12.02.21
Lee Moreau + Saeed Arida | Audio

The Futures Archive S1E7: The Ball


What do you think about when you think about a ball? About play? On this episode of The Futures Archive Lee Moreau and Saeed Arida discuss the ball, play, and learning.

With insights from Josh Chetwynd, Kimberlie Birks, AnnMarie Thomas, and students from the Elliot K-8 Innovation School in Boston.

Lee asked Saeed about universal learning, and a need for understanding and and learning through play:
There is this idea of "one size fits all" in the educational system. And it just does not work. Creating a learning environment that accounts for that is really key for us. We want to encourage differences. It's very, very important that we have kids who come from many different parts of the world because everybody's perspective is important.
Lee Moreau is President of Other Tomorrows, a design and innovation consultancy based in Boston, and a Lecturer in MIT’s D Minor program.

Saeed Arida is is an educator, entrepreneur and designer and the founder and CEO of NuVu.

Kimberlie Birks is an art and design critic and author of Design for Children.

Josh Chetwynd is the author of several books, including The Secret History of Balls: The Stories Behind the Things We Love to Catch, Whack, Throw, Kick, Bounce and Bat. He also played baseball professionally, both in the United States and in Europe.

AnnMarie Thomas is a professor in the schools of business and engineering at the University of St. Thomas, where she runs the Playful Learning Lab. 


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.



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...

Saeed Arida
And I am Saeed Arida.

Lee Moreau
On each episode, we're going to start with an object. Today that object is the ball. 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 ball looks and feels, but also the relationship between that object and the people it was designed for,

Saeed Arida
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 the director of Content Design at WordPress.com, Michael Pick. The Futures Archives education partner this season is Adobe.

Lee Moreau
Saeed, it's great to have you with us today, thank you for being here.

Saeed Arida
Happy to be here. Thank you.

Lee Moreau
So Saeed, before we get started, I want to kind of introduce you a little bit and maybe contextualize how I know you. So I know you as the founder and the chief excitement officer at NuVu Studios. We initially met through connections at MIT, where I think you have a couple of degrees and where I teach. And we were working on different educational programs. But for the listeners, could you kind of tell us what NuVuStudio is and how it came into being?

Saeed Arida
This is always interesting to answer, because NuVu has evolved a lot over over the years. But currently, you know what NuVu is, is a high school that is based in Cambridge, and we have somewhere between 50 to 60 students who enroll at NuVu for all of their high school experience. And what we've done over the last four to five years is that we set up these NuVu innovation labs inside schools and we have those labs all over the world, from Turkey to Scotland to Hawaii. And we use those places as playgrounds, really for-for experimenting and for inviting kind of those school communities to think about education and a different way, think about the world in a different way and try to engage with the world around them and in a more kind of substantial way.

Lee Moreau
So obviously, this episode is about the ball, which theres a lot of meeting that can be associated with it, and I'm wondering, can you talk about the relationship between play and learning?

Saeed Arida
I don't know how you can make that distinction between play and learning because they are interchangeable. You are learning as you are playing and you are playing as you're learning. And so for me, they are like both very, very highly connected. And a lot of this for me revolves around engagement. And once you have that engagement, then I think learning and play become kind of interchangeable.

Lee Moreau
And I'm curious, like, how did you play as a child or how did you learn as a child?

Saeed Arida
In terms of, you know, talking about my experience as a child— its probably a lot easier for me to talk about my-my kid who is-who is two now. So it's been amazing for me to actually watch my my daughter kind of learn, you know, when we talk about the iterative process in the studio environment, we talk about it as a as a learning kind of behavior. And, you know, we talk about it and this kind of very systemic way. But it's amazing to see how kids do it in this very, very intuitive way. This is basically their mode of learning is that you just do something and does not work, you forget that you made a mistake or you did not do it perfectly and then you do it again.

Lee Moreau
And you know, it's probably too early to tell but even as a two year old, do you think she has a preferred mode of play or thing to play with?

Saeed Arida
I mean, this is we we learned this also from from working with kids who are between three and seven in the context of NuVu that kids have a much shorter kind of attention span. So she is loving the thing that she is doing. But within 15 to 20 minutes, she wants to go to the other favorite thing that she has, and within 20 minutes, she wants to jump into the other thing. And you know that also week to week, that changes. So now is Play-Doh, and this is the only thing that she wants to do, and she plays in it for 15 minutes. And then I'm done and she goes, she wants to read this other book that we read a million times and then she wants to go back to Play-Doh. So it's really interesting to see how she can transition between-between those things very quickly.

