For assignment four, I was partnered up with Peter, Zoé and later on Hillary. Rod told us that we were to somehow reach and connect to a community within the OCADU network. We chose to affix ourselves to students at the near-end of  their final year(s) here, and focused on a way for them to release the inescapable end-of-semester stress. It would be an event where students could forget about the pressure to “do well” and find release.

The original idea was to get someone wrapped up in some sort of blank canvas, and allow stressed students to spray water guns full of paint at the moving target. This would give people the opportunity to let out and frustration. There were other ideas that got passed around as well: having someone wrapped in tape (sticky side out) and getting people to throw bits of (light) junk at them, having an essay burning fest, and smashing a bunch of stuff. We stewed on those ideas for a week and decided that it would be much too cold for paint guns, throwing stuff at people could be dangerous, fires wouldn’t be cool with OCADU security, and smashing would be wasteful, costly, and messy. We needed to rethink.

The concept for end-of-semester stress relief is something that our school, as well as other post-secondary schools have explored in the past, as studies have found that the stress that students feel at this time of year has profoundly negative effects. A study in 2005 found that of 17,000 students,  21% claimed to be depressed and had considered suicide during finals. Dalhousie University’s student union put together a clever and heart-melting occasion where students would lower their blood pressure and release stress by attending a puppy-petting event. Students in Sweden came up with their own way of letting off steam by simultaneously screaming out of their dorm windows at night. OCADU has found food, particularlywaffles provided by the Christian Fellowship, to be a delightful way of easing some school-related stress. As a group, we were inspired by different schools across the globe who were considering the same issue, which led us to come up with even more ideas for our own event. Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed that most of our execution ideas would not be plausible due to possible legal/time/financial/resource constraints. We did, however, come up with this gem of a designed experience:


An event surrounding an OCADU Sharp Centre Piñata. What better way to get out one’s rage on said institution than to physically beat it with a baseball bat?


We figured that the most effective way to raise awareness about the event would be through Facebook since our target finds out about most local events this way through their existing networks.

We titled the event AAARRRGGG!!!!!! A Therapy Session on Facebook, and invited people who were part of the community we wanted to reach. Considering that we decided on the event details and created the event so close to the actual date, we had quite a positive response. In total there were 128 people invited, 12 maybe attending, and a whopping 43 people attending. We were all getting excited.

Zoé offered her house to the group as a place for us to create our piñata masterpiece. While we were elbow-deep in wheat paste and news paper strips, we all realized that doing this project was a therapeutic experience in itself, and that we had connected with each other as our own little OCADU community. The four of us coming together to make this table-top recreation was an unexpected bonding experience that got us all to forget about our own stress, and have actual relief for a couple of hours.ImageImageImage

Additionally, we all ended our evenings with a bonus sense of accomplishment for making this stunning piñata.

For the digital components of the assignment, we decided to use various social media applications such as Facebook, Vine, and Instagram to connect with students as well as document the event.

We created a digital poster to post on the event wall and share on our personal accounts. To maximize the exposure of the event, we also tagged the event as well as various people in the OCADU community on the date. I shared the poster on my wall with the caption saying “OCAD FINALS STRESSING YOU OUT??? come to Butterfield at 3pm and help us beat the crap out of this Sharp Centre Piñata!!! AAARRRGGG!!!!! A Therapy Session” The response I got on that post got 13 likes in about 2 hours. I also checked the wall of he event for any fun or interesting posts from attendees and saw these:

Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 12.06.03 AM Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 12.06.18 AM

An hour before the event, we all met at Butterfield to fill the piñata with candy and glitter, and hang it from the Above Ground fire escape.


As we were setting up, people started arriving (amped) for the event. Most of whom we actually did not know personally. Somehow, through the magic of social media, we had attracted a crowd of enthusiastic strangers within our OCADU community to share a fun experience with! How awesome.

