Posts Tagged 'design'

The Business of Design @ the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum

I’m here at the Times Warner Center in New York where 500 of the most connected design professionals in the city are here to listen to four leading interdisciplinary professionals speak on the subject of how business can implement design to spur creativity, innovation and better business practices.

The event has been organised by the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (CHDNM) as part of National Design Week (NDW). NDW launched in 2006 and since then it’s grown to incorporate events across the country.

NDW brings together design professionals to explore what it means to be a designer and what the future role of design in business might be.

Panel:
Chair: Daniel Pink – Author or A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

Bill Moggridge, 2009 Lifetime Achievement National Design Award Winner, co-founder of IDEO
Sam Lucente, Vice President of Design, Hewlett-Packard Company
Jeanne Liedtka, Professor, University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business

Below is a summary of the day’s presentations.

Q1 – You’re all working at the intersection of business and design, how did you get here?

GL – Was looking for more exciting way of developing strategy. I became interested in the relationship of design to invoking behaviour that we want to achieve.
BM – Discovered industrial design as balance of artisan and science.
SL – Studied science and was interested in art. Was looking for combination and found industrial design. Then studied computer science to understand how to shape software as well as materials and processes for shaping products

Q2 – In business world how much of these two cultures come together? Maintaining products and innovative ideas?

GL – Looked at successful leaders over three years. Those who could navigate two worlds and navigate corporate bureaucracy were most successful. The ‘smiling submersives’ – quietly worked out how to inhabit the system and get things done. There is always a tension between inventing the new and sustaining the old. Base business that fuels the business. Organisations are designed for predictability and control. This gets in the way when you ask people to innovate. How do we help managers?

SL – Seeks out people who can innovate. Corporations that innovates makes room for those people: those who can navigate, find funding for projects, etc.
They typically have diverse educational backgrounds.

SL described three area of design which are significant to his practice: Design to differentiate, simplify and innovate. Typically designers focus on differentiation – strong brand etc. Simplify is about efficiency across product lines, where are there efficiencies in production across the supply chain? How can that supply chain serve the customer? Innovate – This requires repetitive, scalable tools to innovate: ie: new markets, design thinking models – observation, imperatives around insights, principals based on insights, then into solutions

BM – innovation lives in overlap between technology, business, people (middle of)
Where you start? Design starts from people and moves into the overlap. Balance between three is always present. In the past, someone else was telling designers how to bridge these areas. Now you have business teams which include these interpreters allowing innovation to flourish. Interdisciplinary practice, interest in collaboration

SL – collaboration and passion to change
Capture the collective IQ of a team. When you apply the right methods you can innovate

Q3 – How and when do we develop these abilities?

GL – The dominate value in business is often ‘don’t look stupid, don’t make mistakes’. This leads to a set of choices which narrows opportunity

Q4 – How do you innovate in large companies without looking stupid?
GL – You don’t do it through a “prove it to me in a powerpoint presentation”! In that case you’re using data from the past to justify future uses. Empowering people to do things, prototype small, demonstrate success.
We use experience mapping – notion that greatest opportunity begins by getting rid of the lows.

SL – Design can lower the risk of innovation. Design archetypes – build reference model for what a particular business would create in the next year. Financial models, physical model that takes supply chain into consideration – showed them how to innovate without risk. We now have 40 business cases which now lower the risk of innovation.

Audience question – guess who! At the moment there is a rise in literature which situates design within new business models, two of the authors of these methods are here today, Verganti’s design driven innovation is another. We’ve been talking about risk aversion; not being seen to make mistakes. Yet one of the most innovative industries of our time, software development, has been built outsourcing mistakes and testing them in a broader environment for a long time. Sam spoke earlier about a collective IQ of a team. We’re living in an increasingly participatory culture so what I’m interested in is how do you incorporate a larger basis, a larger collective crowdsourced intelligence into the design process?

SL – Changes are so disruptive that centralisation doesn’t work. We focus on wiring the social network – halo video conferencing systems, sharing data real time – understand what you’re creating from an emotional point of view – strong brand story into design behaviours. Working with competitors who are also partners, industry standard components. Work with customers in collaborative ways.