Lee Moreau
So fickle. I mean, naturally, I wanted you to say her favorite toy is the ball, but we'll get into that the second.

Saeed Arida
Sometimes it's the ball.

Lee Moreau
No, no I'm teasing. So what we're going to do now is we're going to transition to talk more deeply about the ball as the topic of this conversation or as the catalyst for this conversation. And to do that, we'll talk to some historians and designers. But right now, we're going to introduce you to some other special experts who we consulted for this episode.

Aquinnah
My name is Aquinnah. I'm in fourth grade.

Finn
My name is Finn. I'm in seventh grade.

Alice
My name is Alice. I'm in sixth grade.

Luka
My name is LuKa. I'm in fifth grade

Lee Moreau
For this episode we consulted with some of the amazing students at the Elliot K-8 innovation school, which is a public school in Boston, where my son Luka goes. And we're going to basically hear from them through the course of this conversation, or we'll be hearing their insights on a couple of different topics,

[LOUDPSEAKER]
Students riding the bus please report directly to the cafeteria

Lee Moreau
OK, I have a question for anyone so whoever would like to answer, but we have to go one at a time. Do you know how the ball was invented? Can somebody speculate or guess on how the ball was invented?

Aquinnah
Because somebody wanted something to playBut they only had all these toys, but they wanted something circular And so they took something maybe like a piece of something and put it with another piece and they like, like use like a blowtorch to stick it together. Maybe.

Lee Moreau
And that's an incredible response for, you know, where the ball comes from, and I think if you ask any child where the ball comes from, we would get an infinite number of different responses. But you know, in addition to these voices of the students, we're also going to go into this sort of deeper history about the ball

Josh Chetwynd
In terms of the balls and where they started from, it's hard to really pinpoint one.

Lee Moreau
Josh Chetwynd is the author of several books, including one about various balls and their history and uses. He also played baseball professionally, both in the United States and in Europe.

Josh Chetwynd
I mean, you can go back to Alexander the Great, and he was playing forms of Polo. Early Native American populations played lacrosse. They would use types of wood, you know, little knots of wood to play sports. Really, when you think about the period where balls became what we think of them. A lot of it has to do with in the West, at least, the Victorian age.

Lee Moreau
So, yeah, in one sense, it's a pretty standard object. It's the ball. And it's maybe an object that we don't consider having much of a design history, and we're going to unpack that over the course of this conversation.

Lee Moreau
So nobody knows really how the ball was invented, but we have some ideas about why the ball was invented, right? How would you invent the ball to begin with?

Luka
Somebody was bored and thought, Oh, what if I made this, maybe this would work. But I guess that's how all inventions come.

Saeed Arida
So you invent something because you are bored. I think that's like that's brilliant.

Lee Moreau
And not altogether surprising, right? I mean, I feel like I've developed in my lifetime several games because frankly, I was I was bored, whether that was like, you know, counting the people that were walking past me while I'm waiting in line for something or what have you. But the-the, if the need is there, we're going to invent something to fill that gap.

Saeed Arida
Yeah, and I probably will— I know this episode is about the ball and so we should not be talking about boredom, but I feel like that's, you know, when you're talking about learning and play, boredom, it becomes a really important concept. So it's kind of interesting that they just mentioned it in passing. But you know, I feel like in a lot of the things that we do, especially for kids, is that we want to minimize boredom, even for adults we want to minimize boredom. Although like a lot of these amazing things happen when you are bored.

Lee Moreau
So but specifically with the ball, we, you know, we start to understand as we look at the history that the design of balls has a lot to do with the way that we design play.

Josh Chetwynd
You get a sense that the way balls are designed are 100 percent reflection of what you want the ball to do,

Lee Moreau
which makes sense, right? So if we have a small ball that you can, that's kind of dense and heavy. You can throw it far with. If you have a big round balls that are squishy, you can kick them, right? Let's look more deeply at the American football, for example.

