Nice Facade, and Sustainable Technology Too  
Tuesday, August 12, 2008, 11:07 PM - Business Innovation, Design - (UX), Brands, Cross Channel Marketing, Technology,


Metropolis mag had this post on the new GreenPix digital media wall, in Beijing.
The possibility for interesting media content is huge. And a great way to make some bad architecture look good.

It is the largest color LED display in the world, with 2,292 of the energy-efficient lights spanning a 24,000-square-foot glass surface.

In the evenings, as traffic passes by the busy road it faces, the wall plays massive low-resolution video installa­tions by Chinese, Japanese, European, and Amer ican artists.

But GreenPix is also a fairly radical example of sustainable technology. Simone Giostra and Partners, working with Arup and German manufacturers Schüco and Sunways, laminated photovoltaic (PV) cells inside the glass curtain wall. In itself this is not new, but the level of integration and the scale of GreenPix are unique. The 6,000 square feet of PV cells are arranged with varying density: where natural light is needed inside the building, there are few or no cells; in other places, dense as sort ments of cells block the sunlight, reducing interior heat gain while generating enough electricity each day to power the display at night.


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Bookable Rich Media Ads 
Sunday, July 6, 2008, 10:02 PM - Mobile Banking, Business Innovation, Channel Management, Brands, Technology




This format offers a great way for Advertisers to meaningfully engage their audience.

Spongecell, makes online calendars with social features, has launched Spongecell Rich Media Ads. These ads offer a new way for advertisers to connect with people and provide some functional value at the same time. People can view Ads about an upcoming product launch, event, or TV show, and are able to add it to their calendar/social network/mobile device and invite friends without leaving the ad unit!

The example above appears to be an ad for a music event, but this format offers plenty of potential to any promotions with date/time relative information, promotions, coupons with dates, etc. To quote Spongecell, "We’re adding our Add to Life technology to a standard IAB advertisement to make it easy for a consumer to easily move relevant content from an advertisement into the tools they use every day - Calendar, Social Network, Mobile device or home page - think of it as a bookmark for an online campaign."
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Thought Starters for the Year to Date 
Tuesday, March 13, 2007, 01:23 AM - Mobile, Business Innovation, Customer Experience, Service Design, , , Cross Channel Marketing, Retail Experience, Technology,
Apologies for the the lack of posts so far this year. I can assure you it isn't a sign of a lack of interesting stuff going on. Here are some things I've been looking into and thinking about so far this year:

Kiwi FOO Camp (www,baacamp.org) organised by Nathan Torkington was a fantastic event - thanks for the invite Nathan. The content was great, many inspiring discussions, lots of energy and subsequenlty many thoughts and ideas that I will continue to post on over the next few months. Big outtakes: everyone in IT is engaged in design at some level; as designers we can learn a lot from open source communities and this has enormous potential for big design probelems like sustainability; usability, UX design, interaction design require clear context for useful discussion, even amongst experts, I was involved in a discussion where we all came at this from many angles and I think we needed to get clear on architypes to have a useful discussion on this (still plenty of opportunities; Hardware hacking is a cool thing and shows so much potential for interesting developmements.

FRONT link here is pretty cool, FRONT members have developed a method to materialise free hand sketches. They make it possible by using a unique method where two advanced techniques are combined. Pen strokes made in the air are recorded with Motion Capture and become 3D digital files; these are then materialised through Rapid Prototyping into real pieces of furniture. Lots of potential to use this technology. I can forsee a time when we will all have our local RP centres to print off the odd useful thing ot two, and maybe using different densities and textures of materials etc..

Amazon's new directions. This article in USA Today was interesting. Quote "You can rent space on Amazon's computers to run a business, or rent out its transaction capabilities to sell things and collect money, or rent pieces of its warehouses and distribution system to store and ship items — or all of the above. So, with almost no start-up costs, anyone anywhere could become a retailer".

This is a great example of a company that really understands innovation and isn't afraid to put into action. It offers potential to really change the way we think about design of business models and supply chains.

QR Codes see this article in the Japan Marketing News where the uptake has been relatively strong compared to elswhere. If you are into marketing certainly worth a try on a few campaigns.

Design Process of architect Joshua Prince-Ramus. Diego Rodriguez from Metacool posted on this video of his Joshua Prince-Ramus'd talk from TED2006. It is great to see architectural process take new directions. As Diego points out Three interesting threads are woven in to his commentary:

The notion of employing a "hyper-rational" design process in the name of creating emotionally resonant experiences and spaces.

Using a team-based design process, rather than the more traditional "star designer" model often found in architecture and industrial design.

Designing for business by using flexible spaces to enable economic viability now and in to the future.

Agree the storytelling is great.




