Posts tagged “ideation”

Insight Inspired Innovation: Notes from CPSI

Last week I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI, pronounced sip-see, for short). The conferences is in its 58th year of delivering engaging, hands-on learning about how to use creative thinking to tackle complex challenges and develop innovative solutions. I have attended for the past 6 years, often presenting and always learning new tools and techniques for facilitating creative collaboration. Here I will highlight a few insightful and inspiring events for me and share a bit about the workshop I gave.

The incredible lineup of keynote speakers this year included one of my longtime creativity crushes, Teresa Amabile, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration and a Director of Research at Harvard Business School who spoke about her new book, The Progress Principle. It offers an insightful peek into the challenge of management and motivation based upon research with 12,000 diary entries provided by 238 employees in 7 companies. For those interested, this downloadable daily diary tool allows you to conduct an autoethnographic inquiry into your own inner work life. For me it inspired new thinking about the impact of culture on corporate innovation efforts, specifically the gap that can exist between what a manager believes an employee needs and what that employee actually needs (and may not even realize).

I was captivated by John Hunter, an educator who uses the World Peace Game to teach fourth grade students about the complexities of world peace. A complex simulation that separates children into four countries and continually bombards them with challenges that are political, economic, cultural, environmental, etc. Without any coaching or intervention from the teacher, the students must try to win the game, e.g. raise the net worth of each country and avoid war. And they do it, over and over and over. Hunter helps these children develop communication and collaboration skills that enable them to resolve conflict, embrace compromise and honor diversity. Who would have thought that 9 year olds are capable of solving the most complex and wicked problems of our day? You can watch his acclaimed TED talk here. I was inspired both as a parent and an innovator about the kinds of facilitative techniques we can use to empower stakeholders to solve complex challenges in ways we may have never imagined possible.

I offered a workshop called Insight Inspired Innovation: How to use research as creative fuel. Attendees came from diverse contexts with varying experiences in research and creative problem solving processes so we had some rich discussions about language and process. The slides from the presentation are below.

 

During the workshop attendees used simulated insights about the organizational challenges of integrating insights into ideation activities to brainstorm new approaches.The key opportunity questions were:

How might we allow people to easily access insights?

How might we enable people to ideate together regardless of time or location?

How might we keep the human touch in communication?

This was, admittedly, a rather recursive activity. They used insights to ideate about ways to help people ideate with insights. My hope was for them to walk away both with new knowledge from the presentation and some new ideas for how to utilize insights creatively. In a little over 10 minutes these 3 groups came up with nearly 100 ideas that they captured on sticky notes. After a quick convergence each group presented their favorites. I’ve culled through all of those sticky notes and pulled out just a few to share (with their permission). If you’re looking to activate research within your organization, you just might find some gems in here.

  • “Opposites attract” idea buddies
  • Have ideation slumber parties, lock-ins, sock hops-
  • Insights become part of my screensaver
  • Live Suzy [a consumer/research participant] for a day
  • Make a bedtime/sleeptime listening CD
  • Ideation cruise
  • Insights suit, makes them personal
  • Insights speed dating
  • Diary rooms
  • Ideation signaled by a “bat signal”
  • Insights karaoke
  • Twitter brainstorm
  • Make a graphic novel of the insights
  • Pay the children to repeat them to their parents

 

Steve’s “The Power of Bad Ideas” published on Core77

Core77 has published my latest column, The Power of Bad Ideas

Bad ideas are not boring, meh proposals. Bad is not the absence of good. These ideas should go beyond provoking “That’s stupid!” to eliciting a much stronger response. Bad ideas might be immoral, dangerous to the user or bad for the business itself. In one session I led, a team proudly showed me their sketches of homeless people packed onto trains and shipped away from the downtown core they were trying to improve. At the time, I reacted to the general lack of humaneness in the idea and saw that as visceral proof point of how they were challenging boundaries. It wasn’t until much much later that I appreciated the horrific evocation of the Holocaust. In this writing, and perhaps in the reading, in the cold pixels of this piece, this feels grotesque. That’s because in reflecting here we are outside the environment of ideation. Within the context of the brainstorm, we have a “safe place” where exploring what’s possible without judgment is crucial.

