Calculated Errors – The Ink Trap

I thought about these stories, the problems posed and their respective solutions and then about problems we face in our work on a daily basis, primarily in relation to the topic I introduced in the beginning of this article – of handing projects over to clients. How we should anticipate the media andunderstand the destination. We tend to strive for perfection only to understand that the solution will fall apart as soon as it comes into the hands of the clients we work for. Could it be possible for us to define and design our own ink traps to prepare for the project handover? Is it possible to find solutions which come alive ONLY when in the hands of clients? Can we better utilize the restrictions of the media we work in, and use it to our own benefit?


http://designmind.frogdesign.com/
By Andreas Markdalen (twitter.com/youthprojects)

A few weeks back we handed over a large-scale project to a long-term client; the fruit of a few months hard and dedicated work bundled into carefully structured PDFs, PSDs and EPSs. It was the usual stuff; guidelines, specifications, hero screens and graphical assets – what we commonly refer to asdeliverables.

The handover is, as you might agree, a special moment in the daily life of any creative; a mixed bag of emotions ranging from the joy and happiness of “completion” to the emptiness of “being done” and the skepticism/fear of “what will happen next”.

The reality is that we can’t consider a design project “done” the moment we hand it over, but instead that it is “born” in that moment and that it comes alive in the period after it has left us behind.

In a way, it takes on a life on its’ own. Continuar leyendo «Calculated Errors – The Ink Trap»

frog and the City

The City is – once again – at the forefront of massive technological, cultural, and social transformation. Many metropolitan regions and infrastructure players have joined forces and announced ambitious projects, and the (pop-)cultural debate is zooming in on it: See Cisco’s strategic initiative with the city of Barcelona; Ericsson’s film on “Thinking Cities;” or Gary Hustwit’s new documentary “Urbanized.” TED awarded its 2012 TED Prize to “The City 2.0” (for the first time it didn’t go to a person), and The Atlanticdevotes an entire section to it.

It started as one of our “Centers of Passion,” and the City has now evolved into a broader initiative at frog that comprises of the following components:

– Envisioning the “Meta-City”

Check out frog chief creative officer Mark Rolston’s much gushed about “Building the Meta-City” talk at the PICNIC conference in Amsterdam and creative director Rob McIntosh’s presentation at Mobile World Congress. Moreover, the upcoming print issue of our design mind publication will feature an article by creative director Scott Nazarian on “Re-Thinking the City in the Digital Age.”

– Membership in the New Cities Foundation

frog last week joined the New Cities Foundation (NCF), a new gl


http://designmind.frogdesign.com

Accelerated innovation and adoption of ubiquitous computing, mobile devices, and rich sources of data are changing how we live, work, and play in urban environments. Increasingly, a digital landscape overlays our physical world and is expanding to offer ever-richer experiences that augment—and in some cases, replace—the physical experience: “The city is the platform, the network, the sensors, and the interface,” as frog creative director Rob McIntosh put it in a recent talk.

The City is – once again – at the forefront of massive technological, cultural, and social transformation. Many metropolitan regions and infrastructure players have joined forces and announced ambitious projects, and the (pop-)cultural debate is zooming in on it: See Cisco’s strategic initiative with the city of Barcelona; Ericsson‘s film on “Thinking Cities;” or Gary Hustwit’s new documentary “Urbanized.” TED awarded its 2012 TED Prize to “The City 2.0” (for the first time it didn’t go to a person), and The Atlanticdevotes an entire section to it.

It started as one of our “Centers of Passion,” and the City has now evolved into a broader initiative at frog that comprises of the following components… Continuar leyendo «frog and the City»

Addicted to Data

Complaining about junk mail is hardly novel. But «Junk Mail Thinking» is not limited to credit card offers. Junk mail thinking is metric-oriented thinking, and it pervades the business world, stemming from an almost religious devotion to measurement. An entire generation of managers has been brought up in the Church of Measurement, whose catechism is: «If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.» It seems like an innocent enough idea. But as uncontroversial as it sounds, a dogmatic devotion to measurement can create problems. Those problems begin with a few simple truths:

Some things are easier to measure than others. It is easy to measure how many people respond to a credit card offer. It is much harder to measure the cumulative frustration that these tactics inspire among the thousands who don’t respond. But, the fact that something is hard to measure doesn’t mean that it isn’t real. Unfortunately, we tend to fall back on things that are easy to measure over taking on an initiative that might bring real value to users. And since nothing is easier to measure than income, it’s no wonder that customers of measurement-centric companies end up feeling «nickel and dimed.» But financial focus isn’t the only flaw in the measurement mindset.


