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Thoughts on “Cross-Media” May 9, 2012

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, service design, strategies, theory.
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(image source)

Since 2000 the Berlin senate is organizing a regular panel discussion called “Zukunftsgespräch” (conversation about the future) on innovation in ICT. Yesterday’s 61st Zukunftsgespräch was about “cross-media” and I was on the panel.

Here a summary of my prepared statements, which I discussed with my team at IxDS (sorry only in German):

Ich finde, dass die Definition von Cross Media in der Einladung zu dem heutigen Zukunftsgespräch zu kurz greift: es wird dem Thema und den Potentialen nicht gerecht, wenn wir fernsehserienproduzierenden Verlage als Vorbild zitieren oder von Popsongs reden, die auch als Klingeltöne vertrieben werden – auch wenn wir hier in Berlin im Bereich Klingeltöne eine gewisse Schuld auf uns geladen haben.

Zumal, Cross-Media häufig das Ziel verfolgt (so ist zumindest mein Eindruck), den analogen Nutzer in das Digitale zu holen, wie beispielsweise der ZDF Film, der im Internet weiterläuft, oder QR-Code auf Poster, um Posterbetrachter ins Internet zu locken.

Wir müssen Cross-Media weiter denken und vor allem aus den klassischen Sparten heraustreten und uns auf neue Experimente einlassen. Wir müssen es schaffen, dass die Storytellers und die Technologen zusammen an neuen Formaten arbeiten. Wir müssen die Leser, Fernsehkonsumenten, Kinogeher usw. zum Mitmachen einladen und zum Mitmachen befähigen (empowern – wie man so schön im Englischen sagt).

Und vor allem müssen Magische Momente kreieren – magisch im Sinne von Arthur C. Clarke, der so schön festgestellt hat, dass „Jede hinreichend fortschrittliche Technologie von Magie nicht zu unterscheiden“ ist.

Konkret sehe ich drei Bereiche, wo spannende Herausforderungen im Bereich Cross-Media vor uns liegen:

  1. Visualisierung: Unsere Umwelt ist geprägt von komplizierten Prozessen, von komplexen Zusammenhängen, von riesigen, frei verfügbaren Datenmengen. Wie können wir – eventuell gemeinsam mit den „Nutzern“ – diese Daten zu relevanten Wissen, gar Weisheit werden lassen. Für mich gehört es zu den medialen Aufgaben, z.B. die Prozesse/Transaktionen/Zusammenhänge in der Politik (z.B. EU), in der Wirtschaft (z.B. Bankenrettung) oder in Globalisierung (z.B. Umweltschutz) erfahrbar werden zu lassen. Der mündige Bürger soll eigenständigen diese Daten auslegen dürfen und dafür bedarf es neuer crossmedialer Produkte.
  2. Raus in den Raum, in die Umwelt: Noch sind wir relativ statisch in unserem Medienangebot – wir gehen von einer Person aus, die sich hinsetzt, um Medien zu konsumieren. Das ändert sich gerade massiv: Wir sind unterwegs, an bestimmten Orten, in bestimmten Kontexten, wir sind mal aktiv, mal passiv, mal dazwischen, unsere Umgebung fängt an auf uns zu reagieren, usw
    Als Beispiele seien die wunderbare Arbeit von Rimini-Protokoll, dem „Walk-In Stasi Radio Play“ (2011), die unter dem Umbrella „Location Based Services“ – oder besser noch: „Location Based Storytelling“ – fallen.
    Eine andere Kategorie von Cross-Media sind Stories, die in die Architektur, in den urbanen Raum  verortet sind. Natalie Jeremijenko hat 2009 das Projekt „Amphibious Architecture“ realisiert, wo auf dem Wasser schwebende, leuchtende Glasröhrchen eine Geschichte zur Wasserqualität erzählen.
  3. Die Einbeziehung des „kreativen Konsumenten“: das fängt mit dem Suchen und Finden an, passiert beim „Kreieren“ des Medienprodukts, natürlich beim „Konsumieren“ (wobei sich die Frage stellt, wo das eine aufhört und das andere anfängt), und geht meiner Meinung nach mit dem Ende der Geschichte weiter. Für mich gehören all diese Aspekte auch in die Gestaltung des Formates – und sollten nicht getrennt davon gedacht werden (ein kleiner Seitenhieb an die Social-Marketing-Experten). Wir sprechen hier von Co-Creation, also die gemeinsame Entwicklung von Inhalten, von Erfahrungen mit den Endnutzern. So gibt es beispielsweise Ricardo Bomba, ein Charakter bei den Simpson, der von den Fans kreiert wurde. Wobei hier angemerkt werden soll, dass Co-Creation auch sehr klein sein kann: auch schon die Verlinkung, Einsortierung oder Kommentierung von Inhalten ist ein kreativer Akt!
    Die Forderung nach Beteiligung hat übrigens auch Implikationen auf die Organisation von Firmen, also von “Verlagen” wie sie früher hießen, die im Cross-Media-Bereich tätig sind.