Check out the full piece on Core77.

Innovation for Introverts

We here at Portigal are diverse practitioners, particularly when it comes to the polarizing spectrum of introversion and extroversion. Many a delicious dinner have been sprinkled with questions about how our preferences impact our practice. Steve, who identifies as more of an introvert, was interviewed by Gerry Gaffney for his User Experience podcast late last year and discussed the context of interviewing as a place where this gets manifested and managed. This topic is not new, but some recent articles remind me how important it is for innovation efforts that we acknowledge the valuable differences between those who draw energy from within and those (like me) who draw energy from the people around them.

The Rise of the New Groupthink [NYtimes] – Collaboration is the new black and, not surprisingly, it is not without its discontents. The author cites a range of studies (and Steve Wozniak as an exemplar) for why uninterrupted alone time is necessary and brainstorming in groups is not as effective as solo ideation. It doesn’t take loads of creativity to cherry-pick studies and successful individuals that support your case, in fact I think that’s called confirmation bias. Most disappointing is the characterization of collaboration as Groupthink which implies assembled individuals are stifled creatively and unable to reach their maximum creative frequency of Flow. Rather than supporting the case that collaboration isn’t worthwhile, I see a need for better communication, alignment, and understanding of diversity by the individuals that make up the group. A gifted facilitator, dedicated to stewarding collaborative creative processes and balancing different ideation styles, may offer a valuable remedy for this divergent diagnosis.

One explanation for these findings is that introverts are comfortable working alone – and solitude is a catalyst to innovation. As the influential psychologist Hans Eysenck observed, introversion fosters creativity by “concentrating the mind on the tasks in hand, and preventing the dissipation of energy on social and sexual matters unrelated to work.” In other words, a person sitting quietly under a tree in the backyard, while everyone else is clinking glasses on the patio, is more likely to have an apple land on his head. (Newton was one of the world’s great introverts: William Wordsworth described him as “A mind for ever/ Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.”)

Woz on Creativity: Work Alone [brainpickings] – My favorite source of cognitive candy offered a lovely, gentle rebuttal to the above article. It suggests, as do I, that creativity benefits from collaboration because fantastic things happen when ideas bang against each other. Neuroscientists tell us that new ideas are born of cognitive dissonance (when the brain struggles to hold two seemingly contrary concepts in the mind at the same time). This process has various monickers (forced connections, ideas having sex). In my experience it is guaranteed to produce innovative thinking and often works best when those two dissimilar ideas come from different people.

This, of course, should be ingested with caution – when taken out of context, it could easily become a distorted extreme. As Steven Johnson argues in Where Good Ideas Come From, innovation happens when ideas collide with one another, which can’t happen in isolation – an environment conducive to such collisions is essential for combinatorial creativity.

Federal Buzz: Does the government need more extroverts? [The Washington Post] – If you don’t have time for an in-depth study of the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) then this article offers a quick little lesson in some key distinctions between introverts and extroverts, as well as why there can be confusion and cases of mistaken identities. The article is a response to the argument that the government must hire more extroverts if it has any hope of fostering innovation. Plenty of voices chime in to dispel myths of introversion vs. extroversion and illuminate the challenges of employee retention within a work culture that neither nurtures nor rewards innovative contributions.

Several [introverts] also professed to being mistaken for extroverts because any personality type can exhibit the qualities of a good leader. Explained Kenneth Wells, an employee with the Navy, “I have been in positions where I had to act like an extrovert and make decisions quickly and decisively. Just remember that person who you think is an extrovert may be an introvert. All he or she wants is to get the job done, and then spend a little alone time to recharge and work on the next assignment.”

