Next to the Skin Technology Showcase: The Process



As you may know from our last post, we worked with ETPL (the technology transfer arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore) to develop 10 wearable prototypes for the Next to the Skin Technology Showcase.

What was notable in this program was not just the 10 meaningful wearable solutions, it was also how design was integrated as a strategic activity in the formation of the program, the way it was run, and the value the program offered the business.


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We kicked off this Design Led Innovation program with a 3-day Design Thinking Boot Camp where teams of investors, designers, engineers, scientists, technologists and commercialization people got together to create a shared vision of what the future of Wearables could be.

A_STAR Workshop Observation Card

We also got the scientists out of their lab and into the field to observe or speak to humans doing what they do best. We gave the participants one of our Design Thinking Tools, the Observation Card, and showed them how to be amateur ethnographers for a week.


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Through this ethnographic activity, we manage to get the scientists and technologists in our teams to shift their thinking from one that is technology driven, to one that is user centered and focused on how their customers would experience the benefits of their technology.


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After that, it was a design implementation activity where we worked with the core team, the scientists, and external industry experts to fine-tune the design of the 10 wearable propositions. It was a fully iterative process filled with mad scurrying and sleepless nights. Luckily we had Apples and chips to keep us sane!

Anyways, this short video pretty much documents the process of how we did it. Do have a look and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below?



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

Stay tuned to our website for the full case study where we will be showcasing the complete project and the deliverables soon.

Next to the Skin : 8 Weeks, 10 Wearable Concept Designs and Everything Else in Between!


Next to the skin-final


I’m super excited to share that tomorrow marks the launch of one of the biggest projects we have led and worked on to date. In partnership with ETPL, we brought to life The Next to the Skin Technology Showcase where in 8 weeks, we worked with multidisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, and members from ETPL (the technology transfer arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore) to visualize the future of wearable solutions from the eyes of the consumer.


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The result? 10 functional wearable prototypes that are driven by customer insights and underpinned by patented technology. This is Design Led Innovation at its best.

Kicking off the program with a 3 Day Design Thinking bootcamp, the teams rapidly connected data points created from consumer needs, business opportunities, future trends, and technology building blocks to create meaningful wearable propositions.

From then it was an extremely quick iterative process where our team of industrial designers came in to visualize what these propositions could be. After that, it was a close collaboration with the engineers to bring the designs to life as working prototypes.

The 10 designs will be exhibited at Startup Asia Singapore 2014 from tomorrow. However, the exhibition will be open to the public on the 8th of May 2014 from 3.30pm onwards.

Finally, if you are interested to learn more about the designs, do sign up for the free showcase after the public viewing at 6.45pm.


Startup-asia


PS: Do stay tuned for the full case study, videos and possibly daily photo updates!

Paul Rand on Art and Aesthetics


If you can’t see the video click here.

What a great snippet of a 1996 film by Preston McLanahan. I really like how Paul Rand bridges the gap between art, aesthetics, form, content and ultimately design.

Aesthetics is the study of the interaction and fusion between form and content. —Paul Rand

Via: @johnmaeda

Can we fall in love with our computers?

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We don’t talk a lot about movies at Design Sojourn. Maybe we should?

Renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil, also a Googler working on machine learning and voice processing, reviews the latest Spike Jonze movie Her. Predictably the movie is about a man who falls in love with his operating system, or perhaps the artificial intelligence (AI) of his computer? Anyways the movie explores the notion of love and its manifestations.

While I’ve not seen the movie, I did feel troubled after watching the trailer. Though Charlize Theron, the voice of the AI Samantha, did help ease the discomfort. How about you?

Anyways Rays indicates that such learning and interactive “human level” AIs should come in about 2029, in about 15 years. A time of which with many of us would still be around. This would be made more possible with advances in tactile virtual reality systems that allow people to touch, shake hands or even kiss remotely.

I won’t go into too much more detail to spare you the spoilers, but Ray’s vision of the future is worth sharing:

In my view, biological humans will not be outpaced by the AIs because they (we) will enhance themselves (ourselves) with AI. It will not be us versus the machines (whether the machines are enemies or lovers), but rather, we will enhance our own capacity by merging with our intelligent creations. We are doing this already. Even though most of our computers — although not all — are not yet physically inside us, I consider that to be an arbitrary distinction.

Enjoy!

Via: Ray Kurzweil and Verge.

Beyond Design : Explorations Towards a New Practice of Design

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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.

Amazing Xylophone Created in a Forest

Industrial Design
Jul 31, 2013


Can’t see the video?

What an amazing feat of design and engineering. A super long xylophone, created in the forest of Kyushu in Japan, runs down a hill and plays Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. This was an ad for NTT Docomo’s new Touch Wood phone.

Love the ad, but not too hot on the phone. Want more? Check out “the making of” below and fully appreciate the precision engineering it took to make it work.

How Industrial Design has Changed in the Last 10 Years?

Industrial Design
Jul 14, 2013

A great little video that accurately describes the changes the Industrial Design profession has gone through in the last 10 years. Notably how in the past a product’s form was largely driven by the engineering components inside it. But today, with miniaturisation and the move to digital, our Industrial Design solutions can be anything. The question is what?

Via: Frog

Pointless to Treat the PC and Tablet as Separate Markets

Industrial Design
Jul 12, 2013

The frame of tablets stealing PC market share might not make sense much longer. Even if it doesn’t soften the sting for fading makers of desktops and laptops, industry observers like Mikako Kitagawa, the Gartner analyst who worked on its report, are just waiting for the day when they can stop treating the two as distinct markets. “If you look at the consumers,” she says, “they don’t look at ‘I’m going to PCs’ or ‘I’m going to use tablets.’ They are going to buy whatever is available for them and what is convenient for them.”

To a consumer, it is all about computing. It will likely be not one or the other, but both devices in every household. The choice of form factors will instead be a reflection of the type of activity that will be required of the device.

Via: Businessweek

Samsung’s Design Aesthetic is Minimal Organic

Industrial Design
Jul 10, 2013

Samsung Design Aesthetic

I don’t make this kind of stuff up. According to Surface Magazine Asia:

Samsung’s aesthetic motto, Minimal Organic, is all about simplicity and a focus on softer features. The applies to small, mobile products, just as much as larger hardware like TV or speakers.

It looks like a pretty logical and obvious contrarian approach to the current “Minimal Geometric” aesthetic made popular by Apple. Looks like it’s working well for them, what do you think?

Via: Surface Magazine.

The Key to Creating a Great Killer Product

“The key for having a great killer product is to have incredible hardware, incredible software, and incredible services. And combine them in such away that you can tell what’s what anymore. It becomes an elegant consumer experience. The real magic occurs in the intersection of those things.” – Tim Cook at D11 (around the 30 minute mark)

Industrial Designers have been saying this for years. We need to be focusing on creating great customer experience ecosystems (products, software, services, and systems etc.) not just focusing on one aspect in isolation. Such a declaration does not mean that they have not done so before, instead it means they really going to focus on this and “amp” it up.