Tinkering

Last updated: Wednesday, 10 July 2024

A hands-on, experimental approach to problem-solving and innovation, through incremental adjustments to what already exists. Playful exploration. A willingness to engage with materials or mechanisms directly. Repair, repurposing, a cyclical process of trial and error, through experiments and iteration.

Tinkering values discovery, embracing failure as opportunities to learn and refine ideas. Tinkerers work with a variety of tools and materials, drawing inspiration from diverse fields and integrating different skillsets. Tactile exploration?

  • [⎈] Compare tinkering to other forms of innovation and problem-solving. How does it differ from structured engineering processes or scientific experimentation?
  • [?] What does tinkering tell us about the balance between dogged persistence and knowing when to pivot or abandon a given approach?
  • [?] How does the physicality/materiality of tinkering contribute to problem-solving?
  • [?] How do sequences of smaller adjustments contribute to the evolution of ideas? Does incrementalism come with drawbacks?
  • [?] Is tinkering necessarily a solitary practice, or can it involve collective/collaborative problem-solving?
  • [?] Is successful tinkering determined by the end result, or does the process have intrinsic value? How do people reflect on and evaluate their tinkering experiences?
  • [?] How how are tinkering practices transmitted and reproduced? Does the informal nature of tinkering contribute to or hinder its ability to create lasting change?

  • [&] See also: muddling through, repair?

Tags: improvisation, materiality

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