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Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Innovations and More from the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show

Posted by Plish on March 20, 2014

Was at one of my favorite shows earlier this week, looking for new materials and products, innovative and whimsical products, basically things that catch my fancy. What follows are some pics and vids from the show.  I also had a chance to get some insights into innovation from world class chefs, watch for those videos over the next couple of days.

One trend that was clearly present at the show was the existence of robots.  They’re everywhere.  Companies are trying to make our lives easier by creating robots to do our work for us.  I particularly liked this Window cleaning robot, the Winbot from ECOVACS.  These folks really want to bring technology into, and onto, your homes.   The best way to predict the future is to make it. ECOVACS is making it.

Also check out the Grill Bot!

Along the same lines, apps are being paired with various products and appliances.  Mostly iPhone based, but there are Android versions and Windows is gaining ground as well.

Attaches your stove temperatures and times to your smartphone

Attaches your stove temperatures to your smartphone

WP_20140318_005

Apps that Talk to your scales

WP_20140318_006

Apps that talk to blood pressure cuffs

Another thing that I love to see are companies that are well known for certain product lines and they are Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, Experience, innovation, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Insights Into the Future of Healthcare From RSNA 2013

Posted by Plish on December 10, 2013

Last week I spent some time at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting, networking, speaking with medical Thought Leaders, scouting new technologies. In particular I enjoyed the posters – it’s an opportunity to see what’s cutting edge in the world of radiology and interventional radiology.  (You can check out abstracts for papers, posters, etc. here.  I will be blogging in the future on their Radiology Cares pledge drive)

Radiology is an unsung hero in the world of healthcare.  Not only are these the people that make diagnoses based upon X-Ray, Ultrasound, MRI, CT and other visualization technologies, they also help heal people – doing certain types of ‘surgeries’ – through minimally invasive techniques that use access holes often much smaller than pencil.

Because these procedures are being done in a minimally invasive manner while viewing the inside of a person’s body on a LED/LCD screen, radiologists of all types find themselves on the cusp of some of the newest imaging and interaction technologies.  It’s no surprise then to see iPads, tablets, display screens and controllers of various types being mentioned in presentations, posters, and being exhibited.

If someone were to ask me what technologies I think will impact future healthcare, based upon what I saw at the conference, I’d mention two: Mobile and Interaction Technologies.

Mobile Tech

Mobile technologies go beyond iPads.  They represent a whole new network of interconnectedness – they enable collaboration and eliminate barriers of time and space.  What is key in this realm is fidelity: the x-ray/ultrasound/MRI/etc. needs to look the same on a handheld screen in Africa as it does on a 26″ or larger screen in Chicago.  While the newer iPads are being used for their high-resolution screens, the general rule is that the smaller the screen/image, the greater the chance of misinterpretation.  For the future, any company that creates a lighter, larger, higher resolution screen (folding perhaps?) will be the mobile device of choice.

Interaction Tech

While Apple may have paved the way for the acceptance of touch sensitive screens (though it is still being used as an interactive e-book platform for educational purposes), the world of medicine is moving beyond the limitations of touch on a 2D surface and diving into the 3D world.  In procedural suites a small screen is not only limiting, but a doctor or nurse that needs to maintain sterility can not easily interact with 2D touch surfaces.  Even when dealing with 3D data sets (CT/MRI/etc. scans), manipulating the data and being able to look in-depth at areas of interest is much easier and intuitive when using game controllers like Microsoft Kinect, Leap Motion and the like. I recorded a video of one such control system: the teistler imager DIAG system.  I played with it and found it extremely simple to use – even in its ‘rough’, prototypical state.

Are these the only technologies that will be impacting the future?  Hardly.  Technologies enabling us to look more accurately into the body without breaking the skin are growing in leaps and bounds.  (In fact, one problem is that certain imaging modalities like MRI can now detect miniscule, suspicious looking lesions. So, what’s the problem?   The lesion is so small, it can’t be found by any other imaging method, so it also can’t really be tested in order to make a definitive diagnosis.)  In addition, newer techniques are extracting more information from diagnostic images so that, in some cases, a diagnosis can be made without even having to take a biopsy. (There are even newer technologies being developed that enable diagnoses with only a small sample of blood.)

With technologies getting better, the world is getting smaller and the world of ‘ the small and unseen’ is becoming more accessible every day.  These are exciting times in the world of healthcare, and coupled with a patient centered approach, Radiology, both on its own and as support for other medical disciplines, will only help people live longer and healthier lives.

 

 

Posted in Conveying Information, Design, Healthcare, innovation, Medical Devices, The Future, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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. :)

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 »

Sonic and Multi-Sensorial Branding

Posted by Plish on April 16, 2013

Over at FUSE 2013 , Scott Power, Senior Brand Strategist for Kaiser Permanente, discussed sonic branding vis-à-vis KP’s work with Audiobrain.

Power pointed out how sound is being used as a way to reinforce, not only the Kaiser Permanente brand, but their services, thus helping people get healthier.

Sonic branding is hardly new,  yet this powerful method is underused.

