Tuesday 05 Jun 2012, Doug
Based on this in-store graphic displayed next to the register area at Columbia Sportswear, the pace of innovation is rising significantly. Hopefully it's capturing the attention of shoppers, building strong brand perceptions, and meeting or besting the competition. Yes, there were probably some older innovations that did not make it on this retail/brand graphic but four callouts in 2012 alone show a strong user-centered orientation.
2012 is only half over... whats next?!
Thursday 31 May 2012, Doug
1. Be clear about your innovation ambition (between Core, Adjacent, and Transformational).
2. Strike a balance that is right for your company and industry.
3. Organize and manage the system - what tactics and structures should be considered to execute on your ambition.
It's an interesting article available electronically by downloading the PDF (pay version) or get it at your local news stand now.
PS: If you register with HBR for free, you can get up to three articles per month at no charge.
Monday 17 Oct 2011, Tinder
10 Tips for Adventures in the Field:
- You’re not the client. You’re part of the team. You’ll be introduced as a member of the design team, just like the rest of us. We’ll also align on smaller things like style of dress, company logos that tell too much, etc.
- Pre-assign roles. It’s best when everybody has a specific set of tasks to do. Typical roles would be moderator, photographer, scribe, etc.
- Avoid leading questions. Ask not, “Don’t you think we should save the whales”, but “What do you think we should do for the whales?”.
- Empathize with the respondent. I can’t stress this enough. You and your colleagues are visitors in someone’s home or workplace. It’s your job to make them comfortable, not the other way around. The more comfortable you can make them, the better the information you collect will be.
- Open your senses! You’re carrying a great sensor array with you. Be on the lookout for anything that’s out of place, modified, a workaround, ignored, disposed, patterned, loved, necessary or despised.
- Small research posse. This is sometimes a tough one, because the field is fun, and everyone wants to go. Unfortunately, it can be overwhelming for respondents when 5 strangers show up on their doorstep, and information flow shuts down. If many team-members want to participate, plan on taking turns for who gets to go in.
- Assign a single Cameraman. We like to shoot tons of photos in the field, because these are great for creating immersion galleries and re-constructing our visits for the rest of the team. BUT, too many cameras flashing perpetually will make people feel like they under a microscope, and they’ll close up.
- Play it Cool. It’s the real world, so we’ll see real life. We’ve seen some crazy stuff that I’d rather tell you about over drinks than in public record. If something stands out as offensive to the senses or your morals, just play it cool. Time to become a little less observant!
- Pee elsewhere when possible. We try to take bio breaks somewhere else. Of course, the rigors of travel and long interviews sometimes make this challenging or impossible. If it’s critical, go!
- Practice. We use very deliberately designed research tools that have been tested and piloted before going ‘live’. Do a pilot. Rehearse roles. Confirm timing.
Tuesday 11 Nov 2008, Tinder
For those of you following any of our tweets or updates, I mentioned that we were recently inspired by the Johnny Chung Lee Wiimote Whiteboard project. If you’re not familiar with Johhny’s work, you can check out his videos on YouTube. The Wiimote Whiteboard turns a video projector and a Nintendo Wii Remote into an interactive, digital whiteboard. Our first thoughts when we saw the video were, “Whoa! That would be an amazing way for us to collaborate with some of our remote partners!”. Then we realized that the concept had much further reaching implications, including eliminating the need for some forms of business travel. The downstream effects of this are the best part: bundles of money saved on travel expenses (useful in today’s economy) and reduction of greenhouse gases (useful on today's planet). Bonus!
So, within a week, we’d assembled the kit of parts, consisting of a Wiimote, an overhead projector with a luxurious custom tripod mount, a few Tinder-made infrared pens and some gesture-based graphics packages to experiment with. We fired up the system on Wednesday, and have been exploring applications, behavioral changes, and product opportunities ever since. We’ll be providing updates on learnings as we can, so watch this space. To simplify your life, you can now subscribe via RSS to this page using your browser.
Wednesday 08 Oct 2008, Rich Fox
I can't think of a more inspiring place to live and work than Portland, Oregon. It's full of dreamers on 'tall bikes', adventurers, artists, musicians, artisanal coffee roasters, micro-distillers, foodies, designers, I could go on for a while. Anyway all of these interesting folks, living at the edge of the country, all grooving on the natural beauty of the place, trying to find some sort of rainy paradise. You want creative? It's all over the place here. You want inspiring. It's all around us.
So, what's with the title of this post, then? Well, I guess it's because my neighbors recently assembled a true to life commune (yeah, I'm writing this in 2008 AD) right across the street. It's quite a crowd over there. Talk about culture!
If we walk past "the commune" on a nice evening, we might see ten exotically attired folks, admiring the sunset, from the peak of their roof, playing flutes. I see saffron-robed monks occassionally arriving in an old Toyota Tercel. I've met dudes with flowers in their hair, carrying jugs of a home-brewed kombacha-cousin called Jun, and learned about it's mystic mother. And finally, I've seen an accidental tree-maiming, which, in the right hands, could really create a funny bit of irony. (The punch line of the story is the title of this post.)
So, anyway, Portland's a great place to keep your mind open to the possibilities. That's why Tinder is based here. If you've never been, come on out. We'll make sure you leave with a new perspective on things.