Thoughts and articles about design, digital era and more…
„I first came into contact with design thinking when I needed an idea”, Itai Ben-Jacob explains. In 2015, he intended to explore one of innogy’s innovation focus areas, ‘urban mobility.’ Together with fellow innovation hub members he organized a series of design thinking workshops to wade through the expansive topic of urban concepts – one of them focusing on mobility: “We wanted to understand urban mobility – what does it actually entail? What type of business should we start?“
Itai Ben-Jacob and a colleague, a trained design thinking coach, prepared and facilitated the workshops. Participants came from different backgrounds – the team consisted of Innogy employees as well as external experts from mobility businesses, researchers, representatives of the municipality, and external start ups. Together, the participants attempted to work out the scope of “urban mobility”: “We tried to understand which blocks this topic consists of, and which problems lie within these blocks. For example..
Vlisco reacted to these changes in the West African market by introducing design thinking within the company to come up with a new vision and strategy. Vlisco produces fabrics since 1846, and is unlike other European fashion businesses, as Niels Verhart, Digital Innovation Manager, explains. “The product is not ready-to-wear, it’s fabric. It’s a semi-finished product. The Fabrics are produced in the Netherlands and sold on West African markets, where customers bring them to their tailors to have their outfit made.”
History of Vlisco Dutch Wax Vlisco was founded in 1843 as Vlissingen & Co, when the Amsterdam entrepreneur Pieter Fentener van Vlissingen took over a textile-press company in Helmond. He produced textiles for export to Brussels and Gent. Patterns were inspired by seventeenth century motives from China, India, and Persia. Van Vlissingen’s uncle, who worked in the former Dutch East Indian colonies, advised him to produce Batik prin..
The reluctance their team faced was particularly unsettling, as it challenged the very way they work. Being user-centered is at the core of design thinking. In the step by step of the process, design thinkers empathize with users, find out their needs, create solutions for them and and test with them. So what happens if the user does not seem to want a change?
The will was not there, but the need definitely was. Between 2004 and 2014, more than 4000 butcher shops were forced to shut down in Germany, according to their local association. The process started in the 1990s, as supermarkets became the favoured spot for meat-shopping. As if a dramatic loss of market share was not enough, the industry as a whole started suffering from a serious image crisis.
First came the mad cow disease, then all scandals associated with the way animals are treated in large scale farming and the growing concern about the climate impact of eating meat. With nearly 10 percent of its population going meatles..
Over the past 10 years, the hospital’s managers have transformed their institution from the usual, grim, human-repair shop into a bright and comforting place. By incorporating design thinking and design principles into their planning process, the hospital’s executives, supported by external designers, have turned the hospital into a showplace that has won a number of safety, quality, and design awards — including a nomination for the prestigious Dutch Design Award. Even more important to the not-for-profit organization: patient intake rose 47%.
They started with patient-first thinking. The first step in any design-thinking process is to understand the end-user’s experience. In this case, a team of the Rotterdam Eye Hospital’s CEO, CFO, managers, staff, and doctors wanted to understand how their patients felt when they entered the hospital and what could be done to improve their experience. The hospital board directors realized that most of their patients felt afraid of going blind. Th..
The Challenge Experts agree: simply improving staff hand-washing habits could prevent these needless infections. While hospitals have plenty of communal sinks and hand-sanitizing dispensers, time-strapped caregivers simply don’t use them, and handwashing monitoring is still done manually with pen and paper. To figure out why compliance is so low, Northwestern University graduates Mert Iseri and Yuri Malina spent weeks observing staff at North Shore University Health System. They noticed medical staff wiped their hands on their scrubs, which led to an important insight for brainstorming possible solutions. In 2012 they founded SwipeSense, Inc. with the goal of incentivizing good hand-hygiene via smart, wearable gel dispensers and a web-based monitoring platform.