Many people think of a brand as represented by a visual trademark- a company saying: “This is us and what we represent.”  However, with regards to audio branding companies say, “This is what we are offering, and this is what we want it to sound like, and how we want it to impact your senses.”  But, it doesn’t need to stop there!

Walk into a McDonald’s. It has a certain smell.  Order a burger.  Nothing smells like a McDonald’s burger. Those smells are all part of the brand.  What about the colors? The feel of the cups?  The taste? The sounds that you hear when you wait in line?  Leave McDonald’s and imagine what it would be like if every car company had its own distinctive ‘new car’ smell.  What if each doctor’s office had its own smell that helped patients be more calm?

The brand is more than a logo, trademark or tagline.  The brand is tied intimately to the experience of a product or service.  It speaks through the languages of touch, sight, taste, sound and smell.    It’s creates the greatest impact when, not only does it speak for the company and its offerings, but you and I actually understand the language and it resonates with what we expect the brand to be saying. There needs to be consistency, or paraphrasing Sartre: pink cake needs to taste pink!

The exciting part of this, is that Audio branding is only the beginning…

Posted in Brands, Co-Creation, Customer Focus, Design, Experience, Healthcare, innovation, Musical Creativity, Service Design, The Senses, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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 »

Want to Spark Innovative Thinking? Check Out “Exploiting Chaos” – A Free e-Book on Innovation

Posted by Plish on October 24, 2011

I’ve always been a fan of Trendhunter.com and contribute on occasion when I’m able.  Last week, Trendhunter Founder, Jeremy Gutsche, released his book, “Exploiting Chaos – 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change,” as a video enhanced, e-book.  I read the paperback version as it was coming off the presses and was pleased with this little gem.  While it is an easy read, there’s much in this book to ponder and be inspired by.  Now, with the release of this video enhanced e-book version, you can watch and listen to Jeremy explaining and elaborating upon the topics contained in the pages of the book.  His perspectives add color and further depth to the text without being redundant.

If you haven’t bought the print version, or even if you have, hop on over to Trendhunter.com and check out Exploiting Chaos.  It’s a welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in innovation.

And, best of all?

It’s free.

Posted in Books, creativity, Creativity Videos, Design, innovation, Innovation Tools, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Need Inspiration and Insights Into Human Nature? Don’t Miss These Sites!

Posted by Plish on February 21, 2011

I was recently asked for sites that I go to for online inspiration from a design standpoint.

The first, I’ve mentioned here before.  It’s AskNature.org - an inspiring portal for seeing how Nature solves problems.

The second is a site that I write for on occasion (and wish I had more time to write for), Trendhunter.com. They actually give away a browser toolbar that has a list of various trend sites - it’s a great resource  for ideas.

The last three are wonderful (and sometimes quite entertaining) in that they have a uniquely human touch to them.

The first, HighIdeas.com , touted as “the best ideas (while you’re high)”, often has contributions that make you think, say “hmmm….”  and reach for the Cheetos.  (For the record, I have never contributed to this site)

Halfbakery is a listing of “half-baked” ideas. It describes itself as, “a communal database of original, fictitious inventions, edited by its users. It was created by people who like to speculate, both as a form of satire and as a form of creative expression.” Some of the ideas here are not all that half-baked.

Last, but by no means, least, there is Failblog.   This site is a catalog of failures.  It also has a  subdomain that is particularly thought provoking:  There I Fixed It -Redneck Repairs .   This site is chock full of everyday people’s solutions to everyday problems. (For the record, I have never submitted to this site, though quite truthfully, I probably could have.)  There is brilliance hidden here.

What sites do you find particularly inspiring or revealing of human nature?

Posted in Authenticity, Biomimicry, creativity, Design, idea generation, imagination, innovation, nature, problem solving, The Human Person, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reframing The Chicago Traffic Problem – A Possible Solution That Won’t Cost Drivers

Posted by Plish on July 16, 2010

Pic Courtesy of Johnnyjet.com

Chicago has the third worst automotive congestion in the country. 

The traffic is unpredictable.

What can be a half-an-hour trip one day, can be a 1.5 hour drive the next, and that’s in good weather.

The proposed solution?

Create special, express lanes with controlled traffic flows.  If you want to use them you pay extra.

Now, irrespective of the fact that Illinoisans are already paying for roads with their taxes, and the Illinois Tollway system, and are still driving on what are arguably some of the worst roads in the country, this idea is a perfect example of how a poorly framed problem statement can lead to mediocre solutions.

 Let me explain.

The current solution is,  no doubt, a direct descendant of the following:

  • Chicago has the third worst traffic in the country
  • There will be a 12% increase of traffic in 20 years
  • We need money to help rebuild the roads damaged by this increased traffic
  • We need to help the environment by reducing pollution from stuck traffic

Given the above, we naturally frame the problem statement as, “How can we improve the traffic and the ensuing impact on the environment by lessening congestion on the roads?”

Let’s see… money and land is scarce, so building new roads is not a terribly attractive option.  Buuuut, charging money for using the existing roads and using technology to control the flows is something that has been shown to work in other cities.  Voila! Problem solved!

