design at the edge

Learning By Doing - Tucker Viemeister - Design At The Edge

Learning By Doing - Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA, Lab Chief, Rockwell Group Recap A good presentation on an industrial's stating his work history and view of environment design and interaction design and where design may be headed. He relates play to learning and design.

Opinion & Questions: Design should be validated via feedback loops as should education. How does Tucker validate his design decisions, are there specific times when rockwell will revisit a client to gain insight on an intervention's performance?

How can we break flow down? Play and design are processes, not bulk "states" If flow is not a bulk state, how do we access it? What does that process consist of ? Five years ago at the Design+Management Lecture Series Tucker faced the question, "Is it ethical to do work for Coca-cola when the drink is so unhealthy."

His answer back then was slightly better.

It was along the lines of, "I think it's ok for people to have as a treat everyone in a while, but not something they have all the time." This time he also noted that it is up to the individual's self restraint. With in five years I thought he would have a better answer. Maybe a long the lines of: 1. I made it taste 43% better without adjusting the ingredients. We made it sweeter without adding any sugar. 2. In many countries water isn't sanitary to drink. So coca-cola is a safe and clean alternative. In these countries the formula for the syrup is different and can contain less sugar. 3. It's a treat that can serve as an introduction to something healthier. Coca-cola can introduce the consumers the product line of healthier drinks like Minute Maid, a brand Coca-cola owned long before the recent trend of CPG companies like Nestle and Lays trying to reposition themselves as a "health brand."

Question & Answer from the audience.

See below for work history and chunked notes. Thesis: play=learning=design

Topics: Progress molecules - when complexity really started iterated into plants and animals

  • "if we don't have progress we're going to go backwards" "Entropy"
  • "That's the basic idea of life"
  • evolution process - "learning by doing" Bjarke Ingles - design process' iterations evolutionary tree

    Me(about Tucker & his influences)

  • His father graduated from Pratt and worked at Lippincott
  • His father and friend designed everything from logos, to houses, one of the first cases of using Helvetica in a logo
  • "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." -Horace Mann, address at Antioch College, 1859

    "If you can't make it more beautiful, what's the point." Rowena Reed Kostellow of Pratt

    started Smart Design with David Koll

  • most famous product - OXO Good Grips
  • (addressing the users on the polarities can created something "universal")
  • opened frog design New York Harmut Esslinger

  • "Forms Follows Emotion"
  • combined new media (see photo)
  • went to work with Razorfish

  • "Everything that can be digital will be"
  • worked at Spring Time (with Dutch industrial designers)

    started Studio Red -multidisciplinary design studio

  • example work - club med:
  • [evolution of clientele from singles to parents with young kids, to parents with teens]
  • ex: hangout space.
  • example: coke cruiser.
  • 43% of those that got the cola from the mobile cart thought it tasted better.
  • working more with Rockwell - Set for the Academy Awards

    -jetblue JFK marketplace

    -Sheraton - Lobby Project (2007)

  • "how to liven their lobbies to make it a better experience"
  • activities, food cart, green wall, interactive wallpaper, game tables with glowing lights,
  • -Venice Biennale - Hall of Fragments

  • interactive mesh mockup showing pieces of the film
  • "create this open ended experience."
  • -The Cosmopolitan - casino in Las Vegas

  • used million crystal beads
  • Imagination Playground

  • playgrounds in a box
  • [singlepic id=886] Play The pedagogy of play "I'm talking about learning, not education."

    history of kindergarten

  • Friedrich Fröbel
  • Horace Mann
  • Patty Smith Hill
  • concept of "gifts" or tasks for children to complete, activities, etc.

  • John Dewey
  • "child centered, diverse, people learn by doing"
  • Montessori
  • "Montessori schools - learn what kids like to to, help them do that."
  • Johan Huizinga
  • Free-form, unprogrammed play

    "Play is like a system - it has rules" "Play is valuable" "Playing is one of the ultimate things we can do" "That kind of jamming is what's known as flow." [singlepic id=890] "Flow is like play and design, that is towards progress" [singlepic id=891] Relation of Science to Design We're not just a bunch of scientists, we're artistic too, w'er trying to make stuff that's beautiful and feedback with customers and users democratic, political, iterative [singlepic id=893] "By doing that we get products, places and services and create this solar system of things. It's a network of facets that are complex and contradictory."

    Business "Business is really easy, it's just like making candy, and candy is like money" Business men have really dropped the ball.

