Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
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June 2005
30 June 2005

Telecom Italia to invest 200 million € in Olivetti, half of which on R&D

Olivetti, one of the most historic names in Italian industry, was on Wednesday relaunched by the Telecom Italia group after several years out of the public eye. Between 2005 and 2007, Telecom Italia will invest 200 million € in Olivetti, half of which on R&D. They also announced a collaboration with the acclaimed British designer Jasper Morrison.

Read full story (Forbes Magazine)
Read full story (Market Watch)

30 June 2005

Today’s Front Pages

Newseum, a site billing itself as “the interactive museum of news” has created Today’s Front Pages, a Flash-based interface to let users see the front page of over 435 newspapers across 45 countries.

Pointing at a dot will show the current front page for the linked paper; clicking will give you a close-up of the front page in a new window. The close-up page will also allow you to head over to the newspaper’s site.

30 June 2005

Ireland today is the richest country in the EU after Luxembourg [International Herald Tribune]

The country that for hundreds of years was best known for emigration, tragic poets, famines, civil wars and leprechauns today has a per capita gross domestic product higher than that of Germany, France and Britain. How Ireland went from the sick man of Europe to the rich man in less than a generation is an amazing story. It tells you a lot about Europe today: All the innovation is happening on the periphery by those countries embracing globalisation in their own ways – Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe – while those following the French-German social model are suffering high unemployment and low growth.

Ireland’s advice is very simple: Make high school and college education free; make your corporate taxes low, simple and transparent; actively seek out global companies; open your economy to competition; speak English; keep your fiscal house in order; and build a consensus around the whole package with labor and management – then hang in there, because there will be bumps in the road – and you, too, can become one of the richest countries in Europe.

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30 June 2005

New political tool: text messaging [Christian Science Monitor]

If television helped bring down the Berlin Wall and the fax machine helped protesters organize during the Tiananmen Square protests, cellphone text messaging, also known as SMS (short message services), may be the new political tool for activists. In tech-savvy nations like South Korea, but more so in controlled societies like China and the Middle East, text messaging has been fomenting what some experts call a “mobile democracy.” Because it is unmonitored and cheap, it provides an underground channel for succinct uncensored speech. Demonstrators use it to mobilize protests, dodge authorities, and fire off political spam. It has also enabled them to engineer collective action at unprecedented speed.

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29 June 2005

British Library’s strategic priority 1: enrich the user experience

The British Library recently published “Redefining the Library: The British Library’s strategy 2005 – 2008″ and lists as its top 3 strategic priorities: enrich the user’s experience, build the digital research environment, and transform search and navigation.Read more
29 June 2005

The zen of technology [c|net]

David Hill, director of design for Lenovo, shares his perspectives on design and technology.

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29 June 2005

India’s tech renaissance [c|net]

The first $100 computer is a fitting icon for a country undergoing major changes in the development of its technology, economy and society. As Indian companies increasingly break away from the limitations of handling outsourced services for Western corporations, innovations are likely to multiply and inspire the rising number of independently minded engineers and executives who are leading the country’s technology industry to new frontiers.

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29 June 2005

Web content by and for the masses [The New York Times]

From photo- and calendar-sharing services to “citizen journalist” sites and annotated satellite images, the Internet is morphing yet again. A remarkable array of software systems makes it simple to share anything instantly, and sometimes enhance it along the way.

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29 June 2005

2005 Industrial Design Excellence Awards [Business Week]

If you have some time, check out the 158 awarded products on the Business Week website (accessible from the “slide show” link). They are neatly organised in fourteen categories: business & industrial design, computer equipment, consumer products, design exploration, design strategy, digital media, environments, furniture, medical & scientific, packaging graphics, research, student designs, transportation, and catalyst awards.

Go to website (click on “slide show”)

29 June 2005

Branding Chinese companies and products globally II [Christian Science Monitor]

Their names don’t exactly spark instant recognition: Lenovo, Haier, TCL, Pearl River Pianos, State Grid Corp., and CNOOC. If they mean nothing to you, just wait a few years. All of them are prominent Chinese corporations set to go global and may soon become household words.Read full story
29 June 2005

Branding Chinese companies and products globally I [International Herald Tribune]

Never heard of brand names like Great Wall, Hisense, Konka, Amoy and Panda? Outside China, few have. But someday that may change.

In a policy termed “go global,” China’s leaders have been quietly encouraging Chinese companies for years to set up overseas operations, acquire foreign assets and transform themselves into multinational corporations – in other words, to make their own brands more competitive in a world increasingly dominated by Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

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29 June 2005

The new heroes, a feature on social entrepreneuship [PBS]

The New Heroes tells the dramatic stories of 14 daring people from all corners of the globe who, against all odds, are successfully alleviating poverty and illness, combating unemployment and violence, and bringing education, light, opportunity and freedom to poor and marginalised people around the world.

Also known as “social entrepreneurs,” they develop innovations that bring life-changing tools and resources to people desperate for viable solutions. What is possible? You’d be surprised. Take a journey into a world where people take action to make a big difference.

Go to website

29 June 2005

The book on perplexing Italians [International Herald Tribune]

Being Italian, says the columnist Beppe Severgnini, is a full-time job. “We never forget who we are, and we take pleasure in confounding those who observe us,” he notes.

As a matter of fact, Italians are so profoundly perplexing that trying to explain – and demystify – what it means to be Italian to those who (regrettably?) aren’t has practically become Severgnini’s full-time job.

Read full review

28 June 2005

The seamless connection: from strategy, brand and innovation to product, service and experience

Like the fashionable width of neckties, business ideas cycle up and down in marketplace importance. The important thing to remember is that although the marketplace buzzwords change, the process of strategic planning, branding and innovation are all still relevant and in fact tied seamlessly to product, experience and service.Read full article
27 June 2005

How US consumerism changed the face of Europe [Christian Science Monitor]

The Americanisation of Europe by way of mass marketing is not at all a new phenomenon and, despite all of Europe’s umbrage, its participation has been quite voluntary.

Read full review

27 June 2005

David Byrne writes about Bruce Mau’s Massive Change project

David Byrne writes about the Bruce Mau show at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario, called Massive Change. He finds Mau’s project disturbing for its optimism and especially its utopianism.

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[Also available: David Byrne/Bruce Mau interview in Contemporary Magazine (PDF, 576 kb)]

27 June 2005

24/7, teens get the message [Los Angeles Times]

A long feature on how teens use digital devices to stay connected with each other.

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27 June 2005

Beyond MMS [The Feature]

As the leader of Sony Corporation’s mobile media research and design groups in Tokyo, John Poisson spent two years focused on how people use cameraphones, and why they don’t use them more often. Now, he and human-computer interaction researchers Chris Beckmann and Scott Lederer are developing cameraphone software and services they hope will get the world snapping and sharing.

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24 June 2005

User-centred design at Microsoft

User experience and interface design in the context of creating software represents an approach that puts the user, rather than the system, at the centre of the process. This philosophy, called user-centred design, incorporates user concerns and advocacy from the beginning of the design process and dictates the needs of the user should be foremost in any design decisions.

Go to website

23 June 2005

Big advertisers catch the bug for viral campaigns [Reuters]

Some of the world’s biggest advertisers, including Microsoft and Anheuser-Busch, are increasingly turning to electronic word-of-mouth advertising campaigns as they seek inexpensive, provocative and entertaining ways to reach new customers.

Read full story