The Approach SwipeSense partnered with the innovation consultancy IDEO to prototype alternative products and approaches in both the physical and digital realm. The team worked together to test more than 70 design iterations. Wh..
All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline, operates in a highly competitive industry that has not witnessed any radical innovations for years. To make the situation more challenging, the company is based in Japan – a country characterized by risk-avoiding organizations and decades of nearly zero growth. Despite all these hurdles, ANA is focused on creating and experimenting with concepts that one day might re-imagine the company or the industry in general. While on a global scale this might not be novel per se, ANA is now utilizing its “ANA Digital Design Lab” (DDL) as an interface towards Japan’s startup ecosystem contributing to it and bringing in new ideas.
One core element in ANA’s DNA has always been the spirit of yanchasa – Japanese for being rebellious – and DDL is one of its manifestations. Already from the start ANA has been a privately owned company, a rare sight in an industry predominantly controlled by state-backed enterprises. Considering the context – an inert a..
The evening, organized by the San Francisco Opera (SFO), was called “Barely Opera,” with the slogan “This Isn’t Your Grandmother’s Opera.” Complete with a “Wheel of Songs” that audience members could spin to select the next song, a live DJ, opera-themed drinks, and costumes for attendees to try on, it was designed to remove the intimidation often felt by those new to opera and introduce a younger, hipper audience to operatic music.
Barely Opera was the result of a project that was part of a course at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (“d.school”). As part of the course, two students worked with SFO to help the Opera think about how to best use a new 299-seat facility that would open in early 2016. But they hoped that the benefits would extend far beyond this objective — that the project would introduce the Opera staff to new ways of thinking that offered the potential to fundamentally change how it operated.
The challenge of experimenting at an organization com..
T he Australian Taxation Office is a leading public sector design organisation. It has a long and established history of using design thinking and employs a significant design capability. However, in the early days, the marriage between the traditional areas of information technology (IT), business process development and design thinking was a tumultuous, if not a grueling struggle. The discord of competing methods and philosophies created a string of campaigns between rivalry factions within the organisation. Battle weary foot soldiers: designers, programmers and business analysts wrestled over the role of user-centered design and the credibility of using real users to test designs before they were implemented. Applying design thinking to a complex business process, with new systems and capability was a risky but ultimately fortuitous weapon against potentially disappointing and unacceptable public sector outcomes.
Further still, little consideration was given to employees and their ..
Being part of an ever-connected society, many people in the Global North can barely fathom that still more than 1.5 billion people live off the grid. Instead of simply plugging in, they use kerosene lanterns that only illuminate spots in their home, walk miles to charge their mobile phones, or run a diesel genset for their business.
Proclaiming 2014 – 2024 the “Decade of Sustainable Energy for All”, the United Nations has brought the issue of access to modern energy services to the center of the international development stage, underscoring the importance of energy for development efforts in areas such as health, education, clean water, and economic progress.
Mobisol’s mission reads like an excerpt from the UN goal of providing clean, reliable energy to rural off-grid households in sub-Saharan Africa to stimulate social and economic prosperity. The company combines technology, deep customer knowledge, and a sustainable business model into a product that has started to revolutionize t..
When Lapeyre approached their ME310 student team for the first time in October 2013, the marketing representative didn’t exactly expect much: “As an old adventurer in marketing, I thought I had seen it all, heard it all”, commented Jean-Philippe Arnoux, director of marketing at Lapeyre. “Putting the user in the center of my thoughts is the basis of my work.” Design thinking? Merely “a new design discipline among others, nothing new on the horizon, something fashionable.”
And indeed, the journey that Lapeyre was about to take with the ME310 team may sound winding and difficult: A company giving a challenge to a group of students, who themselves explore design thinking – often for the first time – while working in two different locations. What followed, though, was a process that showed intimate user research, intense iteration loops, a convincing final prototype, and ultimately a change in Lapeyre’s strategy of addressing the issue of accessibility. Here is how it went about.
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