Documenting the actual event proved to be more difficult than we expected because people were so excited to destroy the piñata that we had to hold them back for their 6-second Vine interviews. Because there were so many people, and everyone wanted to get on with the smashing, we asked the group what  things were stressing them out at this time of year. The popular answers were “too many projects due at the same time” or “im just stressed out!”. We then asked if they thought that our event could help release some of their stress,  which resulted in an uproar from the crowd indicating that we should get started. Our team did the best we could to document the event in its entirety, but I personally found that my lagging iPhone / wifi put a damper on the documentation.

Overall, I think that our event was a success. We connected with not only people in our social circles who fit the “profile” we were aiming for, but also people who were just interested in the idea of the event, and were compelled by the idea of relieving their post-secondary stress vis-a-vis an OCADU piñata.

Specifically Peter and I both agreed that we want this event to become a tradition, and that we can make it bigger and better with more piñatas! This was a lot of fun.

Some Vine clips:




so this girl from OCAD got hit by a truck over the weekend, and the cop only took a statement from the truck driver who claimed that she’d run a red light and was in the wrong. Fox was in shock at the scene, and wasn’t able to give a statement, so the cop closed the case early because it was “her fault”. 

She’s now looking to the internet for help, asking if anyone was a witness to the actual events, or at least for people to share this image so that it gets around. I don’t know her at all, but I hope that she finds someone to help her. 

I thought I’d share this here because I think it’s relevant to the class content. 


care of toronto life: 


Shayne Hughes, the CEO of a California-based business consultancy called Learning as Leader­ship, recently put a moratorium on interoffice emails. He defended his experiment in Forbes magazine by explaining that he wanted to force his employees to communicate with each other in person. He’s the latest in a line of corporate leaders to encourage face-to-face interaction by prohibiting email. Over the last few years, executives at Intel, Deloitte and Veritas, among other companies, have all instituted versions of the same idea.

The trend is part of an ongoing attempt to address some of the alienating aspects of the digital age: the computer, an otherwise spectacular communication tool, often prevents us from actually talking to each other. Many open-concept offices have been rendered eerily silent as workers spend their days emailing back and forth. In my office, days go by when I don’t know if a colleague who works on another floor is even in the building.


And most days, in most situations, it doesn’t matter to me where that colleague is physically. We all might as well work from home. Yet we cling to the ritual of congregating in a workplace for most of our daylight hours. I’m starting to think that the traditional white-collar office, where people sit at desks from 9 to 5, is an anachronism. (Or worse, a death trap: sitting all day is horrible for your health.)

Given that technology allows us to work from anywhere (and smart phones ensure many of us never stop), why gather at all? Because sometimes being in the same physical space makes for more creative collaboration. The social aspect of work fosters a sense of shared purpose. Also, some challenges are better tackled via in-person collective strategizing.

The best companies have figured this out. Netflix, for instance, sets high standards for its staff but doesn’t prescribe where or when they work—and famously gives employees as much holiday time as they want. Netflix also posts its corporate constitution online in a slide presentation with this telling subtitle: “Freedom and Responsibility.” The manifesto, which has been viewed almost four million times, dictates that staffers “accomplish amazing amounts of important work.” For all the executives care, that work can happen in the office, or the shower, or the Bahamas.

In Toronto, several companies are similarly cooking up unorthodox ways to inspire employees. In this issue, we feature a collection of Toronto workplaces (“Dream Jobs,” page 100) that encourage personal interaction in non-traditional meeting spaces (including a tent and an indoor parkette). The designs may sound goofy, but I admire the premise: if people are going to schlep into the office, they should do more than just email each other.

