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Tid väl använd

Jag är en nöjd deltagare av Dobermans designkonferens Frontiers of Design som gick av stapeln i Stockholm i slutet av Augusti 2018. Till Frontiers-konceptet (om jag får kalla det så) hör också en film, Frontiers of Design Film, där ett antal framstående personer inom det breda fältet design säger sitt om dess framtid. Jag fick möjligheten att se denna film på plats. Underhållande, en del tankar går igång och vacker.

En av de intervjuade personerna är Lisa Kay Solomon, från Singularity University. En person jag blev intresserad av och kollade upp. Detta ledde mig till ett TEDx-snack hon gjort ett tag tillbaka. Det låter som om hon konkretiserat och strukturerat upp mina egna tankar sedan länge, angående en viktig konkurrensfördel som vissa företag(skulturer) har/kommer att ha. Och den är väldigt mycket enklare än bäst AI-forskare, störst moln eller grymmast designers. Det handlar om respekt och förståelse för tid. En sund kritik av, samt smartheten att applicera en designers mentalitet på, möten.

Nu har jag inte en bred studie kring alla företags syn på och sätt att hantera tid, effektivitet och möten till mitt förfogande. Men min erfarenhet är, med all respekt för att många försöker, att det inte står så bra till. 

Vi har många gruppledare, team-ansvariga och personer som på andra sätt spelar en avgörande roll för hur många fler medarbetare överhuvud taget kan vara smarta och effektiva. Hur många av dessa reflekterar över hur de genomför alla dessa (för många möten är det) aktiviteter på ett allt annat än slentriant sätt? Den frågan lämnar jag där. Men jag vet vad jag själv tror.

Spotify and an audio plus visual use case

Spotify is making an interesting move with Spotlights in the podcast segment (or podcast behavior), fairly expected I would say. In one way it seems like a small addition to the core that is audio streams, but from a use case perspective it’s a rather large move from device in pocket (passive) to device in hand (active). This new use case is the interesting thing to look at, not the technology or new media type attributes.

Will be interesting to see how that plays out. I for one would love some cured tech news podcast type stuff. I can also see the value in added visuals and a new type of story telling and communication. But at the same time, am I now going to relate to, and use, Spotify like I relate to, and use, Youtube?

Personally I’ve been on about (simple prototypes proactively to Swedish Radio) at least experimenting with visual media as they explore what radio is in this technology paradigm. Everything about the definition has changed. Broadcasting music, stories and news over audio frequency (and nothing else) doesn’t mean working with radio primarily has to worry so much about that anymore. It was one mean to an end.

The media convergence happening now, combined with our attention situation/challenge, actually puts radio (or rather audio-first…) in a very interesting position. So far text (text first) based publishing seem to have been best at merging media types.

the fallacy of thinking about doing

Theory and knowledge isn’t real. That’s why we always look for empirical evidence. It’s also why you would never qualify as a car mechanic having only read about engines. You need to get a feel for things. You need to practice doing. Doing the actual behavior we’re studying, trying to fix or do more of. Don’t really know what to think about this:

When I ask him how he knows what he knows about these new platforms, he says, “I’m not active on social media; I am a student of it,” and waves an arm at a wall of his office covered in dozens of color printouts of pie charts, tables, line graphs full of digital metrics—proprietary information that he asked remain off the record. “I spend a lot of time thinking about the trends that are reshaping our industry. I spend a lot of time talking to people on the front line of those trends,” he tells me, “and a big part of my job is making sense of that.”

– Arthur Gregg Sulzberger of NY Times, in Wired

Why cut off some of your senses? Thinking about doing things does not provide sufficient understanding of the doings studied. The most bewildering part of this is why on earth, given there’s no cost associated with it (only learnings and benefits), would you not throw yourself out there to feel what it is we’re dealing with? Beats me.

Robinhood and the disruption of financial services

The financial service sector is one of the most interesting ones in terms of burgeoning disruption. A sector up until fairly recently not seen as especially dynamic – mainly because the sector itself seemed, and perhaps still is, largely uninterested in advancing things – is now rattling, shaking, squeaking and bustling in every way.

Simple Bank sold to BBVA. Tink, a Swedish company, raises more capital and claims 2% of the swedish population holds an account. In the same area, that of personal finances and money management, is another Swedish start-up in Dreams, helping individuals better save money.

This kind of stuff is natural when you think of the meaning of banks (or whatever we’ll call it). Why individuals need them in their lives. Entrepreneurs focusing on user value, solving problems and seing unmet opportunities, create these things because they should exist. They make sense. And as living our lives involves money and financial services, and technology allows for it, that industry is now booming. Great for almost everyone.

From private finance to investment and trading

Many of the new players in financial services have focused on payment and personal finance. At least the user facing ones. Robinhood takes it in another direction, that of trading.

If I were part of the old school trading industry, I’d be paying close attention as the waves of disruption come rolling in. But, what struck me in the Wired article on Robinhood, is the quote below, where the founders paint a picture, a usage scenario, that really helps us see the viability in the service, and hence potential democratisation of trading.

