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Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
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Search results for 'mccracken'
8 May 2013

Interviewing Users book – Special offers for Putting People First readers

interviewing-users

A few weeks ago, I announced Interviewing Users, the new book by Steve Portigal published by Rosenfeld Media. It is now available for purchase, both in print and in digital version.

Steve and his publisher provide Putting People First readers with two special offers:

  • Giveaway: the first three people leaving a reply on this post why they would love to get a free copy of this book, will get a mail from me with the code for exactly that: a free paper copy!
  • Discount: all others get something too: an exclusive 20% discount off the list price of the book — simply place your order through Rosenfeld Media and use the coupon code PPF2013 upon checkout.

Also note that Steve has posted a long excerpt from Chapter 2 “How to Uncover Compelling Insights” on Core77: . This part off the book sets up the overarching framework for successful interviewing: most experts have a set of best practices—tactics, really—that they follow. But what really makes them expert is that they have a set of operating principles. This ends up being more like a framework for how to be, rather than a list of what to do.

Grant McCracken meanwhile has posted his foreword to the book.

Thank you Louis, Mary and Steve.

31 March 2009

Experience based design at the UK’s National Health Service

Experience based design at the NHS
Yesterday I was in Lille, France, to speak at a small conference on service design organised by Philippe Picaud, the highly dynamic design director of Oxylane-Decathlon.

Decathlon is an international private sports retailer that many may know, since it is active in fifteen countries. Oxylane is the new group name that captures also all the brands sold in the Decathlon stores, and thereby gathers the entire production chain: from R&D, to design, to production and logistics, to sales.

During her presentation, Jennie Winhall of the UK consultancy Participle casually mentioned that the UK’s National Health Service has now decided to base its entire innovation process on a service design approach.

So I delved into the matter, and found a wealth of information:

Experienced based design (ebd) is an exciting new way of bringing patients and staff together to share the role of improving care and re-designing services. It is being developed by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement as a way of helping frontline NHS teams make the improvements their patients really want.

While leading global companies have used similar approaches for years, the ebd approach is very new for the NHS. Where it has been used in the health service, it is having amazing results – delivering the sort of care pathways that leave patients feeling safer, happier and more valued, and making staff feel more positive, rewarded and empowered.

The October 2008 issue of the NHS “In View” magazine has more background:

Engage Patients in service design – don’t be afraid to ask
In his report, High Quality Care for All, Lord Darzi defines quality in service as: “clinically effective, personal and safe.” Personal is the word that stands out. Darzi is saying that services must be orientated around individuals; services must be fit for everyone’s needs. […]
What is needed is a new way of thinking about services that starts with the individual not the organisation. We call this Service Thinking.

Innovation through co-creation
C K Prahalad, the Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Strategy at the Ross School of business at the University of Michigan, is “the most influential living business thinker in the world” according to global guru ranking, the Thinkers 50, published by The Times.
Des Dearlove talked to Prahalad about his latest thinking and how it applies to the NHS and public health.

Innovation Labs – The writing’s on the wall
Using the experiences of the Royal Mail and other organisations, Steve Coomber looks at how the unconventional environment of an innovation lab can generate an atmosphere conducive to creating ideas.

Other resources:
Master class presentation
Introductory booklet and DVD
Guidance and tools book
Experience questionnaire
Poster
Information leaflet

3 March 2009

Consumers in a downturn: a new spending habit? (part 1)

Grant McCracken
The business channel of The Atlantic Online published this weekend the first of two articles by Grant McCracken on the implications of the recession on consumer habits.

This article just deals with three variations of a mere quantitative change. The qualitative change — where consumption patterns might change in kind and not just in quantity — will be addressed in a second piece.

What will the current downturn might mean to consumers? Will their habits change in lasting ways? Could we return from the downturn to discover that consumers are a very different animal, that our economy runs on new principles. David Brooks wondered recently whether we might someday look like abstemious Amsterdam. There is a scarier prospect: that we might go the way of Japan. […]

Consumers scales back existing consumption habits. They buy the same things, roughly speaking, but they shift from expensive to cheaper versions, from big quantities to small quantities. This suggests a shift from European luxury cars to Japanese sedans, from luxury goods to something more generic, from national brands to store brands, from eating out to eating in, from steak to hamburger.

The logic is a simple diminution, a quantitative change that produces no qualitative change. The world of consumer demand remains what it always was, scaled back for the moment in a managed retreat. When trust, job confidence, credit and prosperity are restored, the consumer will come charging back. All is forgiven. All is forgotten. We will party like it’s 1999.