Josh Chetwynd
American football in its early iteration, was very much a running game, and you would hold the ball and you would try and run past all the other players. The problem was as people were dying. It was a very physically violent sport, so much so that Teddy Roosevelt decided to intercede. And his son had played football at Harvard and had been injured, not mortally injured, but injured. And so Teddy Roosevelt convened all the parents of American football and said: This has got to change. We need to change the sport. And so what they decided to do was to change the the the football to make it more of a prolate spheroid, which made it more easy to throw the ball. And by doing so, there was less of the running and less of that violence and more of an ability to throw and catch which changed. The violent natures were to a certain degree, obviously, it's still a pretty violent sport, but that was a real reflection of culture and the desire to make the sport a safer sport.

Lee Moreau
Once we sort of recognized the ball as a designed object, we can change that object to get the outcomes that we want. You know, how do we want the ball to perform or behave in a specific game or circumstance ultimately drives the way a ball is produced and the specific attributes that it has. Saeed, you recognized that the rules in some sense could be rewritten in schools and you could design a new curriculum, but it had to be based off something. What was the what was the catalyst?

Saeed Arida
You know, for my Ph.D. research at the time— being in an an architecture school and, you know, seeing that the engagement students have and the learning was really kind of just game-changing for me. And, you know, architects were the only one who were saying at night, basically in their studios, doing the work. And so that level of engagement was really amazing to see. And I wanted to kind of test out the studio environment outside of the college level. And so this is when I started thinking about K-12. And we started working with the high school basically at the end of my Ph.D. years. And you know, the rest is history. At this point, we started an experimental program with the private school. And that led us to kind of to where we are now, 10 years after. But basically, at the core of it is really the kind of this architecture studio mode of learning.

Lee Moreau
Did you see it as experimental as some people perceive NuVu Studio?

Saeed Arida
Yeah, I mean, we all I always refer to it as an experiment. Can we empower these kids to do amazing things? And, you know, and for that to happen, I feel like we are always in this constant kind of search for for better ways of doing things.

Lee Moreau
Well, the spirit of maybe a constant search for better ways of doing things or new rules for play, let's think about the ball again. You know, part of what makes the ball ubiquitous is that it can be universal. Sometimes in the show, we describe the word universal as being dangerous, right? If we think too much about universal things or that we can design in a universal way that suits everyone, we might be missing the point that might be an overreach of design. But I think in the case of the ball, you know, there is a sense that human desire and need for play is something that's truly universal. How does NuVu Studio build on that idea— this idea of universal learning, that of a need for for understanding and and learning through play?

Saeed Arida
There is this idea of a one size fits all in the educational system. And I think the conclusion of all of that is that, you know, and I think a lot of people would agree with me here is that, you know, one size fits all when it comes to education and learning experience, it just does not work. So having or building a learning environment that that accounts for that is really key for us. You know, we want we want to encourage these differences. It's very, very important that we have kids who come from many different parts of the world because everybody's perspective is important perspective. And having all of that in one place, I think will just will only kind of create a richer kind of experience for us.

Lee Moreau
So you really are trying to, in some sense, redefine education around this notion of engagement, how a student is engaged through learning. So we're we're really kind of getting to is this notion of participation, engagement and this is part of a long tradition of designing, for learning and designing for play.

Kimberlie Birks
If we think that childhood is such a formative time and the way that we design for kids says a lot about what we value and what we think about for the future, then what are the things that we're giving our children to play with saying about who we are and who we want to be?

Lee Moreau
Kimberlie Birks is an art and design critic and wrote a book on design for children.

Kimberlie Birks
A lot of the good design tenets apply for design for children, but I think it's specifically for kids, the more research we do, the more we realize that toys that are abstract tend to hold a child's attention much longer. And I think if you look at the toy industry today, we go towards narrative toys. We go towards figures or action figures or things that tell a specific story. And more and more, I think we're realizing that if you get a toy, that could be a figure, but it also could be something else, it gives the child much more free rein for their imagination to put on this toy, their whole world and what they're thinking it could be.

Lee Moreau
How does that relate to your world Saeed?

Saeed Arida
No, this is like 100 percent kind of true for us. You know, as our students kind of go through the messiness of the whole creative process and how they take their ideas into into a finished product, you know, they become really sensitive to this, how open-ended or restrictive the prompt is and when it's too kind of restrictive or prescriptive that they cannot really navigate too much away from it and they cannot really infuse it with their own ideas, it just— they they know this is this is, oh this is like regular school. This is not NuVu anymore. I feel like this is, you know, just, I don't know, something intrinsic in us that we're always, you know, the more creative we are, just like the more fulfilled we are at the end of the day.

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.

