Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
This is the longest I've ever gone without posting I think and I appreciate those of you who wrote in to ask about my textual dissapearance. Well, I've good news and bad news - I'm not yet back blogging like I used to, a severe case of writer's block and lack of imagination is holding me hostage to silence. And the good news is that I thought well why not at least link to stuff online that I find interesting right now and who knows it might help me find my 'bloggy voice' again.
So, watch this space here. This is the blog that is part of my profile on the Design21 Social Design Network and I've just experimented with their publishing application. I've been involved in the judging of their recently concluded competition called "Heated Issue" which to quote ICOGRADA,
'Heated Issue', one of three competitions developed by UNESCO's Design 21: Social Design Network asked participants to create an educational campaign to raise public awareness of the problem of global warming and the contribution of our daily lifestyle and activities to this phenomenon. The aim of the campaign is to provoke people to think about the issue and how their individual consumer choices and energy consumption play into the equation.
Also, like ICOGRADA, I've been invited to become a member of the Advisory Panel of the UNESCO/Fellisimo Social Design Network, an honour which I've graciously accepted. Do check out the whole Social Design Network website, their theme is "Better design for the greater good".
Friday, June 29, 2007
As I've said before
I think every designer in the world has been in a meeting where someone announces that their printer, toaster, telephone, breakfast cereal should become the iPod of its category.
It occurred to us today that IDEO has become the iPod of consulting firms (and thus the new logo I propose above). Consider:
- They are perceived as equivalent to their entire category
- They are perceived as the "best" solution even when there are other solutions available
- It's the safest purchase decision, even if it costs more
- It's a very good choice
- Making the purchase is something you want to show off to everyone else
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Tsk! What a strongly worded title this post has. What on earth? Well, I was just thinking that now that frogdesign is an SBU to a mobile software company with over 6500 people and wholly owned by a private equity firm, can it really be called a design studio or design house in the traditional sense of IDEO, Design Continuum, Metadesign, Method, Ziba, fuseproject etc etc etc?
Or is it now a service offered by a company with a different set of customers and markets? Cutting edge American design is a unique selling proposition for a global software company, I would think. Particularly when you look at the markets they serve - China, Eastern Europe, Africa, among others.
Why not move into the rapidly evolving economies where mobile phone penetration and greater reliance on interfacing with just that one little screen in order to connect with the rest of world is an excellent strategic move - I'm not going to link to the numbers of mobile phones sold in emerging markets last year yet again but it was 1 billion phones.That's just plain good business, they're going to be extremely successful, if they can also create a special segment of products for the bottom of the pyramid in these nations. But I strongly recommend using local or more diverse design teams for this particular project. Or cross cultural communication training - especially now that design teams must work together with offices far flung from their own.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Dudes, tell me if this isn't a major issue under the topic of Does Size Matter? Hello? My business runs on Typepad, people.... and I have a major presentation due Monday. Does size matter?
Yes it does. I am a tiny little business occupying very little space in the universe of megalithic behemoths called the Fortune 500. And I cannot get into my front door to welcome my visitors to my front office?
What kind of nonsense is that?
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
In talking today with a friend (who is figuring out his own new path after spending time in a small consultancy) about the different activities involved in running a small business, he said "It's hard to be good at everything." That was a validating sentiment, because it seems like the more I work in this field the less I realize I know about running a business. It seems like you can go along not-so-badly with lots of missing pieces, but then you need to reach the next plateau and those pieces need to be there.
And so turning to others is one way to move forward. I've been so pleased in just the last two weeks to have a flurry of extremely helpful interactions with others. One new colleague, after a coffee meeting, revisited our website and offered a helpful critique of what elements were missing, or needed to be emphasized, or de-emphasized (and then reviewed a new Portigal Consulting backgrounder that I put together). Earlier this week, another friend explained in some detail what he meant by business development and lead generation, with suggestions for tasks I could take on. Another friend walked me through some tricky bits of Photoshop, and some layout and design options in HTML.
This is all tangible stuff I can use; that I am using and will continue to use.
And today a past client explained to me why this latest project we proposed on was going to someone else - he perceived me as someone to work consultatively but wanted his longer projects to go to "a more established firm." I suspect that means a name, an office with a sign on the door. I don't agree with that perception (having taken on dozens of projects of various lengths over the years quite successfully) but I have to accept it as a perspective that is no doubt shared by others. Indeed, another guy asked me last week to explain how we were different from "frog-and-IDEO" (say it in your head as one word).
In the world of validity and reliability that Roger Martin talks about, crossing that gulf of believability with a client is a challenge all share.
I'd love to hear any thoughts on this mess of topics that this post may spawn....
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Over the past few years we've seen a rise in the variety of services being offered by leading industrial design houses in the industry. Whether its corporate strategy, workshops and training sessions [frog's $35K a day session recently mentioned by Forbes comes to mind] or helping a trade union with their membership recruitment - design studios are certainly expanding their reach and pushing the envelope of what constitutes their strategic service offerings.
However, one asks, what about the drift away from their core competency? Any design studio that is currently top of the mind today in the media, certainly built its reputation and standing on the quality and consistency of the work for which they became wellknown, good product design or good graphic design, as the case maybe.
While the integration of business, strategy and design is one that one can see and evaluate in the market as a 'good thing', Dell's recent troubles with trying to reposition their corporate juggernaut's direction of growth implies that it may be easier for Dell to change by adding a component of design to add value to topline growth rather than for a design studio to add competency in supply chain efficiencies, just in time inventory management and other cost cutting process improvements.
The Industrial engineer in me notes that operational excellence and corporate strategy can be balanced in the case of a Dell, while without operational excellence, no corporate strategy, no matter how well conceived or designed, can succeed beyond a certain point.
What do you think?