Cross Media verlangt Forschung!

  1. In Formate
    Auf die Formate bin ich ja schon eingeganen. Vielleicht nur so viel: Aus dem Interaction Design wissen wir, dass es sehr schwierig ist, a priori, also rein planerisch über die Qualität eines Entwurfes zu urteilen. Interaktive Erfahrungen, wie wir sie gestalten, sind in der Tat sehr komplex, haben unendlich viele Stellschrauben und häufig ist sind es die Ausführungen im Detail, die über Akzeptanz, über Freude am Nutzen, über Erfolg entscheiden. Daher abreiten wir sehr intensiv mit Prototypen, Prototypen in jeder Phase einer Entwicklung. Und heute kann man sehr viel schon sehr günstig prototypisch umsetzen.
  2. In Tools
    Diese Aufgabe halte ich für enorm wichtig: wir müssen selbst die Tools entwickeln, auch die IT-basierten Tools für Cross-Media, und wir müssen sie der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung stellen. Die, die wirklich erfolgreich sind im Medienbusiness (Instagram, Berlins Music-Softwarefirmen usw) sind die Tool-Anbieter.
  3. In den Vertieb: Hier denke ich muss und wird noch viel passieren. Es zeigt sich am Horizont, dass auch im Internet verstanden wurde, dass nicht alles umsonst ist. Selbstverständlich gibt es Gründe, kostenfrei zu publizieren, aber es muss auch Gründe (und Möglichkeiten) geben, mit Inhalten Geld zu verdienen! Verschiedene Business Modelle fangen an, sich zu etablieren, müssen aber weiterentwickelt werden. Beispiele: Kick-Starter für Buch- oder Filmprojekte, InApp-Verkäufe (aus Spielen) für mediale Inhalte (z.B. Koch-App von Jamie Olivier), Spotify, Flattr
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Innovation in Banking February 7, 2012

Posted by reto wettach in making the invisible visible, service design, social computing.
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As written before, finally some user-experience-based innovation is happening in banking. Here another interesting site: HOI, a swiss site (“hoi” means “hi” in Swiss-German), is offering a quite detailed and nicely designed calculator for personal finances. This calculator offers either the calculation of your “potential” or the suppoort in reaching financial goals. Furthermore it offers the comparison of my own results with the average in Switzerland and – if wanted – with the average of my friends, which I think is a sensible way to share financial information.


(screenshot from hoi.ch)

 

Why service design is the next big thing in cultural innovation December 13, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, methods, service design.
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(image source)

In TheGuardien from 07.12.2011, there is a nice article on Service Design: The author, Rohan Gunatillake, is working with the Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab, which identifies and develops ways to improve the festival culture in Edinburgh – “for audiences, for artists, for partners and for the festival organisations themselves“.

In his article, Rohan makes a nice remark on what Service Design is: just as product design is a discipline where formal design methodologies and approaches are used to make your hoover, smartphone and car the best it can be for your needs and your lifestyle, service design does the same for experiences.

He then makes four statements, which sound quite familiar for us at IxDS as well:

  1. What people want isn’t always what organisations want
  2. We cannot afford to limit innovation just to technology
  3. We should be customising the wheel, not reinventing it
  4. We need a more established culture of prototyping

Especially the last one is interesting as I am wondering about a culture of prototyping in the area of festivals: Rohan published a “Festival Design DNA“, which “hosts a toolkit for how to apply service design for people-centred innovation in festivals and the wider cultural sector“. Here you can find the toolkit – under a CC license!

In this toolkit they present three prototyping approaches:

Staging
Desktop Walkthrough
MockUp


(example for desktop walkthrough; image source)

Even though the descriptions are short and quite general and not  focussed on Service Design for festivals, I like their understanding of Desktop Walkthrough: Using figurines, complex services can be brought to life and visualised in 3D, enhancing your paper sketches.

And what do they suggest using?  Plastic figurines, Lego
Great idea!!!

