We're in romantic Barcelona, it's Valentine's day, and love is in the air. Specifically, if you're Steve Ballmer giving today's keynote, a whole lotta love for: Windows Phone 7, app and development partners, device partners, carriers, ecosystems, design and user experience, and especially love for Nokia. Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, returned the love by appearing on stage to give a rousing defense of the new Microsoft/Nokia partnership.
In the summer of 2010, frog's Executive Creative Director for Global Insights Jan Chipchase conducted field research in Afghanistan with generous support from the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion. He worked with his research partner Panthea Lee and a nimble local team to investigate how people use cell phones to do their banking—known in the industry as mobile money.
In recent months, we’ve been spreading the word about connected devices, the future of mobile money, and how the “Internet of things” is going wireless. Now, frog will host and facilitate a series of interactive workshops and presentations on those subjects at the Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry’s leading conference held in Barcelona from February 14–17.
We're putting the finishing touches on GE's first social game, GE Desert Quest. GE will launch the game at CES, its first year participating in the technology trade show. GE will use the show to highlight two key products to support a clean energy future: WattStation, which provides a rapid charge for your electric vehicle, and Nucleus, which helps you manage your energy consumption at home. Here's how it works: GE Desert Quest is all about energy efficiency and rewards participants who are as judicious with their energy as possible.
frogs leaving the pond to freshen up the daily croak gets them wandering off the beaten path. Aside from social innovation projects and conferences, kicking projects with students and working at universities is most inspirational to frogs. On the treasure hunt for the fresh water, Munich Creative Directors Justin Maguire and Ralph Bremenkamp most recently took the chance to visit the Umeå Institute of Design at Umeå University in Sweden.
On December 12 & 13 I joined a group of 10 speakers and 40 participants for the TEDx Kumaun conference. We met in a remote Himalayan village to discuss and share knowledge on the major social issues facing India today. The event was organized by CHIRAG (Central Himalayan Rural Action Group) and hosted at the Himalayan Village Sonapani. For a foreigner trying to absorb as much as I can about India, it was a crash course in politics and social programs. The conference focused on the tension between India's economic growth and the enormity of its problems relating to poverty, poor healthcare, low quality education, lack of food, pollution and rampant corruption.
It is common knowledge that most new products and services fail when brought to market. Charles Kettering, Board Member of GM (1920-1947) famously noted that when it comes to innovation: “You don't know when you are going to get the thing, whether it’s going to work or not and whether it’s going to have any value whatsoever." And even as things may have improved a bit since Kettering’s time, thanks to today’s attention to innovation processes and user-centered development practices, there’s still uncertainty that haunts all innovation attempts.
This high fail rate of new products and services stands in interesting contradiction to the flood of “Best Case” studies you will experience if you happen to attend a lot of business and innovation conferences. Best Case studies are certainly great stories and we all love to tell them, but I’d argue that in real life failures give you much more of a learning experience and motivation for improvement then success would ever do – think about the road to excellence if you do sports, think about how your kids grow up etc. And certainly this is also the case when it comes to business. So shouldn’t we hear much more fail stories and learn from them?
By Kate Canales and Lauren Serota - November 23, 2010
Our team of designers on the ground in Zambia discover that meaningful connections and conversations can be as valuable as days of field work.
Given all the broken-down infrastructure, dirt roads, unmarked streets, potholes the size of small swimming pools and other hindrances to getting around in Zambia, our trip was pretty cushy when it comes to transportation. There are three ways to get around in rural Zambia, and 99.9% of people are on foot or on a bike. For longer distances, a handful of people brave a rather hodgepodge bus system. A few people - very few - have a car.
Last week, frog design and the Club of Marrakech premiered a new event called “THE OTHERS”. A diverse range of guests from arts, media, business, and science backgrounds took part in what should become a “Live-Mashup to explore what ‘new’ you can get out of an event by re-combining very different topics, people and ideas. With the goal to establish a platform for interdisciplinary exchange and to draw particular attention to an out-of-the-box approach, we brought together five unusual speakers – inspirators, actually - from different backgrounds at a vaulted cellar in downtown Munich, reminiscent of a conspirative meeting place, an atmosphere triggering exchange, collaboration, and serendipity. The experiment was split into two sessions: while in a first session the speakers each inspired the audience for ten minutes. The second part of the evening was all about creating a mashup of their perspectives and ideas, moderated and led by Andrian Kreye, Leisure and Arts editor of German Daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
A large part of our research in Zambia is focused around an SMS communication system for healthcare. This system relies on clinic workers and community volunteers to interface with various services on their personal phones via SMS (users are reverse billed, so they do not pay from their own pockets). When we asked Steve, a Health Officer in the rural district of Kawambwa, to show us how he uses his phone to enable his work, he told us that he gets no network coverage at the clinic itself so his phone is kept at home.