Archive for the ‘Business design’ Category
This past week I had the opportunity to speak at Like Minds in Exeter, UK. The topic of the conference was ‘Innovation+Opportunity: How to build brands, businesses, and communities for tomorrow,’ featuring a series of speakers discussing the various ways organizations can effect big change in their business processes to become more innovation oriented.
Speaking to Method’s perspective, I centered my talk around the importance of prototyping.
On average it takes five to seven years to bring products to market. That poses a threat, where CEO’s are only on for an average of three years at a time. This easily leads to ‘Frankenstein’ companies where all the departments are heading in different directions. This lack of organization and planning leads to Frankenstein products – where the troubling fact is that too many people accept this as the norm.
The solution lies in prototyping. Prototyping can and will lead to coherent business and well thought out products. It allows corporations to get ahead of the game, rather than be pressured to meet quotas and figures.
Prototyping is a more appropriate management style and needs to take the place as the norm, instead of traditional business models. It needs to be part of the working culture. One offs can’t solve big problems – where as conscientious, well planned, and prototyped solutions can. With that, the physical spaces matters as well. Think in the context of a craftsman’s workshop versus an office. A workshop setting facilitates communication, collaboration, teamwork, and experimentation. An office does quite the opposite.
If you’d like to get a look at the other talks that went on during Like Minds, check them out here.
As I visited www.apple.com to check on iOS 5, I was greeted by Steve. Or, I should say, Steve’s picture greeted me from the home page. It was made all the more poignant by the fact that the dates made it clear that I was looking at a memorial to a man, one who has certainly had a huge effect on my life.
For the past decade, I have continually heard clients talk about how Apple has totally grasped branding, experience design, product design, innovation (insert any variable that matches your context). In his passing, bloggers, pundits, and the media in general have begun to look back on his contributions. NYC Mayor Bloomberg even compared him to Edison and Einstein with regard to how his work has changed our world.
At Method, we live and breathe experience design. We live and breathe branding. We live and breathe innovation. And we live a lot of our work and non-work lives with Apple products. As I think of the contributions of Edison and Einstein, my mind raced to bridge a gap — Steve Jobs’ contribution to our world is not just for the benefit of designers, or “early-adapters” or “Mac Fanboys” or any other demographic/pyschographic segmentation that would allow the contribution to be reviewed with an asterik (*Steve’s innovations changed the world for 60% male/40% female, 24-37 yrs, $150K household income, urban/suburban, creatively inclined professionals).
There is a lot of information, from Steve verbatim, and from those who worked with him, about what the goal of all of this was. And it may be that it shifted over time as technologies matured, digital media disrupted industries and business models, and the nature of the network began to be woven more and more into our daily lives. But as I looked at Steve’s picture on the Apple web site, I had a profound realization for what he had done and how important has been to my life, our business, and the world at large: Steve brought the best of the opportunities enabled by the computer — processing power, digital media, connection to the network affect — and put it at our finger tips. From the early adoption of the mouse and the WIMP user interaction model, to the control wheel of the first iPods, to the iTouch, the iPhone, the iPad, literally everything Apple has done has been creating the best in experience design that brings the power and benefits of technology and putting it at our fingertips.
What a brilliant stroke of genius. While everyone struggles with balancing form and function of technology to deliver technology, Steve went straight to the heart of the matter. We are visual beings who see our environment and use our hands to take control. The hand-eye relationship underlies our specialization amongst animals, it part of the heart of every creative craft on which we have built our cultures and civilizations.
Yes, the iPad is a genius piece of design. Yes the iPod and iTunes changed an industry and will affect future generations — how will you hear that song that marks your first love? But in the final analysis, perhaps the most important thing that has been accomplished has been showing the world what technology can be, how it should approached from human terms. What we see, what we touch, he we manipulate; these are the core components of the human experience.
And Steve seemed to know that if these can be engaged in the right way, the world is your oyster.
Method was featured in the ABC 7 News, discussing our business process of offering end-to-end solutions, from design conception to product developm...
Method was featured in the ABC 7 News, discussing our business process of offering end-to-end solutions, from design conception to product development. Read the feature below:
San Francisco’s South of Market district is enjoying an growing influx of technology firms. Many of those firms dream of an ecosystem like Apple’s, where the entire process — from design to consumer hands — is tightly controlled inside the company.
Say that you come up with a new idea: You hire someone to visualize your idea. That person uses someone to create a prototype. Someone else tests the idea on real users. Another company gets regulatory approval, and still another firm markets the invention.
Kevin Farnham, CEO of a company named Method, says this takes too long.
“User experience experts, usability experts, anthropologists in some cases. There are a lot of skills that can be necessary to pull some of these things off.”
But even a slick ecosystem like the one South of Market, is not fast enough, because today’s product cycle is growing shorter and shorter.
