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Thoughts on “Cross-Media” May 9, 2012

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, service design, strategies, theory.
1 comment so far

(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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5 Theses on IT and the (near) Future of Retail May 2, 2012

Posted by reto wettach in mobile, social computing, theory.
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Together with my friend Ilaria Forte, CEO from RadicalFuture, I prepared a short talk on how technology will have an impact in retail, especially for large multi-channel retailers. We developed the following 5 thesis on that subject:

FUTURE WAVE 1: technology –> access to information –> give power and control to the customers

NOW: new technologies provide to the customers fast and easy access to tremendous amounts of information upon which to base their buying decisions.  The tech-empowered consumer “knows everything already“ and is often more informed about a given product than most of the staff within the store. Above all, knowledge means power and control (e.g. negotiate purchase at the lowest price in the market).

HINTS:


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  • Instant information on products as e.g. price check App by Amazon or the goodguide App, which give instant information on the sustainble aspects of a product
  • Support in the entire context of the product as e.g. “Project Help” by Lowes.com, with tools to help archieving complex tasks in your home with amongst others a project “Calculator” or a “How-To” or a buying guide.

TOMORROW: consumers are getting wiser, access to information will be easier and faster. Consumers will demand higher service standards, offline and online.

IMPLICATIONS: consumers will expect staff excellence, superlative service and proved expertise. Retailer will need to get smarter, transparent and trustworthy. Upgrade store staff skills through training might be too expensive and not enough.
By using innovative technologies that integrate information assets and business processes, retailer will improve service levels at relatively low cost.

FUTURE WAVE 2: technology –> automation + simplification –> make easier everyday life tasks

NOW: new technologies and improvements make the overall shopping experience faster, more simple and more flexible for the customer. Consumers are looking to connect with retailers anytime, anyplace & anywhere. They can decide where (virtual or physical space), how (mobile, online, in-store), when (24/7).

HINTS:


(image source)


(image source)

  • Shopping experience seamlessly integrated between online, mobile and offline as e.g. “Buy Online – Pick Up at Store” by HomeDepot or Apple EasyPay (“While in an Apple Store, quickly purchase accessories on your own with EasyPay (requires iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S)”)

TOMORROW: the whole purchasing and buying process will become simplified and faster thanks to integrated applications (online, mobile and in-store).

IMPLICATIONS: consumers will expect easy shopping experience, 1-click shopping especially for low involvement, low price and frequent purchase product categories.

FUTURE WAVE 3: technology –> access to real-time data –> make consumption a truly personal experience

NOW: personalized-shopping thanks to real-time data is mainly used by online retailers. Personalized tools include public profile, community settings, registries, gift and shopping lists, product reviews, personalized content and shopping lists.

HINTS:


(image source)

  • Audience detection for more personalized shopping experience as e.g. .g Intel AIM Suite, which “is able to discern a person’s gender, race, approximate age and, based on the contours of the person’s face and positioning, just how long he actually looks at the screen.” (White Paper: “Video Analytics for Digital Signage Deployments”)
  • Strong integration of store staff for personalized retail experience as e.g. concept “Identitymine Store”, presented by Microsoft: “Customers Create Preferences On App For Tailored In-Store Experience” und “The shopper can use their app to create a profile, browse products and make a shopping list. When they arrive at the physical store they can check in using the app and contact the store assistant, who views the customer’s profile, shopping list and purchase history using the app on a Windows tablet. The assistant can identify the customer in-store from their profile picture.” (source)

TOMORROW: address the needs and preferences of individual consumer online and in-store

IMPLICATIONS: access to data will be more and more the lifeblood of any retail marketing operation. Real-time interactive analysis of customer‘s preferences will deliver rapid customer insights. It is important to personalize a customer’s experience in the store.

FUTURE WAVE 4: technology –> network supported social exchange and interaction–> make shopping more social

NOW:  social shopping is a pervasive trend. Consumers share products, purchases, and deals with friends and family.  Recommendations mainly based on purchases and searches, reviews from other customers and friends.

HINTS:


(image source)

  • Social Shopping goes beyond recommendations as e.g. Ticketmaster’s feature of seeing where you friend are seating when purchasing a ticket


(image source)

  • The fun part of shopping is to be social as e.g. the TweedMirror by Nedap – even though the implementation of this concept is too nerdy from my point of view, but the direction is right!
  • Social Experience must be enabled as e.g. wiht Triptrotting, “who will help you feel like a local when you travel.”

TOMORROW: social commerce is expected to grow (forecasted $30 billion in 2015). The role of social media will continue to grow in the world of online shopping and beyond. From online to offline: the social aspects of the web will improve shopping experience in-store.

 IMPLICATIONS: put together all forms of commerce and channels (mobile, social networking, e-commerce, email, and in-store) into one “syndicated” experience. Customer deals, offers, promotions, and experiences must be one with the brand and the brand experience.

FUTURE WAVE 5: technology –> participative tools –> enable customers participation and co-creation

NOW: creating is a global trend: the active consumer, develops solutions and shares them with the community, which then again can learn and improve. Crowd-sourcing, liquid democracy and open-source are hints toward this trend.

