Over the last year I have sporadically been keeping you informed about the plans for Torino, World Capital of Design 2008
Things are now taking shape and a website is up.
A friend of mine, the young, dynamic and very globally focused Paola Zini, who has been the de facto lead of the initiative of the initiative for a long time, has just also been appointed the official director.
Paola immediately selected a scientific committee not to be ignored: Gilo Dorfles (Italy), Guta Moura Guedes (Experimenta, Portugal), Michael Thompson (UK), Enrico Morteo (Italy), and Bruce Nussbaum (Business Week, USA).
I will write soon (a lot) more about this exciting initiative, which is energetically chaired by the Mayor of Torino.
To make this happen, I am happy to be able to count on the collaboration with some top-level people that I will soon let you know more about.
[To be continued, of course...]
I have to admit: I am a fan of Slow Food
. I am also one of its 80,000 members. It is an international ethical movement about good, clean and fair food. They “believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible
.” They organise lots of events, give quality labels to restaurants, have their own publishing house and university, and are branching out into new fields such as urban planning (“Slow City
Slow Food is the most clever conceptual innovation that I have seen coming out of Italy in the last decade. Through its emphasis on local produce and local production, Slow Food pulled it off to globalise the local, not an easy task in a world where the opposite prevails. In a few weeks they will organise the sixth edition of Salone del Gusto, their international fair, this year concurrently with Terra Madre, Slow Food’s colourful international food communities meeting. Slow Food also has by far the best looking members magazine of ANY movement I know of, printed of course on recycled paper, with a photo selection that is just stunning. Slow Food is seriously cool, Nussbaum might say.
Now Slow Food is getting into design.
On 6 October Slow Food Italy and three Italian educational institutions organised a one-day Slow+Design seminar on the “slow approach to distributed economy and sustainable sensoriality” in Milan (Italian press release).
The event sought an answer to two clear, concrete and complementary questions: what can design learn from the Slow Model? How can design contribute to the success of the Slow Model (both inside and outside the field of food)?
The Slow Food head office, located in a town just south of Torino, just sent me several English-language documents that provide some background on this new initiative, which is still in an embryonic phase. However, if you read them carefully, you realise that it is all about experience design, the Slow Food way. They even talk about co-creation, which they call “de-intermediation”. I quote:
“Our departure point is the Slow Food experience. Slow Food has met with great and growing international success which, contrary to dominant trends, has demonstrated the real possibility of linking food quality research to the safeguarding of typical local products and to the sustainable valorisation of the skills, expertise and organisational models from which such products originate. In so doing it has played an important role on two complementary fronts: firstly, in regenerating such a precious collective good as the biological and cultural diversity of local food production and secondly, in proposing and initially setting up new food networks.”
“However, though the specific scope of Slow Food lies in these new food networks, its experience is of more general value and is significant for those working in other fields and addressing other problems. Its experience is encapsulated in the new meanings that, thanks to its activities, have been attributed to the adjective “slow” and that we can refer to as the “slow approach”.”
“Above all, the slow approach means the simple, but in current times revolutionary, affirmation that it is not possible to produce and appreciate quality if we do not allow ourselves the time to do so, in other words, if we do not activate some kind of slowdown. However, slow does not only mean this. It also means a concrete way of actually putting this idea into practice. It means cultivating quality: linking products and their producers to their places of production and to their end-users who, by taking part in the production chain in different ways, become themselves co-producers.”
Download Slow+Design backgrounder (pdf, 2 mb, 27 pages)
It’s been a couple of years ago since Philips
launched their “Sense and Simplicity” slogan. With this slogan Philips tries to underline their goal to design products that are easy to use and understand.
But what is simplicity? Recently, Philips has launched the online LiveSimplicity forum, on which people have a chance to tell what simplicity means to them. And to discuss about it with others.
According to the site, “maybe one day we’ll find all the solutions” to this question.
(via Bruce Nussbaum and SteveWeb)
Very interesting article on the limits of user participation and co-creation by Charles Arthur in the technology section of today’s The Guardian, here copied in its entirety.
