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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Want A New Year’s Resolution to Increase Your Innovation Output? – Try This

Posted by Plish on January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!!

Yes, it’s the new year.¬† A fresh slate.¬† It’s time for that time honored tradition of making resolutions.

In the world of innovation, there is one resolution you can make that will result in more creative ideas, more really creative innovations.

But before we make that resolution, Let’s Toast with a Heineken!

Heineken’s interactive, Ignite beer bottle is a thing to behold.¬† It’s not just a passive hunk of glass that holds a liquid.¬† It’s an active participant, sensing and responding, thus encouraging certain behaviors.

But their work has gone beyond the bottle.  Heineken also uses IoT and AR to increase sales and optimize the sales and distribution process.

The point here is that Heineken is not just seeing themselves as providing beer.  They see themselves as providing an experience.  From the store to the nightclub, they understand that people have lives, they act in certain ways in certain situations. When designing products with this in mind, not only does Heineken see improved sales and distribution, but people enjoy the product more!

What does this have to do with the New Year’s Resolution?

Everything.¬† ¬†Great innovations come from great ideas that dive into the depths of reality.¬† In Heineken’s case, these innovations come from a shift in perspective.¬† They look beyond the obvious and embrace the breadth and depth of the product experience.

At the heart of these innovations is a realization that for every action there is not only a reaction but a pre-action, and there are reasons for these actions.

Let’s Buy a Hammer

I want to buy a hammer to drive a nail into a wall.¬† Chances are, I don’t just want a nail in a wall.¬† I want to hang a picture.¬† But, I don’t just want to hang a picture, I want to beautify the room, or bring back a memory.¬† You see where this is going.

Most hammer manufacturers are making something to drive a nail.¬† It’s why hammers are virtually unchanged for decades.¬† They focus on efficient nail driving. But,¬† the nail is more than that, and in fact, it’s part of the process to create an experience – it’s not just about driving nails. (Other companies have realized that.¬† Nail-less hangers and non-marring adhesives all get at the ‘hanging’ part of the process.¬† But they still don’t necessarily see the whole picture. HA! No pun intended ūüėČ )

Heineken, on the other hand, is exploring the many tentacles of before, after, during and why.¬† Beer is purchased and consumed in specific contexts.¬† ¬†It’s not just a bottle.¬† It’s part of an experience.¬† We share a toast.¬† We drink in clubs.¬† We clink bottles.¬† We savor and feel the beat of the music.¬† The bottle is in the midst of all this, and it’s a shame that it’s been a passive part of that experience. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.¬†¬†

The bottle can enrich the experience. 

It can participate in the club environment – it can sense and respond, and because it does, it creates it’s own feedback.¬† We gain pleasure from experiencing the bottle and its contents, so we encourage and repeat certain behaviors.

At the end of the day though, it’s not about bottles. It’s about innovative products and services that bring exciting and memorable experiences.

So let’s make that Resolution!

I resolve to look for, and design for, the Truth behind the Reality.

whoa…. that’s deep.

Not really.¬† ¬†It’s just a more thorough way of innovating.

Explore context. Explore ritual.  Explore relationships.  Explore meaning.

Personally I like the AEIOU framework:

A: Activities are goal directed sets of actions ‚Äď things which people want to accomplish

E: Environments include the entire arena where activities take place

I: Interactions are between a person and someone or something else, and are the building blocks of activities

O: Objects are building blocks of the environment, key elements sometimes put to complex or unintended uses, changing their function, meaning and context

U: Users are the consumers, the people providing the behaviors, preferences and needs (Christina Wasson, quoting E-Lab, 1977)

Courtesy of https://www.10000ft.com/design-recipes/aeiou-research-framework

There are other systems like POEMS, POSTA, etc., but the point of them all is to find and design for the truth behind the reality.¬† Look at the big picture – don’t settle for the obvious!

The Reality: I want drive a nail into a wall

The Truth Behind the Reality: I want to take a step to beautify a room with a picture from a vacation to remind everyone of the great memories there

The Reality: I want to have a cold beer at a night club

The Truth Behind the Reality: I want to have fun!  I want a night of memories, a night of interaction!

The Reality:  A surgeon wants to cut a hole in the skin

The Truth Behind the Reality: A surgeon wants to quickly and easily place a device. The surgeon wants the patient to feel better so that she can go to her grand-daughter’s wedding in a week.

