Friday
Feb042011

Who are you trying to delight?

"Pleasing everyone with our work is impossible. It wastes the time of our best customers and annoys our staff. Forgive us for focusing on those we're trying to delight."

The math here is simple. As soon as you work hard to please everyone, you have no choice but to sand off the edges, pleasing some people less in order to please others a bit more. And it drives you crazy at the same time. - Seth Godin's blog

It is very easy to say in hindsight but why do we get sucked into briefs that are trying to be catch all, shouty messaging. The truth being any measurement that counts will be looking at a minority of shoppers who convert into advocates.



Monday
Jan032011

Bored of blogging yet?

It would appear the world is slowly getting bored of blogging. There have been a number of end of year reviews looking at this very issue.

The instant sharing of Twitter and the better designed Facebook wall seem to have taken the mainstream. Bloggers now are more likely to be specialist writers.

Certainly I feel blogged out, I have not been updating this page much these past months, a very busy new job hasn't helped. But wonder how the other part time bloggers will fair in 2011

"...Hints of that appear in the new Pew Internet report that finds that blogging by teenagers has fallen by half since 2006, and even young adults seem to be dropping the habit.

Few of the activities covered in this report have decreased in popularity for any age group, with the notable exception of blogging. Only half as many online teens work on their own blog as did in 2006, and Millennial generation adults ages 18 to 33 have also seen a modest decline — a development that may be related to the quickly growing popularity of social network sites.

At the same time, however, blogging’s popularity increased among most older generations, and as a result the rate of blogging for all online adults rose slightly overall from 11 percent in late 2008 to 14 percent in 2010.

Yet, while the act formally known as blogging seems to have peaked, internet users are doing blog-like things in other online spaces as they post updates about their lives, musings about the world, jokes, and links on social networking sites and micro-blogging sites such as Twitter..." By Ryan Singel Wired Nov 2010

Monday
Nov152010

Potentially an amazing opportunity for voice and motion control POS in store

Really innovative POS that you control with proximity body movements plus has face and voice recognition? Easy! hack the new Xbox Kinect games consol so it works on a laptop rather than a Xbox

I have become really interested by the hackers who in a matter of days have broken most of the code behind the new Kinect Xbox game system. Why have I come over all geek?

Well, it could mean in a matter of months time having a POS unit instore that recognizes your skin, hair or body type as you approach and changes accordingly, it would know if you were in a group or alone. You could interact with it simply by waving your hands or speaking.

You could even have shoppers do some action at fixture that is then downloaded straight to their Facebook account or mobile handset.

You could already build a POS unit to do all these things, but the cost of the components and time needed to test it all would be exorbitant. The Kinect unit is currently £129 in the UK, but likely to drop dramatically next year. Most hackers have got the units to work in a simple manner, in a few months time I'd expect pretty much all of the Kinect to be open. The possibilties of two kinects facing each other could deliver full 3D capture (see Oliver Kreylos video below)

Microsoft does not approve or support any of these hacks, but even Google’s offering prizes to coders who can break into the Kinect and produce secondary uses. YouTube has this weekend (14/11/10) seen loads of videos appear of Kinect hacks in action.

It might all seem a bit geeky (well, OK, it is) but subverting tech is a very fun way to gain knowledge and leap frog into rapid prototyping

Background links

http://bit.ly/c0Eaev = Adafruit.com, People behind first Kinect hack 4 days ago

http://bit.ly/aXOdIG = Matt Cutts blog, The guy behind Google’s hack-a-Kinect into a secondary use competition

http://bit.ly/9kDT8x = Oliver Kreylos Video of 3D image capture using a hacked Kinect

http://bit.ly/a7GAXh = Video of a Multi touch interface using a hacked Kinect

http://tisch.sourceforge.net = Open source code to download, so you can hack your very own Xbox Kinect – from the guy who built the motion control example shown.



Friday
Oct222010

The future of books prt 34. 

It may be very difficult to make any money from books (outside of Hogwarts) but that's not stopping some stonking thinking about how interactions can change the reader experience. Does often, as here demand the use of an iPad**, strong wi-fi, time and a fully charged battery. But such details are not holding back innovations in narrative depiction. ** other tablet devices are available, but you knew that.

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

Wednesday
Oct202010

In praise of geotagging

 Eric Fischer has produced a series of simply stunning maps that chart the differences between tourist and locals in locations chosen to photograph. He has mapped a 50 of the worlds cities using geotags from Flickr and Picasa. Why? not sure, but they are a joy to behold and that's good enough for me, and yes you can zoom into see your own house! The full set is HERE seen via Trendland.net

  

Thursday
Oct142010

You want data with that?

This is very cool, seen via the blog of Andrew Murray CEO of Saatchi X. Not sure about the colour scheme, but you can't have everything

Friday
Oct012010

Changing behaviours with fun. 

Late last year VW ran The Fun Theory Award, one of the winners, a take on speed cameras, is a joy to behold 

"..Instead of using a speed camera to detect and fine speeders, a speed camera will register drivers who keep the legal speed limit and give them the chance to win a cash prize of SEK 20,000..."

(Thanks to Daniele Fiandaca on the Creativesocialblog for reminding me of it.)

Both the competition and the entries themselves, highlight the joy of random play. Humans get bored with process. We might not admit it, but everyone enjoys disruptive behaviours. The best uses of mobile platforms to innovate time saving do just that. You remember surprise not simply job done well.

