Sunday, January 27, 2008

Learn By Doing

A long time ago when I was studying engineering at Cornell, one of my professors in a design class, noticed that I had not written anything on my drawing paper. I said that I was still "thinking" how to get started. He told me, "Start drawing. Thinking without writing or drawing is just dreaming."

Thinking needs to be combined with lots of action-
  • Research to find facts and understand users, their needs, what has been done by others.
  • Sketching- making thoughts visual so that you and others can "see" what is in your head
  • Quick models- duct tape and cardboard combined with some existing object salvaged from your desk or from a junk pile.
Amos Eaton, first president of RPI said, "RPI students learn by doing." We need to remember that, and grab a pencil, make a sketch, quickly calculate the order of magnitude, list the questions that you need to answer, try something, work out the details.
Stop dreaming and start doing. The advice from my professor still works!