Not a bad idea, but also not a good one, and also not a fiscally responsible one.

What do I mean?

If the  above list included:

  • The State of Illinois has a tendency to poorly budget, over-spend and under-deliver,

the proposed “pay to drive” solution probably wouldn’t even be considered a solution.

So, in the name of realism, let’s include the above statement about  Illinois’ fiscal/political situation and reframe the problem as:

“In what ways can we improve the traffic and the ensuing impact on the environment by lessening congestion on the roads without using additional taxpayer money, while working within current budget constraints?”

Whoa…Since we can’t rely on taxpayers to foot the bill, nor can we rely on an overly expanded budget, what can we do???

Let’s take a step back and ask this relatively obvious question:  Can we get people to work without using their cars?

Yes. 

It’s called: Telecommuting!

It’s an obvious solution and one that needs to be researched more deeply.   Consider this:

According to a 2008 study conducted by Telework Exchange, a company that aims to increase telecommuting options for workers, around 9.7 billion gallons of gas and $38.2 billion can be saved each year, if only 53 percent of all white-collar workers telecommuted two days per week.

The study also found that 84 percent of Americans depend on their own means of transportation to travel to and from work. On average, these workers spend $2,052 on gas and 264 hours of travel time a year just on commuting alone.

Research network Undress4Success estimates that the United States could save $500 billion a year, reduce Persian Gulf oil imports by 28 percent and take the equivalent of 7 million cars off the road if workers were allowed to telecommute just half the time.¹

How many people could telecommute?

… 92 percent of (American) workers believe that their job can be completed by telecommuting, though only 39 percent telework on a regular basis.¹

So, while most people seem to be in favor of it, and at the same time,  telecommuting technologies continue to improve, most businesses, unfortunately, still have a paranoia about having people work from home.     But, if they instead structured themselves to accommodate telecommuting, and if the State and Federal governments provided incentives to people and companies to support telecommuting, this could very well take a considerable burden of the roads of Illinois and the country.

Let’s see….

Less traffic, less damage to roads, less pollution, better productivity, and best of all, more money in the pockets of Illinois drivers.

 I personally think it’s a better solution.  What do you think?

1. http://earth911.com/news/2010/03/12/telecommuting-two-days-a-week-could-save-billions/

Posted in creativity, Design, idea generation, innovation, Innovation Tools, problem solving, Social Responsibility, Sustainable Technology, Trends, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How ‘i’nnovations Can Prevent ‘I’nnovation

Posted by Plish on November 6, 2009

I am a Rock, I am an Island

I am a Rock, I am an Island

I came across this article from my home town of Chicago.  Seems that a local apartment complex gives residents a safer experience by providing a rooftop dog park so owners don’t have to deal with crime in the area and risk life or Fido when they go for walks.  It’s a creative idea and a great business idea, but…

 …it also isolates and therein lies the problem. 

“Everyone wants to experience goodness in their life.  So, if they can’t experience it in their home community, they are going to find a way to experience it elsewhere, whether it’s on the rooftop of their building or whether it’s in an adjacent neighborhood.” -Al Zelinka, Planning Manager, Fullerton, California

The more fundamental question driving innovation in this context should be:

Do we want to be part of the world, contributing and living within it or would we rather do what we want, letting the world do what it may, while we stay safe and warm? 

Making a building into a creatively designed, self-contained world is great for its tenants but is this creativity and innovation really a good thing if it fosters separation of the inhabitants from the immediate community?  Don’t get me wrong, people should be protected, but there’s an interesting situation here in that the solution is ultimately self-defeating. 

If people aren’t a part of the community they live in, if they don’t have to deal with the community’s shortcomings day-to-day, the motivation to fix those problems disappears.  People purposefully avoiding their neighborhood results in a lack of empathy, a lack of having ‘skin in the game’, a lack of desire to change their situation.  That means that real creative solutions to community safety issues might never be found…

 …the current situation is perpetuated…

Simon and Garfunkel’s, I Am A Rock eerily hits the mark:

A winter’s day

In a deep and dark December;

I am alone,

Gazing from my window to the streets below

On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

I’ve built walls,

A fortress deep and mighty,

That none may penetrate.

I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.

It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,

But I’ve heard the words before;

It’s sleeping in my memory.

I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.

If I never loved I never would have cried.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

I have my books

And my poetry to protect me;

I am shielded in my armor,

Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.

I touch no one and no one touches me.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;

And an island never cries.

Posted in Case Studies, creativity, Customer Focus, innovation, problem solving, Society, The Human Person, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Will the Future Hold?

Posted by Plish on November 3, 2009

future

The Behance Network put together this interesting view on the future based upon the scenarios from the Institute for the Future.  Some interesting perspectives, especially with regards to inter-species communication.  On the other hand, some of the solutions posited, like fertilizing oceans with iron to capture CO2,  are too current and thus not sophisticated enough to be included in a future in which digital body-swapping exists.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Information Visualization, innovation, Sketching, Sustainable Technology, Trends | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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