“We’re going to a world,” says GlobalLogic CEO Peter Harrison, “where we went from yearly updates to quarterly updates to monthly updates, to daily updates, right? And even hourly updates for software!”
That’s why Harrison’s firm espouses a technology called “Agile”, and why it recently acquired South of Market design shop Method.
“One of the things that we’ve consistently struggled with,” adds Farnham, “is the ability to be an end-to-end solution for people who want to invent the next thing, but get stuck at one place or another.”
Now, in what could portend a trend in technology production, GlobalLogic does the engineering, and Method does the design — for big name clients that include Google, Yahoo, Amazon, IBM, SAP and Oracle.
“Because we get to see all of these different things, we get to connect the dots on how medical and how wireless and how social are all converging.”
So what do the idea experts see in our future?
“Television becomes an incredibly important interface over the course of the next decade, and maybe several decades to come. And that the car is going to become an Internet device. These kinds of Ah-Ha! moments are very interesting for us to think through. No, television is definitely not going away. People will just interact with it differently.”
Twitter, at the surface, feels like a repository of people’s random, of-the-moment thoughts and interests. However, a recent study shows additional layers of information regarding the emotional state of Tweeters. The emotional tones of our tweets may follow a rhythmic pattern – not only throughout the day – but also throughout the week and even the changing seasons.
The New York Times recently highlighted telling research that shows connections between Twitter and our moods. Sociologists at Cornell University compiled a report based on Twitter messages posted by more than two million people in 84 countries. The report finds that our collective moods over time are driven in part by an innate biological rhythm, unbiased of culture or environment.
It’s interesting to think that the aggregate of global microblogging can become a source of data that can even begin to point to innate biological drivers in humans. However, I am more curious around how the act of publishing our “moods” to an audience actually may align us closer with each other as we communicate in ways and with a frequency that was previously unavailable.
It seems that others share a similar concern around whether the “moods” are purely natural or if the mechanism is shaping them:
“Tweets may tell us more about what the tweeter thinks the follower wants to hear than about what the tweeter is actually feeling,” said Dan Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist. “In short, tweets are not a simple reflection of a person’s current affective state and should not be taken at face value.”
The report does prove interesting, but I am looking forward to the deeper conversation around how platforms such as Twitter are influencing behavior and culture and the strength of our biological tendencies.
What do you think? Is Twitter telling of your mood patterns?
Ben Malbon’s recent blog post is directed at executive innovation roles at agencies, but there are some thoughts within the post that resonat...
Ben Malbon’s recent blog post is directed at executive innovation roles at agencies, but there are some thoughts within the post that resonate with people in the product and services industries as a whole.
A pugnacious CEO once told me that there are three ways to lose money: gambling, divorce, and innovation. With annual US research and development spending amongst Booz & Company’s Global Innovation 1000 at over $500 billion, companies are paying heavily for the ambition to create. But how do you plan for new growth and innovate in those markets where too many businesses are armed against commoditization with glib value propositions and over-reliance on cost containment, promotions, product extensions, and price competition?
The 21st Century is on fast forward, and never has there been a more important time to demonstrate the value of brands and marketing. Consumers are...
The 21st Century is on fast forward, and never has there been a more important time to demonstrate the value of brands and marketing. Consumers are taking control and pushing back, touch points have exploded, control is lost and differentiation is tough in the face of new faster global competition where brands are organizing globally for social media and local interaction. Breakthrough innovation that customers will care about requires removing barriers between brands and the end user experience. Today’s article in the Harvard Business Review on “Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Money in All the Wrong Places” succinctly explores the options for customer decision journey driven strategies.
Today’s Co.Design featured an article on how The Gap’s logo debacle shows how logos are no longer key to brands. I disagree. ...
Today’s Co.Design featured an article on how The Gap’s logo debacle shows how logos are no longer key to brands. I disagree.
Have you ever seen a clever solution to a problem and said to yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?” There are clever solutions...
Have you ever seen a clever solution to a problem and said to yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?” There are clever solutions to age old problems all around us, and even more opportunities to design better solutions to problems that most people may never even uncover. One reason for this is that humans are inherently really good at adapting to our surrounding environments. I would argue almost too good. As a result, we often accept existing solutions and overlook the obvious opportunities to create better solutions, or subconsciously create operational work-arounds to mitigate existing inconveniences. While many of these work-arounds tend to be clever, they generally obey the same rules and are constructed with the same set old constraints and mental models set forth by “the way things have always been,” and generally only provide a small, incremental advantage over their existing solution. Point being, these clever work-arounds haven’t really solved the underlying problem. The importance of understanding “the why” behind a problem, decision, solution, or action, can drastically change ones perspectives and therefor drastically revolutionize possible outcomes for possible solutions…even our clients.