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Archive for the ‘Social Responsibility’ Category

The Press Release Ralph Lauren and the US Olympic Team Should Have Released

Posted by Plish on July 13, 2012

Ralph Lauren is proud to announce the release of its 2o12 Elite Olympic Collection.  Designed and manufactured in the United States, this limited edition line reflects the best the United States has to offer.  Made from state of the art, ‘smart’ materials, these clothes keep athletes warm in cold environs, and cool and dry when the competition gets hot.  The snappy red, white and blue uniforms are entirely manufactured  in the United States.  “The athletes that represent the United States are the best of the best,” said Ralph Lauren, “It’s only fitting that our Elite Collection represent the best that the U.S. garment industry has to offer.” 

 

Note: At publication of this piece, Ralph Lauren announced that future Olympic garb will be manufactured in the United States.

Posted in Design, Fashion, Social Responsibility, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Innovation Can Change the World When Spelled: L-O-V-E

Posted by Plish on December 21, 2011

Products and services have to obey the laws of nature.  Some laws, like Newton’s Laws, can not be avoided.   Ignore them at your own risk.

Then there are those Laws that aren’t physical, but are no less real.  These are laws that deal with how people behave. They are embedded in who we are by nature, and/or are continually being transformed and modified through cultures and relationships between people and the Cosmos.   These laws are more elusive and difficult to characterize.  They are being observed, and deciphered, by psychologists, ethnographers, behavioral economists, poets and others.

One of these, is the Law of Love.

…the Law of Love is the deepest law of our nature, not something extraneous and alien to our nature. Our nature itself inclines us to love, and to love freely.  -Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

If, as Merton says, this law is the deepest law in our nature, shouldn’t it be the most prevalent law guiding our innovation efforts?

Yet, how often do we see design briefs, or product specifications stating, “Must incorporate Love.”?

Oh sure, it’s often inferred.  After all, we don’t want to hurt anyone, right?  We don’t want to pollute the world, right?

But still, there are people who use Chinese sweatshops to create magical products. There are people who create novel materials at the expense of effluents that taint the environment.

Love of others shouldn’t be inferred.  It should be active and visible in innovations.

During this holiday season, the word, “love”, gets used prolifically.  But, why can’t Love guide what we do, all the time?  What if we asked, “What would this product look like if I loved the person it’s being made for, and the place where she lives and the people making it and the places they live?”

In this day and age, innovation with L.O.V.E. shouldn’t be optional.

If it’s part of our nature, it should be imperative.

Posted in Authenticity, culture of innovation, Human Rights, innovation, love, problem solving, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, Sustainable Technology, The Future, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Three Building Blocks of Indie Capitalism – Ignore Them at Your Own Risk

Posted by Plish on December 8, 2011

Bruce Nussbaum over at fastcodesign.com has been blogging lately on creativity and what he coins is a new trend: Indie Capitalism.

The four traits of the Indie Capitalism are:

  1. It’s local, not global, and openly cares about the community and jobs.
  2. It’s not transactionally, but socially, based.
  3. It’s a maker system of economics based on creating new value, not trading old value.
  4. Materials and products are embedded with heightened meaning.

When I look at these four traits of indie capitalism, three foundational building blocks can be extracted:

  1. Relationships – Between people, cultures, the world and its raw materials.
  2. Emotional Import – People have histories and they live in contexts that can sometimes dehumanize. People need to feel!
  3. Value – This is often tied into the emotional level of experience.  When products or services uniquely meet needs, and they’re shared in the context of relationships, they have value.  This goes beyond technological value.  Things have value because of the story they tell.

How well does your organization emphasize, or enable REV! ?

Relationships – Emotion – Value 

Society is enabling people to conduct business in ways that build upon these.

It’s intimate and it’s provocative.

It pulls people in as opposed to pushing product out.

Ignore it at your own risk…

 

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Design, innovation, Play, Social Innovation, Social Networking, Social Responsibility, Start-Ups, Sustainability, The Future, The Human Person, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Innovative Model for Fundraising and Fomenting Change

Posted by Plish on October 5, 2011

This week I’m sharing a guest blog post (with a video showing some of their work) from Jimmy Lee, a co-founder of CreatePossible*.   He’s an inspiring dynamo of a person whose words, vision and innovative perspectives will surely inspire you.  So, without any further ado…

***

It has been almost four years since I left the White House in Washington DC and three years since I decided to run for the United States Congress in the State of Illinois. Since that time I decided I would come alongside strategic leaders in communities around the world to help them fulfill their vision of making a difference in communities they are a part of.