We all know how toilet breaks, queuing in line, bus rides, ad breaks, just-after-eating-up, micro breaks etc and so on are devoted (more by some) to not only instagram and Facebook – the status check of the collective also known as group of friends – but candy crush, poker, casino and other game like apps, providing that micro fix of excitement. Every gambling company I’ve come in contact with knows (and struggles to perfectly articulate) that intersection of fun/excitement and risk/benefit tickle. But it’s right there in the middle, which is why trading – when made accessible like this – might very well find its way into that usage occasion. I think Roobinhood perfectly exemplifies the importance of looking at behaviours in combination with technology and business vision.

Standing in line for coffee may seem like an awkward time to trade stocks. But for the makers of the new app Robinhood, those casual moments are exactly when they want to reach a new generation of potential investors who might otherwise feel the markets are closed to them.

Robinhood - democratizing stock trading
Screen grab from Roobinhood

The internet of things – industrial internet

The incredibly smart people of BERG hacked a washer and proves a great deal of areas where connectivity help. I mean, the “find repair people” part alone is worth a lot. Some time, after 2 years of really not thinking about it. Postponing rinse takes care of the “shit, sorry I can’t because I’m doing the washing” problem. There are probably not many products that do not benefit from connectivity.

I talked aobut this and that (which is what interesets me most) with a very technically oriented ex-colleague who shared a conversation with interaction designers of a more visual background and nature, and how that hinders the thinking around connected products. “What’s a couch gonna say to me?”. Nada, but tracking the use of it provides input to material choices and manufacturing (something that today is a part of the manufacturing process, but pehaps could be combined and outsourced to “natural use situations”) as well as feedback to healthcare industries benefiting from understanding our couch-potato-behavior.

Cloudwash: the connected washing machine from BERG on Vimeo.

instant-on is the killer TV feature

That’s the central problem plaguing both set top boxes like Roku and Apple TV and content services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. Instead of letting you lean back and soak up content, these new challengers require decisions–a careful cost-benefit analysis of thousands of different options. If the traditional TV experience is about letting viewers surf channels, today’s on-demand video is like giving them a speedboat and forcing them choose a destination before they can even get in the water.

From the article “To Grow, Netflix Must Learn From the Quietly Brilliant UI of Regular TVs”, in wired

Well hear hear. This is exactly what Is missing in the creating of the future of TV. From the services currently in the market to the reasoning that goes on in pitch material, and pitches, that I’ve been involved in with regards to positioning TV content providers of today, when developing for tomorrow.

Don’t just stare at new technology and heaps of content at your finger tips. Look at the tired people whose brains stop functioning as their ass lands softly in the couch. The key feature? Bzzz – TV is on and streaming. Streaming something. One more bzzz and there’s something new.

The instant on, under a second, is something “new” TV (content, and the delivery of it) doesn’t manage. This is also why personal, pre-loaded, schedules are important. Not just because you can create your own channels based on favorite content, but because something has to start streaming as you enter couch mode. Human behaviour, not just technology.

nuggets: purposeful design

the balance watch
from time differently

The balance watch (PSFK) – a very purposeful design to remind you of work/life balance. Reminds me, working with brands and overwhelmingly with communication solutions (yet not necessarily communications challenges only), that problems are affected/caused by the environment and the problem mustn’t necessarily be attacked on the level we see it. In this case; constant visual reminder in stead of perhaps a recurring yearly, quickly forgotten, resolution.

Client/agency relationship example: how much time/focus is dedicated to how you are going to solve a challenge? How you are going to work together? The fact is that solutions can be many and very different, and the how will unquestionably vary. Many great ideas die not because of the idea itself but because the parallel discussion around the process (the purposeful design thereof) of materialising it was missing (resulting in subsequent budget/timing/execution shock).

As a matter of fact, as creative agencies have more possibilities (types of solutions), speed is crucial and complexity an increasing variable – process is going (is) to be a great competitive advantage. Perhaps even the most important one.

do you still rss?

IFTTT trigger service

These two posts:
Douglas Rushkoff – Not Out, Through: The Best Way to Deal With the Onslaught of Technology
Russell Davies – Big up to the rss massive

made me think about me being one of those who’s had to have a good think about what to do after a Google Reader shutdown. I’ve not worried about not finding a good alternative (although probably not as good as the original reader pre-gplus integration). It’s all sorted out-

RSS is one of the best web technologies, if you will, that never hit the masses, and now it seems even more unlikely. When, in fact, it should be the opposite. It’s very much the solution to volumes of crap, irrelevance and time consuming sifting through.

“I love blogging without tweeting about it. I know who I’m talking to – you lot who still do RSS. You’re my people.”

– Russell Davies

I like these things (www.ifttt.com), that I’ve just started mucking about with. A more consumer friendly version of Yahoo Pipes in a sense. If/Then sentences and triggers – the most low-level form of programming. That, I think many people who are unknowing, would actually love and benefit from, and now it’s getting simple and hence useful.

Delicious to Evernote trigger