HINTS:

(image source, screenshot)

Consumers like to create and share  as e.g. in the DIY-scene, but also in recipes as e.g. Food52, the „the first crowd-sourced cookbook“

TOMORROW: customers will become more active. we will see more and more co-production, involving consumers in the whole process. consumers will want to have support in their active approach to consumption and they might even want to share the revenue, which is generated through their activities.

IMPLICATIONS: retailers will need to clearly identify the key areas for active consumption. Enabling the consumer to create needs to be applied both, online and offline, from design to selling.

Why People Adopt Or Wait For New Technology January 10, 2012

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, theory.
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(this ad for the new Samsung phone is making fun of the typical Apple early adopters…)

Jared Spool, consultant with UIE, posted a nice article on why people adopt or wait for new technology. He identified the following categories for the different behaviors:

  • People Who Are First
    • Being First to Gain Social Status
    • Being First as Product Research (That’s me and my colleagues at IxDS…)
    • Being First to Solve An Active Need (according to Spool, these are the folks to design for)
  • People Who Wait
    • Waiting Because Unaware of Latent Needs
    • Waiting Because Of Perceived Cost Of Change
    • Waiting Out The Product Lifetime

I like this model, even though some of the points are larger than the others and might therefore need a further categorization, as e.g. “Cost of Change”, where Spool already mentioned that the cost of change comes in many forms…

Furthermore it would be interesting to see how these groups are distributed for certain kind of new technologies.

And it would also be good to discuss which strategies are around to address the various groups.

(via Andrea Bauer)

Kate Hartman on Bodies, Plants and Glaciers December 18, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in gadgets, physical interaction design, poetic, theory.
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(Botanicall is a device, which allows plants to twitter or to make phone calls) (image source)

Kate Hartman, one of the inventors of the Botanicalls, gave a very entertaining TED-talk on her work:

At 1:03 she makes a wonderful statement on “Why bodies matter”:

Everybody got one. All of you […] have bodies! Don’t be ashamed! And this is something that we have in common. And they act as our primary interfaces for the world. 

 

Service Design at the RCA in London December 7, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in learning, methods, service design, theory.
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(image source)

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)

Steve Jobs – again… :-) December 6, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in making the invisible visible, methods, new technologies, theory.
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Here is a nice video of Steve Jobs at the WWDC in 1997 (!) – responding to an insult from the audience. The insult is not the interesting part, but Steve’s respont to it:

1:45
One of the things I always found is that you gotta start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you are trying to sell it.

Then he illustrates his point with the laser writer, a very complicated technology with an easy to understand result – the high quality print out:

3:16
And I remember, seeing the first print out come out of it [the laster-printer], and just picking it up and looking at it and thinking: ‘We can sell this!’ Even if you don’t know anything about what is in that box, all we have to do is holding it up and asking: ‘Do you want this?’ […] And people went: “YES!”

4:25
And some mistakes will be made along the way – and that’s good: at least some decision were being made along the way!

 

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…

December 5, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, theory.
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The PuttingPeopleFirst-blog pointed me to a inspiring conversation between Don Norman and Jon Kolko, which tool place at the Academy of Art University in San Franciso this summer:

Here some quotes, which I took from the summary by Richard Anderson, who was hosting the event:

Don – the former usability guru: Usability is important, but it is not the most important thing. There are lots of parts of (the iPhone) that are completely unusable, and you know what? It doesn’t matter.

Don: Engineers and MBAs are fantastic at solving problems, but they aren’t any good at making sure it is the right problem…

Jon: Now, if you get an MBA, you might take a class called “design thinking,” where you will learn a bunch of design methods. You’ll learn a method called, “empathy.” For 4 days, you learn about empathy, and then you are now certified to be empathetic. Clearly, it can’t be that reductive.

Don: If you really want to be in control of your own destiny, go get an MBA in addition to your design (degree).

Jon: I worked at frog for about 4 1/2 years, and when I started, we had a design research practice that was small. When I left, companies were hiring us to do design research engagements — 4 or 5 hundred thousand dollar engagements — where all we did was do design research.

Jon: Not all problems are equally worth solving.

Don: My favorite quote is from (H. L.) Mencken, a journalist from the 1930s: ‘Every complex problem has a simple answer, and it is wrong.’

Why we do Co-Creation… August 22, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, service design, theory.
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Designing new services or interfaces needs the involvement of end-users. IxDS always approaches new projects by involving all stake holders – we call this process “Co-Creation” (based on the work by L. Sanders).

Why do we use this approach? Amongst others, because designers (and product managers and software engineers and …) are not able to see the world as their future users are seeing it. One nice prove for this I found today on boingboing:

Dan Russel, an anthopologist working with Google found out that “90 percent of US net users don’t know from crtl-F”.

In the original article Dan then explains that he is usually showing the people this feature after conducting his interview, and then “very often” people will say: ‘I can’t believe I’ve been wasting my life!'”

(image source)

Too bad that I could not find any paper by Dan showing his research…