Where do you think the innovations are going to come from?

Designing for “The Reality” or for “The Truth Behind the Reality”?

Sure, innovation can come from just designing for “The Reality”.¬† In a world where all that is needed are nails driven into a surface, a new design of hammer – a nail gun – will be hailed as an innovation.¬† ¬† But let’s look at the “Truth Behind the Reality”:¬† ¬† How will people with nail guns interact with each other and the nails?¬† What about being able to use it in cold, or heat, or rain, or underwater?¬† Are we just putting up boards or building a house that will be a home? What about types of materials being nailed?¬† Who is buying the nail driver?¬† Are nail drivers even necessary?

See the difference?  Ideas will start flowing once we look under the surface.

The choice is yours

You can choose to design for “The Reality”.¬† You can make another hammer, another beer, another beer container.

But understand the “Truth Behind the Reality” and you will design products and services that Ignite experiences.

Make the resolution and stick to it.  

I resolve to look for, and design for, the Truth behind the Reality.

The world will thank you!

 

 

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Posted in creativity, Design, Disruptive Innovation, innovation, Innovation Tools, observation, problem solving, Research, Service Design, Technology, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

3D Printing in the Future of Healthcare

Posted by Plish on December 2, 2014

RSNA 3D Printing Presentations

Some  RSNA attendees listen to presentations by Radiologists, Researchers and other Physicians who are using 3d Printing in their practices and research

 

Today was my 3D Printing day at RSNA.  Spent the morning listening to some amazing work being done (Chaired by  Dr. Frank Rybicki), and the afternoon taking in the rest of the show.

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First were presentations covering how flows of blood and other substances through blood vessels, could be confirmed using models.

Dr. Tam shared how 3d printing could be used to plan for, and create parts for, medical procedures.  He uses printed models in approximately 5% of his cases right now.  He also did an enlightening study that showed that when presented with 3d models, the majority of physicians in the study changed their surgical approach.  A model is indeed worth a 1000 pictures (or more!)

Dr’s Green and Mahani shared how 3d printing was used to save the life of a child whose bronchus would collapse and block airflow.¬† The video about this is below:

There is some amazing work at the Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. They are pushing the envelope printing living tissue. You can check out a Reuters Tech Video here.

Future directions for 3d printing in healthcare were summarized nicely by this slide:

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Number one is very provocative, and I agree with it.¬† While Radiologists treated the creation of 3d models as a natural extension of reading 2d images, the work required to create 3d models can be done¬†in conjunction with intermediary scientists and engineers, so that each discipline can play to its strengths.¬† In the future I can see a role for “Post Processing Technicians.” These folks would be integral¬†members of the Radiologic team whose purpose is to crunch imaging data¬†into 3d and beyond.

I would include material science advances as an influencer in the future of 3d printing adoption.

Also, while indirectly included in the above list, cost reimbursement and FDA regulations are major players as the field matures and the technology gets adopted.

After the presentations, I visited with 3dSystems, Stratasys and Materialise ,  These companies have made, and are making, significant investments in medical uses of their technologies.   This can only accelerate the adoption of 3d printing.

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I left today excited and inspired by the work of these doctors and scientists.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

 

Posted in 3D Printing, Biology, Disruptive Innovation, Healthcare, innovation, Medical Devices, Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Thoughts and Images from FUSE14

Posted by Plish on April 11, 2014

The FUSE conference has come and gone.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed the last day, but the first two days were pretty amazing.  It was a conference of great insights into the power of Design in creating powerful, memorable experiences of products/services/brands.

I made concept maps of all the presentations I sat in on.  You can check them out on SlideShare.

Day 1

Day 2

There’s a mashup from Twitter here and here.

If you can make this conference in the future, it’s well worth it. The speakers are top-notch, the facility is beautiful, and the food was excellent as well.

Some of my pics are below:

The conference was not just about the past and present.  It was about the future as well.   There are challenges presented by technology and human nature, challenges that could demean instead of elevate people if not addressed.

The conference was exciting, precisely because it acknowledged the multifaceted challenges that await those who seek to design better experiences, better products, a better, more human, sustainable future.

