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Conference insights from Vancouver and Boston to Paris and Beijing.

Design Research: A Team Built on Trust

The Bertumbuh Project team has been navigating many different communities in the course of our field research. From fish distributors in North Jakarta to trash resellers in Bogor to tea plantation workers in Cikoneng, we’ve been learning about how people think about money. Their actions -- how they save and spend, search and strive -- are interesting to us. In addition, their mental models are just as fascinating. All of that data, and all of these stories, are important for our synthesis and design process.

Who Knew a Meatball Could Determine Your Destiny?

Prio is a meatball seller in Ciherang, and this morning he invited us in to sit down and chat. His day typically starts at 3:30am when he wakes up. From 4:00am to 6:00am, Prio goes to the market to buy ingredients, returns home, and makes meatballs until 9:30am. From 9:30am to 10:00am he takes a rest. The the real work begins from 10:00am to 10:00pm when Prio sells his product. All of this hard work nets him about 100,000 rupiah a day - or roughly $10. He knows which days he makes more money (Saturdays and Mondays), but he has no idea why.

frog in Indonesia: Looking for the Financial Equivalent of a Motorbike

Our first experience in Jakarta consisted of walking through mud and over broken stones to get to a client meeting. The streets, congested because of severe traffic, meant taking a taxi the 3.6 km would have taken too much time. So, off we went, negotiating the heat in our business attire.

Q&A: Design Thinking and Its Role in Industry and Education

The notion of "design thinking" has emerged as a topic of great discussion in recent years among design practitioners, educators across disciplines, and organizations of all kinds. Whether you’re a student, graduate, or seasoned veteran you’ll find value in the following dialogue which explores some of its many interpretations and applications.

This interview was conducted by Dianne Hardin, a Master of Design Candidate at The University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning as part of her research for the DMI FutureED project. Hardin wanted to get perspectives on design thinking from practitioners responsible for providing it to clients and teaching it to students. This past summer, she spoke with frog Design Research Director Jon Freach and Associate Creative Director Lauren Serota, who are also founding professors at the Austin Center for Design, which aims to transform society through design and design education.

EcoSwitch: A frog design concept liberates cluttered kitchen counters from bulky, wasteful appliances

 

The average, postage stamp-sized urban kitchen is a very inefficient use of space, as most New Yorkers will tell you. Sitting on the counter, in all their oversized glory, are any number of machines that grind, puree, juice, cook, brew and occupy valuable kitchen real estate. Each of these machines has its own motor, power supply and controls, and each is doing its own thing independently of the other. “It’s a very fractured environment, a redundant combination of one-off systems that don’t talk to each other,” says Jonas Damon, frog creative director. 

Meeting the needs of Asia’s Open and Experimental market

 

 

In 2007 frog opened its Shanghai studio in response to China’s growing economy.  Today it serves as the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters, servicing clients in markets including China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

The studio’s co-founder, Executive Creative Director Brandon Edwards was recently featured in the book Design Transitions, where he shares the changes frog has experienced in order to meet the wide-ranging needs of the Asia-Pacific market.

 

Will Design Dethrone King Cash in Russia?

 

The use of digital banking and electronic payments is expanding in many countries, as consumers embrace technology that facilitates financial services. Yet in Russia, people still cling to cash for most of their financial needs. In fact, more than 90 percent of all commodity purchases are in cash, according to the Bank of Russia, and the country loses over one percent of its annual GDP due to the huge amount of cash circulating and its maintenance costs. This poses a challenge to financial institutions, like Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, which is eager to transition customers to digital services. Sberbank asked frog to design product and service concepts that could effectively support that transition. 

SOCAP 2013: The Smaller, Bigger Ideas Influencing Social

 

The electric energy at SOCAP 2013 was palpable. This conference is dedicated to talking about ideas that could increase the flow of capital toward social good. The SOCAP platform connects leading global innovators, investors, foundations, institutions, and social entrepreneurs that build this market at the intersection of money and meaning.

China's Electric Bike Charging Cultures

Throughout my recent ten-month research project in China, I sought to study examples of resource-constrained creativity across western China – particularly those related to mobility and transportation. Having spent previous time living and researching in Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar, I had come to recognize the importance of the Chinese-engine powered walking-tractor-turned-vehicle (and the many modifications to it) to rural life in these countries. From logistics to transportation to power generation and beyond, I hoped to catalogue and understand modifications to these vehicles in their country of origin before the machines became obsolete. I believed that by understanding various modifications and the forces that drove (or prevented) their widespread adoption that the pace of creative modification could be accelerated in other developing contexts, where the vehicle was still a pivotal rural workhorse.

A Report from TEDxAustin City 2.0

“Dream me. Build me. Make me real.” This was the mantra for the national TEDCity2.0 event held globally on September 20th, 2013.