Posts tagged “user centered”

Duty now for the future

Artpiece made of clocks, Chicago MOMA

This list of 10 workplace skills of the future is going around the various ‘Scapes and ‘Spheres (it came to me on Twitter via Chris23). Without getting into whether the list is entirely correct or comprehensive, I think it’s incredibly thought-provoking.

For anyone involved in designing products–especially work environments and tools–it will be crucial to explore people’s daily lives and see what’s really happening: how these types of shifts are manifesting behaviorally and emotionally, and what new opportunities are being created as a result.

10 Workplace Skills of the Future
(From Bob Johansen’s book, Leaders Make the Future. Originally posted by Tessa Finlev in The Future Now blog.)

Ping Quotient
Excellent responsiveness to other people’s requests for engagement; strong propensity and ability to reach out to others in a network

Seeing a much bigger picture; thinking in terms of higher level systems, bigger networks, longer cycles

Open Authorship
Creating content for public modification; the ability to work with massively multiple contributors

Cooperation Radar
The ability to sense, almost intuitively, who would make the best collaborators on a particular task or mission

Fluency in working and trading simultaneously with different hybrid capitals, e.g., natural, intellectual, social, financial, virtual

The ability to do real-time work in very large groups; a talent for coordinating with many people simultaneously; extreme-scale collaboration

Fearless innovation in rapid, iterative cycles; the ability to lower the costs and increase the speed of failure

Knowing how to be persuasive and tell compelling stories in multiple social media spaces (each space requires a different persuasive strategy and technique)

Signal/Noise Management
Filtering meaningful info, patterns, and commonalities from the massively-multiple streams of data and advice


The ability to prepare for and handle surprising results and complexity that come with coordination, cooperation and collaboration on extreme scales

Design and Research had a baby and they called it . . .

Sketches for “Personal Greenhouse” ¬©2007 Dan Soltzberg

Debbie Millman and Mike Bainbridge have posted their article, Design Meets Research, over at Gain: AIGA Journal of Design & Business. The piece provides a quick overview of various tools in the research toolbox, calls out their particular strengths and drawbacks, and makes the point that picking the right tool for the job and using it well are paramount.

Here are a couple of quotes from the article and some of my thoughts in response:

There are a wide variety of research techniques that can have merit for designers. . . There is not, repeat not, one correct way to test design.

I see research very much as a generative tool as well as an evaluative one, and have started to question whether the concept of a border between research and design is really accurate or productive. At the front end of the design process, research is a way of surfacing opportunities and generating ideas. At later stages, it’s a way of refining and validating these ideas as they become concepts and prototypes. In this way, research is a design tool in the same way that drawing is a design tool, except that at the center of the mechanism is the customer/user.

When used correctly, research shouldn’t stifle creativity but rather offer designers stronger inspiration and focus.

By taking a facilitative, collaborative approach to working with companies and design teams, research and research findings can be integrated into the design process in ways that enhance rather than stifle creativity. Keeping the customer/user and their needs prominent throughout the design process needn’t be limiting–having clear goals and constraints ultimately makes a design problem more interesting and leads to better, more elegant solutions.

And better, more elegant solutions are, after all, the end game here.

More PR masquerading as customer-centricity

Back in May we told you about McDonald’s setting up a ludicrous Global Moms Panel and today here’s KFC doing the same thing.

KFC today announced the formation of its KFC Moms Matter! Advisory Board. Moms from all walks of life and different parts of the country will join a group of mothers employed by KFC on the new Advisory Board. The group will help KFC harness the experience that motherhood provides, and channel that knowledge into ways to better meet moms’ needs.

Julienne Smith, founder and author of “Food For Talk,” a recipe box of conversation starters that promote family bonding, will join the Advisory Board as an expert contributor.

“As a mom and author, I know from experience that families are starved for quality time,” says Smith, who describes herself as a “professional mom.” “Meals are a great occasion to reconnect and who better than KFC to bring us all to the table to talk about ways to make that time mean even more.”

The Advisory Board will meet in person bi-annually, hold quarterly conference calls and host monthly dinner meetings in their hometowns to gain information and advise KFC on everything from trends that affect families to new product ideas. Its first task will be to work closely with the company to establish a user-friendly, online community aimed at reducing everyday stress for moms. In development over the next year, the online community will roll- out nationally for all moms to share in 2007. Moms will be able to use the site to receive tips, participate in webcasts, win weekly drawings and contribute to an e-newsletter.

This sounds a little better than McDonald’s version, which focused on superstar overachieving Olympian moms and had little to say about what the results would be. But it also seems that KFC has already figured out what they will be launching, so is this a usability panel? And do we trust this company when they tried to convince us in 2003 that we’d lose weight by eating their food?


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