

Lee Moreau
All right. Let's change gears a little bit. As you know, every episode of The Futures Archive ends with a prompt, a sort of design exercise for you, the listener, to keep working on the ideas and the object that we've talked about in this week's show. You'll be able to share your ideas and see what other listeners are thinking about, too. And I'll tell you where to do that in just a bit. What we'd like to do this week is just sit in your home and the place where you're most likely to welcome visitors, people that come to your house for the first time. Take a look around you. What are the objects that are most likely to either stimulate conversation or give us a deeper insight into who you are as a person? Are these things the same? Are they different? Please draw a sketch of that item and write a brief description about why it either stimulates conversation, provides deeper meaning, or both. We'd love to see your responses! Please post your sketches on Instagram and use the hashtag The Futures Archive, that's all one word. We'll share some of our favorite responses in our Instagram story at Design Observer. You can read the full prompt on our Instagram and check out some of our favorite responses to last week's prompt.

The Futures Archive is a podcast from Design Observer. To keep up with the show go to TFA dot Design Observer dot com, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you liked what you heard today, please make sure to rate and review us and share it with your friends. Sarah, thank you so much for being with us today. If listeners are curious about you or want to find out more information about you, where should they go?

Sarah Nagle
Well, you guys have probably seen that I'm not really on the internet, so I guess the places to find me, not necessarily me, but the work that I do is going to the VF Venture Foundry, either LinkedIn page or website. But as far as, like finding me, I'll be outside.

Lee Moreau
Please post your answers for this week's assignment on Instagram using the hashtag The Futures Archive, that's one word. We're really excited to see what you come up with and make sure you're following us at Design Observer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The Futures Archives education partner is Adobe. For each episode, you can find supporting materials, including further reading, lesson plans and all kinds of activities suitable for college level learners. For more information about Adobe's education initiatives, follow them at EDEX dot adobe dot com. And The Futures Archive is brought to you by Automattic. Thanks again to Hiroko Yoda, Dori Tunstall, and Daria Loi for talking to The Futures Archive. You can find more about them, and my co-host Sarah Nagle in our show notes at TFA dot Design Observer dot com, as well as links to archival audio and a full transcription of the show. Our associate producer is Adina Karp. Owen Agnew edits the show. Blake Eskin of Noun and Verb Rodeo helped to develop the show. Thanks, as always to Design Observer founder Jessica Helfand and to Design Observer executive producer Betsy Vardell.


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