Previous post:

Next post:

Metrics before magic

by mel starrs on July 28, 2008

in Opinion, Theory and Comment

This appeals to my inner rationalist, the little voice which makes me an engineer and also resonates with something I have been wrestling with all week.  I found it a while ago but hadn’t picked out this section  before:

Metrics do not get in the way of being creative. Almost everything is quantifiable, and just the exercise of trying to frame up ecological and labor impacts can be surprisingly instructive. So on your next project, if you’ve determined that it may be impossible to quantify the consequences of a material or process or assembly in a design you’re considering, maybe it’s not such a good material or process or assembly to begin with. There are more and more people out there in the business of helping you to find these things out, by the way; you just have to call them.

Allan here is talking about designing “things” – Looking for metrics (even if you don’t necessarily find them) and quantifying the consequences is a very useful exercise. I would add that second guessing unintended consequences (eg: looking at scenario planning) is a step even further.