Two years ago my brother and I came together to start a company called CREATE POSSIBLE  to do just that . Together we were able to help numerous organizations/leaders raise $22 million dollars last year through three core values we believe in: relationship building, sustainability, and also partnerships.

As I’m learning from those around me (who are doing this so much better than myself) I thought I would find a way to share those lessons with you.

Each of you have been someone I have worked with in the past and I know your heart is to help the organization you are a part of to be strategic and innovative.

First lesson: What are some questions your organization should be asking in relation to your donors/investors?

1.) How is a donor/investor/corporation growing and reaching their own “personal” goals through their partnership with you?

2.) Is your organization measuring success by the number of givers/investor you attain or by funding amounts? What should success for the work you are doing be measured by?

3.) Do you only communicate with your givers/investors when you need money or when you are fundraising? How else can you be caring for them, communicating with them, and building a relationship with them?

4.) Do you still value your friendship and relationship with potential givers/investors even if they decide not to give to me? Is your relationship with these people based primarily on that?

5.) Do you have opportunities for givers/investors to donate outside of financial means – what does it look like for them to donate their time, their skills, their relationships, their network, etc…

6.) If you wanted a giver/investor to be an advocate for you to their network and their friends- would they be able to do that? What does it mean for someone to be an advocate of the work you are doing? Are we providing opportunities for that and coming alongside so they are successful in being able to share with their friends?

7.) Are you learning to be innovative as an organization in the different areas of development – or are you just copying from other models because it works and you assume it will work for us as well too?

8.) Are you too broad in what you are doing – do you need to be more specific and focused as you are looking to be more strategic in utilizing your resources?

9.) Are you learning to take steps one at a time – valuing the journey you are taking with your giver/investors and helping everyone in your network learn and learn through your partnership together?

10.) And finally, do you have too much staff and not stewarding your resources wisely? Are you raising money for the sake of raising money and quite honestly need to be cutting instead of adding?

What do we believe:

Old Model of Fundraising/Development

Organization —— Network —— Fundraising

In the old model of fundraising an organization accesses their network for the purpose of fundraising.

Success is defined by the number of donors attained and the amount of money that is raised.

New Model of Fundraising/Development

Organization —— Network —— Advocates —— Investor

We believe there is a more strategic model where success is defined by mutually beneficial relationships, partnership, and accountability. Here an organization accesses their network so they can become advocates of the organization and eventually investors to the organization. We look for opportunities where the network is valued for more than just their financial resources but valued for their own personal network, their skills, time, etc….The goal of the model is to create investors who are accountable and deeply involved in helping the organization fulfill the vision it was created for.

 

*- The CreatePossible site is glitchy in IE v9, but runs beautifully in Chrome.

Posted in Entrepreneurship 2.0, Funding Innovation, innovation, Social Innovation, Social Networking, Social Responsibility, Society, Start-Ups, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Lesson in Entrepreneurship 2.0 – Innovative Business Model Helps ‘Would Be’ Competition

Posted by Plish on July 5, 2011

Barb’s Kitchen in Monroe, Wisconsin, is more than simply a state licensed kitchen that is well-known for its potato salad and Shaggy Dog marinade.  It is a shared incubator, a place for culinary entrepreneurs to cut their teeth without having to invest in their own buildings, or their own equipment.  By renting space in Barb’s Kitchen they obtain access to equipment, and perhaps more importantly:  like-minded souls.

According to this article in the Monroe Times, nine different companies have used these shared resources, six of which have officially gone out on their own.

How many other businesses would share their labs, offices or resources with those who could become competition? Would you?

It’s brick and mortar, radical, social networking. 

Business model innovation.

~Welcome to Entrepreneurship 2.0~

Posted in culture of innovation, Entrepreneurship 2.0, innovation, Social Innovation, Social Networking, Social Responsibility | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When Customer Experience Suffers at the Expense of Packaging Technology – A Case Study

Posted by Plish on April 20, 2011

Courtesy of KFCs Website

Since May of last year, KFC has been rolling out reusable packaging to package their side orders.  These containers won a Greener Package  award. According to KFC’s website the new package,

  • Reduces the shipping cube by 14% over expanded polystyrene foam (EPS)
  • Replaces single-use, nonrecyclable expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) with a reusable and more widely recycled resin, polypropylene (PP)
  • Represents the highest value in stored energy when incinerated as an end-of-life solid waste component and part of a waste-to-energy program, at 38 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) per ton of material
  • Requires 25% less energy to produce than general-purpose polystyrene (PS) production
  • Generates half the amount of greenhouse gases as compared to general-purpose PS

These are all great things but there is a problem with this package. 