  • "We've moved from the industrial age to the post industrial age, where info is more valuable than objects."
  • "We're not mass producing stuff anymore.
  • "robots are doing all the work and having all the fun"
  • "80% of the people working are doing service jobs or creating hot air."
  • Design For Business

  • ex: origional Apple iMacs - when the colors were named flavors
  • "So the future is in teaching/learning or security."
  • Design is the fuel for the business not design for business, but biz for design, because we make real stuff."
  • [but all his examples are where the design is present - in security, design is often not visible,]

    “There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a few of them.” -Victor Papanek

    Kindness what's "better " anyways? kindness and happiness are good ways to measure design

    user centered

    Mentioned erector sets, tinker toys, lincoln logs, unit blocks - longy, bricky, buttery, squary,

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    More about Rockwell Group on their website.

    This lecture is part of Bruce Nussbaum's Design At the Edge lecture series.

    Notes taken on a mobile device. Pardon any auto-corrections or incorrection.

    Acumen Fund - Moral Leadership for a more Inclusive Future - Design At The Edge

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    Moral Leadership for a more Inclusive FutureJacqueline Novogratz, CEO, Acumen Fund

    Opening Points I. Dignity is more important to the human spirit than wealth. Think more broadly about what poverty means.

    II. Charity and aid alone will not solve the problem of poverty.

    Charities "create dependency rather than dignity."

    Jacqueline Novogratz describes Acumen Fund as a "non-profit Venture Capital fund for the poor investing in companies, leaders and ideas."

    "Investing philanthropic funds." "Think much more seriously about our systems" "At Acumen it always starts with the people." "Can take five to fifteen years for the [financial] returns to come back"

    Acumen Portfolio Examples Ex 1: Husk Power Systems - Bihar in India Many of the people have been profiled as "economically impossible to reach economical means" "gasifiy the rice husks" "via minigrids that can reach 10,000 people" made with bamboo sticks and "strings" as electric lines. currently reaching about 170,000 people with Husk Power [singlepic id=874]

    Ex 2: In India 90% of people in ambulances are dead. Taxis are used more often for ambulances Ambulances are not regulated, It took private initiative an private capital to build it.

    brand image differentiation - yellow color, unique phone number 1298 avoid corruption - not taking bribes. ethos - service for all - patients are taken to free clinic marking - subsidizing their costs, they display advertisements on the side invested - started with 9 ambulances in 2007, a year before the Mumbai terrorist attacks, and will soon reach 1,500 ambulances [singlepic id=875]

    "create systemic change" "We're already seeing it replicated in other countries"

    Ex 3: d.light consumer product instead of Kerosene lamps [singlepic id=876] "in the 80's and 90's it was top down." "you'd come in and" say "here's this solar plant" [hard to diffuse]

    Ex 4: Housing - Jawad Aslam blank land outside of Lahore Pakistan Javat - a year to register the land because of the corruption [diffusion problem] - no one trusted that there would be jobs around [meta-system problem] -it's connected to status, wealth, beauty [the opposite of Tata car]

    Ex: 5 Western Seeds sells hybrid seeds in Africa [singlepic id=877]

    Acumen in Kenya -fortified porridge -public toilets - previous attempts at innovation here have not diffused

    Future "The Road of Fear" -"evident in terrorism, business" The other road...

    "Road of Justice of Love" -"the only road that takes us where we need to go." -takes us into a "single tribe"

    This is a time of "great instability and great opportunity"

    "Using the power of the markets and smart design"

    Investing Model: "Scale - we don't want to invest in anything that will reach 1M people" "typical capital commitments range from $300,000 to $2,500,000 in equity or debt with a payback or exit in roughly eight to fifteen years." (

    Even though their investment period is about eight to fifteen years, Acumen Fund considers their investing to be venture capital because they invest in early stage companies. Their exit may consist of: the management of the company they invested in buying back shares, or selling to a strategic investor, or continuing to earn dividends.

    They also engage in what they call "Lab Investments," which "are smaller-scale, high-risk experimental investments, where funding can be disbursed rapidly and lessons can be learned in the short-term."

    Primary Investment Criteria: Potential for Significant Social ImpactCompanies need to make a product or deliver a service that addresses a critical need at the BoP in the areas of our strategic and geographic focus. Delivery of the products or services should generate social outputs that compares favorably with products or services either currently available on the market or through charitable distribution channels. Potential for Financial SustainabilityA clear business model that shows potential for financial sustainability within a five to seven year period, including the ability to cover operating expenses with operating revenues. This period corresponds to the tenor of most commercial loans, and positions entrepreneurs to access commercial finance in the future. Potential to Achieve ScaleAn objective of reaching approximately one million end users within a five year period with the benefits of the product or service. If the entrepreneur's business model does not aim to reach one million consumers, does it have:

    * The potential to grow by an order of magnitude (i.e., 10x) within five years? * Potential for material impact on the social problem it is trying to solve? * A position as one of the leading service providers in the market in which it operates? * A strong and experienced management team with the skills and will to grow a sustainable enterprise at the BoP? * The presence of a strong management team that has the requisite skills to execute the business plan and a clear and compelling vision? * A management team with the will to work with the market to achieve the goal of serving the BoP? * A management team with positive ethics? (via

    Insurance Models -does not work if when everyone gets sick.