Posted in Best Practices, Brands, creativity, Customer Focus, Design, Experience, innovation, Research, Service Design, Social Innovation, Sustainable Technology, The Future | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Highlights from IIT’s 2013 Design Research Conference

Posted by Plish on October 10, 2013

Once again the IIT Institute of Design has put on a provocative and stimulating conference.

Under the theme “Exploring Creative Balance in Design“, the conference was a potpourri of glances at the past, understanding of the present, and flashes of future.¬† It was held at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, a stimulating change from the Spertus Institute, where it’s usually been held.¬† There was an interesting ‘negative’ about the location in that electrical outlets were few and far between.¬†Charging¬†phones and laptops¬†was a challenge.¬† (Personally, while on my quest to find outlets, I¬†found some really cool nooks in the museum¬†that I didn’t even¬†know existed)

Some highlights in no particular order:

Mickey McManus of Maya inspired awe.  A trillion connected devices is just around the corner.  A trillion!  Think of what is possible (good and bad) when those devices interact with each other!  Think of how nature communicates with itself!

Mel Lim talked about keeping Ego in check.  A wonderful challenge to becoming better people to create a better world.

John Doyle gave an amazing talk of the limits of systems, how the same concepts govern phage evolution. Fast and specialized systems or slow and flexible?  How to walk the line?  What about feedbacks in our systems?  How do we design for that?  There was also a cautionary bent to his talk, but he emphasized the need for people to adopt new ways of looking at systems in the world.  He mentioned to me afterwards how essential it is that the design world gets involved.  The research needs to be made accessible to more than just mathematicians to be able to impact the world in its most profound way.

Darlene Damm spoke of her DIYROCKETS project.  Open Sourcing the Space Industry.  Amazing and disruptive innovation!

John Payne talked skeuomorphs and more,¬† Ultimately it’s about understanding our culture so we can communicate through design more effectively.

Panos Papalambros spoke of optimizing designs using algorithms that are automatic as well as human assisted. Discussed the benefits of crowdsourcing this process as well.

Liz Sanders and co-creation.¬† There truly is power when individuals create together as a communal entity.¬†She’s got a great resource at Maketools.com¬†that I’ve personally used.¬† This is exciting work and it’s only going to mature more.

Matt Jones and Richard The of Google Creative Labs showed the power of video in prototyping.¬† “All design is fiction.”¬† Love that quote because everything starts as an idea – a fiction – and it becomes reality.

Lucy Kimbell talked about the various types of empathy using Star Trek’s Deanna Troi as the research subject.

There was also everyone’s favorite “curmudgeon”, Don Norman.¬† He emphasized the need for design research to be more effectively integrated into corporate¬†product development processes.

Matthew Clark and many others gave amazing talks.

If you’d like to see more from the conference check out #DRC2013 on Twitter.¬† You can also go to Seen for a timeline of twitter posts about the conference.

Lastly, but in no way least, I met old friends¬†and made new ones.¬† When all is said and done, that’s what makes these conferences so valuable.

I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts and looking forward to next year!

Posted in Co-Creation, creativity, Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Design, design thinking, innovation, Innovation Tools, Maker Movement, Open Source, Research, Social Innovation, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Want to be More Creative? Change the Lighting

Posted by Plish on September 27, 2013

Posted in Creative Environments, Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, Creativity Videos, culture of innovation, Design, innovation, Innovation Tools, problem solving, Research, The Senses, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Like to Read More about Creativity, Brands, Retail and Design?

Posted by Plish on September 10, 2013

Occasionally I get asked if I write at other blogs.

The short answer is ‘yes.’

The longer answer is this blog post.

Below you’ll find¬†two other sites that I blog at (and one resource site).¬† Most of the posts are¬†different content from what I write here.¬† The below¬†blogs are amazing resources and I frequent them¬†often.

The Next Big Design

This blog is about marketing, branding, design, creativity and culture.  Some great articles.  This is also a portal for FUSE (which incidentally is a mindblowing conference!)

 

Shopper360

This blog is about retail, understanding, and taking action on research of consumer behavior. It is the main blog for the Shopper Insights in Action Conference which I covered this year.

 

SlideShare

Feel free to check out the presentations I’ve put there.¬† Here’s my most recent, a series of concept maps I drew up ‘on the fly’ during the above mentioned Shopper Insights in Action Conference.¬† If you’ve got questions, please let me know!