Stockholm’s School Without Classrooms [Architizer] – The Swedish Free School Organization Vittra is innovating the learning landscape with a new school designed to inspire creativity and community. The interior architecture is reminiscent of design studios (which are criticized in the above Groupthink article for lacking personal spaces). I, for one, drool at the thought of my son getting to attend a school designed to promote openness and interaction. Of course, my son is an extrovert like me so he would likely flourish in a school without walls. How is this kind of open environment experienced by a more introverted child? How do the teachers nurture and honor diverse creative kids in this context? I acknowledge my own confirmation bias here in suggesting that the teacher-as-facilitator seems like a viable anecdote for ensuring the students learn to stretch and shine, both alone and together.

The principles of the Vittra School revolve around the breakdown of physical and metaphorical class divisions as a fundamental step to promoting intellectual curiosity, self-confidence, and communally responsible behavior. Therefore, in Vittra’s custom-built Stockholm location, spaces are only loosely defined by permeable borders and large, abstract landmarks. As the architects explained, “instead of classical divisions with chairs and tables, a giant iceberg for example serves as cinema, platform, and room for relaxation, and sets the frame for many different types of learning,” while “flexible laboratories make it possible to work hands-on with themes and projects.”

Next week – Steve’s webinar on synthesizing user research data

I’ll be presenting my webinar User Research Analysis: You’ve Done All This Research, Now What on Thursday, April 7. This webinar is based on a workshop that I’ve led in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Portland, Vancouver, and San Francisco, among other many other places. I’m always hearing from people who are interested but who aren’t in those cities at those times, but with a webinar, anyone anywhere can participate. I’ve adapted the workshop to suit the webinar format and added a bunch of new content based on what I’ve observed working (or not working) in the workshops, not to mention some of the latest techniques we’re using in our work.

Use the promotion code PORTIGAL when you register and get free lifetime access to the webinar that you can share with everyone in your organization. (A $40 value.) If you can’t make the webinar when it happens (time zone challenges? conflicting meetings?) you can use this code when register and watch it later at your convenience.

Check out a quick preview, below

Also available: last year’s UIE Virtual Seminar on Deep Dive Interviewing Techniques.

Sign up for Steve’s upcoming webinar on User Research Analysis Techniques

On April 7, I’ll be presenting a UIE Virtual Seminar called User Research Analysis Techniques: You’ve Done All This Research, Now What?. Sign up here!

Steve will explain synthesis, or how you turn field data into insights. Simply put, Synthesis is an iterative approach to sense-making. Steve will show you that it’s about both the experience you have as a researcher gathering that data AND the rigor of processing that data. You’ll learn the steps and types of output and deliverables that we produce as we go through the process.

Steve will help you explore ideation, where turning insights into solutions actually happens. Here’s where your hard work pays off! Ideation is about creating a wide-range of possible solutions across a wider set of areas than you can act on.

Oh, and if there’s really no such thing as a bad idea, how do you benefit from the ones that feel like they are? Steve will show you the power of “bad ideas ” and how they help you get unstuck.

Check out a quick preview, below

Also available: last year’s UIE Virtual Seminar on Deep Dive Interviewing Techniques.

Recap of Steve and Julie’s URF10 synthesis workshop

Our friends at Bolt | Peters hosted their (mostly) annual User Research Friday event last week, bringing together practitioners from the client-side as well as consultants to share stories and discuss best practices. Some of our takeaways from the day are here.

The day before the conference, Steve and Julie co-led a sold-out workshop titled “We’ve Done All This Research- Now What?” for a group of 20 enthusiastic researchers and designers.


Julie and Steve in action

The purpose of the workshop was to practice the process of moving from the data and observations we gather in fieldwork toward opportunities and ultimately to ideas.

We framed this as a research project to inform a neighborhood redevelopment/gentrification effort. Before the workshop, participants first wandered their own neighborhoods…


Thanks to Nick Leggett from Zazz for this aerial shot from their Seattle offices


Noe Valley scene (a San Francisco neighborhood) captured by Julie

…and then when we got together, they the explored neighborhood surrounding Bolt | Peters for more data.


