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Alumni brings exercises to FourSquare's "Wacky Fridays"


Alumni Cooper Smith uses skills learned during his time in the MFA Interaction Design department during Foursquare’s afternoon art hour. 
In 2011 Cooper participated in the “Hopeful Monsters” workshop. There BERG taught participants a technique called the “Matt Ward Maneuver”. These great sketching exercises are often referenced when Cooper hosts Foursquare’s meetings which were recently profiled by Fast Company
Fast Company details these weekly events:

Every Friday at 5 p.m., 15 or so Foursquare engineers, designers, and researchers step away from their computers for mandatory art time. Each week, a different person proposes a creative exercise: Create an object that helps people deal with sorrow, or design the elevator control panel for a 1,000-story building, for example. The next few minutes are spent executing, and then the group shares their creations.It might not look like it, but that hour-long session serves as the weekly meeting for the Product Experience team. Instead of discussing upcoming projects or administrative items, Jon Steinback, who heads up Product Design at Foursquare, finds it more useful to spend the hour imagining. “They all think about very narrow problems within the scope of Foursquare’s larger questions,” he told Fast Company. This, he hopes, gets people to think beyond their individual tasks and learn how to focus on problem solving in a different way.And the advantage of the doodle sessions: It’s definitely a little bit silly to imagine a bunch of adults sitting in a circle doodling–and getting paid for it. But learning to flex brain muscles in different ways is a particularly useful skill for the Product Experience group. “My job and the job of my team is to give a human side to what we’re building,” Steinback explains. That means taking the engineer’s products and translating them into terms that a broad subset of people will understand and relate to.

Read the full article and see a smashing photo of alumni Cooper Smith!

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