Why call it Service Design?

Designing Designers
Feb 14, 2014

I don’t get why it’s called Service Design?

Especially when Service Design also considers products and systems in a 3-pronged holistic ecosystem? Or don’t they?

If so, why not call it Product design or System Design? Both disciplines do consider the other two.

So designers in Service Design are called Service Designers.

So do they provide design services, or they design services? Shall I get into what Product Designers or System Designers do?

Haha. We designers like to make our lives difficult, don’t we?

How Creativity Works

If you cannot see this video, click on: How creativity works – The sense making sessions.

It’s not hard to come up with something new. It’s hard to come up with something new that people want.

I think that is kind of the separation point between having lots of ideas or creating lots of stuff, and just having maybe one thing that really resonates with people that they have that Ah-Ha moment when they see it.

~ James Carnes, Global Creative Director, Senior Vice President of Design at Adidas.

What a great discussion! I particularly like how it was not the usual boring discussion on creativity, for example techniques on coming up with great ideas, but a more controlled application of creativity that is validated with customer insights.

Do enjoy this video with a cup of coffee and look out for a bunch of other really great quotes by James such as:

There is an expectation of the event itself (i.e. brainstorming workshops) will inspire greatness…actually it is the hard work (i.e. user research) before, the uncovering of things that have not been uncovered. Again it might be the obvious things, things that we have been ignoring, or really deep insights…

The big breakthrough moments aren’t things that just happen, they are actually things that have been building up.

If you listen to consumers and what they say, and you are a slave to what they tell you…you will never get beyond what they are not saying…

Indeed, as James says, the act of creativity is piecing together these unrelated moments into something amazing. This is why I do what I do. When this moment happens I can feel my adrenaline running through my veins. How about you?

Hat tip: Alberto Bissacco

Beyond Design : Explorations Towards a New Practice of Design

brian-ling-workshop1104-01-small

I thought you might like to know that I’ve been invited by my friends at the Shih Chien University Industrial Design Department to conduct a workshop to explore the future of the Design Practice and the Practice of Design.

Participants will understand and explore the changing roles of design and designers as a result of evolving industry trends and consumer needs. Central to our workshop discussions will be the function of Design Leadership and Design Research. I also think it will also be an interesting take on the application and evolution of Design Thinking from a Designers point of view. Have designers found a comfort zone with Design Thinking? Can designers better facilitate meaningful conversations? I’m really looking forward to this discussion!

Beyond Design is a 5-day workshop that will run in 2 phases. Phase 1 is from the 14 to 15 November 2013, and Phase 2 will run on the 8 to 10th of January 2014. Unfortunately it is by invite only, but I’ll see if the findings can be published soon.

If You Could Control Someone’s Attention, What Would You Do With It?

Designing Designers
Sep 17, 2013

Apollo Robbins, in wonderful TED talk, shares his observations on how people’s attention can shape reality. He talks about how a human’s brain when asked to process data (perhaps in the past) will not be able process data in the present. He does a much better job explaining this concept than I, so check out the video below.


Can’t see the video? Check it out here.

So how can we use this insight to design messages or messaging to control and capture people’s attention?

Creativity is about Self-Confidence

Heidi Grant Halvorson shares on Behance’s 99U that being in a position of power will allow you to be more creative.

Being in a position of power certainly changes you – not necessarily in an evil way, but research shows there is a definite shift in how you perceive the world around you when you’re the one in the driver’s seat. You think in a more abstract, big-picture way. You become more optimistic, more comfortable with risk, and more open to new possibilities.

In fact, a series of studies by psychologists Cameron Anderson and Adam Galinsky showed that when people felt powerful, they preferred riskier business plans with bigger potential rewards to more conservative plans, divulged more information, were more trusting during negotiations, chose to “hit” more often during a game of blackjack, and were even more likely to engage in unprotected sex during a one-night stand.

Well ok…

It sounds like being powerful equals to more creativity, and if you read further on in the article, it says that being powerful but feeling powerless reduces creativity.

