One part of your innovation training is to develop your eye for good solutions already implemented. These can be big or small, subtle or stunning. What they share is an "aha!" quality: you can see that they are an elegant solution to a problem that you might not even realize was there until you see this solution.


Your task for this assignment is to identify an example of good design somewhere in the Mills academic landscape. Perhaps there is a form that features something that strikes you as smart. Or there is something an instructor put in a syllabus that's particularly helpful. Or maybe there's a sign on campus that is exactly the right one. Or there is a thing an instructor does that makes her performance stand out. Or maybe a classmate has a way of organizing notes or a backpack.

Warning: this is hard. It's much easier to spot bad design. Your first stabs at this may seem lame. The one you bring to class may seem like a stretch. That's OK; we are beginning to develop a new (and not so common) skill.

When you have found an example, document it - a photo, a video, an audio recording, a written description - and write a few sentences about what sort of problem it solves for whom and what you think makes it a "good design." Post your submission in the forum below. To post a photo, you'll have to join the wiki, click on the FILES button below to upload the file and then refer to it in the post using the edit buttons.

I chose the rainwater collector located in NSB. When it rains, the water trickles down the gutters and is collected in a large water tanks that then distributes the water throughout the facility. I appreciate its practicality and its such a cool addition to the building, especially considering Mills' dedication to sustainability.
I know quite a few people, including myself, who like to lean back in their chairs while they work or to take a small break. However, with most chairs one would have to balance on the back legs so they don't fall back. When I moved into my dorm I noticed the back of my chair had an angle to it. The angle is so that a person can lean back on the chair for a bit rather than the chair being flat on the floor. I think this is a good design because it allows the person to sit back without fear of falling backwards.

I decided to choose the Clock Tower on Mills Campus. The clock tower has been a symbol of greatness starting back in Athens, and which only used eight sundials. The clock tower has a way for everyone to tell the time visually, and also to hear the bell which symbolizes for those who do not have a watch(phone) at what hour it could be close too. The clock tower sounds every 15 minutes as a way to alarm our Mills community. Also, brilliant about the clock tower is that has a bench at the bottom for sitting, and which serves as convenience if a individual who just wants to sit and meditate.


This crossing used to be on quite a downslope but sometime in the last year they flattened out the natural path between White Hall and Reinhardt Hall and painted it as a crossing. Smart. Big difference if you are in a wheel chair and this path is the extension of the wheelchair ramp near Vera Long building.

I have never seen windows inside an apartment that were on the same wall as the shared outside hallway and not facing directly outside the building. I like them because they allow natural lighting to come in but also maintain our privacy in the bathroom area because they are so high up.


There are power outlets on top of the desks in the lecture halls of the Lokey (GSB) building. These can be used to plug in laptops or other devices while students are in class. The design includes recessed placement on the top surface of the desk for easy access, as well as a hinged cover that creates a flat surface when in the closed position. It also has a small brush where the cover meets the desk to catch dust or other debris before it collects near the outlet.


In terms of sustainability what better way to contribute than through something everyone does everyday. I think this is a simple but impactful way to save and reuse water on a level that everyone can contribute. There are directions and a description provided for those interested in learning more. Also this system uses collected rainwater that adds to the acts of sustainability.

I think this trellis, with its vines growing along the support posts, offers an aesthetically pleasing and practical addition to NSB. Not only does it provide shade-on the side of the building that receive quite a bit of afternoon sun-but it is designed in a way that both creates depth and adds greenery to an otherwise flat, drab façade.
The piano in the Mills Hall Living Room is perched on this castor-fitted dolly so that the piano can be easily moved from one area of the room to another. While the chassis and castor system is not aesthetically pleasing overall, it does appear to "fit" the piano well — having a low profile ad only three castors for the three legs of the piano. If is hard to imagine a better way for just a few people to move a piano around allowing for ultimate flexibility in the the Living Room setting functions.
Whenever I await the Mills shuttle, I sit here, little realizing how their design is subtle and intuitive. They're not just decorative; they're the result of good human-centered design. Note: not enough karma to post an image.
This rock is the perfect door stop in the Vera Long lounge/lunch room, because it incorporates the outdoors in a space that already lets a lot of the outside-in. The stone is big enough that no one will want to carry it away, and flat on several sides so it will never roll away. I appreciate someone's attempt to use an aesthetically pleasing, natural material in a functional way when an ugly rubber door stop probably would have done the job.
I love Flor tiles; they are modular, washable, and made from recycled materials; as mom to a human and dog, the washable aspect is priceless!
I appreciated not having to purchase a textbook for my Programming Languages class; most math and CS textbooks are expensive and heavy. Also, moving away from dinosaurs (!), such as potential fossil fuel consumption in the production and shipping of these large textbooks and supporting the textbook industrial complex, is good design; we don't need either for access to information.
I chose the stop sign in front of my house. The stop sign has a great advantage because of it's shape. The shape of a STOP sign is an octogon which means it has a flat top. The flat top is perfect because it allows the driver or walker to see all of the letters without any being cutoff. However, if the STOP sign were any other shape lets say a triangle, or perfect circle the letters would not fit, and drivers, or walkers would be confused because perhaps the P would be cutoff. Due to the octogon having a perfect flat top, and perfect flat sides and bottom the shape allows for all STOP letters to show brightly and warn individuals in whatever purpose it may serve to them.
The clerestory windows in Lokey are sensor-controlled so they open or close depending on the room's temperature. This design feature along with many others makes the Lokey building's construction and use exceptionally sustainable.
I appreciate how the bookshelf on top of my desk in my room can easily be taken off and moved somewhere else, but it works best on my desk. The book shelf has a cork board on the back though so I can easily pin things and have them in front of me, as well as a light built on the top with an extra outlet to plug in my phone charger or my speakers. The cork board, light and outlet are all very helpful to have.
All of my textbooks are available for free as eBooks for my Sociology of Oakland class. I appreciate this because I am not in the financial position to dole out hundreds of dollars for books like I usually do every semester. I think eBooks are a great feature to have in a classroom because it conserves on paper, and thus limits your carbon footprint. The bridge over the stream that leads toward the circle in the front of Mills Hall on campus has running barricades that also serve as benches. This is a cool way to provide seating as well as prevent cars, etc from plummeting into the creek below. I can't post pictures yet, but can fwd some.
Driving/walking in to Mills often has a positive effect on me. Because of the lengthy road, the trees seem to facilitate the transition into "school mode" from the noise and chaos outside. Since I take the Mills Shuttle every day, it often feels therapeutic to go from the wild freeway and be eased in to the campus by the sight of these amazing trees. I find that the South and West Entrances to the UC Berkeley Campus also do the same thing on purpose. On the south side you have the chaos of Telegraph Ave., while the west leads away from the noise of Downtown Berkeley.
Lokey Whiteboard
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