This machine shop just down the street from Bolt | Peters has been there for decades


6th street buzzes, about two blocks from the conference

Break-out groups took the synthesis tasks to heart and, in a very short period of time, collaboratively surfaced promising opportunities and strategies and solutions to address them.

We were humbled by the gentle empathy and creativity of the folks in the room. The morning served as an inspiring reminder of just how much progress a handful of smart, dedicated people can make on seemingly-intractable problems in a very short period of time.

More amazing photos, observations, output, and thoughtful commentary can be seen on the blog we created for the workshop.

The workshop slides are below.

See previously: Steve Portigal’s presentation from User Research Friday 2008

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] ThatsMyFace.com – [Technology continues to trickle down, where image processing and digital printing previously associated with movie special effects and commercial printing now enable little businesses to crop up, offering fairly unique types of products] Gifts with personalized faces, including custom action figures, celebrity action figures, 3D portraits, masks, jewelry, papercraft, and ornamental heads.
  • [from steve_portigal] How to Have an Idea [Frank Chimero] – [A little comic that amuses as it inspires and teaches, suggesting that creativity is tied to doing, not just thinking or (gulp) talking. Manifests so adroitly while we believe user research really comes alive when you use it to start generating concepts for things to make and do] No one crumples a blank sheet of paper.
  • [from steve_portigal] The Medium – E-Readers Collective [NYTimes.com] – [A Kindle feature takes advantage of the inherently digital nature of the medium, but has consequences for the experience] But many writers don’t write aphoristically, and many readers don’t read for aphorisms. In a popularly highlighted world, we all may begin to. The dotted line, like the distinctive hue or underscore that signals a word is clickable on the Web, may be a new kind of punctuation that affects contemporary style. (Amazon's most heavily highlighted books include Gladwell’s “Outliers” and Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture”) Readers coming to e-books freshly purchased from Amazon might be taken aback to find them already marked up. Stumbling on a passage that other people care about, framed as though you should care about it too, can seem like a violation of virgin text. It’s bad enough that vandals have gotten to your “new” edition before you have and added emphases unendorsed by author or publisher. What’s worse is that they invariably choose the most Polonius-like passages.

Steve speaking at User Experience Hong Kong

I’m thrilled to be invited to speak at the first User Experience Hong Kong, taking place next February. Organized by my good friends at Apogee, the event also features a number of super smart (and super nice!) folks: Steve Baty, Janna DeVylder, Rachel Hinman, and Gerry Gaffney.

I’ll be leading a workshop entitled “Well, we’ve done all this research, now what?”

One of the most persistent factors limiting the impact of user research in business is that projects often stop with a cataloging findings and implications rather than generating opportunities that directly enable the findings. As designers increasingly become involved in using contextual research to inform their design work, they may find themselves holding onto a trove of raw data but with little awareness of how to turn it into design. How can designers and researchers work with user research data to create new things for business to do?

Almost related: Pictures from my last Hong Kong trip (2006)

From Pain Points to Opportunity Areas

The subtle difference between a knob and a lever.

An unexpected interaction with a familiar object.

At a restaurant in San Mateo, the knob from a stove replaces the toilet flush lever. Each of us who use the toilet that evening come back to the table struck by what an unexpectedly pleasant experience it is to turn the knob.

As a researcher or designer, you are not going get to this surprisingly delightful interaction if you constrain your thinking around the idea of pain points – i.e. what is not working for people. Of course no one is going to buy your company’s toilet if it leaks or doesn’t flush – products need to perform their primary functions reasonably well – and as part of an exploration of user experience it’s necessary to find out whether this is indeed the case. But if you are laser-focused on the question “What’s not working for you?” you’ll miss all sorts of opportunities.

