Everyone's talking about the new Kindle, but here's a product that may present an even more radical innovation in the e-book sector: The Talking Book, created and distributed by the non-profit Literacy Bridge, is a low cost audio player/recorder with special features for Knowledge Sharing and Literacy Learning. It was developed entirely by volunteers and costs less than $10. The device involves an ecosystem to produce and share locally relevant audio content, allowing users to record their own messages and distribute them within local networks through a device-to-device copying capability. Other features include slow play for reading … Read more
The new issue of our design mind magazine is out. The theme is "Motion," and it features a great interview with famed ballet choreographer Alonzo King, who discusses the risks and rewards of collaboration with San Francisco Chronicle dance columnist Rachel Howard:
"Collaboration is always risky. You don't have total control. Also, with choreography you have such a short amount of time to do it. If you're writing a book you've got years; a film, you can shop it around; Broadway, take it out six weeks for previews. With most choreographers, you've got … Read more
2009 will be a year of major uncertainty. The doom and gloom of the economic downturn, the deterioration of mass markets, the pervasiveness of the digital lifestyle, a host of explosive political conflicts, and the fragmentation of traditional societal institutions are causing anxiety and propel a new search for simplicity and non-economic value systems.
Consumption-driven wealth and status are being replaced by identity, belonging, and a strong desire to contribute and do something "meaningful" rather than just acquire things. Trust and reputation are no longer enablers for the exchange of goods, services, and information, they are replacing them. … Read more
Does a loved one suffer from infomania? Do you have an incorrigible number-cruncher on your gift list? Whether your favorite data-tracker is a runner or a gardener, here are five devices that could be a hit at home this year.
About the size of a thumb drive, this fitness and sleep tracker discretely clips to your clothes. At home, it auto-syncs with its base station and uploads information (such as how many calories you burned that day or how many hours you actually slept) to a website where you can track data for yourself, … Read more
Today is the 40th anniversary of what came to be known as "The Mother of All Demos", Doug Engelbart's presentation to the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. In this one 90 minute presentation he showed, in working form, for the very first time all of the following technologies:The mouse Graphical user interface with point and click and menus Intermingling of text and graphics within a document, styling of text in a document Hypertext and linking between documents Remote collaboration plus videoconferencing
That's a pretty astonishing list. It basically described the landscape of computing … Read more
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
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 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
"We're doing all the things we tell our clients not to do," admits a strategy director at a renowned design and innovation firm, "it is ironic." He's not alone with his assessment. Other employees of creative firms (let's just use this label as a catch-all for all design, innovation, marketing, brand, and advertising firms) secretly confess that while they go out preaching to their clients about the importance of open innovation, brand consistency, or a distinct, provocative marketing messages, it is the very absence of all of which that often severely hampers their … Read more