“It’s an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will “interact” with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.
It’s a meme that emerges strongly in statistics from YouTube, which in just 18 months has gone from zero to 60% of all online video viewing.
The numbers are revealing: each day there are 100 million downloads and 65,000 uploads – which as Antony Mayfield (at Open) points out, is 1,538 downloads per upload – and 20m unique users per month.
That puts the “creator to consumer” ratio at just 0.5%, but it’s early days yet; not everyone has discovered YouTube (and it does make downloading much easier than uploading, because any web page can host a YouTube link).
Consider, too, some statistics from that other community content generation project, Wikipedia: 50% of all Wikipedia article edits are done by 0.7% of users, and more than 70% of all articles have been written by just 1.8% of all users, according to the Church of the Customer blog.
Earlier metrics garnered from community sites suggested that about 80% of content was produced by 20% of the users, but the growing number of data points is creating a clearer picture of how Web 2.0 groups need to think. For instance, a site that demands too much interaction and content generation from users will see nine out of 10 people just pass by.
Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo points out that much the same applies at Yahoo: in Yahoo Groups, the discussion lists, “1% of the user population might start a group; 10% of the user population might participate actively, and actually author content, whether starting a thread or responding to a thread-in-progress; 100% of the user population benefits from the activities of the above groups,” he noted on his blog elatable in February.
So what’s the conclusion? Only that you shouldn’t expect too much online. Certainly, to echo Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. The trouble, as in real life, is finding the builders.”
Reacting to this post, Business Week’s Bruce Nussbaum asks some very pertinent questions in his blog NussbaumOnDesign:
“If 1% of crowds are creators, then what is the difference between “experts” and “crowds?” What is the difference between professional historians who write encyclopedias and the “masses” of people who do? Where does the real value of crowds lie? Are there higher “quality” crowds where more than 1% of the people create. Is the IBM innovation jam model where tens of thousands of highly trained people “crowd” better at innovation than a more general group of people? Who really participates in social networking and what do they do? Who is active, who is passive and why? Huge questions here on social networking that we really need to answer in this pell mell rush to social networking.”
Introducing the winners of the 2006 Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEAs), Bruce Nussbaum writes in Business Week: “Managers everywhere are turning to rapid ethnography, usability, special materials, and aesthetics—the tools of design—to innovate.”
He then goes on to discuss the ethnographic research done by Lenovo:
“Take Lenovo. It won a gold for its Opti Desktop PC, designed for tech-centric gamers in China. Perhaps more important, it also won a gold for the design research it did for the Opti with ZIBA Design, based in Portland, Ore. That research, dubbed ‘Search for the Soul’ of the Chinese customer, helped Lenovo move beyond competing on price, where it was being hit hard by Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM in China. Lenovo and ZIBA delved deeply into Chinese consumer culture to ‘find out which design elements have meaning and value for specific groups of Chinese consumers,’ according to the idea entry form.”
“ZIBA and Lenovo spent months immersed in Chinese music, history, and objects of desire, such as cell phones, observing families as they lived, worked, and played. In the end, they identified ‘five technology tribes’ in China: Social Butterflies, Relationship Builders, Upward Maximizers, Deep Immersers, and Conspicuous Collectors, each with different needs. The Opti was designed with shapes and colors for Chinese Deep Immersers who seek escape through immersing themselves in games online.”
“Juror Don Norman (author of Emotional Design and The Design of Everyday Things) said: ‘At first the judges said ‘yuck’ to the design but then changed their minds when the research showed the Chinese didn’t want our sleek U.S. design but their own from their own culture.’”
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In a thoughtful reaction to the Bruce Nussbaum statement that “innovation is the new black” [or was it Michael Bierut
's?], Jared M. Spool
reflects in detail on the cases of Apple and Netfix, the two innovation examples that many top executives at practically every corporation regularly discuss.