In our research engagements we like to include discussion with people about the things in their lives that are working really well for them – inside and outside the focus areas of the project. By figuring out what’s at the heart of these interactions, we might learn, for example, something about the way a service works that we can apply to the development of a product. Or a person might say “I just love the way the big chunky knobs on my Viking stove feel.” And it might be the transposition of this small finding in an ideation session that helps our client go on and create innovative toilets.

We encourage our clients to move from focusing on pain points to thinking about Opportunity Areas. We use what we learn out in the field to point them in promising directions, with a focus on asking “How can we __________ ?”

With a name like Murder, it’s got to be good…

Business strategist Nilofer Merchant presented her branded “MurderBoarding” process at the IxDA SF monthly meeting last night.

While brainstorming generates lots of ideas, you still have to discern the right choices to win. AND you have to get a group of people to believe that IT is the right solution.

The opposite of whiteboarding, the MurderBoarding™ decision process ensures teams creatively generate many potential options before “killing off” options one-by-one until there is single best solution for a specific organization and situation.

Merchant is certainly right that companies often have as much difficulty dealing with the aftermath of idea generation – What do we do now? – as the divergent exploration itself. There’s no question that for many organizations, moving forward from idea generation in a grounded way is a challenge, and it’s great that Merchant has structured a process for establishing decision-making criteria and prioritizing ideas for development. We’ve had to create this type of process too, and have increasingly been working with our clients from research through ideation to evaluating and prioritizing ideation results through the lens of what we’ve helped them learn about their customers.

Merchant’s book, The New How, just came out a month ago, and it’s quite possible that her presentation was intended to serve as a teaser for the book, rather than a standalone piece, but at the conclusion of the talk I felt like I was still waiting for it to start – for me, there was a bit of the “no there, there” feeling to it.

When a process comes along with a provocative new name like MurderBoarding, it can be both affirming and disappointing to find out it’s more or less in line with what you’ve already been doing.

It’s a bit like looking at the ingredients list on your sports drink and realizing that “Electrolytes” are just salt.

If you’d like to know more about our approach to generating ideas (if not murdering them), check out Steve’s BayCHI presentation, Well We Did All This Research…now what?, or catch it live at the Interaction10 conference next month in Savannah.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • FedEx Launches SenseAware, a device/service with GPS (and other) sensors – While FedEx does a poor job of describing in the blog post (watch the video instead), this is a brilliant addition to their existing offering: a sensor that customers (initially ultra-high-end shippers like organs – the body part kind) drop into their package to provide status data (including location, temperature, light, etc.) online via the cell network. If their current tracking data isn't sufficient, here's a premium version (at premium prices: $120/month). Mostly, though, I love the expansion of the FedEx offering in a consistent but novel way.
    (via BoingBoing)

Reading Ahead: Design Challenge Winners

Reading ahead logo with space above

Our work is about understanding and acting, so our engagements typically include workshops where we facilitate client teams in using our research findings to generate concepts and start prioritizing ideas for further development.

For our self-funded Reading Ahead project, we had no client, so we took this action step by partnering with Industrial Design Supersite Core77 to put our research findings out to the global design community as the basis for a 1-Hour Design Challenge.

We worked with the Core77 team to review all the contest submissions received over the last month, and today are pleased to announce the contest winners.



(via Core77)

The latest 1 Hour Design Challenge, The Future of Digital Reading was based on Portigal Consulting’s Reading Ahead initiative-recent research around books, reading, behavior, and technology. There was great interest in this competition-it’s a hot topic these days of course, with introductions of new e-readers and a constant stream of “end-of-print” articles-and we had tremendous participation from design schools, individuals, and professional design firms.

The research provided for this design challenge was infused with stories about real people, so entries that referenced people and their habits were the most successful. Indeed, entries that embraced story-telling as a way to get their concepts across were much more compelling than those which simply presented a comprehensive list of features. (Yes, we get that the future is OLED displays!) It was daunting to see the number of submissions that were essentially a Kindle with feature statements that did away with the acknowledged limitations, so entries that ran the other way had a good chance of standing out. Still, there was great design thinking here, and a ton of design innovation here, and we were thrilled to see people (and teams) digging deep into the research and trying to refract it through the lens of artifact and experience.

