Workshop Tools @ Mediatechnology Leiden Univ

From February 27 until March 13, 2007 For Inspiration Only will offer a workshop at Mediatechnology on tools and the effect of tools.

12. Effect


With my company For Inspiration Only I want to find, build and explore Tools for Inspiration. But to develop this thought further I need to get a better grip on tools. In this workshop we will therefore explore these main subjects:

  1. The definition of tool
    What makes a tool? When is something a tool? What kind of tools exist?
  2. The tool effect
    How does the choice of tools influences the result? Why do people tend to see a problem by the tools available? When do tools open up possibilities?
  3. Developing tools
    What does it mean to develop tools? How should you approach your user (user vs. maker)? What are the tools for tool developers?

I want your help on the first two subjects (the last subject is a bonus). The idea for this workshop is that we are going to be looking at real-world examples from your own experience and at literature related to tools to define in our last workshop what different approaches we can find on the first two subjects.

In the workshop we will have two gettogethers. One on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 from 10:00 – 14:00 and one on Tuesday, March 13 from 10:00 – 14:00. Contact Brit for anything related to location, procedure and enrolling in the workshop. What I would like you all to do is to prepare some work before the first workshop and do a presentation at the last workshop.

Pecha Kucha

To prepare myself for this workshop (and to try out something new) I enrolled in what is called a Pecha Kucha which is a new cultural phenomenon in which artists, designers, architects and other creative peopl gather to talk and listen to 12 specal presentations, consisting of 20 slides per presentation and 20 seconds per slide.
To watch a video of my Pecha Kucha presentation, click on this embedded YouTube player or follow this link or check out the slides in this Flickr set (in slideshow?).

For this workshop I want to focus on the latter half of the presentation. So forget about Cabinet for now (I’m done with that for now) and focus on the moment after 04:00 minutes, around the tools and effect slides. This is the area I want to explore in the workshop.

Now, I want you to think as broad as possible, so the fact that I use this website, combined with YouTube and Flickr to tell you this, is also a tool-related issue. I even regarded doing a Pecha Kucha a tool for this workshop, a way to organize your mind. This is what I want you to do for your homework as well.

First workshop (Tuesday, February 27, 2007 from 10:00 – 14:00)

Acquaint yourself to the topic in both literature and experience. You can do this by yourself or in small groups (maximum 3?). Before the first workshop I want you to do 2 things:

1. Describe two extremely different tool examples from your own experience
This can be very short. I want you to go as diverse as possible here and there are no wrong answers possible. Think of a moment where you were consciously thinking about using a tool (example: hiring a power drill at the Gamma and breaking down a wall) or go the other way and think about something that turned out to be a tool (example: a fight with your neigbor turned out to be a good way to get to know each other). You can also look at the effect of using a tool (example: I used all the filters in Photoshop and it turned out ugly) or creative use of a tool (example: I used a hammer to open up a bottle).

As you noticed, I am not looking for specific software or technology related tools, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay in the real world, but at least give it a try to look beyond your normal frame of referenec.

2. Find, read and summarize three related articles from (semi-)scientific literature
It would be great if you could take your own experience and find tools related to that. But otherwise any kind of literature will do that takes a nice outside view on the notion of tools, on the effect of tools etc. As an example I added some literature written by me and my promotor and something else I could find quickly. I may add things to this as we go and if you want I can add your suggestions as well.

For this assignment both in literature and in personal experience you can also go into the whole hack world, such as Mindhacks or Lifehacking where you explore a tip you have and see it in the bigger picture of theory (or the other way around, the theoretical hack applied in real life).

During the workshop we will have a presentation and a discussion on tools and your experiences, examples and literature will be used in this to define the different directions of thought.

Final workshop (Tuesday, March 13 from 10:00 – 14:00)

Because the Pecha Kucha worked for me as a tool, I would also like to find out if it will work for you. At the final workshop we will do 12 Pecha Kucha style presentations by you. Again you can do this in small teams and I invite you to be creative with the format. The guidelines however are:

We will take a bit more time to discuss the different presentations afterwards, so be prepared to answer questions on your presentation. If you want to send me feedback, send me an email at


For Inspiration Only
Kerkeinde 46
4254 LE Sleeuwijk, The Netherlands
Telephone: +31 183 510 621
Mobile: +31 6 22 51 22 24


I enjoyed it. — Anonymous student in feedback form

Develop te workshop into a full course, taught by Ianus— Anonymous student in feedback form

I heard some positive feedback in the hallwayMaarten Lamers