Our Stuff Will Tell Us Stories

Over at Flip the Media, Cynthia Andrews has a story on Josh Coulson, a data-based story teller at LinkedIn.

His focus is on the interface between big data and stories.   Companies are already using our activity on the web to send us targeted marketing.  He thinks we’re just getting started:

“The internet of things will bring about a whole new level of data that will enable companies to offer new products and services to each consumer based on their needs. We will continue to tell stories driving the level of intelligence in common decision-making further.”

So our stuff will know our habits and needs and we will get marketing messages that are tailored accordingly.  Not sure if I want my toaster sending me adds about whole grain bread.

Still, that worries me less than messages from my toilet.

Bringing Clear Vision to 1 Billion People

Dave Volger has a great post over at Fuel Your Product Design about AdSpecs.  They’re glasses that allow you to adjust to your own prescription and lock them down permanently once you get it right.

More than half the people in the developed world use some kind of vision correction.  Glasses.  Contacts. Surgery.

We can see.  We can be productive.  We enjoy life.

Generally, glasses aren’t particularly expensive–unless you go for something really special.  But, just to get a clearer view of the world isn’t prohibitively expensive.

In the developing world, the problem isn’t so much the glasses–although the cost is great.  It’s also a startling lack of optometrists (sometimes one for well over a million people) who can figure out what correction you need to even order the glasses.

Josh Silver, saw this problem and postulated that glasses people could adjust for themselves would eliminate the need for a medical professional and bring glasses to millions that would previous just had to live with bad vision.

Here’s Josh Silver’s talk on the idea.  He’s created a foundation called Centre for Vision in the Developing World to help make his vision of bringing clearer visions to one billion people happen.

It’s a great example of an elegant solution to a problem.  Many would think the solution would be more optometrists, cheaper glasses or some other more straightforward, resource-driven solution.

Instead, Silver found a new way to deliver what people really needed, clear vision, in a way that they can do for themselves.

Innovation Happens at the Intersections

Want to do interesting work?  Look for intersections.  When disciplines crash into each other great stuff can emerge.

“Your chocolate is in my peanut butter.”

“No.  Your peanut butter is in my chocolate.”

There is magic in the right combination of things.

This is where the fast-moving, interesting stuff happens.

Deep skills move slowly.  There is wide agreement about principles and where the problems are.  Brilliant researchers are working on the important problems.  They carefully advance the state of the art, often dogmatically following a set of accepted norms.

‘That’s how we do things in our field.”

So, where does that leave the rest of us?  The rest of us can still display our brilliance. For those of us who aren’t PhD’s in applied astrophysics, how can we do something interesting? Continue reading

Understanding Your Customers Requires Understanding Their Context

Customers are not aliens from another planet. You also don’t have to go on safari to see them. They’re all around you. Still, it’s not safe to assume they think the same way you do. And it’s definitely not safe to assume they think exactly the same way everyone in the conference room thinks during your product planning meetings.

Too often companies presume to think for their customer, assuming they will want exactly the things they expect them to want. Continue reading

Pittsburgh Design : Ladies Meet-Up

Pittsburgh’s beloved design blogger and creator of Steeltown Anthem, Dane Horvath,  is hosting a ‘Ladies Design Meet-Up‘ on Thursday January 27th.  Chat with other like minded designing ladies and share different perspectives on design.

Brillobox . 4104 Penn Ave
January 27th, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Graphic . Web . Industrial . Interior designers