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.
frog design has joined with UNICEF as the organization’s lead design and innovation partner on Project Mwana, a major mHealth initiative to improve maternal and infant health and welfare in peri-urban Malawi and rural Zambia. This partnership is part of Mobile Mandate, a new initiative from frog and its parent company Aricent to leverage mobile technology for social innovation. A team of three designers have been in the field in Zambia with UNICEF researching the use of SMS for healthcare appications in extremely rural locations. You can follow the team’s experience in this blog series.
By Amina Horozic and Christie Wang - November 16, 2010
Among a myriad of interests, we really get excited about design, business, technology and sustainability here at frog so it is to no surprise that four of us are completing our MBA in Design Strategy at the California College for the Arts here in San Francisco—two even fly in from Austin on monthly a basis for lectures. The program is unique and only two years old: “preparing the next generation of innovation leaders for a world that is profitable, sustainable, ethical, and truly meaningful.” The diversity of the student body’s background also reflects the distinctiveness of the program. Case in point, just the four of us from frog represent program management, human resources, interactive and industrial design.
“Designers are human beings as well”, a software developer commented about frog Technical Director Andrew Upton's talk at the Rich Internet Applications Conference for Developers (RIA) conference held in Munich this week. Encouraging the role of the software developer, Upton reminded the technology community to participate and contribute to “designing the innovation interface.”
Today we’re excited to announce our collaboration with UNICEF as the organization’s lead design and innovation partner on Project Mwana, a major mHealth initiative to improve maternal and infant health and welfare in peri-urban Malawi and rural Zambia.
At the Seattle Make-a-Thon on Saturday, November 6—a collaboration between IxDA Seattle, AIGA Seattle, and Interact—Aaron Rincover and I presented a two-hour workshop about how to prototype and communicate interaction ideas using video scenarios:
In our daily work as user experience designers, capturing the nuances of myriad types of interaction has become core to many of our client deliverables. This isn't something that is going to change. Different modes of user input will increase as more sensors and types of data become available. So the medium of video is perfect to capture, communicate, and iterate these multiple types of interaction.
I was lucky enough to speak at the TED Salon in London last week. Like many of you, I've enjoyed learning about technology, education and design from some great minds through the online TED-talk library, and I was honored to be a part of the event.