(Thanks to Experientia)

Service Design at the RCA in London December 7, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in learning, methods, service design, theory.
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The RCA has always been very influencal for the European and maybe even international design educaton: not only did I have the chance to work with Gillan Crampton Smith, who I consider to be one of the inventors of Interaction Design as a design discipline. I also consider the approach of Tony Dunne as very important for the role of designers as innovators.

Now the RCA announced a new MA program for Service Design. They are not the first academic institution to work in this field, still I am excited to see that they are approaching this field and I am looking forward to see how they are doing this.

Upon request I received a 16-page-pdf describing the course (I am not sure whether I can publish it, so please contact the RCA for this document). Some points in this paper were quite interesting:

Very positive is the broad understanding of Service Design:
The design of service experiences involves the design of the spaces and places in which services are delivered. It involves communications design, product design, interaction design and the exploitation of digital technologies that support those services.

The interdisciplinary nature of Service Design is nicely reflected in the collaboration with another university:
The core design-based courses will be complemented by Imperial College’s Department of Computing and Business School who will provide an introduction to, or enhance your technical skills in, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as well as business skills such as strategy, organisational behaviour and innovation management 

I also appreciate the academic approach to Service Design, which I don’t see so much with other institutions, especially in the area of the hyped “Design Thinking”: The course combines lectures, workshop and projects that are grounded in empirical evidence drawn from ‘real world’ practice as well as theory

“Measurement” seems to be an important topic and I am looking forward to seeing how this is applied to Services.

I aslo like the partnership with the “real live” as with IDEO, LifeWork and Engine. It is new to me that agencies are involved so closely into education, but I think this is a good approach.

Also their classification of Service Design is comprehensible and interesting:

  • Designing Consumer Service (e.g. Virgin Atlantic)
  • Designing Business to Business Service (e.g. IBM / Cisco)
  • Design of Public Services (e.g. Health, Social Services, Security)

It seems that Dr. Nick Leon will be running this course, at least it was him who sent me the mail – with the title “Head of Service Design”. Nick is currently leading Design London, a “collaboration between RCA and Imperial College London, with a remit to develop, teach, research, and deliver radical new practices, tools and processes that transform the way organisations innovate, and help them translate their creativity into commercial success.”

Too bad that I am already a professor; I would consider to study there… 🙂

Customer service quite important… December 6, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in service design, theory.
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American Expressed published the “2011 Global Customer Service Barometer” done with ECHO Research, a specialist in “reputation analysis and stakeholder research”.

Even though most conclusions are predictable as e.g. “Poor service leads to lost sales” (slide 14), there are some interesting and encouraging findings for service designers:

The most important message is that there is still room for improvement: Businesses may be meeting, but not exceeding consumers’ expectations for customer service” (slide 4). In Germany acutally only 2% say that in general, customer service experiences “exceeded your expectations”.

Good news: Consumers will spend more with companies that provide excellent service (slide 7):


(image source)

In India they are even willing to spend 22% more – well, not really a surprise if you know what service looks like in India… 😉
And actually, people have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences – in Germany (if the participants did not lie) even 59%!

At IxDS we recently did a experience design project for a call center and therefore the following finding ist quite interesting: “Most consumers want to resolve their issues by speaking to a real person, either on the phone or face to face” (slide 10). For Gemany 80% want to speak to a ‘real’ person on the phone, which I completely agree with!

Another interesting finding is that across all markets, with the exception of Germany (37%), at least half of consumers admit to having lost their temper with a customer service representative (slide 20). It is a tough job to be a representative in a call center – or we just need to improve the customer experience, first with the product and then with the support!

(The research has been conducted in 10 countries with over 1000 participants per country)

Touch Points – the card game… December 5, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in making the invisible visible, methods, service design, theory.
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During our consulting work I realize more and more that a big portion of our time is dedicated to train customers in understanding the opportunities and challenges related to Service Design. The other day, we had a long discussion with a client in the financial sector to talk about Touch Points.

Today I stumbled on these “Touch Point Cards” by Simon Clatworthy from the Oslo School of Architecture & Design. Simon is researching “methods in service design” and came up with these cards, which – I supposed – are of great help in the brainstorming phase of a service innovation:


(image source)

 I just ordered a stack and will keep you updated…

Experience Design for Banking November 23, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in service design.
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Webcredible, an agency offering “user experience serives” based in London, wrote a nice post on the their blog on how to think about customer experience in the financial services. The distinguish between retail and investment banking and for the first one, they make an important statement:

It could be said that customer service is re-gaining its power for the high-street banks, as it was back in the day when your bank manager knew you and your family.

