Archive for the ‘Business Creativity’ Category

StoryTelling cards launch at NearLab event, “Urban Apps” in London, this week.

February 3rd, 2011 by NearInteraction

An indepth article written by NearLab’s media partner Imperica, interviews Nina Honiball and Caf Fean on the development of NearLab’s StoryTelling cards:

“At this point in the conversation, Honiball demonstrates a set of cards to facilitate community storytelling, and developed by NearInteraction’s team of futurists, NearLab. The cards comprise of seven parts of the “hero’s journey”, ending in a conclusion and outcomes.

As Honiball observes, the cards are simple, but can be used it in any given degree of complexity. Storytelling is ancient, intuitive, and are how we make sense of life. The “Urban App” comes through in the setting: the desire to facilitate an outcome that is brought to life through the storytelling process. “It’s easier when you see this as an impossible possibility: a dream in reality. A rich process informs a beautiful outcome.

Expectations are particularly explored with the earlier cards in the series. In asking “What if?” and applying different scenarios, the outcomes are changed. These small tweaks can make a big difference, in terms of building both physical and virtual communities. What if the Government’s cuts continue in terms of council services? What if the interface was changed to our blog? What if we used real people rather than actors, in our campaign? As Fean observes, this is akin to “running a risk assessment on a storyline”.

As storytelling becomes increasingly prevalent through all parts of the creative process, across an increasingly wide range of media, it is useful to understand how even the most minor tweak in the process achieves a very different outcome – and exposes the fine line between success and failure.

Both Nina and Caf will be speaking at Urban Apps, a NearLabs event which connects ideas, communities, and interactive technology. Urban Apps takes place in London, on Saturday 5 February. Use the code NEAR15 for a 15% discount.”

excerpt via Imperica

Google – Digital City – AdTech Japan 2010

November 29th, 2010 by NearInteraction

Google - Digital City - AdTech Japan 2010

Check the Prezi.

Jan-Christoph Zoels & Experientia

September 27th, 2010 by NearInteraction

Jan-Christoph Zoels

Photo: Thanks to Matt Cottam

Recently I was fortunate enough to attend a fascinating lecture by Jan-Christoph Zoels entitled “Imagining behavioral change”.

Jan-Christoph Zoels is a senior partner at Experientia, based in Torino, Italy. His credentials are rather impressive; have a look at his public Linkdin profile here: Jan-Christoph Zoels on Linkdin.

Experientia is an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

- Jan-Christoph Zoels on Linkdin.

Jan-Christoph Zoels

Photo: Thanks to blese

What is experience design?

As a person travels through the various “touch points” of a brand like say, the City of London for example, they will come into contact with numerous interactions, communications, products, services and people. These all require designers working on very focused outcomes, but it’s often the job of experience design to envision and guide the overall journey, the bigger picture.

Society has made incredible progress on the backs of specialists working in narrowly focused disciplines. But today we face complex problems with no single owner or discipline capable of providing comprehensive solutions. Not unlike cooking, the solution today is not in any one ingredient, but in the mix.

-Marco Steinberg; from the Stroke Pathways Project, Harvard Design School. From

Designing the bigger picture implies a far more integrated and strategic approach. You work with larger and more complex variables like societal values, cultures, governments and global issues. Experience designers envision mid to long term scenarios and rely on contextual research to thoroughly understand and frame the problem. This means that the work is generally a lot more challenging and complex than more focused design, but often the impact is often more profound. If you are one of those designers who wants to be involved in “change the world” type design, then you need to work in experience design. Be prepared to work in large teams though; effective experience design means bringing a vast array of skills to bear on any one project.

People are our key reference point. They guide us when we conduct research, develop creative strategies, create solutions, design prototypes and test results.

- Jan-Christoph Zoels on Linkdin.

Complex and strategic projects with high stakes imply a heavy emphasis on research. Jan-Christoph stressed the paramount importance of understanding the people and the context for which you are designing.

Designing change.

A powerful example of their approach is their work on a challenging “Low to no” carbon emission district for twenty-five thousand people to work, live and play in Helsinki, Finland.

Recognizing the need and opportunity to improve sustainable building practices, Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, in collaboration with the City of Helsinki, invited partnerships of design, architecture and business to propose solutions to a truly complex and fundamentally important challenge that has every potential to become a benchmark in the design of sustainable urban development:

Experientia was part of the winning team which included ARUP, Sauerbruch Hutton and Galley Eco Capital.

c_life 1

The challenge implied unraveling an incredibly complex set of contextual design problems:

• Envision and design a sustainable development framework (for the site) that is both replicable, adaptable and has large-scale applicability.
• Design a vision for the project that will create and facilitate systemic change.
• Design a robust means of evaluating sustainability performance.

c_life 2




Above are highly cropped versions of the project slides, see the full slides in full size along with other project info on the low2no site here. The entire proposal is available here as a PDF: Download PDF. Below is a recording the project presentation:

Research in design.

Its clear that a primary role that Experientia played in this project was in understanding and framing the problem, generating the contextual insights on which an effective design could be based. Jan-Christoph explained some of the methodology that was employed.
They believe on a thoroughly hands-on and user-centered approach that includes, besides the usual, bodystorming (knowledge gained through engaging with the actual activity/ problem physically), shadowing (observation of people as they go about their lives), and participatory design (shock and horror – involving the actual users in the design process).

knowledge wheel

The idea that business strategy needs to become more “design-like” has been kicking about for some time now. But, as Experientia was able to demonstrate in this project, creative strategy and strategic design is not enough, you need solid research.