To a certain extent you can equate creativity with risk-taking behaviour, but not always so. I know of design entrepreneurs who produce very creative work, but are very conservative business people. Furthermore, being in a position of power does not mean that you have to be a CEO or a head of an Agency (as suggested in the article), it could also be a small player with a unique selling proposition, skill, or design strength.

Therefore a more accurate description in this article should be: by being in position of power, you achieve a higher level of self-confidence that becomes a strong driver for creativity.

Via: 99u

What is the Problem with Digital Design?

Tucker Marion, Sebastian Fixson and Marc H. Meyer, writes a wonderful piece for the MIT Sloan Management Review on the challenges of Digital Design without good Design Management. Here is an excerpt:

So, what’s the problem? There are potentially two. First, because the technology makes the work look complete at every step in the process, it can create a false sense of security. There can be a tendency to move on to the next stage in the process before teams have taken the time to deeply learn user needs, construct alternative solutions and vet both of these. In other words, the “fuzzy front end” of the design process may be cut short — to the company’s long-term disadvantage. This is, we believe, one of the major reasons product failure and success rates have changed little over the past several decades.

Second, the very ease with which designs can be digitally drafted and prototyped might afford engineers the opportunity to “try it again and then, again and again.” In other words, the final design process can remain fluid longer than is useful. The ability to quickly iterate designs can lead to a spiraling effect, chewing up time and labor expense and effectively mitigating the benefits of digital design itself. Research has shown that these “virtual design rounds” can account for 75% of total project development costs, and they can delay project completion. For example, Airbus suffered severe delays in the development of its new A380 due to issues with CAD revisions

While this is something I have observed anecdotally in my years in the industry, the authors have backed it up with some good research. The reality is that engineers and designers should NOT be designing in CAD. Period. The only time someone should get into CAD is when the design direction is finalized and you need a dimensionally resolve a design.

The challenge going forward is that CAD is getting really easy to use these days. So the problem becomes an issue of process and as the authors say an over emphasis on CAD leads to team shortchanging “…valuable activities such as extensive user research, intensive parallel concept development, and deeper systems and architecture design as part of the front end of development.”

This fuzzy up-front work should be kept fuzzy. However if CAD is brought in too early in the process, things look too complete. Especially when you throw V-Ray into the mix. Furthermore, you do not want a client to latch on to an idea early in the process, especially if you don’t really know if it is going to work of if the inside is not even shelled!

The author’s second insight on the repeated iteration problem is an interesting one. In many ways it feeds into a designer’s creation engine and his or her passion for perfection. A designer could spend a whole bunch of time tweaking radius and curves just to ensure it’s “right”. Again this supports the notion to stay out of CAD until the design is done.

Another way to look at it is that, if you find yourself tinkering around a design, it is time to step away from the computer and either get back to sketching or making foam models.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not have anything against CAD. I would even consider myself an expert in Rhino and have also been extensively trained in advance surface modeling in Pro-E. But just like a pencil, CAD is a tool and we should be very aware of what it can do and it’s limitations (which are often difficult to see).

Anyways check out the rest of the article, as it has some great real-world examples. Enjoy!

The Cult of Done Manifesto

Designing Designers
Sep 02, 2012


Click the image for a larger one!

The Cult of Done Manifesto is perfect for any creative, but procrastination prone, mind. The meaning of the images is as follows:


The Cult of Done Manifesto

1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.

2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.

3. There is no editing stage.

4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know
what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.

5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.

6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.

7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.

8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.

9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.

10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.

11. Destruction is a variant of done.

12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.

13. Done is the engine of more.

I love number 10. How about you?

Via: Bre Pettis

David Ogilvy says He is a Lousy Copywriter

Everyone knows who David Ogilvy is.

He is probably one of the worlds greatest “ad men” and the likely inspiration to Mad Men. In 1948, David started Ogilvy & Mather, an advertising agency responsible for some of the world’s most iconic ad campaigns such as Dove beauty products featuring real women, and American Express’ “Don’t Leave Home without it”. However, not many people know that he is a lousy copywriter, at least, not in the traditional sense.

