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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
Image via The City of Cupertino.
This makes an interesting case study on designing an effective environment for innovation.
Apple is a functional organization. Unlike almost every other large company it’s not organized in “divisions” which have responsibility for “a business” in the sense of profit or loss. At Apple most people or teams are assigned a function like “design”, “engineering”, “sales” etc. When a product is being built, they are assigned to that effort. When the product is complete, they go to another product.
Seen from this perspective, the architecture of their proposed campus makes perfect sense. If it was a divisional structure then each division could live in its own building or campus. In fact, each division would not have much to talk about to any other division. But as a functional organization Apple needs to move people quickly between projects. It needs to re-configure itself frequently. Being in the same building means they can do this much more efficiently.
This is why there needs to be one building and this is why the shape chosen is probably optimal: each point within can be reached with minimal routing. The fact that it’s aesthetically pleasing is a coincidence.
Toy Stories is a very interesting behavioural and anthropological photo essay by Gabriele Galimberti. In it he photographs children from all around the world with their prized possessions – their toys.
Galimberti found that children in richer countries were more possessive with their toys and that it took time before they allowed him to play with them (which is what he would do pre-shoot before arranging the toys), whereas in poorer countries he found it much easier to quickly interact, even if there were just two or three toys between them.
There were similarites too, especially in the functional and protective powers the toys represented for their proud owners. Across borders, the toys were reflective of the world each child was born into—economic status and daily life affecting the types of toys children found interest in.
What an amazing range of interesting insights and a good technique for designers to shadow and collect customer data.
Check out the rest of the photo essay at Feature Shoot.
Images by: Gabriele Galimberti
It has been awhile since I’ve shared some cool Industrial Design goodies. And since 2013 is my year of Industrial Design do check out these two awesome articles on how to make homemade silicone moulds and then use them to resin cast things like toys.
It is really not that complicated or difficult, but there are quite a few steps involved. So when I saw the two blog articles on silicone moulds by folks at Tesselate, I had to share them with you.
1) The one part silicone mould is great for housings with a flat side in-between the 2 halves.
2) The two part silicone mould is great for spheres or cylindrical housings. You could also use this two part mould to make a housing that is cored out and has a wall thickness.
Enjoy and do pick up one of their cool limited edition robot toys while you are there?
Images via: Tesselate
This has to be one of my favourite cars of all time, and part of the scant few products that I don’t mind they iterate instead of innovate. Good design does take time. I wonder if the Macbook will have a similar lineage?
Happy 50th Birthday 911 and do stay tune to a year of celebration and activities!
Via: 37 Signals