This 1 Hour Design Challenge was a tough one to jury, but here (in suspenseful order…the Winner’s at the end) are the judges’ selections and comments. Congratulations to the Winner and Notables, and thanks to everyone who participated! Portigal Consulting and Core77 will each be donating $300, in the name of the prize winner, to 826 Valencia (a nonprofit that helps kids with expository and creative writing, and San Francisco’s only independent pirate supply store). 826 Valencia will put together a celebratory gift bag (i.e., pirate booty!) to honor the winner.

And now for the results:

Notable: The PaperBack
Design: Stephanie Aaron, Kristin Grafe & Eric St. Onge (SVA MFA in Interaction Design, Class of 2011)
1hdc-1

The PaperBack provided several nice design solutions in one package. We were charmed with the notion of displaying the cover of the book on the back side of the device for others to see (of course, we’d expect a “hide cover” option in the preferences!), and the flip-the-book-over action to turn the page is something we liked from a couple of the entries. The user’s ability to customize the form factor to modify the book-from paperback to novel-was a great start, but we felt that it perhaps didn’t go far enough. Maybe combining this with the next Notable entry, “The Page,” would make for the killer concept.


Notable: The Page: Adaptive Delivery Device
Design: Manny Darden, Jae Yeop Kim & Scott Liao (Graduate Candidates, Media Design Program, Art Center College of Design)
1hdc-2

It was irresistible to conflate “The PaperBack” device above with this concept, taking the form factor all the way to a newspaper-scale object. And self-supporting no less! The Page embraces some of the graphic conventions we’ve grown to love (in this case The New York Times) but then brings some live navigation and hand gestures into the mix. The photographs make for a compelling presentation, and again, made us dream about a device that folds all the way from a paperback out to a newspaper. Utopian? You bet.


Notable: Gutenberg
Design: Cameron Nielsen
1hdc-3
Cameron’s Gutenberg Local/Global Bookmaker considered a novel solution (pun intended): at-home book-making. Companies like Blurb have sprung up to address this as a service, but could print-on-demand happen in the home? We have the technology to print paper, but we don’t have the ability to make actual books. Provocative, with a sweet rendering, this entry made us think about revisiting a low-tech artifact rather than running immediately to an e-reader device.


Notable: Flipit
Design: Jdouble
1hdc-4

While the thrust of Jdouble’s flipit is (gulp) a Kindle with a different (and better UI), the brilliant innovation was the Tamagotchi-like feature: As the user reads more, the device gives positive feedback (in this case, a facial expression). The design research identified how social the act of reading can truly be, so it was a nice touch that the designer considered how the device itself could participate in the social behavior (a theory that is well supported by the work by Nass and Reeves at Stanford).


Notable: Booklight
Design: Kicker Studios
1hdc-5

Kicker’s Booklight rethinks where the digital data is. The classic solution for an e-book is that the data resides inside the device and comes to us up through a screen. The Booklight form factor, in contrast, is an embodiment of their rethinking: the content is projected down onto any blank book, decoupling the content from the presentation of the content. The Booklight lets the user select the size, heft, and feel of the surface they want to read on, giving back the tactility of the bound book many have grown to love. We were also amused to note that Kicker, known for phrases like “Tap is the New Click,” didn’t fall into the touchscreen swipe-to-turn-the-page interaction ubiquitous in the other submissions. Such restraint!


Notable: Mocks
Design: Stacey Greenebaum
1hdc-6

Stacey Greenebaum’s Mocks doesn’t try to solve everything; it takes one piece of the ecosystem and offers a provocative solution. People need to display their identity through their books, but as books move from atoms to bits, why not have a product that simply displays book titles in the home? The question of whether those titles represent actual or aspirational reading strips the identity issue down to its core: in that social moment at least, it’s not about the content.


