User Behaviour

User behavior always evolves much faster than companies can keep up

– Karen M – bdconf podcast

Guess we have to expect we will always be one step behind.


Good Design and the Good Society

To many people good design is often regarded as an aesthetic veneer that can be peeled on and off, but good design should underscore all decisions about our environment, because it refers to how things work – not just how they look. Good design is about functionality, performance and quality as much as it is about innovation and creativity. Good design is sustainable and resource efficient. It embraces its context. It contributes to community identity and is often the source of local pride. Good design delivers value for money as well as better outcomes, particularly when attention is paid to the full cost over a lifetime. If the quality of design can contribute to quality of ones life and well being, then it makes sense and is responsible to put in processes that enable good design to be achieved. Good design needs to be a core requirement of any project or procurement.

– Adapted from Geoffrey London’s talk The Built Environment and the Good Society from the Office of Victorian Government Architect.

Some inspiring words around what is good design. Originally Geoffrey was discussing housing and architecture – so I’ve tweak it to be more about design in a general sense.

The one most adaptable to change

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

– Charles Darwin

I think we often tend to forget that this quote is the crux of Darwin’s theory, not survival of the fittest.

It’s Time to Evolve

Folks, it’s time to evolve ideas. You know, evolution did not end with us growing thumbs. You do know that, right? Didn’t end there. We’re at a point now where we’re going to have to evolve ideas. The reason the world’s so fucked up is we’re undergoing evolution. And the reason our institutions, our traditional religions are all crumbling is because they’re no longer relevant. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! They’re no longer relevant. So it’s time to for us to create a new philosophy and perhaps even a new religion, you see. And that’s OK, ‘cause that’s our right, ‘cause we are free children of God with minds who can imagine anything, and that’s kind of our role.

– Bill Hicks

Is it just me or is this where we sit in the Education sector? Institutions and traditions all crumbling? Seeking relevancy? Lets start the new year by evolving.

The Problem with a Meritocracy

The problem is if you really believe in a society where those who merit to get to the top, get to the top, you’ll also, by implication … believe in a society where those who deserve to get to the bottom also get to the bottom and stay there.

Alain de Botton

In his talk A kinder, gentler philosophy of success de Botton mentions in passing the problem with a Meritocracy. While it fits as a lovely ideal, the single problem is that it doesn’t work. It implies that there is a level playing field to start, but there’s not – hence the Donald Trumps, Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians  – who are rich and famous not because of merit on their own or the parents.

The only way to have anything even vaguely resemble a Meritocracy is to have greater equality. We have polar opposites of inequality in most of the West. The gulf between rich and poor is growing and the spread more and more uneven as the middle gets squeezed down. While socialism does not reward or support an on merit system – it doesn’t take anything away. It creates a level playing field and ensures the fact that the society shares in the success that it made possible.

Watch the talk, it’s good and thought provoking.

Less, but better

Good design is as little design as possible

Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials.

Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Ten principles for good design – Dieter Rams

I don’t think you get mobile…

It’s a little late and I should be in bed with a book, but instead my face is lit up from the glow of my iPad as I succumb to the need to write down my thoughts.

A friend posted an article titled “Why Mobile Will Dominate the Future of Media and Advertising“. After reading it I had to stop and pause. Something was amiss and then i thought “I don’t think they understand mobile”.

I agree that mobile is the next big thing. It is the latest and greatest technology and it has created a new marketplace. It’s also created new opportunities and new business models. It is a change agent – and that’s the crucial bit that seems to be missing – change! Mobile = change.

It’s a new paradigm and it requires new methods. I like the phrase – what happened in the past is no longer a reliable guide to the future – it sums up what mobile is and what it represents.

So when they state:

“consumers are spending 10% of their media attention on their mobile devices while the medium only commands a mere 1% of total ad-spend … “dying” print medium attracts only about 7% of media-time, but still captures an astonishing 25% of the total U.S. ad-spend, with print receiving 25-times more ad money than mobile.”

I don’t think they’ve comprehended the change required to engage with mobile. It’s not the same medium as print and you cannot follow the traditional “whack an ad on it” model, because it won’t work.

Mobile has created a marketplace and an audience – but it’s new, and it requires new ways of thinking and acting. I really don’t think that traditional advertising works in mobile. Consumers might have been willing to suffer through it before, simply because they had no choice and no control of the platform. With mobile they do and unless there is a tangible benefit advertising will just get in the way. And if you piss people off in a mobile space, you’ve pissed them off in their personal space, in their home and to their face! You may as well have peed on their rug.

Mobile marketing will require investment – not in pretty pictures, glossy magazine spreads or CGI heavy commercials. No, you will need to invest in your customers, in your product and in the experience your service provides – exactly the platform that mobile provides…. Funny that 🙂

How To Break Through Bureaucracy To Keep Projects Moving

Rather than surrender to bureaucracy, take it upon yourself to break it. 

The 99% –

Try breaking up the ice with questions like:

  • “Why does it feel like we are having the same meeting and discussion, over and over again?”
  • “Why don’t we just try it and see what happens?”
  • “Specifically what (or who) is getting in the way of us making a decision?”
  • “When exactly will we have a final answer on this?”