IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 41

drawing or sculpting, anything classified as work
has a different cognitive demand. The focus needed
to complete a work task was previously thought
of as a commodity "used up" throughout the day.
But a 2011 study in Cognition found that humans
become habituated to the object of their focus and
subsequently lose sight of it. This explains why the
last time you agonized over the perfect solution
to a design dilemma, it took a brisk walk to reveal
the answer, and not another hour fretting in front
of your computer. Neuroscientists now believe
that our brains likely work in two modes: diffuse
attention and focused attention. "When you're
really stuck on a problem, you're probably in
focused attention, whereas engaging in things that
feel like play would require diffuse attention," says
Dr. Beth Altringer, a psychologist with a masters
degree in architecture, who conducts research
on creative professionals through Harvard
University's Innovation Lab and the b4bi Group.
As part of a larger-scale study, Altringer polled
designers about what they do when they're facing
a creative roadblock. She found that the most
effective action was seeking diverse inspiration
outside the physical space, like going to a museum

or taking a walk. Entering a stimulating social
environment, whether it was a cocktail party or tea
with a co-worker, was also effective. "The space
or activity may not necessarily be relaxing itself,
but it hits a reset button that relaxes designers,"
she says. "It might be helping with the transition
to diffuse attention, which can allow you to take
in information that can potentially recombined
in an interesting way."
The Disruption Factor
Some designers believe artistic disruption is critical
to bringing a unique perspective and refreshed
outlook to the design process. Alberto Alfonso, AIA,
a founding principal and president of Alfonso
Architects in Ybor City, Florida, refers to his firm as
"an atelier of making things." Alfonso encourages
his team to undertake extracurricular pursuits:
members of his staff create fi lms, paint, and even
work in the firm's steel shop making their own
furniture. Alfonso says the tactile nature of these
pursuits can be a critical factor in framing a more
nuanced design view.

PERSPECTIVE

41



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015

IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 201
Contents
From IIDA
Behind the Issue
Contributors
IIDA Roundtable
Designer Dialogue
Design Decoded
For Love of The Game
Designers Off Duty
Point / Counterpoint
Inspiration
Colophon
Design Buzz
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 201
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Cover2
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 1
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Contents
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 3
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 4
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - From IIDA
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Behind the Issue
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 7
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Contributors
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 9
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - IIDA Roundtable
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 11
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 12
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 13
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 14
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 15
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Designer Dialogue
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 17
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 18
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 19
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 20
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 21
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Design Decoded
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 23
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 24
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 25
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 26
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 27
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 28
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 29
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - For Love of The Game
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 31
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 32
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 33
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 34
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 35
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 36
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 37
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 38
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 39
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Designers Off Duty
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 41
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 42
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 43
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 44
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 45
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 46
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 47
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Point / Counterpoint
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 49
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 50
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 51
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Inspiration
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 53
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 54
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Colophon
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Design Buzz
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Cover3
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - Cover4
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