Below is a link to a very telling NY Times article, on cloud computing’s impact on workflow and the office.
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/23/what-cloud-computing-means-to-your-job/?ref=technology
Everyone wants everything sooner and faster.   But what I get out of this push for the iterative is:
  • keep things fresh, and
  • hone through real-life testing, (in the article:  between A and B, what survives at the end).  It is a form of Design “natural selection”.
In Architecture, this does not necessarily mean using the latest software package.  Hodgetts +Fung recently completed Jesuit High School Chapel, near Sacramento, CA, and below are excerpts from an interview on their design process, which is rather old-school (modifying physical models on the site),  but is inline with the iterative process.
. . .What techniques did you use to develop the quality of light? 
Hodgetts: We built a huge model, about 6 or 7 feet long, and we were at it with mat knives and masking tape, changing the shape and configuration of the apertures and their orientation. We took the model out to our office parking lot to check out what was happening with the light. It was very much an analog trial-and-error process. 

Fung: It was important for us to give the glass a thickness. We wanted it to have a three-dimensional feel, so we created a light box which has a frit pattern on one side, and colored glass on the other. We gave the stain and frit pattern color, and also painted the inside of the box. We started putting swatches of different colors on the inside of the model, to make sure that we had the right combination of color and reflectivity. We did that study this summer with our interns. They realized it was just not one quick decision of assigning a color, but that it involved understanding it, and looking at it under real conditions. It’s so fundamentally important to teach that kind of intensive nature of study as part of the design process. . .
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. . .Your analog approach to research had a positive outcome on the design of this building. How does that hands-on mentality influence your work?
Hodgetts: There are certain things about the tactile nature of a building that we still feel are best approached physically, rather than digitally. The thing that you can do, let’s say with our big model, is make very minor and subtle changes, perhaps adding a half an inch to a window slot, which profoundly affect the light. You wouldn’t have that happening in a 3D-printed model. And so if you want to make an architecture in which things are palpable and tactile, the analog approach seems to be an inevitable step. You can’t avoid it—or you avoid it at your peril. . . .
Link to info on Chapel and complete interview:
http://www.architectmagazine.com/religious-projects/jesuit-high-school-chapel_o.aspx
I found another example of this re-sorting of the standard workflow in the liner notes of  the Interstellar soundtrack digital book.  In the excerpt below, Christopher Nolan described instead of following the traditional “relay race” of working on the soundtrack after principal photography was completed, Nolan worked with Zimmer when we was original writing the script to plant some initial conceptual or emotional seeds, which helped inform the film-making process.

 . . . D A Y O N E

Each successive film I’ve done with Hans, I’ve tried to involve him at an earlier and earlier stage. Adding music to a film doesn’t work for me – it’s the reason I can’t temp a movie (edit using some other movie’s music to be replaced later). To me the music has to be a fundamental ingredient, not a condiment to be sprinkled on the finished meal.  To this end, I called Hans before I’d even started work on INTERSTELLAR and proposed a radical new approach to our collaboration. I asked him to give me one day of his time. I’d give him an envelope with one page – a page explaining the fable at the heart of my next project. The page would contain no information as to genre or specifics of plot, merely lay out the heart of the movie-to-be. Hans would open the envelope, read it, start writing and at the end of the day he’d play me whatever he’d accomplished.  That would be the basis of our score.  

Hans agreed. I think he shared my frustration with trying to wrangle the mechanics of a massive film right at the tail end of a years-long process of construction – the sheer difficulty of trying to see past what you’ve all built and get back to the beating heart of the story, as a great score must. He understood that what I wanted to do was turn This usual process inside out, giving his musical and emotional instincts free reign, so that the seed from which the score would eventually grow would be fused with the narrative at its earliest stage.

Such experiments rarely get beyond the chatting phase, but Hans took me at my word, and several months later, he gave me my day, forcing me to start my own creative journey by sitting down to write out my page. I handed it over, and left Hans to his work, trying not to count the hours. At about nine p.m. he called. The drive to his studio was pure anticipation. As I sat down on his couch a glance at his screen told me there was a track there, at least three or four minutes of music. He hit play, and I smiled as I heard a deceptively simple piano melody tell me the emotional story I was already struggling with on the page. Our peculiar experiment had worked better than either of us could have hoped. Then I had the unique thrill of revealing to a collaborator who had already spoken to the heart of the story that the project was, in fact, a massive science fiction project – the biggest film we’d yet undertaken. Hans was delighted with the disparity between the human intimacy of my one page and the otherworldly thrills of the overall film for which the music would serve as emotional guide. He gave me a CD with the track on it. He’d called it “Day One”.

We toyed with the idea of a day two or day three, but somehow we knew that the seed was already planted, and that I and my other collaborators needed to do our part before Hans could go further. I listened to Day One countless times as I worked on the script, and as we shot. It served as my emotional anchor, just as it serves as the emotional anchor for the entire complex and thrilling score that Hans went on to create almost two years later. Few artists would so cheerfully have embraced such a direct challenge to their usual working methods- but the productive use of process to inform inspiration is one of the many things that I have learned from Hans himself. He is a creator who embraces the thrill and mess of reality’s disregard for abstract intentions – the making of the thing is the thing itself. For INTERSTELLAR Hans pulled off the ultimate version of his desire to “sneak up” on his work. It might be this that has made it one of his most intimate and individual scores, even as it takes us across the vastness of space and time.

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN October, 2014 . . .”

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So how can a re-working  of one’s workflow result in something different?  Reply back with your thoughts.
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