“What Apple and Netflix did, while not simple, was straightforward. The value they created came from innovations that dramatically improved the user’s experience. They looked hard at the current experience and focused on designing an ideal one.”
“Those insights led to industry-changing innovations that have made an indelible impression on businesses everywhere.”
“Understanding the user experience isn’t new. It’s something designers and researchers have done for years. However, because it’s linked to innovation and innovation is now an important corporate objective, its value has increased.”
“Now organizations realize they have to study how users currently experience their products and service. From this, they derive insights into how to make improvements and those improvements go into the design the teams aspire to achieve.”
“As innovation is now the new black, experience design is the fabric of new insight. The work designers do is now the hot spot to be.”
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With this post, I just want to publicly thank all those
who have written nice words about Putting People First, especially after the recent relaunch
These include Bruce Nussbaum (also here), David Armano, Alan Chochinov, Ralf Beuker (also here), Rudy De Waele, Bob Jacobson, Nicolas Nova, Paul Greenberg, Matt Zellmer, Kristi Olson, Peter J. Bogaards, Susan Abott, Richard Linington, Paula Thornton and of course Régine Debatty. (I hope I didn’t forget anyone). Also thanks to Mike Young of Logdy and Jeffrey Veen of MeasureMap with their help in letting me experiment with their web analytics services.
For those who have Putting People First in their blogroll, please don’t forget to update the link from blog.vanderbeeken.com to www.experientia.com/blog.
Core77 reports on the NYC press event for the Philips’ Next Simplicity show, and somehow can’t get over the “attractive host-models”. This age-old trick still seems to work.
The show itself included “5 “islands” of concept products, neatly divided into Trust (medical), Care (home), Glow (lighting), Play (home entertainment), and Share (photos, messages)”.
“Many of the concepts were compelling: The Ambient Experience CAT Scan media room has gotten a lot of media attention of course, but its companion toy scanner with stuffed animals for kids to play with in the waiting room, pre-scan, was a nice touch; the Chameleon Lamp–which matches its color to whatever material you put in front of its lens–was a cool trick. But a couple concepts were kinda sad (the Herbarium herb-growing gizmo would horrify any right-minded gardener…or any right-minded person, for that matter)”.
- Read full story
- Read Bruce Nussbaum’s reflections on the same event
Charlie Kondek of the Ann Arbor office of the PR firm Hass MS&L contacted me to alert me to a YouTube video on the event as well as a photo gallery.
Scandinavian Design Center, Sweden
“One of five highlighted international blogs on design”
Danish Design Center – 27 September 2006
“One of 10 design blogs worth visiting”
Bruce Nussbaum [Business Week] – 12 June 2006
“One of my favorite blogs”
David Armano [experience designer | associate creative director for Digitas] – 2 May 2006
“Mark is another individual who is doing great things for design and business. If you’re into Experience Design, Mark’s blog should be on your list of reading material. And he keeps his blog fresh daily. I don’t know how he does it.”
Bruce Nussbaum [Business Week] – 2 May 2006
“Check out Mark Vanderbeeken’s redesigned blog ‘putting people first’. It focuses on consumer experiences but has a lot more interesting stuff on innovation. The redesign is beautifully done. Clear information design. Also check out Mark’s latest project, Experentia.com.”
Alan Chochinov [Core77's Design Blog] – 19 April 2006
“Mark Vanderbeeken’s excellent blog has been relaunched (from TypePad to WordPress, for those who are counting), nicely designed by Jan-Christoph Zoels and Janina Boesch, and teched up by Beverly Tang. As usual, the site provides fantastic posts dealing with experience design, user experience, and innovation, but now there’s a crazy-comprehensive index bar at the top and a “guest house” running down the right side, featuring guest bloggers and news from Experientia.”
Ralf Beuker [Zollverein School of Management and Design] – 19 April 2006
“The range of topics PPF addresses is somehow enormous and a look at their comprehensive list of blog categories gives you a good idea what Mark and his colleagues have addressed in the past.”