    Working at the macro-mezzo and micro level -to set up a much more robust system.

    Speaking about the current insurance model in the US. "in some ways, we'd have to burn down the health insurance system"

    Resources and people mentioned: Innocent Anthropologist Buckminster Fuller

    This lecture is part of Bruce Nussbaum's Design At the Edge lecture series.

    Notes taken on a mobile device. Pardon any auto-corrections or incorrection.

    Continuum - More than Money - - Design At The Edge

    Rajesh Bilimoria, Vice-President of Continuum[singlepic id=841]Rajesh presented on some of the current intricacies of how money is used and ways to create new offerings for consumer financial products and services.

    Case studies Rajesh cites case studies like Kenya's M-Pesa, Visa's black card (which he says the concept actually existed as a myth among aspirational users before it was a real Visa offering), and the work Continuum did to improve the online banking of BBVA. Rajesh mentions samples of their research process and method of moving from concept works to usability testing in order to validate are the right user tasks can be executed.

    Their wireframe was unique, as it highlights the user's priorities, not just the functional aspect of what it means for BBVA, but what it means for BBVA's users. It's similar to what Monica Bueno presented at the Service Design Conference in Cambridge last year on the visibility of service design hierarchy by a website's layout. [singlepic id=849] [singlepic id=850] layout shows the importance that the business places on their own offerings and depts.

    Context and needs matter. Highlight the opportunity. "Context and needs of how people live" frame the opportunity. He stresses the discrepancy between priorities, where "what's important to the company often isn't the most important thing to real people." "We have to shift" that way of thinking so that, "the consumers' focus is our focus."

  • ex: "Consumers are not after a mortgage, they're after a home."
  • [imo Reframing those priorities can make the interaction much smoother when the consultant can let their client know what the client's consumer expects.]

  • We should strive to create "a  much more humanistic experience even when you're dealing with something like a mortgage."
  • "We can easily ignore the complexities of our interactions, but it is these complexities that create the opportunities for real innovation." [singlepic id=840]

    For example, the mobile telecom industry is focused on driving ARPU (average revenue per user). If that is the driving priority of the business, it is does not create a very positive user experience. See more on what Umair Haque dubs "fake costs" in the telecom and banking industries.

    Experience Rajesh places emphasis on pursuing experience as a driver for improving offerings, and revenue.

    Metrics I am interested in how you develop metrics for an experience that you're not yet sure what it will bring.

    New system of metrics [singlepic id=847] Rajesh mentions "If we just use the metrics we have now as metrics of success, that's a good way to kill ideas. And if we use yesterday's perspective and yesterday's lenses, we don't give today's ideas time to breathe." One method is to use experiential metrics that initially framed your prototyped idea. The parameters that define how are you delivering on it can be turned into dimensions for new metrics. That will help the client keep fidelity after it is implemented.

    [singlepic id=838] Bruce Nussbaum notes that "a good way to kill innovation is to apply one set of [existing] metrics to a new experience."

    Application from different domains (possibly look into Doblin Group's Ten Types of Innovation for measuring impact) Are today's measurements relevant to what we are implementing? Another way is to look to a competition's metrics as well as other domains, offerings that are experientially similay may have metrics that are similar.

  • ex: Netflicks didn't look to Blockbuster for metrics, but may have looked at for different interactions that can provide metrics about what the next ideas is.
  • [Blockbuster did charge a lot of "fake costs." For example "late returns" used to always charge the renter a fee, but how often did that late return cause a film to be "out of stock." A title with less copies, but not empty, may actually have helped encourage browsers (people that were browsing) to think that it was a hot film.]

    Rajesh says that "Not that everything in the past that is bad," but says "starting with experiential metrics as business metrics have to support that."

    Continuum "looks carefully to understand, think about what things mean, create new ideas that build on our understanding and thinking." Like Jason Severs of frog design, Rajesh also suggests taking the client out into the field. He also notes the importance of story telling. This isn't just used to show the client the existing conditions that a user encounters, but also envisioning a future scenario.


    Organizations An increasing part of our work is figuring out how an organization needs to adapt. Nothing can kill an organization that is advserse to change.

    Embrace Complexity SImplifying problems can help us meaningfully address human complexity and our world.

