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Conference insights from Vancouver and Boston to Paris and Beijing.

New Ideas for the Economist's Ideas Conference, Part 2

frog design recently conducted a day of design research at the Economist’s Human Potential 2010 conference in New York. The research was intended to look closely at the event (and by proxy the Economist’s global series of events called The Ideas Economy: Ideas That Press Forward), and to find ways to enhance attendee experience during the conference. A small team of designers challenged participants at the event to disrupt normal conference-going patterns by engaging in playful micro-collaborations that could challenge their own notions of what a conference was. They created a game called “Playables” consisting of five cards, each of which had their own challenge or task. To learn more about the thinking and execution of the experiment, see this blog post and video. Following are the results of the research, including a presentation slideshow that you can also find on frog design’s Slideshare page.

New Ideas for the Economist’s New Conference on Ideas

frog design partnered with the Economist Human Potential conference in New York on September 15-16 to conduct a day of design research.

In the summer of 2010 we began a discussion with a team at the Economist about how to enhance the experience of their new conference series, “The Ideas Economy: Ideas That Press Forward,” and we agreed to conduct a day of design research at their New York event, Human Potential 2010. As part of our preparation for this research, we first looked at what it means to go to a conference these days and then we pushed that through the filter of “human potential.”

No Photos Please

Jan Chipchase talks at the Economist’s Human Potential 2010 conference in New York about Afghanistan, “extreme research locations,” and a shift in how design researchers do work. 

frog Executive Creative Director Jan Chipchase gave a keynote presentation at the Economist’s Human Potential 2010 conference in New York on September 16, 2010. The talk was born out of his recent trip to Afghanistan where he did a field study on how people use cell phones to do their banking — known in the industry as “mobile money.” While he is still processing the findings of his research, he revealed new insights on the practice of design research — specifically on doing research in unusual and “extreme research locations” such as the Middle East. “Five years ago when we were conducting street research, one of our team would document the research with a camera; it was a one way process,” he said. “Three years ago …[people] would bring out their camera phones and start documenting us…. In three year’s time you’ll be able to point camera phone at someone’s face and know within a reasonable time-frame and level of certainty who they are, their history and their history of interactions.”

Impressions of Bangalore

I’ve travelled to Bangalore a number of times over the last several months. Each time I go, I learn a little bit more, notice some of the more subtle things that escaped me on prior visits and discover more favorite places, people and things. Each time I go, I find I’m able to achieve just a little bit more grace in the way I move through this culture. I want to share a few of the impressions that have stuck out to me.

Jan Chipchase Goes to Washington

frog Executive Director of Global Insights Jan Chipchase gave a speech today to members of the U.S. State Department about his research in the field of mobile money.

As part of Tech@State, the US State Department’s ongoing series of collaborative discussions on the subject of mobile money, Jan Chipchase presented “Scaling the Mobile Frontier” today, a talk exploring how we can leverage technology and partnerships for sustainable development and financial inclusion.

BREAKING: frog discusses EV Chargers on CNN

frog Executive Creative Director Paul Bradley appeared on the "Big I" (ideas and innovation), anchored by CNN Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi.



I finished presenting at the Design Research Society conference today on the topic of Sensemaking - the manner in which we make meaning during the design process, and arrive at insights and new design ideas. You can read more about this topic in my paper, and if you are looking for my slides, you can grab them here. [On a mac, use Acrobat - not Preview]

Design + Politics

DRS in Montreal

Better Ideas Faster

I had a chance to attend HOW Design Conference in Denver, Colorado, where over 2,500 designers gathered to be inspired by their peers, play with new tools and techniques, and network in some unusual ways—such as Neenah Paper's closing party, where everyone wore white. (Have you ever seen a room with a thousand people all wearing white?) My contribution to the event was a session on how graphic designers can brainstorm more effectively.

Supply, Demand

I was running a seminar on design and creativity at the 2010 RGK Center Institute on Social Entrepreneurship, discussing the basics of design process and talking about how qualitative research helps drive insights, which in turn evolve into design ideas.

Peter Frumkin, a Professor of Public Affairs and Director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community, organized the seminar; we had talked before in some depth, and he had told me he was interested in learning more about design thinking. He had been carefully listening to the lecture, and he approached me at a break to discuss the role of sample size – “how can you be sure your sample isn’t biased?” he asked. Of course, it’s entirely biased; I described how design is provocative instead of predictive, and how marketing focuses on making sure a small insight represents a larger behavior, while design explores the possibility of what might be. Peter’s response was that it seemed like design is about supply, while marketing is about demand. Design, he said, looks at what they can best supply to a given market, while marketing judges what the market demands.