It’s a problem that stems from companies getting so excited about technology that they forget about how customers will use the product and how that helps create their experience.

What do I mean?

Today I went to KFC to get a couple of single piece meals for my wife and I.  As I was leaving she said, “Make sure you take the cole slaw out of the box before you leave there.”

Why would she say that?

KFC’s sides consist of mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, baked beans and green beans.  Some of these are served hot, others are served cold.  If you buy a single piece meal, you will receive a piece of chicken, a biscuit, and your choice of two sides.  Order two hot sides and there is no real problem; everything in the box is hot.  However, order one or two cold sides and there’s a very real problem.

The chicken, biscuit, and sides (Cole slaw and Mashed Potatoes/Gravy in my case) all get packed tightly in a small cardboard box.  If cold side servings, like cole slaw, are in the box, they get warm…really quickly.  If the drive home is more than a couple of minutes, the cole slaw (or cold dish) will become warm, sometimes disgustingly so (unless you like warm cole slaw).

KFC says this is their best packaging idea since the bucket.

Actually, the bucket did a great job as a package.  Because all the hot/warm chicken was lumped together in the bucket, the chicken stayed pretty warm.  It was also a great way to serve the chicken; just reach in and grab a piece.   The bucket was, and is, a good idea.

This package?

It’s great for the environment but it doesn’t deliver on basic functionality, and that translates to a lousy culinary experience.

People don’t go to KFC to replenish their container stash at home.  They go there for the food – for hot chicken, warm mashed potatoes and gravy, and cold cole slaw.

I look forward to packaging improvements that not only benefit the environment, but win awards because they actually preserve, and protect the food for the trip home.  After all, that’s the real need. 

It’s such a simple concept really. 

Maybe that’s why it was forgotten.

Posted in Case Studies, Customer Focus, Design, Experience, Food, problem solving, Social Responsibility, Sustainable Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

A Reality Check for Sustainability in Design and Innovation

Posted by Plish on March 30, 2011

“Art should cause violence to be set aside” – Leo Tolstoy

Replace the word ‘Art’ with “Design” or “Innovation”.

Design should cause violence to be set aside”

Innovation should cause violence to be set aside”

Violence 

It shares the root of violāre , from which we get the word ‘violate’.

What shouldn’t be violated?

  • people
  • conscience
  • convictions
  • relationships
  • faith
  • family
  • neighborhoods
  • science
  • workplace
  • cultures
  • animals
  • nations
  • plants
  • water
  • air
  • soil
  • world
  • cosmos
  • ???

Does your corporate culture impact any of the above in a negative way? 

Does the manufacture of your innovation do violence to any of the above?

It’s a difficult task, but not impossible.

Instead of focusing on the negative,

focus on elevating,

make all you do,

and how you do it,

~art~

Posted in Authenticity, children, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, Human Rights, innovation, love, nature, Religion, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, Society, Sustainability, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Social Design Without Beauty is a Dead End

Posted by Plish on March 23, 2011

“I think we’ve gotten to the point of design where it’s no longer OK to say that it’s all worth doing. I think that a whole lot of people dedicating their careers to making really beautiful tables and chairs and lamps when the same amount of energy could be set to other problems. I think it’s time for us to start having a conversation and say, “you know that project, that lamp, that chair, is not worth doing; do something else.”” – Jon Kolko from this Forbes Interview.

No Jon.

Beauty inspires, it is the font from which inspirations for a better tomorrow bubble with joy.

Beauty is always worth doing. Period. 

Paola Antonelli, curator of MoMA, when asked, “What makes good design?” said in this interview:

“… one of the litmus tests is (to) think if this object were not on earth. Would it be a pity? Would you miss it? I tell you that’s really interesting because it really helps. Sometimes objects are not immediately functional. They’re not to be sat upon, or to be used to eat, or to be used to turn on the volume. Sometimes objects just deliver emotions or are just part of your life. That’s also enough.”

Beauty is always enough.

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, Design, design thinking, Experience, Human Rights, imagination, innovation, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, Society, Sustainability, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Free, New Tool for Online Meetings/Collaboration – Try Zipcast!

Posted by Plish on February 18, 2011

Slideshare has just launched a really slick, new service called Zipcast.  It’s an online meeting tool.  It’s free and it’s simple.  Simply set up a free account through Slideshare and you get a free meeting room.  Call a meeting and broadcast it on Twitter or Facebook, or keep it private and only invitees can participate.  The fact that it’s spontaneous and doesn’t require any planning is great for initiating discussions on the fly.  Zipcast does require that your meeting centers around a Slideshare ‘presentation’ (yours or someone else’s) that is already uploaded but this isn’t really negative – after all, most meetings are centered around documents anyway, right? 