Read full story (alternate link)

20 May 2008

PSFK conference videos

Interactions
PSFK is a global trends and innovation company that also organises conferences in various parts of the world. Videos of over forty presentations at these conferences are now online. My ten highlights:

Allan Chochinov on the Dumbest Smartest Design Problem
At the PSFK Conference New York 2008, Allan Chochinov (Core77) gives an object lesson in strategy and creative thinking. People often assert that real value isn’t in the answer we provide, but in the question we ask. Well, what happens when we ask a supremely stupid question in the hopes of driving innovation? A lot, actually.

Grant McCracken on Pattern Recognition
At the PSFK Conference New York 2008, Grant McCracken (MIT) explains the importance of inspiration, providing a framework for which to gather, monitor and react to trends and ideas in culture and business.

Hugh MacLeod on Wine 2.0
In this 28 minute video, from the PSFK Conference London 2007, among many other things, Hugh MacLeod describes how a small South African wine company shook up an industry with a web 2.0 approach.

Regine Debatty on What Happens When Artists Mess Around With Technology
In this 28 minute video from the PSFK Conference London 2007, Regine Debatty of We Make Money Not Art describes how today’s artists explore electronics, digital bits and even the so-called “emerging technologies” such as biotechnology or nanotechnology; and explains why it should matter to us?

Jeremy Ettinghausen on How To Build Innovation Into A Brand
At the PSFK Conference London 2007, Jeremy Ettinghausen of Penguin spoke on the challenges of reinventing a traditional brand for a digital age.

Mike Butcher on How Digital Media Screwed the Media Business
This 20 minute video from the PSFK Conference London 2007 presents journalist Mike Butcher as he talks about how media owners are on a race for survival against technology companies that put the power to publish in the hands of the ‘audience.’

Niku Banaie Gives Twenty-Five Signals for Change
At the PSFK Conference London 2007, Niku Banaie from Naked Comminications talks about how an understanding of the basic human needs can keep your employees, customers and friends happier, fresher and healthier.

Timo Veikkola on a Vision Of The Future
This 20 minute video from the PSFK Conference London 2007 shows the presentation given by Timo Veikkola, Future Strategist at Nokia, on a Vision of our Future. As design is the reflection of society, how can we envision the future through trends, observation and informed intuition. What values, attitudes and behaviours of today will shape our future?

George Murphy on Brand Experience
At the PSFK Conference New York 2007, George Murphy (Fitch) spokeon creating environments to develop valuable interaction between consumers and brands.

Allan Chochinov on The Perfect Storm
At the PSFK Conference New York 2007, Allan Chochinov (Core77) speaks on whether the ability of the web to share ideas forced a sudden shift towards the consumption of the idea of a product rather than a product itself? How does this impact design and product development?

4 September 2007

People regularly featured on this blog

In alphabetical order:

A
Marko Ahtisaari
Ken Anderson

B
Nik Baerten
Genevieve Bell
Chris Bernard
Tim Berners-Lee
Ralf Beuker
Nina Boesch
Danah Boyd
Stefana Broadbent
Tyler Brûlé
Bill Buxton

C
Jan Chipchase
Hilary Cottam
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Alistair Curtis

D
Uday Dandavate
Liz Danzico
Regine Debatty
Paul Dourish

E
Jyri Engeström
Richard Eisermann

G
Jesse James Garrett
Fabien Girardin
Anand Giridharadas
Bruno Giussani
Adam Greenfield

H
Laurent Haug

I
Mizuko Ito

J
Bob Jacobson
Matt Jones

K
Jonathan Kestenbaum
Anne Kirah
Dirk Knemeyer
Jon Kolko
Mike Kuniavsky

L
Loïc Lemeur
Dan Lockton
Victor Lombardi

M
Nico Macdonald
John Maeda
Ranjit Makkuni
Ezio Manzini
Roger Martin
Stefano Marzano
Simona Maschi
Bruce Mau
Grant McCracken
Jess McMullin
Peter Merholz
Crysta Metcalf
Bill Moggridge
Peter Morville
Ulla-Maaria Mutanen

N
Jakob Nielsen
Donald Norman
Nicolas Nova
Bruce Nussbaum

P
Steve Portigal

R
Carlo Ratti
Howard Rheingold
Louis Rosenfeld
Stephen Rustow

S
Dan Saffer
Nathan Shedroff
Jared Spool
Yaniv Steiner
Bruce Sterling

T
John Thackara

V
Marco van Hout
Rob van Kranenburg
Mark Vanderbeeken
Joannes Vandermeulen
Jeffrey Veen
Timo Veikkola
Michele Visciola
Eric von Hippel

W
Tricia Wang
Luke Wroblewski

Z
Paola Zini
Jan-Christoph Zoels

27 March 2007

Book: Anthropology in Consumer Research

Anthropology in Consumer Research
Grant McCracken reports on the upcoming publication of the book “Anthropology in Consumer Research” written by Patricia Sunderland and Rita Denny of the Chicago-based Practica Group.

