David Brooks talking about how our emotions and social skills should be important than rationality. Interesting, but risky considering what guys like Dan Ariely and Dan Gilbert can say about how irrational and dumb our decision making is.
Big Data was one of the hottest topics in 2012, and probably will keep trending for sometime.
Maybe what make people so exited about it is the numerical proof of things we sometimes “feel” happening, but have a hard time explaining how we came to this conclusion.
At this post Andy Polaine talks about “Self ethnography and the quantified life”, referring to the vast range of products and apps helping people to have an Excel view of their own existence. He also links Gary Wolf’s talk “The Quantified Self” discussing how easy is to document our daily lives and how it have being changing the way people behave.
This week I came across this TED talk from the MIT researcher Deb Roy shows how he used powerful cameras, microphones and data servers to turn his house into a laboratory (Big Brother style). He fully documented in audio and video the whole process of how his newborn learned to speak. Amazing!
But where does it lead us? Are we close to a time where qualitative and quantitative data collection can turn our world in a high-tech version of Kitchen Stories?
It can be frightening depending on your techno-phobia levels, but can kids who were born with their Facebook profiles care much about having their live documented 24/7? I guess they gonna love it!
Furthermore, I dare to say that somewhere out there someone is already trying this kind of extreme approach with a business/innovation focus.
Every now and then someone ask me for references on “Design Thinking”. This is an attempt to share some of what I gathered during the years and you can check for free in our beautiful interwebs.
First, I don’t care much about names and labels, for me all these terms are related to research about people and develop better solutions. So I don’t mind if you call it Design Thinking, Design Research, Applied Ethnography, Design Ethnography, Service Design, Innovation or magic. Most of these things drink in the same references so it is quite useful to have them together.
Materials to get you from zero knowledge to somewhere in this area.
Resonance – A short video showing why and how this kind of work is done. Very good start.
Design Research – Brenda Laurel – Great book. Can give you basis to start studying the field, quite accessible writing, few jargon and alike.
Ethnography Primer – Publication made in partnership between AIGA and Cheskin (now part of Added Value), one of the first companies in the field. Very simple, clear and insightful. Also very competent showing how a designer and an anthropologist / ethnographer can complete themselves in a project.
In general the research phase aims to create empathy with those addressed by your solution, your clients, costumers or users (each field likes to call people differently, what can I do?). This video about empathy is pretty good.
It is very hard to talk about “Design Thinking” without talking about IDEO. In this TED talk their CEO Tim Brown call designers to think BIG, to go for bigger problems and get involved.
Research and Fieldwork
Getting People to Talk: An Ethnography & Interviewing Primer – Great source created by IIT guys, it is really good for those with few or no experience on fieldwork. Dori, the woman been interviewed most of the time is now head of the Design Anthropology master course at the Swinbourne University.
“What People Are Really Doing”. Another video from IIT. Extremely clear and enlightening.
Luis Arnal: Field Stories from Latin America – Quite funny lecture from Luis Arnal on how to perform fieldwork in Latin America (obviously, many of this observations are also valid for other places).
Jan Chipchase is one of the most famous “design anthropologists” in the world. Became a star in the field during his years at Nokia and now is part of Frog Design team. Make sure you check his website and blog. Lots of material and he is always posting.
Here he is at TED.
Jan Chipchase: Design anthropology – Another great lecture addressing the field work world with special attention to ethics.
(The second video is much newer the TED, apparently he manages to find time to workout. Well done Mr. Chip!)
Services, products, businesses and other output examples as shown as cases.
Keep the Change – From IDEO. One of my preferred cases to exemplify how ethnographic research can create great solutions beyond products and with meaningful impact in business.
Havaianas – This one is pretty interesting in the brand and product fields. IDEO working with the Brazilian flip-flop brand. You can see the case here, video with how the products work below.
David Butler : Redesigning Design – He is the design mind behind the most valuable brand on earth. In this lecture he talks about about how design is been approach by him and his team inside Coca-Cola.
Luis Arnal from INSITUM on insights in a more business-related vision of the field.
More acid discussions on “Design Thinking”
There are a lot of love and hate around the expression “design thinking”. Here we have some articles against this term (personally, I don’t care much)
Why Design Thinking Won’t Save You by Peter Merholz. It is a post on HBR kind of fighting design thinking as a buzz word. Bare in mind that Peter was at Adaptive Path at the moment and “design thinking” is almost an branded offer from IDEO. Via Cuducos.
Design Thinking Is A Failed Experiment. So What’s Next by Bruce Nussbaum – He was one of the biggest supporters of “Design Thinking”, but with this article he claims that it has failed. Again, keep in mind that he still point out how useful it was for many reasons and try to sell a new idea – actually not that new – creative intelligence.
How to Lie with Design Thinking.
Be fully aware that most of this is joke and it is easy to lie with classic design too. What do you think is the porpoise of a beautiful render?
This is it for now. This post will be filled every now and then.