Posts tagged “video”

From ProductTank, video of The Power of Bad Ideas 

A few months back, I spoke at ProductTank SF about The Power of Bad Ideas. They’ve put the video online and I’ve also embdded it below.

Steve Portigal challenges product managers to re-think the idea-generation process by inviting in bad ideas.

In brain-storming sessions, we frequently see two surges in ideas. The first is where the low hanging fruit is identified. The second surge is where more innovative ideas are frequently found. Welcoming bad ideas can be an effective strategy for fast tracking past the low hanging fruit and into innovation.

Steve’s interactive talk encourages product managers to come up with the worst product ideas possible. Not the ideas that are just not that good, but ones that are really, truly terrible. By starting with a bad idea, Steve opens a safe, creative space for ideas sharing. He helps product people to unpack what is good and bad, why and who gets to decide. He encourages us to step away from the binary of good and bad to move around the problem space in a different way. His bad ideas approach also breaks the idea-generation ice – by starting with something terrible, space is opened for all ideas, allowing creativity to flow.

War Story: Seeing Ourselves As Others May See Us

Here we break with tradition and present a story anonymously, to mitigate against mortification of those involved.

Twenty something and fresh out of my MA program I obtained a little consulting job which I completed from afar. The company mailed me a video camera and interview guide and sent me out to discover what people think of dinner food. I was to recruit people who would participate in a video recorded dinner we share and an after-dinner interview. I was instructed to send footage back to the company with the camera along with notes and analysis.

My first interview was with a man about my age who ate convenience foods. He was shy and awkward with me as I was with him. When I got there I set up the tripod and attempted to build rapport beyond our obvious discomfort. In an effort to focus only on him as he opened a can of soup and poured it into a casserole dish I spent very little time adjusting the equipment. He prepared soup-in-a-dish dinner and we ate together and then I went through what was left of the interview content. Perfect recruit for “convenience food eater,” and I was off.

Later at home I looked back at the video to make sure my notes are correct and to complete a partial transcript. To my surprise and immense embarrassment I realized that I set the camera up so that the composition includes only one thing in the foreground completely obscuring the participant’s head. It was a close-up view of my right breast – interrupted only occasionally by my arm each time I raised the fork. The entire dinner and interview video contained nothing more than this view. I had never met the employer or the team in person but I reluctantly packaged up the camera and my notes and sent them away without a word. Later they mention that their view of this video inspired quite a few laughs around the office. Oops.

Video from UX Lisbon: Discover and act on insights about people

The lovely folks at UXLx have just posted the video from my talk earlier this year, Discover and act on insights about people.

Some of the most effective ways of understanding what customers want or need – going out and talking to them – are surprisingly indirect. Insights produced by these methods impact two facets of innovation: first as information that informs the development of new products and services, and second as catalysts for internal change. Steve discusses methods for exploring both solutions and needs and explores how an understanding of culture (yours and your customers) can drive design and innovation.

If you don’t see the video embedded above, you can view it here

People Watching 3.0

In a previous post I wrote about Losing All Hope Was Freedom, a series of social experiments on video, where the “performer” takes the hands of strangers.

Now comes Surveillance Camera Man, who does nothing more than take video in places where you don’t expect to be recorded. Perhaps part of his point is that we are semi-surreptitiously recorded in all of those same places but we ignore it, and when it’s made explicit by a dude standing in front of you with a device, then it becomes wrong.

But there’s some other things happening here besides social commentary/activism. Michael Moore and Borat have created familiar entertainment forms around the unwanted and uncomfortable intruder. Watch the video below (which is at times almost anthropological, exploring context after context – including one heartbreaking example) and see if you don’t start to root for the cameraman. We become co-opted into voyeurism, curiously wondering who those people are or what’s in that room. I’m sure there’s some film theory bit that would explain why the POV shot is so easy to empathize with, regardless of how we would feel if we were in the viewfinder ourselves.

Updated: videos now here

ChittahChattah Quickies

Mice as Stand-Ins in the Fight Against Disease [New York Times] – Looks like this has been happening in some measure for a while, but some new methods are increasing the usage. The most science-fiction thing you’ll read all week.

In what could be the ultimate in personalized medicine, animals bearing your disease, or part of your anatomy, can serve as your personal guinea pig, so to speak. Some researchers call them avatars, like the virtual characters in movies and online games. “The mice allow you the opportunity to test drugs to find out which ones will be efficacious without exposing the patient to toxicity,” said Colin Collins, a professor at the University of British Columbia.

Australia 2012 [Flickr] – My complete set of pictures from Australia earlier this month.

