Asad J. Malik FS

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Asad J. Malik

Asad — Jadu

Session № 1: Sep 12

Session № 2: Sep 19

Reading Responses

Doughnut Economy - Kate Raworth

What's most interesting to me is the power Raworth suggests economists have over our lives. The whole idea of an economics textbook writer having more influence, on how people live and think than a law maker, is very compelling. It's also interesting that she leaves the field and comes back to find what she was looking for in the first place. Economics really is too important to just be left to the economists. The models we make not only illustrate how society works these days but also affect how it works. I agree with her looking down on growth as be all end all. Clearly we deserve a more complex model and ambition. The doughnut model does seem to offer a more complex and wholesome overview of what is required.

Neoliberalism - Stephen Metcalf

Reading this right after Raworth's talk is interesting because the article perfectly illustrates an economic system affecting thought and how the world functions. If we take the economic idea of understanding every system as a "market" we're left in a position where the accumulation of wealth is the only goal and competition is the only organizing principle. As Raworth suggested, surely human society's motives and ambitions must be greater than that. The talk about the internet being an echo chamber for one's own belief system while promising to be a market place of ideas is also worth nothing.

Income Inequality Visited - Ivan Lyubimov

  • Simon Kuznets published a paper asserting that the correlation between economic growth and income inequality resembles an inverted U-shaped curve.
  • Kuznets' assertion was hard to test. since it was important to track an economy for a long period of time to see how inequality would evolve as an economy went from poverty to being developed
  • Thomas Piketty put the theory to the test and studied economies for longer periods of times that Kuznets.
  • Piketty's study ended up showing a model that was different from what Kuznet had shown.
  • Piketty's study showed that as economies developed, income inequality also increased.
  • This raises the fear that as inequality grows it would give increasing power to the rich to alter the economy and institutions to their advantage, making the dream of a more just world harder to achieve.
  • This phenomena is evident in Russia.
  • As economic growth stagnates in Russia, it's important to implement fiscal policies that are redistributive in nature to avoid further damage.

Session № 3: Sep 26

Reading Responses

Enough With Problem Solving, Let’s Start Creating - Robert Ransick

  • It's our own Robert Ransick.
  • “You never change things by fighting existing reality. To change something build a new model and make the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller
  • "Design Thinking" has really cemented it's place as one of the most important buzzword of the last decade.
  • With startup culture becoming more glorrified in the mainstream then ever before, design thinking is something we hear about very often.
  • It's one of those buzzwords I can certainly get behind. Looking at design as more functionality than aesthetics has made a huge difference in how products are developed to solve problems.
  • Robert points out an interesting problem with an idea that many would say is inherently good: if we put all our focus on solving problems how will be able to think of ways to create entirely new possibilities that aren't based on systems we already know of?
  • Robert suggests that creative thinking that is commonly found in art is an important missing component in our quest to make a better world.
  • Not only does he suggest that more artists should engage with public challenges but also devise new methodologies that allows us to use creative practices to create entirely new structures and systems.
  • It seems like a very important part of this class for me to figure out how we might begin to define some of these methodologies.
Systems Donna.png

A World of Systems - Donella Meadows Institute

  • System: a set of parts connected to one another to achieve a certain goal
  • We interact with a lot of systems everyday that work together in multiple forms of feedback loops.
  • Systems frequently have input and output that should be balanced and maintained overtime to keep the system functioning.
  • Simple idea and not much for me to say. Here's a diagram of a shower system.

Bennington - Regional Research



Population: 36,589
Median Aage: 46.1
Poverty Rate: 13.5%
Median Household Income: $49,573
Number of Employees: 18,014 (0.7% Growth)
Median Property Value: $211,300 (0.33% Growth)


  • 90.7% of the population graduates High School or higher while the US Average is only 86.7%
  • 33.5% of the population graduates with a Bachelor Degree or higher while the US Average is 29.8%
  • Four Colleges: Bennington College, Southern Vermont College, Community College Vermont
  • Most common graduates are in: Literature and Visual Arts
  • Most common graduates, not including Bennington College, are in: Radiography and Nursing


  • The overall unemployment rate is 5.2% which is lower than the US Average of 4.4%
  • Employment has been growing in Bennington at a 0.7% rate
  • Service and Healthcare industries are the primary employers

Session № 4: Oct 3

Reading Responses

Creative Placemaking - Ann Markunsen

  • In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, non profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, tribe, city or region around arts and cultural activities.
  • Creative placemaking, animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local businesses viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.
  • Four challenges: Partnering, Financing
  • How do we evaluate the effectiveness of out comes of creative placemaking?
  • Community Development banks supply funds.. Offers loans for community development art projects that would be hard to get otherwise.
  • CRA: It's mandatory for banks to fund public projects from net profits. Usually have funds that are just sitting there.
  • Impact Investing: eg Culture bank, housed at San Francisco. Funds projects that are looking for profit but focused on impact as well.

Three Artists Who Think Outside the Box - Nikil Sawal

  • This New York Times feature showcases three black artists who are doing what we've been talking about in regards to Robert's article and creative placemaking.
  • Making art about problems that exist in a particular community is important but what's even more effective is doing something about the problems.
  • Rick Lowe's Project Row Houses is a fascinating example of creative place making where his fascination with political sculpture becomes apparent.
  • ‘‘I started to recognize that if there was not direct intervention by normal people, black space in the United States would not be saved,’’ Gates says. ‘‘It would simply spiral down, without a whole lot of investment from outside.’