WINNER: SuperFlyer 5000
Design: Hot Studio

Hot-Studio-superflyer-1

And, we have a winner! Hot Studio and Friends, with their concept for shared living room reading, takes the grand prize. There was a serious case of kitchen-sinkism on this (massive entry), but perhaps this was understandable given the large team they convened for the effort. While life in the living room is increasingly fragmented across devices, and media content keeps upping the hyper in order to grab some fraction of our attention span, Hot has a big idea a la Slow Food: bringing reading back into the media room so people can spend time together…with books. This concept reconsiders the entire reading gesture, going from hand-held/one foot away, to hands-free/10 feet away. Research participants told us that they saw books as a respite from their over-connected, screen-based lifestyles; here’s an application of those digital technologies that has the potential to engage people with reading in a new way.

The team also deserves special mention for the quality of their effort. They illustrate their solutions in a variety of ways, showing the power of quick-and-dirty paper and Photoshop prototyping.

1hdc-7

In bringing people together to create and inspire each other, they’ve generated a best-in-class artifact that reveals great process, uses scenarios based on research participants, and a demonstration of how humor can help sell an idea. Hot Studio modeled how it really should be done. Kudos!

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Pictorial Highlights of IDSA Project Infusion – Without really getting into the content at all, a visual review of the trip to Miami Beach.
  • Project 10 to the 100 – Google crowd-sourced 150,000 "ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible." They've boiled then down to 16 'Big Ideas' and now are going to decide (they are taking votes but it doesn't seem that is the actual decision mechanism) which one to fund. But the process looks random, the results appear ill-defined, and the next steps are murky. I'm not harshing on Google here; this is the process we see in most engagements, moving from insights to opportunities to actual next steps. It's very challenging to do what. Google has done here and make this a public-facing activity, without the benefit of people sitting together in a room developing a shared understanding. We also don't have as much of a stake in what Google does as we would in our own business; we're the public, not members of the team.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • One Hour Design Challenge: The Trapper Kindle – Core77 – A much better post on what makes the Trapper-Kindle such a great response to the Reading Ahead research. Nice concepting and nice storytelling, all!
  • An error from a previous edition has been corrected – A rather aspirational piece on the power of digital books to support corrections after publication. Although we've got this with news already and the argument presented about the amount of fact-checking doesn't seem to be relevant – even if you have the ability to post new corrections technically doesn't mean you have the human resource to find those corrections.
  • Core-Toons: The Trapper-Kindle – While intended as humor, this is also the sort of design concepts we love, as they take an observation, or an insight about people and visualize a solution. We asked Core77's community to make the book more sensual, and here's a great example! Looking forward to more great design ideas for Reading Ahead!

Reading Ahead: Core77 1-Hour Design Challenge

Reading ahead logo with space above

In our engagements with clients, we don’t stop with research reports. To help make our work actionable, we typically facilitate a workshop where we help our client teams flesh out opportunity areas into a broad set of product, service, and other concepts. Then they prioritize those based upon some relevant criteria, and move forward into further research, design, and development into something launchable. There’s no Reading Ahead client, but we’re moving forward with a element of this process through our collaboration with Core77 to stage a 1 Hour Design Challenge on The Future of Digital Reading

1hdc

We are asking designers to create a rich future digital reading experience, but making sure that the designs link back to our research findings. Here’s the pitch:

Of course, we encourage you to check out the full presentation of findings, but we’ve also boiled it down these highlights:

Portigal Consulting and Core77 will each be donating $300, in the name of the prize winner, to 826 Valencia (a nonprofit that helps kids with expository and creative writing, and San Francisco’s only independent pirate supply store). 826 Valencia will put together a celebratory gift bag (i.e., pirate booty!) to honor the winner. Results will be posted here and at Core77.

For more information about how and what to enter, check out One Hour+ Design Challenge: The Future of Digital Reading at Core77.

Also, we’ll be presenting will be presenting Reading Ahead: Considering The Book’s Future in the iPod Era at the UC Berkeley Center for New Media Design Futures series on September 30.

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