McCracken wrote the foreword which he published on his blog. An excerpt:

“Not so long ago it received a papal blessed from A.G. Lafley, the CEO of P&G. And with this CEOs and CMOs everywhere began to give the attention new attention. This is, in other words, a crucial moment in the history of the method. It will either grow up to dispatch the larger and more important responsibilities is now assigned. Or it will continue its descent into naïve empiricism, charismatic performance, or the commodity basement.”

Read full foreword

28 May 2006

The New York Times on brand co-creation

Brand co-creation
“The rise of consumer-generated advertising can be viewed as either a boon to brands (outsourcing marketing to loyal customers) or a threat (handing marketing over to a bunch of uncontrollable amateurs). When G.M. solicited consumer input in online ad-making for its Chevy Tahoe, many people responded with anti-S.U.V. messages.”

“Grant McCracken, an author, anthropologist and consultant, takes a broader view, describing consumer involvement as a kind of branding Reformation: marketing professionals used to be the high-priest gatekeepers, but now we can all have a direct relationship with the Almighty Brand. He refers to this as brand “co-creation” (a term he credits to C.K. Prahalad, a business professor at the University of Michigan), and sees it as both inevitable and smart, even in the case of the Tahoe controversy. “The era of the brand that’s blandly constructed and hopes not to offend anyone — to be pleasant — that notion is really dead,” McCracken says.”

Read full story

3 May 2006

Business insights from consumer culture, a top-level conference on ethnography, marketing and business

Business insights from consumer culture
Today starts the MSI conference “Business insights from consumer culture” in Toronto, entirely focused on the use of ethnographic methods in marketing and business. Here is the conference synposis:

For decades, firms have sought marketing insights through the use of ethnographic methods that investigate consumer cultures and subcultures. This conference, chaired by Professor John Deighton of the Harvard Business School, will explore the state of ethnography in marketing today.

In contrast to conventional research that gathers objective data, often by directly asking consumers for their attitudes and opinions, ethnographic research pursues subtler insights that depend more on observation and participation than on the consumers’ self-reports. Ethnographic investigators are alert to the operation of the “taken-for-granted” forces of culture that underlie consumers’ attitudes, opinions and behaviours.

Ethnography poses some difficult challenges to the firms that try to use it. What exactly is it good for? How does it fit into the firm’s decision-making processes? Does it complement or displace other research methods? When, and by what criteria, are its findings to be trusted? When is an insight from culture most likely to give a firm competitive advantage, and when it is most likely to be emulated?

The conference will address these questions with speakers from firms including Intel Corporation, Cheskin, Eastman Kodak Company, Miller Brewing Company, Royal Philips Electronics, and the Procter & Gamble Company, and universities including Harvard Business School, University of Arizona, University of Notre Dame, University of Colorado, University of Wisconsin, MIT, and York University. Each day will conclude with vigorous debate on the presentations.

- Visit conference webpage
Download conference brochure (pdf, 163 kb, 7 pages)
Read post by Grant McCracken about his presentation at the conference

9 December 2005

Design in India

Designinindia
Bruce Nussbaum argues that Design in India is beginning to take off, as American companies discover the inexpensive but high-grade work consultancies such as Elephant Design and others, and alerts me to the great Design in India website, where you can find links to a wide range of design firms, including usability and design strategy companies.

The India Times reports that the Indian Government has developed a five-year roadmap [Draft National Design Policy, pdf, 243 kb, 12 pages] to place India as the global design hub, by constituting an India Design Council (NDC) and a number of specialised design centres, enhancing the status of the National Institute of Design (NID) as a global centre of excellence and launching the Good Design Mark to promote domestic designs.

Grant McCracken meanwhile provides a thoughtful comparison between India and China: “In the international economy, China is a commodity player. India’s promise lies in its control of cultural particulars. And by this I mean, India understands and participates in the culture of the First World West in ways China does not.”

“As long as the world wants its merchants to “pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap,” China will flourish as Wal-Mart does. India [on the other hand] has a large intellectual and creative class. Many of these people are worldly in ways the chattering classes of the West are not. More than that, India is its own intellectual challenge, a culture that knows a thing or two about diversity and discontinuity. Moreover, India has been drawing on the intellectual and educational resources of the West for several hundred years.”

26 July 2005

Ethnography at McDonald’s

Mcronald
Blogger Grant McCracken has posted a nice tale about doing ethnography at McDonald’s to figure out why people order smaller drink sizes in the drive-thru than inside. And in the process, provides a nice concise explanation of a research approach.

Read full post

(via Customer Experience Crossroads)