Actually the other use of this appears to be to counter planned terrorist attacks. Begun in LAX and now rolling out is a software process called ARMOR that randomises the position of patrols and checkpoints within airports. By having armed secuirty popping up in random, places at random times.

"...Developed by computer scientists at the University of Southern California and believed to be the first program of its kind to be used at an airport, ARMOR aims to thwart terror plots during the early, surveillance phase. Typical plots start when would-be attackers begin watching their target "18 months to four years prior to an attack" to look for security weaknesses, says James Butts, deputy executive director of law enforcement at Los Angeles World Airports, which runs LAX and other city-owned airports. "Part of it is to look for patterns in the deployment of assets. We're trying to block the surveillance cycle...."

The more a process or service can surprise, randomly shock the more you'd remember/recommend it, However I do think my mate Jon's idea of minefield hop-scotch maybe going too far.

Friday
Sep172010

What to do about Nokia?

"..Nokia, the McDonalds of mobile phones.." Brian Barrett

Nokia World, London, has just finished, A good time to ponder; 'what the feck are Nokia doing??'

You could easily, If you were the new CEO Stephen Elop, just keep going. Nokia is the biggest global manufacturer of mobile phones. Outside of America it pretty much dominates each market it is in. Interbrand have just put them at number 8 in its list of 100 top global brands. 

But, as the McDonalds quote above points out. Nokia is a dull brand, standing for hum drum phones. Nokia is the go-to brand for a buttoned down version of someone else's smart idea.

Funnily enough in most markets, especially Europe, Nokia's marketing communication are innovative and eye catching. Pretty much everything the phones are not. HERE

Should Nokia change? McDonalds make a ton of money, with little concern over 'innovation' other than repurposing existing cultural trends. HERE

But Nokia are smart. Nokia is a technology company. The DNA of such bodies is innovation. Nokia must change. (like they used to) HERE

School of the obvious really but they need to be extraordinary rather than just 'good'. They could pick either Android or Windows platform and just nail the perfect bespoke device for that platform. Ultimate corperate sharing would be building the best, most open, open device for developers. Think about Foursquare, its fun and engaging, but pretty enclosed. Facebook Places on the other hand could be epic, we have not seen anything like the potential of this as developers haven't fully got to grips with it yet.

Don't listen to focus groups. Next step usage comes from being brave. I love the location features in OVi but it's like a collection of neat apps rather than a brand statement.

Nokia have the technology to do something truly mind-bending. Not in how you lay out the buttons but in the interface. How users emotions change when using a device is only just being touched on. The current LSE project Mappiness is the tiny tip of a huge iceberg. There isn't a device or platform hack yet, that can alter itself by the mood of the user. But thats what we do when we punch in requests. We change. (unlike Nokia)

Consumer happiness is driven by discovery, delight by surprise.

Location > Emotion > Function. 

Friday
Sep102010

I hate Powerpoint

No, let me correct that, I loath Powerpoint. Clunky, cumbersome, god awful, typographic inept child of a programme. There I now feel so much better. Actually type 'I hate powerpoint' into Google and see what happens!

Being a Mac fan boy does mean I can wallow in smugness and use Keynote MOST of the time. But when sharing a document amongst many or editing a third party set of slides I am forced into the nightmare that is Powerpoint.

Yup there are a bunch of online solutions, but none that have the slick interface tools of Keynote (or its creative abilities) 

 http://280slides.com is a neat hybrid of PPT and Keynote from a bunch of ex-Apple bods, works on & off-line so you can share a doc amongst chums during its creation and then export to PPT or pdf or Slideshare. Lacks the full creative capability of Keynote but as a user experiance it's still way better than Powerpoint.

On a completely different level is http://prezi.com which is frankly brilliant. There is a free version which automatically shares your slides with the web or a $59 version to keep your stuff secret. Which in itself is a very neat way of selling premium licenses. You do get a 30 day free trial of the enhanced version so its easy to get a feel for it.
Prezi is the kind of thing that would make planning documents really come alive, very visual and appears painfully easy to make a complex pitch understandable. Plus it has a 'Transformation Zebra' function, now how cool is that? 
One word of caution, they appear to have server issues (too many people are suddenly trying it out??) the site kept stopping today, check the blog for updates http://blog.prezi.com
Those awaiting slides from me (yes Sam, soon, soon.) just might be in for a treat if I can get my head around that Zebra thing.

 

 

Wednesday
Aug252010

What new can you say about lager?

Stella Artois or wife beater to its fans. One of many standard lagers that have had to rely on great planning and outstanding creative to create its brand. Pretty much most lagers to most consumers are the same. The point of difference is simply how the consumer is currently feeling about the most recent ads or sponsorship. Stella has in the UK had the full gamut of award winning memorable and dull forgettable campaigns. Currently I feel much less connected to the brand than normal. The TV work grates, while the press and outdoor has design value charm, but I'm not grabbed by it. BUT when I was shown this US viral spot I was really bowled over by it. It has values, an idea and lovely execution. (more HERE) It says to me a modern product with traditions, that takes care over details and respects the past. All the things you would want a lager drinker to assume the liquid is made with. (dispite knowing deep down its made by robots in a dank industrial estate) Lager campaigns are hard BUT they mark out those agencies that try hard and those that just 'do enough' to get by.

Created by Mother. Directed by Malcolm Murray. More at both; http://theritualproject.com & http://uptherefilm.com

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