BM – Crowdsourcing is the success of the decade. People having fun designing their own contributions. Structure that enables crowdsourcing needs to be understood

GL- Dialogue and debate – you need to be able to engage in dialogue – hypothesis-driven discussion and invite doubters in and ask what data they need

Question from audience: How do you repurpose failure within business?

BM – Prototyping is an essential tool, it embraces failure. You want to see what’s wrong quickly and move on. Incremental innovation has something behind it while radical innovation you don’t have that basis. Embracing failure on the way to success.

DP – uses the example of writing a paper. Each draft represents prototyping and a type of failure – failure to achieve the final product in one go. Each draft is a way of testing the veracity of the final product

SL -Fail early. Products that can be described as conceptual failures can drive 70% of costs. HP have invested in immersive interaction. In infancy of this system.

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Crowdsourcing design: what will this mean for museums?

Across the online environment, there is growing engagement with user-generated content which impacts on designers as they move from sole author and producer to facilitators of the design process. User-driven and open innovation models of collaboration are impacting on the design and development of services and while there is a growing body of theory exploring the basis of this innovation, there are few models for the way in which designers will practice within this environment.

We are currently witnessing transformations in the ways in which clients engage designers and the ways in which designers participate in the development of products, services and experiences. These transformations in design practice are closely aligned to changing audience expectation and a growing demand for user participation in the design process. This is in keeping with a shift from the development of a service to an experience economy. (Gilmore & Pine 1999, Rivkin 2000)

The notion of experience enterprises has been coined in response to the experience economy. It encompasses those enterprises, both commercial and publicly funded, which have at their heart, the mandate to attract new audiences/ consumers/ producers through the development of integrated, multiplatform experiences. For example, both Nike, with its hugely successful Nike + social networking campaign which facilitates the development of communities of runners worldwide and Flickr Commons, the photo-sharing facility developed for cultural organisations to share archival imagery focus on adding value to existing services by creating and sharing in memorable experiences.

In the museum environment, it is sometimes suggested that audiences/creators and producers are willing to pay more for products and services if these are provided in an atmosphere that generates ‘memorable’ experiences. If this is the case and designers have yet to explore the impact of the user/creator on their practice, what will it mean for the development of future museum communication programs?

This posting is a starting point for problematising a broader shift in consumption and production, recognising the profound impacts that these shifts will have on future design practices and in turn, the ways in which they will affect museum programs.

Some of the questions it seeks to explore include:
How will social networking affect design as an enterprise?
What will this mean to organisations which engage designers?
Will services and experiences converge?
Who will drive new models of design innovation?
How will innovation drive new audiences/clients?

This thought-piece hopes to explore the demand-driven environment for design innovation, supported by establishing partnerships throughout the value-chain of development through a participatory process of design which seeks to engage both audiences and users in the design and development of cultual interactive experiences. I am very interested in gaining insights from our community into how this might develop over the next few years. Please feel free to leave a comment here or on twitter. I look forward to your feedback.

What do we do when someone sets up a blog called Museumsuck.com?

This morning’s twitter feed (artech05) included a link to the ‘Museums Suck” website (thanks to Seb Chan).
While the article is provocative, the site itself is quite interesting. William Crowley, whoever he might actually be, has actually spent a great deal of time posting videos he’s taken, discussing museums he’s visited and sharing technical knowledge.

This last point is of particular interest. Crowley provides insight into how to create interactives simply, efficiently and cost effectively. He discusses iterative exhibition design, provides instructions for developing a simple tilt application and a simple multi-touch surface platform. This type of public user innovation is quite rare to find in a museum context. Between Crowley’s sometimes hurtful assessments of the museum environment, he’s actually providing useful design and exhibition information.

The blog is only new and Crowley doesn’t tell us enough about himself to assure the critics that he isn’t a fraud, yet his desire to share useful technical information seems genuine. Granted he does this between his individual insights, but I admire his generosity.

Be warned though, the rest of the blog is not for faint-hearted! Perhaps this site is an example of ‘look who’s talking’ – one of the themes for next week’s Transformations in Cultural and Scientific Communication Conference!

Musings on cultural organisations and tourism

I was recently at the Intercom Museum, Tourism Visitor Experience conference in Rotorua, New Zealand where a great program of events challenged some notions regarding the links between the cultural sector and tourism industries. I was particularly taken by Dame Cheryll Sotheran’s keynote ‘The designation museum’ and national brand. Dame Cheryll is the Director of the creative and tourism sectors for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. She led the development of a creative industries strategy in NZ and is responsible for the successful Better by Design program which promotes design integration for New Zealand businesses.

