During my recent vacation I was staying along the “Dinosaur Coast” in the UK and took my son fossil hunting along the coastline.  Along the way were several other fossil hunters ranging from Amateurs to Semi Professionals.fossil

The thing I noticed observing the other hunters was their habits and methods used in searching the rock faces and surrounding areas in finding fossils.

These ranged from random searches and tapping on rocks with a hammer to careful methodical searching and testing of the rock.

Much in the same was I have observed in my time as an Architect and in business of peoples habits and patterns, however it was more noticeable as I was not in my normal bubble of work/life.

We tend to apply a pattern based on our own skills, knowledge and behaviours that we are comfortable with. Perhaps we should challenge our own habits and look at where efficiencies and benefits can be brought in.

A habit (or wont) is a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously.


A good reference on habit is “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed.

With patterns we can create, change or learn based on our needs. Patterns provide that repeatability that is needed for some tasks and solutions.

A pattern, apart from the term’s use to mean “Template”, is a discernible regularity in the world or in a manmade design. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner.


A good reference for patterns is by Christopher Alexander

Each Patterns describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.

– Christopher Alexander

Alexander defines a ‘pattern’ as a three part construct.

  • First comes the ‘context’; under what conditions does this pattern hold
  • Second is a ‘system of forces’. In many ways it is natural to think of this as the ‘problem’ or ‘goal’.
  • Third is the ‘solution’; a configuration that balances the system of forces or solves the problems presented.

By observing the other fossil hunters and their habits and patterns, we successfully found a couple of good Annomite and Belemnite fossils by Learning from others.

My lesson learnt on this vacation is to “Challenge the habits and create/follow a pattern where possible”.