In a response to a fan letter on how to be a better copywriter, David insists that he is actually a lousy one and writes:

April 19, 1955

Dear Mr. Calt:

On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:

1. I have never written an advertisement in the office. Too many interruptions. I do all my writing at home.

2. I spend a long time studying the precedents. I look at every advertisement which has appeared for competing products during the past 20 years.

3. I am helpless without research material—and the more “motivational” the better.

4. I write out a definition of the problem and a statement of the purpose which I wish the campaign to achieve. Then I go no further until the statement and its principles have been accepted by the client.

5. Before actually writing the copy, I write down every concievable fact and selling idea. Then I get them organized and relate them to research and the copy platform.

6. Then I write the headline. As a matter of fact I try to write 20 alternative headlines for every advertisement. And I never select the final headline without asking the opinion of other people in the agency. In some cases I seek the help of the research department and get them to do a split-run on a battery of headlines.

7. At this point I can no longer postpone the actual copy. So I go home and sit down at my desk. I find myself entirely without ideas. I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into the room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)

8. I am terrified of producing a lousy advertisement. This causes me to throw away the first 20 attempts.

9. If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy.

10. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush.

11. Then I take the train to New York and my secretary types a draft. (I cannot type, which is very inconvenient.)

12. I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor. So I go to work editing my own draft. After four or five editings, it looks good enough to show to the client. If the client changes the copy, I get angry—because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.

Altogether it is a slow and laborious business. I understand that some copywriters have much greater facility.

Yours sincerely,

D.O.

What is really fascinating is that this “lousy” process is, as we know now, a recipe for creativity. Enjoy.

Via: Letters of Note.

Hyperfocus

Designing Designers
May 14, 2012

A little change of pace in today’s blog post. I can really relate, as I’m sure you can, to this cartoon by N.C. Winters for Freelance Switch. It does on occasion happen to me, but it gets more frequent when I’m mulling over a serious problem. How about you dear reader?

Enjoy!

Via: Freelance Switch.

The Journey to Becoming a Designer is Never Easy

Designing Designers
Apr 19, 2012

Design Juices recently published an interview with Michael DiTullo, a designer I greatly respect, where he shares his insights and challenges he faced to get to where he is today, namely a Creative Director at Frog. (Actually it seems he is now the Chief Design Officer at DEI Holdings, Inc. Congrats Michael!)

I fully relate to the stories he shared, and it seems almost every successful designer I’ve spoken too have made a similar journey. Indeed the journey of becoming a designer is never easy, and I’m glad that Michael was so open and candid especially the part about his struggling to land his first job.

In the interview, Michael also drops some amazing words of wisdom and I’ll share a few here:

Society influences all of us to adopt to the consensus of the tribe. This is a survival instinct which has served us well as a species, but innovation has always come from the fringes of a few rebels. There are two types of people who challenge the accepted behaviors of the tribe, destructive rebels, and constructive rebels. Destructive rebels tend to be cast out from the group, but constructive rebels tend to alter the nature of the tribe itself. If you are going to be a constructive rebel, you have to explain your intentions well so the group can understand and adapt.

A great insight in the building blocks of what makes a successful designers.

“Design is not an academic activity, nor is it an act of democracy. Design is a positive reaction to dissatisfaction.”

How many companies get it so wrong when they design by committee?

Designer is not a title, it is a type of person. It isn’t something I do, or even live, it is who I am, as a definition of self. I have no distinction between work and play, what I do for a client and what I do for the culture of design, it all comes from the same place. Cut me and I bleed in Pantone.

You have to live and breath design, just loving design these days is not enough.

…a bad design is a bad design no matter if it is sketched, modeled, or rendered in CAD. Never confuse a tool for a result, invention for innovation, or a process with a product. The goal is get great design into the hands of people and to love what you are making along the way!

I always say, you need to distinguish between good content and good presentation.

Thanks for sharing Michael, and what a great article for anyone who is interested to see and learn what it takes to be a successful designer. Head on over to Design Juices for the full interview.