Psychogeographic Assessment

  • A drive thru TD Bank that leads to a lovely little New England small town street.
  • This is the the Bennington Main Street with a small chocolate shop.
  • Inside the shop is a chocolate made moose. The owner tells me that there's another moose, this one's partner, that exists in another shop somewhere.
  • Next to it is an empty plot of land with medium sized boulders and overgrown grass.
  • The plot used to be a cinema. Things have clearly changed.
  • The Masonic lodge opposes this emptiness with a mighty foot print. Stairs that elevate you to the entrance that is not simply next to the side walk.
  • If you look carefully enough most building have fake facades that only serve an aesthetic function.
  • Theres a large parking space behind this street.
  • Two men are fixing a car.
  • One is older, 60ish, the other in his 20s.
  • Old man has a gun. He repeats the "N" word.

Business Idea

Asad & Assad

I'll be working on a project called 1RIC, the first exclusively non fiction narrative-based AR studios, focused on bringing underrepresented voices and stories to the public.
The studio's work is rooted in what I call “cultural augmentation,” a displacement of holograms that allows viewers to access what their environment would regard as contentious, controversial opinions.
The studio seeks to disrupt, disperse, displace and discomfort; thus it lives in the realm of dissonance, culturally and cognitively.
Dealing with the political, the social and the unfamiliar, 1RIC operates with the goal of challenging preconception and promoting acceptance.

We'll be producing interviews in which the subject will be volumetrically scanned and viewed by an audience through Augmented Reality headsets like to Hololens or Mobile AR. Currently we're producing our first major project and have a 5 people team working on it.


TITLE Asad & Assad
FORMAT Augmented Reality
RUN TIME Open-Ended
PLATFORM Hololens & Mobile AR
STATUS Raising Funds

CREATOR Asad J. Malik
BUDGET $100,000
FEATURED BY Kaleidoscope

SOUND DESIGNER Jack Daniel Gerrard


An Augmented Reality interactive documentary that portrays the diversity of socio-political experiences of people perceived as Muslims in the US.


A liberal arts student returning to school, a touring punk band, and a desi auntie with curry powder in her carry-on bag are randomly selected to be interrogated at an international airport. The common thread: their perceived Muslim identity. Inspired by project creator Asad J. Malik’s own inevitable connection with the brutal Syrian president for their nearly identical names, ASAD & ASSAD is an Augmented Reality interactive documentary that uses volumetric video to capture the wide spectrum of perceived Muslim identities.

Put on the Hololens and take a walk, stopping to meet holograms of numerous human beings of distinct identities as they are questioned by an unseen interlocutor. Watch and listen as these interrogations become startlingly intimate encounters between you and them.

Session № 5: Oct 10

Reading Responses


What is Strategy? - Michael E. Porter

  • Before he can even begin defining what strategy might be in a business scenario, Porter let's us know that there's a clear difference between Operational Effectiveness and Strategy
  • "It must deliver greater value to customers or create comparable value at a lower cost, or do both."
  • From what I understand, a company may not even be the most operationally effective but with good strategy can out perform competitors.
  • Strategy basically relies on how uniquely you can position your product/service compared to the competition.
  • "A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve."
  • The Mapping Activity System diagrams are very helpful. Certainly hope to go back to them and make something similar for Jadu.
  • "Strategic positions can be based on customers’ needs, customers’ accessibility, or the variety of a company’s products or services."
  • "Trade-offs are essential to strategy. They create the need for choice and purposefully limit what a company offers."
  • It's important to understand the dangers of not having a strategy/forgetting an existing strategy.

The Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy - Michael E. Porter

  • Savvy customers can force down prices by playing you and your rivals against one another.
  • Powerful suppliers may constrain your profits if they charge higher prices.
  • Aspiring entrants, armed with new capacity and hungry for market share, can ratchet up the investment required for you to stay in the game.
  • Substitute offerings can lure customers away.

Three real possibilities exist for business success in this scenario:
1. Exploit changes in the Forces
2. Reshape the Forces in your favor
3. Position your company where the forces are the weakest.

Session № 6: Oct 17

Reading Responses

Storyboard of the Lean Startup

The Lean Startup has become kind of a cliche in the startup world but it's ultra useful regardless.

  • Startup: A human institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
  • Crucial to point out that while customer feedback is important, it's only one of the metrics that needs to be considered
  • For a report to be considered actionable, it must demonstrate clear cause and effect.
  • Entrepreneurs are everywhere
  • Entrepreneurship is management
  • Validated learning: Startups exist not to make stuff, make money, or serve customers. They exist to learn how to build a sustainable business. This learning can be validated scientifically, by running experiments that allow us to test each element of our vision.
  • Innovation accounting
  • Build → Product → Measure → Data → Learn

MVP: Quickly Validate your Start-Up

  • Helpful example of creating an MVP — although this is a very different product than what I'll be making (with wildly different scope) it gives me the motivation to do a very quick and basic version that can be put in the hands of users asap

The Importance of Learning in Organizations

  • Building Block 1: A supportive learning environment — this includes: Psychological safety, Appreciation of differences, Openness to new ideas & Time for reflection
  • Building Block 2: Concrete learning processes and practices — Learning processes involve the generation, collection, interpretation, and dissemination of information. They include experimentation to develop and test new products and services; intelligence gathering to keep track of competitive, customer, and technological trends; disciplined analysis and interpretation to identify and solve problems; and education and training to develop both new and established employees.
  • Building Block 3: Leadership that reinforces learning — When leaders demonstrate a willingness to entertain alternative points of view, employees feel emboldened to offer new ideas.

Four Principles:

  • Leadership alone is insufficient
  • Organizations are not monolithic
  • Comparative performance is the critical scorecard
  • Learning is multidimensional