I was interviewed by BrandWeek the other day for a story on the recent hype around “Design Thinking” in marketing. They were looking for a skeptic and found me. First of all, it is worth noting that the term “design thinking” is of course a clever marketing buzzword. It’s ironic that marketers themselves embrace it as the next big thing as it doesn’t create a new marketing paradigm so much as it proves that marketers are prone to being persuaded by their very own tricks. “Design Thinking” has become a brand, and brands are all the more powerful … Read more
In the past two weeks, there’s been at least a dozen stories in the mainstream and not-so-mainstream media about the importance of innovation in a recession. For businesses, refocusing on R&D and innovation really is a good strategy in down times. There’s plenty of historic evidence to back the claim up (the invention of farming technologies and civil engineering breakthroughs in the Great Depression, alternative energy investments in the early 1970s, and a sharpening of Internet business models after the dot com bust in the late 90s). What’s also true is that writing about innovating … Read more
On the occasion of Barack Obama’s nationwide TV prime time infomercials last night, Fast Company’s Ellen McGirt reviewed the campaign’s media strategy and in particular its innovative use of amateur (or “professional” amateur a.k.a. "promateur") video. While the Obama camp has heaped millions of dollars on traditional TV broadcasters, setting a new record for ad spending ($250 million), McGirt believes that the true winners in this campaign are amateurs and democracy
Now that the exhaustively inspirational Pop!Tech 2008 is over, it’s worthwhile taking a look at what’s next, in other words, at the conference's theme for 2009. The organizers’ choice is pretty telling and may be indicative of a larger shift among not only the elite thinkers gathering at Pop!Tech, but also broader public opinion. Succeeding this year’s theme “Scarcity and Abundance” will be “America Reimagined,” a “top-to-bottom look at America’s opportunities, its challenges, and its future” that promises to explore what it means to be a “superpower in the … Read more
I will be attending the Pop!Tech conference in Camden, Maine this week. For the twelfth year, Pop!Tech will convene a network of 600 remarkable thinkers, doers, leaders, and global change agents in science, technology, social innovation, business, environmentalism, globalization, media, education, and many other fields for a four-day exploration of ideas shaping the future.
This year, the organizers will pay particular attention to the 21st century dynamics between systems based on scarcity and those based on abundance, in areas ranging from digital social networks to biology to peacemaking. Among the speakers are Chris Anderson (Wired, "The Long … Read more
I asked my colleagues in frog design's Shanghai studio about their perspective on the current economic downturn, and here's what they wrote back:
"The US may be the initiator of this round of global economic recession but it may not be the final payer. China's economy is about to suffer as well - and in more ways than one.
And yet, the people who have been around the longest know not to pay too much attention to one-direction comments. They know that the sufferers will always shout much louder than the beneficiaries. They also know that … Read more
The rankings were calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with … Read more
Rumors are buzzing that Apple has been working on a revolutionary manufacturing process involving lasers and waterjets and solid blocks of aluminum for the upcoming MacBooks. The contention is that the rumored "Brick" product actually refers not to a product itself, but the manufacturing method for the MacBooks.
Site 9to5mac, who originated the rumor, state:It is the beginning of the new Apple manufacturing process to make MacBooks. It is totally revolutionary, a game changer. One of the biggest Apple innovations in a decade.
The MacBook manufacturing process up to this point has been outsourced to Chinese or … Read more
In a great essay for Core 77 ("Stepmothers of Invention: Branding Firms Enter the Industrial Design Fray"), Carl Alviani describes a trend that has been emerging for a while now: Not only do digital agencies like R/GA enter the branding domain, branding, marcom, and advertising firms also round out their services portfolio by adding product design capabilities. Alviani expects that "a lot more branding firms will be hiring product designers over the next few years, just as ID firms hired lots of media and identity specialists a decade back (and continue to do)." John Winsor … Read more