 How an Obsession With Measuring Can Hurt Businesses


Here’s one thing I love about plumbers: whenever I hire one, they stick to the plumbing. Not once has a plumber fixed my kitchen sink, only to follow up with a credit card offer. No teaser rates, no plumber points, no «convenience checks.» Not even a customer satisfaction survey. They simply do their job and collect their fee. It makes me wish dealing with larger companies were that simple.

Take for example the pre-authorized credit card offers that incessantly arrive in the mail. Every weekend, I spend a few minutes opening, shredding, and recycling the week’s accumulated offers. This routine is especially galling because many of the offers come from companies I have a relationship with. As with the plumber, I hire these companies to do a job for me (one that has nothing to do with credit cards). But unlike the plumber, these companies don’t seem to understand their role in my life.

Most of us call these unsolicited offers «junk mail.» The industry prefers the euphemism «direct mail.» Within marketing circles, this kind of tactic is known for being highly measurable. Outside of marketing, it is known for being highly annoying. (I’d suggest that these two attributes are not mutually exclusive.) Continuar leyendo «Addicted to Data»

PopTech: Robert Fabricant’s Graphic Doodles

«One day I was passing through Terminal 5 at JFK on my way to a conference in Austin and I stumbled upon these peculiar notebooks in the Muji store. They had little boxes that were meant for storyboarding. Just like the 140 characters in a tweet, these boxes have provided the frame for condensing discussions to their essential bits. Since then it has become a bit of an obsession for me in meetings as I try to get the most out of each square. And it has spread to friends and co-workers, one of whom bought them for her son who was having trouble focusing in school.

In the digital age, when every interaction is captured in a steady stream of 1s and 0s, it is critical that we pay extra attention to the human and personal qualities of each situation. It is too easy to retreat into the ether. Thats what these notebooks do for me.»


What makes a meeting, a conversation, or a PopTech talk memorable? Why bother to write down anything these days when it all ends up recorded in the cloud? A few years ago I realized that all it took were a few simple things – a particular turn of phrase, quote, story or image – to capture the essence of these moments. Continuar leyendo «PopTech: Robert Fabricant’s Graphic Doodles»

Time to Redefine «Innovation»

Yes, this is an exciting, forward-thinking conclusion, but it is also a daunting one. The ante has been upped: no longer is it enough to want to create «the iPod» of a given industry and follow in Apple’s much-admired, design-worshipping footsteps. Companies have to «think different,» as Steve Jobs always encouraged his team to do.

Of course, simply copying how a successful company does things «different,» won’t automatically ensure parallel results. You have to rethink what «think different» really means in 2012–for you. Are your company’s innovation efforts really resulting in unique work? Do you have original human resources policies to retain your top performers and to recruit—and retain–the next generation of leaders? Will your own management style help define, or at least reflect, the winning business strategies of the 2010s, and not the outdated leadership tactics of the 2000s?

These questions, which can be tough to confront and to answer, are not only good for innovating your offerings, but they’re also generally good for business too. Daring to be different and not just think different can reap long-term dividends. In other words, doing business as usual means you could be out of business sooner then you think. Straying from tradition–conducting business as unusually as you can– might keep you in business longer than your critics and competitors have expected–as IBM and Google have proved.


By Doreen Lorenzo -http://designmind.frogdesign.com

Despite the many case studies and op-eds you might read on the importance of «innovation» as a strategy, in real life many businesses are struggling to be innovative. It doesn’t mean that they can’t come up with enough new ideas or that they don’t have creative people on staff. Instead, executives might find that they cannot implement innovation within their company’s structure, or that they get bogged down by distractions that only seem to be taking them on the path to inventions that are timely–and potentially profitable.