Michael Pick
I'm Michael Pick. And I'm the director of Content Design at WordPress.com. I live in a small city in the UK called Exeter.

Lee Moreau
Michael leads creative content teams at Automattic.

Michael Pick
So my job really is to sort of provide scaffolding for my teams to give them a framework to sort of work within and to sort of help set boundaries with them about the things that they're going to work towards in the areas we need to focus on to help the business and help our customers. But I'm not here to sort of to micromanage on a daily basis. It's absolutely not part of the job. The culture here is very much people work independently, asynchronously, you're left to get on with your own devices. Because at Automattic I would say leadership is very different. We don't think of leadership as management because it's very much a coaching function. We're here to help people set goals to work with people.

Lee Moreau
When Michael left Automattic in 2008, there were 200 employees. He came back recently to a company of 1500.

Michael Pick
And I was really surprised to see that as the company scaled so much, it's still there. There's still this kind of open, flat democratic culture that's baked into the essence of what it is we do. So that's fantastic.

Lee Moreau
Designing a better web, join us at Automattic dot come slash design. That's auto-m-a-double t-i- c dot com slash design.

Lee Moreau
I'm curious how you think of competence in the NuVu experience, because, you know, so much of play is about like: Oh, I'm getting really good at throwing that pitch so it hits the target perfectly, or I'm getting comfortable with using the system and kind of I can get an A every time, right? That kind of notion— how does how does competence work in your model?

Saeed Arida
This is a really big, big one for us. When we are talking about assessment, we are talking about kind of each student's kind of growth plan and and for us, every student has a different plan and different growth plan for, for that matter.

Lee Moreau
It was interesting as we were talking to the children at the Eliot School because they understood, I think intuitively the relationship between kind of free play, unrestrained exploration and also the need for rules and competence, and they kind of have an intuitive understanding of this balance.

Lee Moreau
If you think back to your first memories of playing, what do you remember? What do you think of?

Alice
This isn't exactly like playing with toys, but things like playing the piano. I started when I was three or four, and that's probably the most I can go back. But yeah, I mean, I guess it's still playing, though, because you say playing the piano.

Lee Moreau
It's interesting the relationship between playing a ball and playing the piano. Do you think of those two things the same? Can you talk about that?

Alice
For me, they're different. Like when you play with the ball, like you have, I guess, in a way, more fun with it, depending on what type of person you are. And normally when you play the piano, you have some sort of purpose or like a goal even or you just play the piano because like, you have a talent.

Saeed Arida
This whole notion of talent, whether I have talent or not, is a really debatable kind of thing, and there is this other notion of-of if you free play for no purpose or you play for a certain purpose, and and there's the assumption if you just play for the sake of play, then it's a lot more fun than playing for a certain purpose. So it's it's a— I know it's-it's like that clip is short, but there's just a lot to kind of break down in that and that sentence it is amazing.

Lee Moreau
So she-she knows when she's playing with the ball and it's supposed to be playful, right? And she kind of suggests that. But then she also understands that when she's playing piano, she's still playing. She has the lan-the vocabulary is still there. But there's a kind of sense of balance that she's articulating, which I think is just absolutely beautiful.

Saeed Arida
You could be also playing kind of with a ball because you want to become a soccer star. So that's also becomes really similar to having a purpose with the way you are doing the piano. So it's not necessarily that different.

Lee Moreau
You know, I'm a parent. You're a parent. We know that play is not just related, though, to the physical realm, but there are other dimensions of this. And a few years ago, we were— I was doing a project with Fisher Price, and the, I think the head of play suggested, that at that time, when you were approaching the age of six, that children were starting to prefer digital play or kind of technology enabled play more than physical play. So if you gave them Play-Doh and an iPad that they were going to default to that, I think that queues up the next clip.

Kimberlie Birks
In a lot of ways, technological toys tend to dictate the narrative, and it's harder to find a technological toy that really allows the child to create the narrative that they're part of. So in that sense, you know, there's there's a place for it, but I think we tend too quickly to want to give our child the latest invention, the most advanced technological thing that we've come up with the robotic toy. And I think that isn't necessary for young kids, especially.