 

In addition to the above locations, you can always visit the links in the right info bar under “My Other Sites”.¬† You can also just Google me. ūüôā

If there’s anything else you’d like to see more of here, or any of the other sites, please let me know.¬† I’d love to hear about your creativity and innovation challenges – I love ideas,¬†empowering others to come up with ideas, and making ideas reality.

Let’s keep in touch!

 

 

Posted in Brands, creativity, Customer Focus, Design, design thinking, Research, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Get Insights Into Human Behavior by Paying Attention to the Everyday

Posted by Plish on August 31, 2013

Looking for insights into human behavior?

Sometimes they are right in front of us.¬†The problem is that we are in such an automatic mode, that we don’t notice what other people have done. We¬†are often¬†mindless (as opposed to mindful) observers of the world around us.¬† It’s a shame that we are, because these insights can be¬†powerful inspirations¬†for innovation.

Below you will find pictures from three different locations I’ve visited lately: A restaurant restroom, a gas station and a Walmart.¬† In all these pictures there’s clear evidence of what people’s preferences are.¬† Take a look, and use these questions to guide your reflection:

  • What do I see?
  • Why might this be happening?
  • In what ways can this be improved?

I’ll share some thoughts on the other side of the pictures…

 

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The Restaurant Restroom

I find it fascinating that people clearly have a preference for the left push button handles, most likely because they presume it’s the “hot” water.¬† It’s not.¬† In fact, both left and right push¬†buttons¬†release cold water.¬†¬† Because the wear is so lopsided, it’s also possible that as the spring timer runs out and the water stops, people re-press the left button again, even though both buttons give cold water!

Both faucets also¬†act the same way – although, the top picture is from the faucet that’s further from the urinals.¬† From that we could infer that people go for what’s closest as well.

Incidentally, I frequent this establishment and still find myself pressing the left button handle both on first and secondary presses.

In what ways would you improve this?

Gas Station

This phenomenon is in multiple places, not just at gas stations.¬† The “No” button gets a major workout.¬† Apparently most people don’t want receipts, or car washes.¬†¬†These pads get worn out and need replacing all because of one button.

In what ways  would you improve this design?

Walmart

I went to buy cat litter and loved this image (I took it right before I bought the litter).¬† The upper and lower shelves are untouched! Everyone has been pulling from the middle shelf. As you can see from the picture (albeit barely,) the cart is just below the edge of the middle shelf.¬† It’s¬†almost effortless to load up the cart with kitty litter.¬† (I actually took some from the upper and lower shelves for fun.)

How could the experience of kitty litter purchasing be improved?

These are just three examples from everyday experiences that highlight how people’s preferences can be inferred without having to even ask a single person.¬† (In the past I’ve blogged about a couple of other examples where people ignore the intended¬†design of parking lots and walking paths.)

I also look at these examples as inspiration to design things right the first time.  Sure, components can be replaced and even re-designed, but why not get it right?  Why not do some homework up front to see what it is people do?

I’d love for you to share other examples of products that aren’t being misused per se, but clearly have aspects that are being over/under used¬†because they are¬†under-designed in certain ways.¬† Share them below or on Twitter. Use hashtag #OverUnderDesign .

Looking forward to your input!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, innovation, Innovation Tools, problem solving, Research, Service Design | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Here’s One Thing You Need to See, Analyzing Words Upon a Tree

Posted by Plish on August 20, 2013

Great innovations occur when we can see things in¬†ways that others haven’t.

To that end, we study people, their behaviors, what they say, and what they do.

When looking¬†through the research, sometimes it’s difficult to tease out anything new.¬† We get stuck in the superficial meanings¬†of what people think.¬† To get deeper, we need to change our perspectives, we need to create ways of seeing the data anew.

One common tool is the ‘Word Cloud’.¬†It does a great job of enabling us¬†to graphically¬†understand the frequency of certain words in a body of textual data.¬† The bigger the word, the more frequently it appears in a text.

For example, here is a word cloud of the Gettysburg Address.

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We can see that the words “nation”, and, “dedicated” are very predominate in the speech.¬† What we can’t understand though, are the contexts of these words.

Enter the Word Tree.

Word Trees enable us to see the context, understand where words are going and where they came from.