In addition, many of the barriers to corporate innovation are forces that are much bigger than internal ones. These hurdles range from the economic challenges in Europe; entire industries dying or at least experiencing troubling states of transition (print and television media, for example, or investment banking); and the shifts in global financial power that are taking place (the rise of China and India, among other «emerging» markets). Continuar leyendo «Time to Redefine «Innovation»»

The Elephants in the Room at MWC 2012

Recently Fast Company ran a lengthy piece on the four companies that will dominate the tech economy in the next ten years: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google. All four are tremendously powerful companies that each started in one category (book selling, search engine, etc.) and are branching out to disrupt adjacent categories. Because of this, they are all coming into conflict with one another. And they are all strong forces in mobile.

So it is strange being at Mobile World Congress where these brands have minimal, if any, presence. Apple has no official presence, but its products are everywhere either in reality (almost all attendees have iPhones) or by proxy (the iPhone is what triggered the smartphone revolution that is driving most of the business here). Amazon seems completely absent, and Facebook was involved in a talk and has a nondescript booth in one of the less trafficked halls.


By Adam Richardson – http://designmind.frogdesign.com

Recently Fast Company ran a lengthy piece on the four companies that will dominate the tech economy in the next ten years: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google. All four are tremendously powerful companies that each started in one category (book selling, search engine, etc.) and are branching out to disrupt adjacent categories. Because of this, they are all coming into conflict with one another. And they are all strong forces in mobile.

So it is strange being at Mobile World Congress where these brands have minimal, if any, presence. Apple has no official presence, but its products are everywhere either in reality (almost all attendees have iPhones) or by proxy (the iPhone is what triggered the smartphone revolution that is driving most of the business here). Amazon seems completely absent, and Facebook was involved in a talk and has a nondescript booth in one of the less trafficked halls.

The last of the four is Google. Google is here via Motorola and Android of course, though the Google name appears nowhere on their Motorola booth or the massive (and very fun and crowded) Android booth. Android is everywhere – in many ways I see this show as Android World, analogous to Macworld but on a massively larger scale. Last year at MWC I asked «Will Android rule the world?» A year later, that hasn’t come to pass fully, but the expansion of Android’s footprint even in the last 12 months is astonishing.

All the major announcements save for one (Nokia/Windows) here have revolved around Android: HTC, Asus, Sony, LG, Huawei, Panasonic, Samsung. Android has become almost a separate brand, and is easily Google’s best branding success since, well, Google. Android chief Andy Rubin boasted that 850,000 new Android devices are being activated daily, up from 700,000 last December, and 500,000 in November. They’ll hit the magic one million a day very soon I’m sure. (But it does beg the question: if everyone I see at the show, and almost everyone I see in the San Francisco bay area has iPhones – who’s buying Android devices?)

But Google itself is ironically next to Facebook with an even smaller «booth»:

AVP of Marketing Strategy Adam Richardson is the author of Innovation X: Why a Company’s Toughest Problems are its Greatest Advantage. His book is the manual for leaders looking for clarity about the emerging challenges facing their businesses. You can follow Adam on Twitter @richardsona.

Print is Dead? Nah, It’s Just a Start-Up

In 2010, it seemed everyone was eager to declare that print was finally dead, even before a proper funeral. The economic recession shed light on the outrageous cost of production (printing the New York Times costs twice as much as sending every subscriber a free Kindle) and led to threats of pay walls as solutions to covet content. Meanwhile, both the industry and icons of web journalism speculated about whether or not the iPad would be able to save our favorite magazines from vanishing entirely. And all this because of the Internet, where you don’t just look for news but the news is able to find you with the aid of real-time social sharing tools courtesy of powerful social networks. Curator Lauren Cornell focuses on the implications of these shifting flows of data in her new exhibit Free at the New Museum in New York. In a statement about the exhibit, Cornell comments on the power behind our growing digital culture «The internet is not just a medium, but also a territory populated and fought over by individuals, corporations, and governments; a communications tool; and a cultural catalyst.»