Rudy De Waele [m-trends] – 19 April 2006
“I really enjoy your blog, it’s one of my regular ‘not to miss’ weekly stops in blogland.”
Bob Jacobson [Total Experience | Bluefire Consulting | Cayenne Consulting] – 19 February 2006
“Mark occupies a nexus within the emerging experience-design profession and community. His reportage and practice are essential to the field. Top flight.”
Ralf Beuker [Zollverein School of Management and Design] – 8 February 2006
“Mark is one of the fastest bloggers I’ve met so far. He seems to have his right & left brain directly connected to the keyboard of his computer and instantly posts on his blog “Putting People First” whenever a webnews in the field of experience design gets to his attention.”
Bob Jacobson [Total Experience] – 22 January 2006
“An excellent new blog [that] puts a uniquely continental twist on the meaning and practice of experience design.”
Rudy De Waele [m-trends] – 12 January 2006
“Your blog is excellent and is becoming one of the key references in usability and experience design.”
Nicolas Nova [Pasta and Vinegar | LIFT conference] – 6 January 2006
“I like to peruse your blog a lot; it offers compelling insights about user-centered design and innovation”
Paul Greenberg [President, The 56 Group LLC] – 20 December 2005
“Graham [Hill] sent me an email this morning and attached to it was a link to a posting in The Customer Experience Management blog, “Putting People First” run by Mark Vanderbeeken of Experientia. The blog itself is interesting and I would recommend you take a look at it, but what the post concerns itself with is a pretty complete listing of the blogs and companies that are associated with CEM. I’d be filing this list away if I were you.”
Matt Zellmer [Project Manager, Sun Microsystems] – 13 December 2005
“In the past couple of months some new resources worthy of a mention have come to my attention. One is a blog called “Putting People First” authored by Mark Vanderbeeken which I’ve found to have some great thoughts and information. Another is a post on Putting People First with links to some great experience design-related resources including some Del.icio.us lists Mark has assembled. (Thanks Mark!).”
Kristi Olson [User Experience Research Consultant, Target] – 10 December 2005
“Just an fyi that I think you always post the *best* articles on your blog. Thanks! Please keep it up!”
Peter J. Bogaards [Founder, BogieLand] – 23 November 2005
“Nice to notice that you are so active within the community of UX. I really like your blog: up-to-date, great editorial choice and well-connected.”
Bruce Nussbaum [Business Week] – 6 November 2005
“A massive innovation blog from a design experience company – Mark Vanderbeeken trackbacked me and I checked out his company’s blog–wow. It has a long list of innovation blogs that may prove valuable to anyone interested in experience design, innovation and design in generation. Vanderbeeken is one of four partners in Experientia, a Turin-based consultancy.”
Susan Abbott [Customer Experience Crossroads] – 24 September 2005
“A very interesting blog, don’t go there if you only have five minutes.”
Richard Linington [Experience Research] – 1 September 2005
“Just a short email to say that your blog is an absolutely brilliant resource.”
Tim Brown, head of IDEO
, who will be speaking and moderating at the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF), thinks it is precisely the power and ability of design that made the organisers decide to make design central to the conference:
“The WEF is at an interesting intersection between the issues facing business (growth, competitiveness) and the issues facing the world in general (health, education, hunger, political vision). I think this perspective makes WEF particularly interested in innovation and design because they offer some chance of progress in both spheres and they are a fresh way of thinking about apparently intractable problems.”
“Design and innovation encourage us to take a human centered empathic approach to business problems as well as social problems and so we start to see more examples of congruence between otherwise distant spheres. The natural optimism of a design approach is also refreshing and relevant when tackling global social problems as well as business.”
(from a post by Bruce Nussbaum)
, the industrial design site, is launching a brand new debate series called Design2.0: Discussions on Design, Strategy & Innovation
The first panel discussion focuses on current thinking in brand and service innovation and will take place in New York on Tuesday 28 February. Entitled “From Complexity to Clarity: distilling the ingredients of great customer experiences”, the panelists will focus on one of the biggest challenges of brand and service design: to take complex systems and represent them to users as simple and clear experiences. From Google to Apple, from Kodak to FedEx, the discussion will center on the strategies for developing clear artifacts and experiences from sophisticated palettes.