Features of Zipcast are:

Free

  • Use any presentation: yours or someone else’s
  • Personalized meeting rooms
  • Streaming live video
  • Group chat
  • No downloads
  • Unlimited meetings & participants
  • Facebook & Twitter integration
  • Private or Public

Pro

  • Password protection
  • No ads
  • Conference call number

What does Zipcast claim it can be used for?

  1. Share ideas with remote colleagues.
  2. Launch your next product
  3. Talk at a conference remotely
  4. Teach anyone, anywhere
  5. Pitch a client
  6. Walk people over your sales deck
  7. Support your customers
  8. Run a non-profit fundraiser
  9. Share your photo albums
  10. Have fun sharing presentations

Personally I can see this being used as a great way to teach people, to give webinars for free, or to work on social innovation projects.  People could contribute to a discussion, a new presentation could be made based upon the feedback, another meeting held, and so on.  I could see this becoming a platform for online Pecha Kucha, which I would really dig.  Think about it.  You could tune in to a Pecha Kucha presentation 24-7 and not have to sit through hour long presentations.

This will obviously morph and be taken in new directions as it gets used.  I can already see an artist uploading lyrics/poetry to their Slideshare page and giving a concert/reading for anyone and everyone that will listen.

This seriously has some coolness going for it.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Posted in Conveying Information, Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Design, Education, Information Visualization, innovation, Social Innovation, Social Networking, Social Responsibility, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

So you want to Design for the Senses? Don’t Forget These!

Posted by Plish on January 15, 2011

When we think about the senses we usually default to the five primary senses of  Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste and  Touch.

We could further subdivide the taste  (sweet, salty, etc.) and touch (cold, hot, pain, etc.) categories but usually those distinctions are useful only under certain circumstances.

There are however, four other “Senses” that humans all use to some extent or another, and these also play (or at least should play) key roles in designing products and services.   These are:

1. Motion/Balance

This sense is tied into our experience of moving through the world or for that matter, standing still and not tipping over on an incline.  We even speak of  a  ‘sense of balance.’  The body is especially sensitive to changes in acceleration.  This sense gets reinforcement from the sense of sight which explains why some people get more nauseous experiencing a movie of a roller coaster in a theater than they do on the roller coaster itself. This is because the eyes are telling the brain there is movement but the vestibular organs responsible for sensing movement are saying, “you’re sitting still,” and the confusion messes with your gut.  The Wii and various video games leverage this sense as do vehicles.  Think of how nice a strong acceleration feels when you’re trying to get into traffic from a short entry lane.

2. Proprioception

This is the body’s ability to know where its various parts are in relation to each other, even when we can’t see those other parts.  The ‘touch the tip of your finger to your nose with your eyes closed’ test is for this sense.  When people (factory workers, athletes, physicians, etc.) are training various limbs to repeatably do certain tasks, products need to be designed to not interfere with this sense. This is why professional baseball players’ bats are made to tight specifications at an athlete’s request.  Any small variation in the bat could, and most likely will, interfere with this sense and alter the player’s swing. 

3. Time 

Time is something that is poorly designed for, if at all.   We often design to minimize the amount of time being spent but fail to realize that most people have a tendency to overestimate the amount of time it takes to do something when that task is unpleasant.   It’s essential to design products and services such that the passage of time be more pleasurable or useful.   Remember, if you design something that results in a boring three-minute wait, it will feel like ten to the person waiting and it will leave people with a bad experience. 

4. Morality

Here again, like the phrase, “sense of balance,’ we use the phrase, “sense of morality,” in everyday language.  This sense, which also may rely on the other senses to inform it, can influence design in many ways.  Moral sense undergirds the  Sustainable or Green design movements.  Failure to pay attention to this aspect of design can be problematic.  In the 1990′s, it became known that Nike was using sweatshop labor to manufacture its shoes.  Since then, Nike has been on a mission to improve labor conditions, as well as its reputation.  Over the years, they have made great advances, as have other industries like the leather industry where innovative tanning methods have been developed so that workers are not exposed to toxic chemicals.  This interconnected world is starting to breath with a pan-cultural sense of morality.  Ignore it in your designs at your own risk.

So, next time you’re designing something that you want to impact the senses, don’t forget to go beyond the realm of sight, touch, sound, smell and taste.  Innovations that do will be better received, and most likely, better for the world.

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, design thinking, Emotions, innovation, Innovation Tools, Social Responsibility, Society, Sustainable Technology, The Human Person, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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