    [singlepic id=843]

    Rajesh's thoughts on currency

  • People will spend more time and more money to purchase intangible things.
  • Previously , social networks were invisible.
  • [Now there with SNS there's] the excess of numbers, with connections [potentially] being currency.
  • "In a lot of the luxury [industry], time is currency"
  • "alot of services are around time managment"
  • "quality of life is a metric." "happiness is going to be a currency"
  • "things of value that are not currecny bc they can't be traded."
  • "money is going to be less impotant thatn it has been in the past."
  • [singlepic id=839] CONCEPTS for developing a new financial services system for Gen-Yers "It's not the saving that's hard, it's starting the habit of saving that is hard." - Rajesh "And it's reducing your debt" - Bruce Rajesh spoke about the concept of a model where instead of a service offering a you a deal to pay and recieve something (Groupon-eseque), you may get a deal for future (with investment appreciation).

    My thoughts on the presentation While the main case study, BBVA, was a website, I really appreciate Rajesh speaking about experience outside the context of just web and digital services. He did not even have to specifically define that he was talking about people, users and their lives. He framed the presentation well and spoke broadly with specific examples where the main points were about human behavior. Even when showing the case study for BBVA, he showed research photos of user's physical desk setup, videos of users engaging with digital prototypes and images of users working with paper prototypes.

    I am excited to see what design consultancies can offer in terms of service design and designing pathways for experience that are not solely web based.

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    This lecture is part of Bruce Nussbaum's Design At The Edge lecture series. additional [singlepic id=846] mapping user habits

    Notes taken on a mobile device. Pardon any auto-corrections or incorrection.

    The Designers Accord - Design At The Edge

    Valerie Casey, Fastcompany/Designers Accordchunked notes and quotes "I'm going to talk about where I think design is going..." [singlepic id=628] "there is no working business model here." "the story we tell of design is so completely out of wack with business."

    "Process problems" "The myth of designers as magicians" Related to Jason Severs of frog noting that "Design is still thought of by some companies as the dark arts." (See my synth'd notes on frog's talk about Ideas to Action .)

    "the biggest looser effect." "we are in love with the major transformation effect. we want [that before and after pictured], we don't want to see increments"

    "Firms like Makinzie are successful because they're a virtual team, not a consultant."

    [singlepic id=629] "Connect with the world, not just the creative community." "Design the business and the service, not just the form." "Use the distributed effect of network to sclae innovation." "Change happens fast and it starts small." [singlepic id=627] "We need to rethink authroship in a radical way." "People want to get recognized [ for what they create]/ There are no new ideas."

    "The design industry is sort of collapsing upon itself." "Whover is going to be authoring the next [iteration] of that, can do it now."

    IMO Design is not the dark arts, but sometimes designers shroud what we do in smoke for effect, it goes along with the God complex. Maybe the magician complex is the step before a the ego is iterated into the status where one suffes from the God complex. Maybe there is mystery because to a degree, we don't know what we do. There is always talk about if we should classify what we do as a discipline, and how to define the roles and titles of "Interaction Design(er)" and "Service Design(er)."

    This lecture is part of Bruce Nussbaum's Design At the Edge lecture series.

    Notes taken on a mobile device. Pardon any auto-corrections or incorrection.

    Ziba - Sunshine Generation - Design At The Edge

    Sunshine GenerationBruce Nussbaum brought Ziba's Karen Reuther and founder Sohrab Vossoughi to Parsons on Monday the 7th. They open the presentation with "The revolution is underway." The presentation was based around the "Sunshine Generation" in China, young urbanites that grew up not knowing Tian'anmen's square and have only seen economy growth. [singlepic id=519] Karen Reuther of Ziba says "They call themselves sunshine because they are smiling" Some of what was presented can be related to the article "Oh, to Be a Millennial in China," by AdAge in 2010.

    Ziba developed a few findings from their ethnographic research.

    1 the youth are comited, their weapon is optimism

    2 the shift is radical, and it is happening from the inside out they see china influenceing the world.

    3. the scale is unprecedented w 340M 'revolutionaries' participating

    One of their main insights was They are more similar than different (with us) Unbridled Optimism - "I don't just want to follow what others are doing. I want to do it myself" they like to "look different together." Anticipating Greatness - "My generation likes challenges. We want something unexpected."

    I will post more on this later, including my views in relation to my experiences in China.

    [singlepic id=515] [singlepic id=517] [singlepic id=520] [singlepic id=521] [singlepic id=522] [singlepic id=523] [singlepic id=518]

    More about Ziba here:

    This lecture is part of Bruce Nussbaum's Design At the Edge lecture series.

    Notes taken on a mobile device. Pardon any auto-corrections or incorrection.