Illustration by Eli Myers
The best gift I’ve ever given was a 1940s Parker 51 fountain pen. It was a birthday present to my best friend Taylor, a PhD student with a professorial look — round tortoise shell spectacles, elbow-patched blazer, a leather briefcase and loafers. The pen not only rounds out his look, but it's one of his favorite gifts of all time.
In a recent frog program, I was part of a team that explored how educators in the U.S. K-12 education system are incorporating new technologies in the classroom to improve teaching and learning. We interviewed teachers, principals, and state leaders to understand the needs of educators in the changing education landscape. We found that new companies entering the K-12 space are likely to face several challenges. State and local budgets are still recovering from restrictions in federal funding during the 2011-2012 school year. The selling cycle is long and often requires a custom approach for specific student populations, meaning that scaling up quickly as a new entrant is difficult. Buying at the school level is being squeezed between centralized technology mandates coming down from the district and requests for new digital technology tools bubbling up from teachers.
People join hackathons to meet and mingle with other passionate developers, exchange ideas, experiment with technologies, and challenge themselves with new ideas. We like to think of a hackathon as a moment when the seed for a new opportunity is planted.
The San Francisco Bay Area is notorious for the wealth of Silicon Valley, yet at least 1 in 5 Bay Area residents live in poverty. With housing prices rising 18% since last year, more of the population is struggling to survive than before. Poverty in the Bay Area is getting worse, not better.
The Control Dilemma
We expect a lot from something that is labeled as smart. But as smart as a product could be, data analysis and sensing is not enough to design a fully trustworthy experience. By relying on a product’s smartness, we tend to hide complexity. And by focusing on connectedness we outsource all controls to remote applications.
A new study by The Design Management Institute and Motiv Strategies found that over the last 10 years, design-led companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 228%. If design plays such a big part in a company’s success, how come there are very few designer founders? That’s about to change.
The business community’s growing interest in design recently took frog to Harvard’s Innovation Lab for a crash course in the process and techniques of sensemaking, or how we turn qualitative research data into design.
Fluidity and motion are what we experience in real life. The best moments are split seconds in time when we careen aimlessly like tumbleweed, and suddenly realize, with stunning clarity, that you are going somewhere. Usually, for me, these moments come with a soundtrack. So my ability to quickly access music should be able to keep up with my journey.