In that observation lies a lot of new opportunities, especially if you conncet the very personal relationship with technology.

Furthermore webcredible names 5 key areas to look at:

  • Testing and Research requires recruitment and persona creation of a wide variety of customers to cover the spectrum and needs to map out the entire life-cycle of clients to really understand their motivations, needs and desires.
  • Accommodate for the lowest common denominator. This means using a language and creating a level of usability that applies to a wide audience.
  • Seamless interactions across in-branch, call centre and digital interfaces. This requires a mixture of staff training, digital design, and striking a careful balance between automation and personal communication. We would recommend at this point that customers should be able to choose their communication and interaction methods that they are most comfortable with.
  • Flawless usability is necessary as consumers don’t have patience with services such as banking. This may seem like a difficult and obvious goal but what we want to highlight is that usability can be difficult to design for large audience types. In some cases segmentation could be a vital step to help reduce the scope of design and to ensure the experience is correct for the most appropriate target audience.
  • Consistent brand experience through all touch points including websites, mobile apps, print ads, TV ads, customer service advisors, any form of communication. The issue for retail banks with regards to this aspect is one of ownership over the customer experience as most of these outlets are managed across different departments.

Well, I guess that the case study (by IDEO) about the service design solution for the 1st Source Bank described in the Business Week is adressing some of these key areas:

A key insight that emerged from our initial research was that 1st Source could leverage its brand as a local bank in ways that national banks could not. We also found that tellers felt constrained by their role and were frustrated by not being able to act more broadly and effectively on conversations they were having with customers. In return, customers connect to people who work in banks, not to banks as institutions, and they want to be treated with respect and concern. While bankers intuitively understood this need, the bank’s service model and facilities did not support it.


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IxDS’s “Bad Connection”-concept presented at TED Global November 8, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in mobile, poetic, service design, social computing.
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IxDS has been working for many years with Dr. Gesche Joost, leader of the Design Research Lab at Deutsche Telekom.

In 2008/2009 we conducted together a large design research project called “Woman’s Phone” (or Gender Inspired Technologies)(or Call Girls), where we investigated the specific relationship of women and their mobile phones. Based on the assumption that women conceive of their phones differently than manufacturers want to make believe, we developed a number of concepts to uncover this perspective.

One of the outcomes of the “Woman’s Phone“-project is Bad Connection, which was shown at TED Global last year in Oxford (starting at 3:22):

Bad Connections allows the user to induce noise into a phone call. This helps to end unpleasant calls: “Sorry, I can’t hear you anymore…”

I like the fact that Gesche did show this concept, because it proves that doing a design research project based on co-creation with a certain group (in this case women) does not mean that the results cannot be useful for people outside of this group. I would love to have such an app!!!

IxDS is currently developing a feasibility study of this project for Android.

Two in One: Sustainability and Efficiency in Dutch Supermarkets September 19, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in gamification, service design, sustainable interaction design.
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(image source)

Jumbo, a supermarket chain from the Netherland, came up with a nice solution for two aspects of their business: avoiding to throw away food and reducing the workload of their employees:

Every costumer, who finds a product, which is expiring on the same or on the next day, can take it home – for free.(here the rule in dutch)

Maybe I am wrong with the title “two in one” – because actually I forgot to count the joy of shopping!

 

(via FAZ Supermarktblog, a nice blog on food and large supermarket chains by one of the leading German newspapers.)

App helping to pay off debt September 15, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in gamification, learning, making the invisible visible, service design.
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(image source)

There are various approaches of how to pay back loans. One is called the ‘Snowball Method‘: “one who owes on more than one account pays off the accounts starting with the smallest balances first while paying the minimum on larger debts. Once the smallest debt is paid off, one proceeds to the next slightly larger small debt above that, so on and so forth, gradually proceeding to the larger ones later” (Wiki).

The idea behind this method is that it is that it is psychologically rewarding to see results, “because of the psychological boost people get when they pay off a loan—it encourages them to keep working at clearing the other debts” (M.Frauenfelder)

There is an app for that – called “Debt Free”. Here a screenshot:


(image source)

I am posting this not only as service design in banking is a upcoming area, but also because this app fits into the discussion we currently are having related to Gamification:Some of the aspects off the ‘Snowball Method’ can for sure be transferred into other domains, as e.g. learning.