In 2010, it seemed everyone was eager to declare that print was finally dead, even before a proper funeral.  The economic recession shed light on the outrageous cost of production (printing the New York Times costs twice as much as sending every subscriber a free Kindle) and led to threats of pay walls as solutions to covet content.   Meanwhile, both the industry and icons of web journalism speculated about whether or not the iPad would be able to save our favorite magazines from vanishing entirely.  And all this because of the Internet, where you don’t just look for news but the news is able to find you with the aid of real-time social sharing tools courtesy of powerful social networks.  Curator Lauren Cornell focuses on the implications of these shifting flows of data in her new exhibit Free at the New Museum in New York. In a statement about the exhibit, Cornell comments on the power behind our growing digital culture «The internet is not just a medium, but also a territory populated and fought over by individuals, corporations, and governments; a communications tool; and a cultural catalyst.» Continuar leyendo «Print is Dead? Nah, It’s Just a Start-Up»

The Future Is Not What It Used to Be: Predictions for 2011 to 2050, Already Obsolete

Michael Schrage does not, but he is a keen observer. His “Top Six Innovation Ideas of 2011” set the theme for the whole bunch: since radical events of the ‘black swan’ kind are understandably hard to predict, professional future gazers usually focus on highlighting existing trends and their continued yet amplified impact in the new year. Another typical feature of trend lists is the excessive use of neologisms, preferably in the form of the noun-ification (oops) of nouns which untreated would sound all too common. Schrage, for example, coins the term “contestification” (“contests”? – nah!). Apart from that though, his list is interesting and sound: he cites touch screen user experiences (“having the right touch to get the right touch will become a desirable communications competence”); “WWWabs” (“not-quite-ready-for-prime-time alpha and beta versions of apps to explore and test”) as valuable playgrounds for companies as they shift from “R&D” to what Schrage calls “E&S – Experiment & Scale;” the rise of promotional platforms (“advertising will take a backseat to promotional offers as retailers and brand managers alike collectively decide that branding a promotion matters just as much as promoting a brand”); the “gameification” (here, he did it again!) of business (“the companies that succeed in gameifying their products, services, and brands will enjoy a certain Zynga in their step”); and the renaissance of lobbyism (“a charismatically innovative lobbyist may have a bigger impact on marketplace success in 2011 than the country’s most savvy technologist or marketer”).


It’s that time of the year again. The trend augurs are releasing their predictions for the coming year. Except for the analyst firm Gartner, that is, which already shared its «Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2011» in October this year – we shall see if the first-mover advantage will make them more accurate. The best forecast might still be the agenda for Davos, simply because many of the participants have the power to actually make the future happen.

Michael Schrage does not, but he is a keen observer. His “Top Six Innovation Ideas of 2011” set the theme for the whole bunch: since radical events of the ‘black swan’ kind are understandably hard to predict, professional future gazers usually focus on highlighting existing trends and their continued yet amplified impact in the new year. Another typical feature of trend lists is the excessive use of neologisms, preferably in the form of the noun-ification (oops) of nouns which untreated would sound all too common. Schrage, for example, coins the term “contestification” (“contests”? – nah!). Apart from that though, his list is interesting and sound: he cites touch screen user experiences (“having the right touch to get the right touch will become a desirable communications competence”); “WWWabs” (“not-quite-ready-for-prime-time alpha and beta versions of apps to explore and test”) as valuable playgrounds for companies as they shift from “R&D” to what Schrage calls “E&S – Experiment & Scale;” the rise of promotional platforms (“advertising will take a backseat to promotional offers as retailers and brand managers alike collectively decide that branding a promotion matters just as much as promoting a brand”); the “gameification” (here, he did it again!) of business (“the companies that succeed in gameifying their products, services, and brands will enjoy a certain Zynga in their step”); and the renaissance of lobbyism (“a charismatically innovative lobbyist may have a bigger impact on marketplace success in 2011 than the country’s most savvy technologist or marketer”). Continuar leyendo «The Future Is Not What It Used to Be: Predictions for 2011 to 2050, Already Obsolete»

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