Design evangelist Bruce Nussbaum will be moderating, along with all-star panelists Kevin Farnham from Method, Marissa Mayer from Google, Jeneanne Rae from Peer Insight and Andrew Zolli from Z-Plus Partners.
Future panel discussions will be on product innovation and on innovation education (to be confirmed).
In reflecting on the Consumer Electronics Show
in Las Vegas, Business Week’s Bruce Nussbaum concludes that one trend is clear: “Companies that want to succeed must be in the enabling business, not the product or even the service business. Today, you have to build capabilities of entertainment, shopping, education, employment, you name it. Consumers increasingly demand to be their own producers and companies must collaborate and co-create with them. All the talk about platforms and convergence and content is about people building their very own products and services to fit their lives.”
“Whether it is consulting with consuming people on the streets of Chicago or in the villages of India, design is all about integration of those you design for into the core process of design. We’re moving way beyond the “consumer experience” here folks. It’s time to dust up on C.K. Prahalad’s book on Co-Creation.”
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The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum
in Davos, Switzerland (25-29 January) is devoted to creativity
One of the eight sub-themes is on “innovation, creativity and design strategy”, exploring how “business, government and social innovators are taking on new creative capabilities and innovation strategies in response to a rapidly changing global landscape”.
Business Week’s Bruce Nussbaum, who will be attending, informs us that this is more than just a theme, but an entire category of programmes, meetings, dinners and late-night talks.
The panels include “Doubt and Decision-Making”, “Biomimicry–Nature’s Innovation”, “Innovating in Innovation”, the mysterious “Video Game Zombies and New Innovation”, “Basic Solutions For Africa” and “Prepping for the Post-Knowledge Economy”, the latter moderated by Nussbaum and including the chairmen and ceo’s of the Virgin Group, IDEO, Siemens, Nike and Motorola.
See Nussbaum’s blog for more information.
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.”
“Embedding design into business” is the title of a long article by Roger Martin, dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management in Toronto, Canada, that just appeared in the School’s magazine.
“Firms everywhere are realising they can jump-start growth by becoming more design-oriented. But to generate meaningful benefits from design, they will first have to change the way they operate along five key dimensions.”
Meanwhile Bruce Nussbaum gives a very concise summary of an apparently insightful innovation conference that Martin organised last week at the University of Toronto. Larry Keeley of the Doblin Group in Chicago definitely added to the hype about design ethnography by saying that “if you just use anthropologists, you can triple your innovation effectiveness by three times.” Although there is some truth to it, if you see what they do without proper user understanding.
Download article (pdf, 152 kb, 4 pages)
Bruce Nussbaum, who writes a column on innovation and design for Business Week, reflects today on the IDSA/HP Design About on BOP–the bottom of the pyramid
“Gary Elliot, the vice president of brand marketing for HP, talked about “Me-ism” in the US, the idea that form follows me today, that “me” is the center of the universe and companies have to work within that cultural context to success. Companies therefore have to partner with millions of “me-customers” to co-create products and services.
But the conference showed that companies must do the same thing in the “we-cultures” of India and the bottom of the pyramid countries. For political, economic and cultural reasons, they have to partner up with their customers to generate new products and services to sell to and with them. In fact, Patrick Whitney of the Institute of Design discussed how in Indian villages, consumers are invariably producers, that every household is invariably an entrepreneur, how consumer goods are used to produce things for sale. [...]
The high tech world of the web and the low-tech world of the village are somehow coming together to offer up a new vision for innovation, design and society in general.”
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Update: Bruce Nussbaum had meanwhile some nice words to say about this blog. Thanks, Bruce.
IDEO’s David Kelley is building a “D-school” that aims to put students in direct contact with the people they’re designing for.
An interview on the D-school as a B-school with Bruce Nussbaum.
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