For a while, finding a free Word Tree analysis tool was pretty difficult.   However, developers have been busy and there is a new player on the block.  Jason Davies has shared his wonderful Word Tree tool here. Feel free to plug in your own text or play with the many examples that are there. (You can also enter a hyperlink to analyze web pages or Twitter feeds!)

Let’s¬†use the tool on the Gettysburg Address and look at¬†the word “nation”. (You can¬†play with the Address I uploaded,¬†here.) ¬†What I like about Jason Davies’ tool is that you can configure the tool to show the context of what comes after the word of choice, or what comes before. Here’s an example:

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There are other Word Tree tools out there, Many Eyes, and Revelation Global.¬† The latter incorporates a limited word cloud into the page which is somewhat helpful, but the page is cluttered and it’s hard to move around.¬† Plus, there’s no way of saving the output.¬† Both Many Eyes and Revelation Global require registration.

I encourage you to¬†give Jason Davies’ Word Tree a whirl. Let me know what you think.¬† But be warned, playing with Word Trees can be extremely engaging.¬† Make sure there are no deadlines looming – unless of course, those deadlines deal with understanding textual data.

Posted in Conveying Information, Design, Innovation Tools, Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sound, Remembering, and Sleeping – An Innovative way to Design Memorable Experiences

Posted by Plish on April 22, 2013

The idea of learning while we sleep has been around for almost a hundred years.¬† It turns out that getting information while we sleep doesn’t appear to be a terribly successful way of learning. But all is not lost.

If we learn something and sleep on it, we do in fact process information and thus can retain and categorize information more effectively.

Now, researchers have determined that if a sound is experienced along with something that we want to remember, hearing that sound again helped recall the original experience.  In addition, if that sound is heard while we sleep, it seems to cement the memory of the experience even more than simply re-hearing the sound in a waking state.

In other words, if you see¬†a picture of a cow,¬†and you hear a ticking clock, just hearing that¬†ticking clock the next day¬†will probably¬†help you remember the cow.¬† However, it you hear that same ticking clock sound while you’re sleeping, your ability to remember the picture of the cow will be improved greatly when you hear the ticking.

So,  it appears that sonic branding, like I  discussed last week, can even have a more powerful impact if those sounds can be heard while people sleep.  This could create a powerful way to remember experiences if say, audio brands were interspersed in relaxing music that played while we slept.

It could also be used to design classroom experiences. Key points in a lecture could have musical notes or sounds as an accompaniment.  Those sounds could be given to students in MP3 form so they can listen to those sounds when they study and sleep.  They could replay those sounds later to help with recall.

I could see it used as well for training purposes.¬† People do a certain task to certain musical tones.¬† When they’re first learning, they can listen to those tones as they sleep.

What if operating rooms had musical sequences to help nurses, techs and surgeons remember pre-operative prepping procedures?

How could you see this research being used?

Posted in Brain Stimulation Tools, Brands, cognitive studies, Customer Focus, Design, Experience, innovation, Research, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Building Empathy on the Road to Innovation (and a Better World)

Posted by Plish on October 5, 2012

While the woman on the table braced herself for the extremely invasive transvaginal ultrasound, the technician tried to calm her:

“You know, when I was in school, they had us go through this exact same procedure so that we can understand what you’re feeling while you’re going through this.”

The woman smiled slightly, relaxed, and thought to herself,¬†“At least this won’t be as bad as it could be…”

And it wasn’t…

Empathy goes a long way towards impacting how we behave with others, how we design products and services for others.  Sometimes, as with the ultrasound technician, a shared experience forms the empathic response.  However, we can likewise gain empathy by observing how others respond to certain situations Рby reading people: looking at their faces, listening to their voices, watching how they fidget or stand still.

While responding to others’ expressions is somewhat ‘automatic’, the accuracy of our empathic responses can actually be improved.

Researchers at Emory University have developed a meditation protocol (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, or CBCT) that trains people to be more effective in reading what others are feeling.

Study Co-author, Lobsang Tenzin Negi, director of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, had this to say:

“CBCT aims to condition one’s mind to recognize how we are all inter-dependent, and that everybody desires to be happy and free from suffering at a deep level.”

Build empathy and build a better world.

Sounds like mandatory training, not just for innovators, but for all¬†humans…

 

Posted in Behavioral Science, Case Studies, cognitive studies, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Design, Emotions, innovation, Innovation Tools, meditation, Research, Science, The Human Person, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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