Saeed Arida
We always have this debate at the school, whether we should use digital tools or not, because it's very clear to us that even at that age, you know, like 14, 15, 16 is that the engagement with what we are giving them is a lot higher when they are using their hands. And the minute you, you give them access to digital tools, and we want to do that because like they can do a lot more amazing stuff with it, right? Like you have all the software, all that fancy machines and all of that. So we want to get there eventually. But we we felt like if you just give them access to those tools really quickly, it kind of hinders the learning in some ways that it's not the same. So so we always, you know, try to figure out what, like what the best balance is between going completely analog and when is the right time to go digital. So so I don't think it's necessarily an issue that is just related to younger kids. I think it's it's the same issue for for older kids, too.

Lee Moreau
So let's take this a little bit more broadly, you know, beyond designing for play in children. What are some design tenets that we can start to think about from this point, and the kind of the key things that keep bubbling up here are this notion of free play, which is exploration over memorization and using tools—So this kind of pure engagement. And then also the notion of collaboration, of sort of playing together and playing with each other.

Saeed Arida
And there's, I think, that notion also of not being prescriptive and being more open ended you know, I think that's probably a third one that we can add to this.

Lee Moreau
So in terms of collaboration, how does that actually work in in your academic model? Because I think we hear in the business world that this notion of collaboration is really important, but I'm not sure that on the academic side, we're necessarily seeing that play out.

Saeed Arida
You know, when you go into an architecture studio, whether you are a student or a teacher, you know, the students always work individually. And that model always really struck me as as just weird, because like, even when you go to the to that the world of architecture outside it, just it never works this way. You're working with other architects, with other disciplines, with other fields and, and so it's highly, highly collaborative. But somehow our-our educational system basically makes it all about kind of your own ideas and all of that. And you know, I think my initial response is like, everything has to be collaborative, you know, understanding that it's actually not easy, you know, like the same way adults have a lot of issues collaborating like you see exactly the same issues with young students and teaching students to be able to negotiate all these issues with the rest of the team. It's really highly valuable for us. We really think of this as as a learned behavior, it's just it's not going to happen from from day one, so we try very hard to do it. So striking a balance between individual work and group work is really key.

Lee Moreau
In some sense, establishing the parameters for learning and also questioning them as you're providing the education is important.

AnnMarie Thomas
I can say I've never designed a ball, but I have designed situations where we use balls and it is very important when designing for play that you are honest with yourself about what you were trying to do.

Lee Moreau
AnnMarie Thomas is a professor in the schools of business and engineering at the University of St. Thomas, where she runs the Playful Learning Lab.

AnnMarie Thomas
One nice thing about play is that even though we've been doing it since the creation of humans and animals play, we know this and we know that we will be playing until there's no longer life on this planet— we still don't know how to define it, and that lack of definition gives me the freedom to say that play in the far future is going to in many ways look like play now. The costumes or the props might change, but at its heart, play is really a way to have permission to explore the world and the people around you.

Lee Moreau
And I think that's where the joy is, whether we call it work or play. That's where we can find the joy

AnnMarie Thomas
In all of design and design process, honesty is the most important thing. If you ask them a question, they give you the answer that they think you want, that probably isn't going to lead to a good product. You don't want the answer that they think you want. You want the answer that will give you a new insight into how they and other people will use that product or process. And adults have a filter and they don't hurt your feelings, usually, whereas a kid usually will be very honest with you.

Lee Moreau
So I'm going to one last question, and I'd like you to say a ball is and then give me a definition for the ball is so say a ball is blank, except you fill in the blank with something else. OK? Finn I'm going to start with you. A ball is,

Finn
I mean, a ball is a sphere. It can be a toy. I don't know. Am I getting this right?

Lee Moreau
Right, so a response doesn't really get much more perfect than that Saeed, you know, I was— certainly not the response that I wanted and I was trying to, you know, tee up like an inspired deep response. And you can hear me trying to like do that as the basically the worst designed researcher ever. But in all honesty, the earnestness that he kind of communicates there, it's an absolutely perfect response.

Saeed Arida
But this is like also, I'm looking at the answer here is like that— it's a sphere, it's a toy. And I'm like, still, you know, now we've gone for an hour talking about that ball and I still trying to understand what makes it so magical. And I don't know if you really, if you have an answer for that.

Lee Moreau
Why is the ball so captivating to us as as human beings?

Saeed Arida
So why is that? Do you have an answer for that?

Lee Moreau
I don't have an answer, but my intuition based on everything we've learned is that it has infinite possibility and that when we confront the ball, we confront infinite possibility and then we fill that possibility with something and we see if that's what we wanted. And that's where experimentation comes from, that's where rules come from, that's when I determine that when I throw the ball and it bounces three times that, that's good but if it bounces a fourth time, that that's bad. That's the that's the magic of the ball.