Frances McInnis, who wrote the story for Toronto Life, says that executives are overhauling their office environments in large part to attract and retain the most sought-after 20- and 30-somethings—a generation of workers who demand more from a job than a steady paycheque. It’s been great for Toronto. Big companies, like Google and Telus, are choosing to set up shop in the core to appeal to the growing population of young condo ­dwellers who want to walk to work, gleefully avoiding gridlock. And according to newly released census data, the downtown business district is thriving. After 20 years of losing corporate investment to the burbs, we’ve seen the number of commercial leases downtown spike dramatically. Maybe the office isn’t dead after all. It just has to evolve.

so this is what my big stormy cloud is right now – the project that i’ve been working on that’s stressing me out the most. 

Here’s a link to learn more about the cause

but basically i need to make an entire ad campaign that aims to get people thinking about how the war on drugs has failed, and hopefully shift the paradigm on the way people think about drugs and drug users as a judicial / criminalization issue to a health and social issue. We’re trying to get people to not only think about drugs in a different way, but think about people in a different way. Prohibition  / eradication is not going to happen. The world needs to get rid of their negative preconceived notions about drug users. 

so many things to think about. My brain is JELLO. 

such an important issue. 

please check it out!

. J E L L O .


delio, laryssa and i have been working hard on our presentation about the influence of twitter on journalism on the public and on and on… as well as the idea of citizen journalism and how that theory fits into everything. 


i’m finished my part, and do i have a bit of breathing room for now. 

the citizen journalism aspect of it interests me because it’s such a major shift in the way people interact with the media and how we have become part of the process of creating and shaping news stories. The public’s voice is so much louder now, and will be heard whether or not the media want it to be. It only makes sense that they are incorporating it into what they put out because at least they will have control over what they include and exclude in terms of public response. This also plays into the idea of the digital divide because only the tweets etc that the media choose to put out will be available to those who don’t participate online. People who are not on the internet dont have access to the the other opinions posted online. 


hopefully the class thinks this is as interesting as i do and we can start a discussion!

Clay Shirky spoke at Cannes in June as part of a TED Talk, in which he expanded on the concept of ‘cognitive surplus’. Shirky explained the power of people’s collective intelligence, creativity, and efforts – or cognitive surplus – and its ability to benefit the greater, societal good. There were a few ideas and points that caught our attention from Shirky’s perspective:

The example of – a free, open and crowd-sourced crisis management information platform that was born in Kenya during the disputed presidential election of 2007 (we discussed it a while back). A Kenyan pundit’s personal blog and endeavor to share information during a government-mandated media blackout was supported – and ultimately expanded – by other individuals and organizations. During the past 3 years, what started as an individual blog evolved into a global, collaborative crisis-management platform that has been utilized to communicate and visualize data aggregated from cell phones, SMS, and blog reports – covering the earthquake in Haiti and even the current oil spill.
Deployment and collaboration of this fast-spreading nature and global scale would not have been possible without digital media tools and human generosity
Cognitive Surplus thus consists of 1) free time and talents and 2) digital media tools that allow broad-reach sharing of the fruits of said free time and talents
Some of the results of cognitive surplus may be humorous and entertaining to a particular community of participants (i.e., lolcats), while others will be valuable to a greater, societal good (i.e.; while the common denominating factor is that they are the result of people’s intrinsic desire to share, what differentiates them is who receives value from the collaboration – a limited audience of participants, or a broader society
This later result of cognitive surplus is design for generosity
To understand what motivates people, we need to identify and understand social constraints (those that impact others) vs. contractual (i.e., economic) constraints – social constraints encourage a more generous culture
How to encourage cognitive surplus to direct efforts towards design for generosity? Free cultures get what they celebrate, support and reward; we (businesses, governments, individuals) therefore need to reward those that are using cognitive surplus to create civic value

indoor sand box redesign prototype 2

now hello kitty themed
the mobility of the chair is now considered

i’ve lost interest in the niceness of my diagram because im so excited to show aimee my upgrades!

indoor sand box redesign prototype 1

first attempt not so bad… let’s see what she comes up with

indoor sand box

I saw this picture and automatically thought of my cousin because we always criticize bad designs together. I sent it to her and we both decided to do redesigns. so silly.