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TEDGlobal 2012

Paolo Cardini: Forget multitasking, try monotasking

June 27, 2012

People aren’t just cooking anymore -- they’re cooking, texting, talking on the phone, watching YouTube and uploading photos of the awesome meal they just made. Designer Paolo Cardini questions the efficiency of our multitasking world and makes the case for -- gasp -- "monotasking." His charming 3D-printed smartphone covers just might help.

Paolo Cardini - Designer
Paolo Cardini is a product designer who asks serious questions about how we live -- and answers them with whimsical and playful designs. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
I'm a designer and an educator.
00:15
I'm a multitasking person, and I push my students
00:18
to fly through a very creative, multitasking design process.
00:21
But how efficient is, really, this multitasking?
00:27
Let's consider for a while the option of monotasking.
00:32
A couple of examples.
00:38
Look at that.
00:41
This is my multitasking activity result. (Laughter)
00:42
So trying to cook, answering the phone, writing SMS,
00:46
and maybe uploading some pictures
00:49
about this awesome barbecue.
00:52
So someone tells us the story about supertaskers,
00:55
so this two percent of people who are able
00:59
to control multitasking environment.
01:03
But what about ourselves, and what about our reality?
01:07
When's the last time you really enjoyed
01:12
just the voice of your friend?
01:14
So this is a project I'm working on,
01:17
and this is a series of front covers
01:20
to downgrade our super, hyper —
01:25
(Laughter) (Applause)
01:30
to downgrade our super, hyper-mobile phones
01:35
into the essence of their function.
01:38
Another example: Have you ever been to Venice?
01:41
How beautiful it is to lose ourselves in these little streets
01:43
on the island.
01:48
But our multitasking reality is pretty different,
01:50
and full of tons of information.
01:54
So what about something like that
01:58
to rediscover our sense of adventure?
02:00
I know that it could sound pretty weird to speak about mono
02:05
when the number of possibilities is so huge,
02:08
but I push you to consider the option of
02:12
focusing on just one task,
02:17
or maybe turning your digital senses totally off.
02:20
So nowadays, everyone could produce his mono product.
02:26
Why not? So find your monotask spot
02:32
within the multitasking world.
02:36
Thank you.
02:38
(Applause)
02:40
Translator:Joseph Geni
Reviewer:Thu-Huong Ha

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Paolo Cardini - Designer
Paolo Cardini is a product designer who asks serious questions about how we live -- and answers them with whimsical and playful designs.

Why you should listen

Paolo Cardini likes asking some important questions about the way we live, like: Does multitasking actually help us become more efficient? How far will social networking go? Who are the players in the myriad conflicts in the Arab world? What is the next frontier in product development? -- and trying to answer them with playful designs, like his I Like Sit chaise lounge, which updates your Facebook status depending on your position, and MiddleField, a foosball table depicting different players in the Middle East. For TEDGlobal 2012 Cardini created a unique product called the MONOtask project. To help you deal with your overly multitasked life, Cardini has designed 3D-printed smartphone covers that "downgrade" your phone to be much dumber. Download your own cover plans and start monotasking >>

Cardini is currently an MFA Design Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

The original video is available on TED.com
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