Dame Cheryll’s speech was underpinned by the convergence between cultural and economic industries and a holistic understanding of economic, social and cultural value. Here are some of the key points she made:

Economic development can be an incentive towards innovation and value-driven solutions
In a globalised world, economic development has new challenges and characteristics
– Decline in dominance of western economies
– Rise of new Asian economies
– New kinds of value and pluralism around cultural and social as well as economies
– Shift from production to consumption / market driven or value driven economies
– Value oriented consumption

This contributes to economic trends driven by consumer concepts and values, authenticity, climate change, sustainability. Additionally, there is a demand for immersive experiences, a breakdown of silos, and the new challenges of hyper-reality.

In this complex environment, Cultural organisations need to develop more nuanced response to experience economies. There is a big shift in the way experience is delivered – Innovation driven production is now occurring within increasingly converging markets such as sustainability , lifestyle etc. This is driven by innovation and niche-market design. It is culturally driven and is a point of difference

Cultural Organisations can led in this environment by – protecting, promoting, maintaining cultural difference. At the same time, there is a potential new role for design in this experience environment:
– Increasing design-driven innovation through
– Content ownership/ experience based industries
– Consolidating and looking at innovation in that market
– Value-based and driven solutions
– New practices based on collaboration

The next part of the speech centred on cultural organisations and tourism suggesting
– Experience and stories create value-driven demand
– Value-added memorable experiences can be combined with service industry
– Meta-narratives should be delivered with technical innovation and service excellence
– Integrity and authenticity, memorable approach

In terms of convergent experiences, she suggested that the following were areas of growth
Urban regeneration
National branding
Cultural value and distinctiveness
Destination branding
Non-collection institutions

Some of the tensions in this field include:
Local vs global
Collections vs content
Authenticity and authority vs market-driven experiences
Object vs hyper-reality

Cultural organisations can not dismiss these tensions but rather intelligently analyse experience and narrative to engage with a technically demanding audience.

Next steps?
Explore new approaches
Increased understanding of how playing an active role is an incentive
Understand value-based solutions
Leadership opportunities – new partnerships
Recognising the distinctive offering, value, heritage and narrative driven

Towards the end of the presentation Dame Cheryll discussed new forms of collaboration based on – scarce resources, scale, strong brands or consumer services. She suggested that cultural organisations had the potential to create powerful resource sharing to identify meta-narratives which link new partners together to offer value-driven solutions and experiences.

I’m going to spend a bit of time thinking about this important last point. My next posts will be speculations of what these partnerships might look like!

Design, innovation and cultural organisations

I recently found this article in BusinessWeek, “Art Museum as Research Lab“. It details an exhibition at  New York’s Museum of Modern Art (now closed) which presented new designs in data visualization and other disciplines. The show, “Design and the Elastic Mind,” featured 200 projects by international designers and firms.  The exhibition illustrated innovative processes in disciplines not usually associated with design, for instance in nanotechnology, as well as design for new markets in developing nations, and “three-dimensional printing” of physical objects directly from computer files.

The article is of particular interest because it places both design and cultural organisations in the centre of the innovation debate, something that rarely happens. I was recently at a Business Seminar at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum where I asked a question about the value of building new design relationships between cultural organisations and industry. While the panel responded with initiatives such as Proctor and Gamble’s ‘Connect and Develop’, the discussion stopped short of teasing out the potential of these debates.

I’ll be interested to see what happens in Australia in relation to design and cultural organisations. The ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation recently released a new paper SOCIAL NETWORK MARKETS: A NEW DEFINITION OF THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES where cultural organisations were finally considered part of both the innovation debate and the creative industries, but only when they were dealing with new knowledge. Additionally, design was added to the agenda all within the context of social networking.

As the exhibition in New York demonstrated, there are some real outcomes for design in collaboration with cultural organisations. I look forward to watching how this debate develops!


About us

This blog examines social media, cultural institutions and digital participation. It's based on the research projects Engaging with Social Media in Museums and New Literacy, New Audiences. Regular contributors are Angelina Russo, Lynda Kelly and Seb Chan

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