Chinese families’ worldly goods in Huang Qingjun’s pictures [BBC] – We’ve seen other projects like this, but the focus on China captures a material culture in transition.

Amid China’s tumultuous dash to become rich, one man’s photographs of families posing with their worldly goods will soon seem like records from a distant era. Huang Qingjun has spent nearly a decade travelling to remote parts of China to persuade people who have sometimes never been photographed to carry outside all their household possessions and pose for him. The results offer glimpses of the utilitarian lives of millions of ordinary Chinese who, at first glance, appear not to have been swept up by the same modernisation that has seen hundreds of millions of others leave for the cities. But seen more closely, they also show the enormous social change that has come in a generation. So the photo of an elderly couple of farmers outside their mud house reveals a satellite dish, DVD player and phone.

Four Big Things, a phrase dating from 1950s for most sought-after goods for newly married couples: sewing machine, bicycle, watch, radio. It’s since come to refer to whatever is most fashionable at the time. By 1980s the four big things were: TV, washing machine, rice cooker, fridge. Now, consumer goods flood China’s cities, it tends to be used to describe people’s aspirations for the latest thing.

Must-See Video: How a Woman With No Arms Dresses Herself. What Assistance Can Design Provide? [Core 77] – I love the reaction; that excitement of discovering how current solutions could be improved. Designers are so great at bringing that creativity and know-how to bear to make change for the good. But let’s remember, we don’t need videos to be posted by users to uncover what things aren’t working for them. Are designers waiting for broken products to appear in front of them so they can spontaneously improve them, or are they out there looking at current behaviors and solutions in order to proactively find opportunities. Designers: you don’t need the disabled (or anyone) to post their own videos, go and shoot your own!

I hope that more folks with disabilities make videos like this, not just to share with others what their particular trials are, but to enable us designers to improve upon the objects they use.

FILMography – a Tumblr with an incredible series of images where a printout of a still from a film is held up in the actual location where that scene was shot. It’s a “trick” I’ve seen before but mostly as a one-off; the breadth here is fascinating.

FILM + photography = FILMography.

ChittahChattah Quickies

Teaching the F.A.A. That Dogs Don’t Buckle Up [NYTimes.com] – This is (part of) what it takes to do great work: patience and persistence. As much as we slap our foreheads about the corporate cultures we interact with, clearly the regulatory cultures are likely to be even worse.

In one scene, about a minute into the video, a man is shown sitting next to a large bull as he fumbles with his seat belt. A voice-over says, “For the 0.0001 percent of you who have never operated a seat belt before, it works like this.” Few people know that the bull was originally a dog. But when the Federal Aviation Administration reviewed the video, one of the many concerns it had was that passengers would think dogs, which are sometimes on flights, had to wear seat belts – I’m not kidding here – so it made Virgin America change the dog to a bull, as bulls are, thankfully, not allowed on planes. According to people who were involved in the making of the video, there were six months of meetings with the F.A.A. and changes to the video before it was finally approved.

Orangutans get iPads at Toronto Zoo [CBC] -I’m struck by the limited amount of adaptation the device required, in contrast to classic example where Koko the talking gorilla used a customized Mac II.

The zoo is working with a program, dubbed “Apps for Apes,” which was started by the conservation group Orangutan Outreach. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of life of primates in zoos by providing them with additional mental stimulation in the form of Apple’s tablet. Apps for Apes collects donated iPads and then provides them to zoos with orangutans. The staff who work with the orangutans had to teach them to touch the screen with their fingers – they were initially using their nails to manipulate the screen, and the tablet does not recognize that. In April, orangutans Puppe and Budi used Skype to interact with Orangutan Outreach director Richard Zimmerman. The next month they used Skype to view other orangutans at the Milwaukee County Zoo, although the video was blurry as the primates moved so much.

ChittahChattah Quickies

Butlers in high demand, ready for any household job [SF Chronicle] – Are we in a service economy or is this just an upper-crust exception?

The path to becoming a truly top-notch butler is certainly not for the faint of heart – or ego. Hours can be long, and physical labor, depending on the number of staff members, can be exhausting. What is critical is utter dedication to the skill of superior – and tactful – service. An extraordinary butler can look forward to a long career with the same family and a base salary as high as $100,000 or more. The more talented and cosmopolitan, the more desirable. “Most people are surprised to learn that butlers don’t wear tails very often,” Grise says. “I’ve known them to sport khaki shorts and white crew shirts, especially when traveling in settings where they need to blend in discreetly and not draw attention away from their principals.”

Brits Find Writing a Cheddar Anthem That Isn’t Cheesy Isn’t Easy [WSJ] – Perhaps if they settled for jingle or doggerel rather than going for the anthemic, it might be more easily accomplished.

