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The Smol Tok Facilitator Guide

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

I've been on a book buying binge recently. There's a dozen unread on my shelf but the one I'm currently on right now is a design classic: Don Norman's "The Design of Everyday Things". His examples of good and bad design are really intriguing (google "Norman Doors" to get an idea of what I mean). It isn't enough to know about the materials or methods used in design; one needs to know about how people behave too because that's who design is ultimately for.

One particular point he made struck me. We take this for granted but it still applies: there's a certain amount of knowledge we need to have to go about living in the world today. Think about the equipment we need to operate (laptop, light switches) or the processes we need to follow (bus routes, tax filing), all of these we've learnt to do over time. Some of that knowledge we keep in our heads (how to unlock our mobile phones by keying in a password) but some of that knowledge we keep in the world (how to get from Lim Chu Kang to Yio Chu Kang by searching travel routes on Google Maps). There's simply too much information to keep in our heads so we use technology to store it for later use. One of the earliest technologies that human beings have developed to store information is pen and paper. It's super flexible. We still use it to share stories, store passwords, or convey instructions. So in a roundabout way, this got me thinking about a task which I've been procrastinating for a while now. At this 6-month mark of Smol Tok's publication, I want to share some of the design decisions and assumptions that went into it. But more than that. As its creator, I also want to share my approach towards playing, learning, and meaning-making through conversations. It's not a boring read (I hope!). The ideas have been percolating in my mind since I began. I've typed out my thoughts on electronic paper and hope that this Facilitator Guide will inform and inspire how you apply Smol Tok in your life.

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