Interaction design in general, as a inter-disciplinary activity concerned with complex interactions and systems is likewise reliant on research to be truly effective. I think we are going to see a lot more ethnographic researchers finding their way into strategic and interaction design agencies. Traditional universities and design schools are perhaps going to need to meet half way: designers need to understand and respect the need for research while not necessarily being research experts, and social researchers need to understand innovation, business strategy and the design process.

Explore further.
Articles by Jan-Christoph on the Expeientia blog.
Pre-presentation interviewJan-Christoph at LIFT07
Keynote speech at LIFT 07

hotel replacing tvs with mac minis

July 1st, 2010 by NearInteraction

Computers and televisions may some day be one. In the meantime, the folks at The Citizen Hotel in Sacramento have decided to simply do away with TVs altogether and replace them with Mac Minis. All 198 computer-equipped rooms now allow guests to seamlessly watch television, scan their Facebook account, Tweet, stream video, Skype with friends, play World of War Craft, check email, or do anything else their Internet-addicted hearts desire.

Read More

iPad app delivers real-time trend forecasts

May 27th, 2010 by NearInteraction

Stylesignal provides its customers with constantly updated fashion forecasts, trend information, news coverage and inspiration, all for prices starting at USD 99 per week. Now that Apple’s iPad is out, however, the company has ported its full package of coverage to that platform. The iPad’s high-quality display has the same colour acuity and wide viewing angle of ultra-high end photographic displays, the company notes, making it perfect for viewing swatches, photographs and designs used commercially in the fashion industry. Accordingly, instead of just looking at a picture, Stylesignal subscribers can now “pinch to zoom, touch to see a colour palette based on industry referenced colours, or move from street style photos to catwalk pictures at the flick of a finger,” it says. The continuously updated iPad app also serves as a trend book that never goes out of date, the company says. This month and next, Stylesignal is giving new subscribers a free iPad; existing ones can download the iPad app from Apple’s App Store for free.

via Springwise

Hotel equips concierges with iPads

May 27th, 2010 by NearInteraction

As part of a global pilot at InterContinental New York Barclay, InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, InterContinental London Park Lane and InterContinental Hong Kong, travellers can now look forward to receiving enhanced local destination advice from hotel concierge teams using the mobile, multi-touch, content-rich iPad. Rather than jot directions on a foldable paper map, for example, concierge teams can now provide exact directions through interactive maps on the device with high-resolution satellite imagery, close-up street views and detailed walking routes. Local recommendations can come to life in InterContinental’s unique destination-specific videos, while bookings can be made and confirmed instantly by e-mail.

Simon Scoot, the company’s vice president of global brand management, explains: “We have an amazing team of concierges worldwide, and our concierges are already engaging with our guests with useful information such as pre-stay e-mails, destination-specific concierge websites, interactive maps and concierge videos. We are also preparing to pilot state-of-the-art Google Maps technology as well as other enhancements, and the Apple iPad will be a revolutionary way of showcasing some of these features.”

via Springwise

In-flight entertainment, starring the iPad

May 27th, 2010 by NearInteraction

Bluebox’s namesake system already offers wireless in-flight entertainment that’s accessible via handheld devices, seatback technology and overhead cabin broadcasting. Now the London company has announced that it will soon include the iPad among those delivery vehicles through its Bluebox Ai offering, which will be fully integrated with the other parts of the Bluebox system. Specifically, Bluebox has ported its PC-based operating and security software to the Apple platform, enabling a full range of iTunes App Store games and eBooks, a full selection of consumer magazines via Zinio, and a selection of some 200,000 commercial apps already available for the device. Airlines can add their own custom apps as well. Bluebox Ai will launch on an international carrier in July, the company says, with availability to other airlines shortly thereafter. In the meantime, it’s now on display at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.

Via Springwise

Did you know

November 17th, 2009 by NearInteraction
YouTube Preview Image

Wonder boy: Esquire goes 3D with new issue

November 11th, 2009 by NearInteraction

New York – Actor and musician Robert Downey Jr near literally leaps out of the December issue of Esquire magazine, the latest title to use 3D augmented reality (AR) technology in its pages. Readers hold the physical magazine up to their webcam to discover 3D visuals of the cover star on their computer screen. Additional interactive content comes via the QR codes printed throughout the magazine, which can also be scanned using a webcam.

Twitter your Energy

July 23rd, 2009 by NearInteraction

German utility company Yello Strom is clearly into accessible tech: it manages its meters directly via households’ broadband connections, and offers access to Google’s PowerMeter. Now, it’s keeping its customers informed by enabling meters to tweet about energy use.

Each “Yello Sparzähler” smart meter (designed by IDEO) is allocated its own Twitter account, which is automatically updated with energy consumption data. The owner can follow the account to receive regular updates, leading to greater awareness and hopefully lower energy use. DIY power monitors such as Tweet-a-Watt are also capable of tweeting, but Yello Strom seems to be the first utility company to offer the service as an integral part of their smart meters.

While adding Twitter to their mix will undoubtedly give Yello Strom a PR-boost, the larger goal is to feed energy data into any tool customers may be using. As explained by Yello Executive Director Martin Vesper, “Our goal is to use as many different channels as possible to inform our customers about their energy consumption.” (Related: Smart thermostat is always onlineHome energy monitoring, delivered by Google.)