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Inspiring Design Interaction - in-action 
Tuesday, November 28, 2006, 11:23 PM - Mobile, Customer Experience, Service Design, Cross Channel Marketing, Technology,
I've been rethinking the fundamentals of interaction design methods and practice recently and I came across a news story posted on John Thackara's site that raised some really interesting points for me.

The story covers a UK surgical team that saw similarities between their surgical 'patient hand over technics' and those of a motor racing team in the pitstop, while watching motorsport on TV. The surgical team started to work with the Ferrari Racing Team to learn how to improve their own 'hand-over methods' from surgery to intensive care. This is a difficult and critical phase for surgery teams involving as many as six interventions from highly specialised personal. Precision and timing are everything. Imagine: Medical procedure designed by 'Ferrari', not a crazy idea (I think the brand could extend, see Cheskin’s Brand Extendibility Survey)

Here are some immediate thoughts that came to mind:

(1) It is great to see disciplines learning from others. And the willingness of the medical practitioners to act on the possibility of it working and at least testing the feasibility of the idea. True design innovation.

(2) These methods designed by the joint teams involved 'Interaction Design'. Other professions disciplines practice interaction design too, what do they call it? When does it become 'Interaction Design', and how/where does it differ from other professions practices? In this case, I think their goals became interaction design when the team defined a problem with the way they interacted with their technolgy and system and they set out to improve it.

(3) How did Ferrari become so good at 'Interaction Design' or designing for interaction? I have read case studies before on Peak Performance of the Williams F1 Team and how the split second timing of Pit Crews is often attributed to teamwork and practice. I think this is key, good outcomes from interaction design requires the design of really good interdisciplinary team design. Further to this, it must be practiced in-order to get better at it, and to achieve their goals. Ferrari’s race technical director that worked with the surgical team said, "It takes a long time to establish a team. We have twenty-odd people working together for four to six years to get a routine which lasts little more than four seconds. The surgical teams work round the clock, every day, with ever-changing personnel, so what they need is a formula to work to."

(4) The ultimate ‘goal’ of the race team would be something like ‘making the car go faster’ and the surgery team ‘fixing patients heart’ But the interesting thing is the total procedure to achieve those goals is made up of a series of complex stand alone methods that can be applied independently. The design of design, no situation is ever the same but there is often similarities and cross-over.

(5) It proved really valuable but it kind of happened by chance that two surgeons clicked while watching motor racing. What would it take for these problems to be addressed by design in the course of conscious problem definition?

(6) Product or a service? Hmm.

(7) It is being published in a medical Journal. So what is the relationship between medical science and interaction design? ....I'm saving that for another post.

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Sir Ken Robinson on Education and Creativity (TED Feb O6) 
Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 01:15 PM - Mobile, Service Design, Smart Space, Technology, Consumer Insights
I'm posting this because i've referred to Sir Ken Robinson's TED presentation on education systems and creativity at least three times recently. He raises some good questions.

Check it out - link here

What sort of future are we shaping? What are the relevant subjects? What is important now? What takes hold that isn't just a phase? Who decides? As that quote from Marshall McLuhan goes "We become what we behold. We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us".

Postscript:
Sir Ken Robinson is author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, and a leading expert on innovation and human resources. In this talk, he makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. (Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA.)
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Toyota Massed Produced Houses 
Friday, June 16, 2006, 08:09 PM - Mobile, Service Design, Design - (UX), Technology, ,



Toyota production lines churning out houses? Well they have since 1975 but it is growing steadily. An article in the Toronto Star reports that Toyota is doing homes that are mass produced like Toyota cars. About 85 per cent of the work on the metal-frame cubicles is finished at the plant. The prefabricated cubicles, made to order for the customer, are stacked like toy blocks with a huge crane in just six hours.

Toyota is using technogy and production know-how gained from car making and applying it to houses. A 'smart key' similar to the car key you don't need to take out of your pocket to unlock your Toyota opens and closes the front door. A mechanism for reducing engine noise and tremors is installed under the floor to quiet upstairs shakes. Car paint-job skills deliver even scratch-resistant coating on walls. Imagine how they could apply the Prius technology.

I think they could do with some focus on the design, see Toyota Housing


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Banking on 'better customer experience'  
Saturday, June 10, 2006, 07:13 PM - Mobile, Mobile Banking, Business Innovation, Customer Experience, Design - (UX), Brands, , , Cross Channel Marketing, Retail Experience, Technology,


David Polinchock, in his blog The Experience Economist on a story run by NBC station in New York on how banks are changing to create a better in branch experience. The article points out that the driver behind these kinder, gentler banks is fierce competition. Radical new design of branches and services create new levels of experience and relationship with the banks customers. Amenities like childrenís play areas, cafÈís, more open spaces, and free standing tables for interacting with bank staff etc. They appear to be proving some value, the manager gave a compelling argument for the need to create better experiences:

An average bank in the suburbs will do about $1.5 million a month is deposits. In the first 25 weeks with our new branch, we've done $1 million a week. This roughtly translates to, the traditional branch doing about $9.4 million over 25 weeks, versus the $25 million they've done in the new branch.