Saeed Arida
And I think what the what the ball does because of its kind of unique shape. There is an inherent can randomness to how it's going to behave. You know, so like when I'm watching a basketball game today, although it's the same players and the same rules and all of that, even if it's the same, that same two teams playing and the same players, when I watch it tomorrow, it's going to be a different game with a different score. And I feel like that randomness to it is really what keeps things kind of very exciting.

Lee Moreau
I love that idea. I think the the unpredictability is part of the magic, right? I mean, that's inherently magical. Like, oh, I thought the ball was going to do this, and it did something completely different.

Saeed Arida
Because I was still struggling with that idea early on that, like, you know, once you designed the ball exactly to how you want it and you build the system, what's— where is the magic still? And I think the magic is there and the unpredictability of it.

Lee Moreau
I mean, I think also like, as we've learned through this episode, that the notion that the ball can be a catalyst partly because of that unpredictability, but also because it is inherently engaging to other people that it can spawn so many different types of behaviors and new activities. So as we look to the future and we think about where, maybe not where the ball is going, because I think our guest, AnnMarie said it really well, like I don't know what the rules are going to be, I don't know what the conditions are 100 or 200 years from now are going to be, but I still think there will be play— but where might learning go in the future? And is it as unpredictable as play is? And I say that partly because, you know, when you think of education, we have several centuries kind of behind us of establishing and optimizing educational processes and dynamics. So there's a path, but I don't know where it's going.

Saeed Arida
The optimist in me would say, yeah. Like, learning will be very, very different in the future. A lot of things are really changing, you know, culturally, environmentally, resource wise, everything. But then the pessimist in me looks at the last hundred years of our educational systems and sees a system that has not really changed at all. You know, basically for the last hundred years, we we have these subjects and you go into a classroom and you are given assignments and you respond to them one time and someone gives you a grade on that. And we we start with those things really early. So it's not like we let the kids really play. And then only when they come to middle and high schools, we try to kind of do that. We actually start molding them into the system really early on and-and so the pessimist in me says, I don't know if we're going to see a lot of those changes on that bigger scale.

Lee Moreau
Earlier in the conversation you were asking like, where where's the magic, right? And I think maybe that the fact that we have human needs and constraints is actually part of the magic. While the ball brings infinite possibility to us, we bring our own constraints and needs and desires to the ball. And it's that real marriage between us and that object where it comes together.

Saeed Arida
I think that we solved it maybe. Because it's really you cannot just really talk about the ball as this magical object on its own. You know, it's that thing is that trigger, you know, that is happening when you have a human and a ball together and how we are able to kind of take that object and build a whole system around it. So, yeah, so the object itself has a lot of inherent kind of properties that make it amazing, but without kind of our kind of ingenuity and resourcefulness, you know, nothing will happen ultimately. That's that's a good that's a good one.

Lee Moreau
As you know, every episode of The Futures Archive will end with a prompt, a sort of designed exercise for you, the listener, to keep working on the object and the ideas 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, and I'll tell you where to do that in just a bit. OK. This is a three part exercise. First, I would like you to make a puppet in 30 minutes or less. That's the assignment. Next, I'd like you to explore what your puppet can do. There's no time limit on that part, but just explore. And then finally, use your puppet to playfully make a request in your daily life. That's it. Please document your process and post a photo of your puppet on Instagram with the hashtag The Futures Archive, that's 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.

Lee Moreau
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 on today's show, please make sure to rate and review reviews and share it with your friends. Saeed thank you so much for being here with us today, this is a wonderful conversation. If listeners want to find out more about you or NuVu studio, where can they go?

Saeed Arida
They can go to a NuVu Studio dot org.

Lee Moreau
Perfect. 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've come up with, all your crazy puppets, and make sure that you're following us at Design Observer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The Futures Archive's 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 educational initiatives, follow them at EDEX dot adobe dot com. And The Futures Archive is brought to you by Automattic. Thanks again to Josh Chetwynd, Kimberlie Birks and AnnMarie Thomas for talking to The Futures Archive, and the special thank you to Aquinnah, Alice, Finn and Luka and all the educators at the Eliot School for their coordination with us. You can find more about them and my co-host Saeed Arida in our show notes, as well as links to our archival audio and other interesting stuff. 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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