Despite the global spread of Cheddar, Britain has done little to promote the cheese as a cultural icon. There are no well-known poems to Cheddar and, until now, no songs. In the Somerset village of Cheddar, where the cheese was invented 900 years ago, all but one Cheddar-maker has melted away. Other countries treat their curds with more reverence. A French village has erected a statue of Marie Harel, the supposed inventor of Camembert. Last year, a Dutch astronaut persuaded the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to send up more than 20 pounds of Amsterdam cheese as he circled the planet in the international space station. The Cheddar song competition hopes to tap into a year of nationalistic pride, as Britain hosts the Olympics and celebrates the Queen’s jubilee. More than 100 entries poured in, from career musicians, church choirs, kids, grannies and a team of crooning puppets.

Don’t Indulge. Be Happy [NYT] – This sort of research continually reveals surprising and counter-intuitive aspects of what influences and is influenced by our emotions.

Imagine walking down the street to work and being approached by our student Lara Aknin, who hands you an envelope. You open the envelope and find $20 and a slip of paper, which tells you to spend the cash on something for yourself by the end of the day. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Now imagine instead that the slip of paper told you to spend the cash on someone else. Being generous is nice, sure, but would using the money to benefit someone else actually make you happier than buying yourself the belt, DVD or apps you’ve been dying to get? Yes, and it’s not even close. When we follow up with people who receive cash from us, those whom we told to spend on others report greater happiness than those told to spend on themselves. And in countries from Canada to India to South Africa, we find that people are happier when they spend money on others rather than on themselves. But what about individuals who are notorious for their struggles with sharing? Surely the emotional benefits of giving couldn’t possibly apply to very young children, who cling to their possessions as though their lives depended on it. To find out, we teamed up with the developmental psychologist Kiley Hamlin and gave toddlers the baby-equivalent of gold: goldfish crackers. Judging from their beaming faces, they were pretty happy about this windfall. But something made them even happier. They were happiest of all when giving some of their treats away to their new friend, a puppet named Monkey.

PLAY video memo pad – I saw this in a store in Barcelona and experienced a small science-fiction moment, when technology becomes cheap and disposable enough that it can be used in ad-hoc ways. It reminds me of when calculators shifted from being a $200 purchase to a freebie embedded on a keychain, etc.

If you only tend to bump into family or flatmates when you’re both queuing for the bathroom, it’s not easy remembering to pass on important information. After a while communications can break down, messages can be misplaced, misunderstandings can occur; and before you know it, you’re having fisticuffs on the landing over something as mundane as replacing the tin foil. Well not any more. Because the Play Video Memo Pad lets you record video messages up to three minutes long for your flatmates (or even your future self) to play back later. A magnetic plate on the back makes it ideal for sticking to the fridge or any metal surface, so it’s always to hand when you need it.

Fonts in Use – Once again, the power of the Internet to crowdsource significant databases of elements of the real world, tagged and categorized.

Fonts In Use is a public archive of typographic design indexed by typeface, format, and industry. We document and examine real-world typography with the goal of improving typographic literacy and appreciation. The new version, launched in July 2012, introduces the Collection, a much larger database open to contributions from visitors. Any kind of image is welcome in the Collection, as long as type is clearly visible.

Video now available from Steve’s talk at Mozilla

Last week I visited Mozilla’s beautiful, dog-friendly offices to talk with their user researchers and designers. They’ve just posted the video from my presentation of We’ve done all this research, now what?. Note that the start is cut off, and it kicks in at 11:47.

Note: the slides are included in the video but for easier viewing check out a similar presentation here.

This week @ Portigal

We were here last week, working hard on exactly the same things we were working hard on the week before, so while we could have simply done a copy-paste-post, we took a week off from This-Week-@ing. But it’s Monday again and we’re back, baby!

  • We’re editing (and more to the point – rendering) video, getting our decks in a row, all to wrap up an in-depth and exciting study. We’ll be following up this week’s presentation with a creative workshop as well
  • I’m getting the final slides together for my upcoming webinar, Championing Contextual Research in Your Organization. This is some new material that I’m very excited about. Have you signed up yet?
  • Party time! Excellent! I’ll be checking out the book launch party for Mike Monteiro’s Design Is a Job
  • I’m sitting on a pile of helpful, challenging, provocative, and encouraging notes from reviewers who are helping me with my book; it’s time to start editing and rewriting!
  • Conference proposals to go out, acceptance (or not) for other conference proposals to come back, article outline to be shopped around, article copy to be crafted
  • What we’re consuming: Imagine: How Creativity Works, The Taste of Others

Series

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