See the whole article here

Also see an article in BAI , by the Bank of Smithtowns Executive Vice President and Chief Retail Officer John Romanoextract: ìYou have to find a way to differentiate yourself, and for us, that was through branch design.î



ALSO SEE DEUTSCHE BANKS 'QIIO'; BANK OF THE FUTURE



CScouts reports on Deutsche Banks new pilot branch, named Q110. Finally somebody thought about banking of the future and how to present financial services in a more innovative and customer friendly way. In addition to regular bank operations, this distinctive complex houses an exhibition space, a trend shop, a reading corner, childrens play area, and a cafe.

For full details click here and link through to images



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New Book on Interaction Design - Interview with Shelly Evenson on Service Design 
Sunday, May 28, 2006, 07:00 PM - Mobile, Business Innovation, Channel Management, Customer Experience, Service Design, Cross Channel Marketing, Retail Experience, Technology
Dan Saffer's new book; 'Designing for Interaction'; looks really interesting with a good line up of contributions from many people who's views I respect in the area of Interaction Design: Brenda Laurel, Adam Greenfield, Marc Rettig, Hugh Dubberly, and more.

I like what Shelly Evenson has to say about Service Design, link here to see the breif interview.

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Nike+iPOD - a product or a service system, or both? 
Friday, May 26, 2006, 05:13 PM - Mobile, Mobile Banking, Business Innovation, Customer Experience, Cross Channel Marketing, Technology,


The Nike+iPOD strategic alliance got me thinking about the boundaries of brand extendibility, and a survey that Cheskin did last year on the extendibility of global brands and categories. see: Cheskin Brand Extendibility Survey (pg 17 for the category info) It just happens that athletic and consumer electronic categories extend quite well.

We've seen plenty of examples of strategic alliances with varying degrees of success, see: Trend Watching, Branded Brands for many examples. What I found interesting about Nike+Apple is the production of a new product-service (an extension of an existing function- shoe, music) utilising the best of their core competencies. All in a category that neither brands would extend to as successfully on their own. In Nike's case I loosely perceive their competency as something like 'sports fitness' and in the iPOD case 'portable technology', and they've created a 'sports technology appliance' (a sports bio sensor and monitor) that competes in a market where there is many specialised developers of such products. There is real value in the way that the Nike+iPOD has extended use of existing products (shoe, ipod) that have other useful functions beyond just this application. They've also defined their individual brand competencies well within the alliance to retain brand authenticity and integrity.

Where I got to and what I really like about this outcome is the design of a new 'product-service-system' or service function, that has been enabled through an alliance of technology, know-how and brand positioning. I don't know how the Nike+iPOD compares to other products of this type but I really like this platform thinking and it would be great to see more alliances that create useful multifunctional services, rather than product-centric, single function innovations. This sort of thinking could have great benefits for the planet and with the right business models they'll make money, so double good! And as a brand extension it has avoided complexity around the offering and in doing so has avoided brand confusion.
Nike+
Apple iPOD

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Ambient Technology, a shift from information worlds to experience worlds 
Thursday, May 11, 2006, 06:31 PM - Business Innovation, Customer Experience, Design - (UX), Cross Channel Marketing, Retail Experience, Technology, Consumer Insights



A lot of consumer experiences are mediated through ambient technologies. This article (link below) from UIGarden.net covers some interesting information on the development processes required for the shift from information worlds to experience worlds.
link to article

This raises some interesting questions about the importance of the psychology of space when information technology is involved. Design approaches to need to consider the activities of the space, and create clear context for the use of the space inorder to create a complete user experience. see earlier weblog on ideo.

see the IDEO article.
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Giant Touch Screen at Chicago Airport adds a new dimension to traveler's experience 
Thursday, May 4, 2006, 06:07 PM - Business Innovation, Channel Management, Service Design, Design - (UX), , Smart Space, , Cross Channel Marketing, Retail Experience, Technology, Consumer Insights



Dwell time, or experience information on the run. Giant digital touchscreen technolgy taking off at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Revolutionary for out-of-home advertising and also for inter-office collaboration.

For more info - link here, to Accenture media release

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Experience Design - here is an interesting process diagram 
Wednesday, May 3, 2006, 06:04 PM - Business Innovation, , , Cross Channel Marketing, Retail Experience, Technology,


Check out this Experience Design process approach produced by David Armano. Link here
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Bringing 'visual' clarity to complex ideas 
Wednesday, April 12, 2006, 05:29 PM - Retail Experience, Technology, Consumer Insights


If you are ever needing inspiration for how to communicate your complex information networks or just have an appreciation for good visualisation methods, check out the Visual Complexity site. Click on the images for some project background. Cool content.


http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/
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