Today’s connected world is filled with product and service ecosystems that compete for people’s limited time and shrinking attention spans. The quality and nature of the User Experience that these ecosystems offer is increasingly one of their most valuable differentiating assets on the market.
An effective Experience Strategy defines the vision and roadmap to fulfill the promise that a brand makes to its customers, expressed in terms of the long-lasting human experience it aims to stage for and with them.
Smartphones and tablet computers are radically transforming how we access our shared knowledge sources by keeping us constantly connected to near-infinite volumes of raw data and information. We enjoy unprecedented instant access to expertise, from informal cooking lessons on YouTube to online university courses. Every day people around the globe are absorbed in exciting new forms of learning, and yet traditional schools and university systems are still struggling to leverage the many opportunities for innovation in this area.
Recently frog has been researching how learning models are evolving--and how they can be improved--via the influence of mobile technologies. We’ve found that the education industry needs new models and fresh frameworks to avoid losing touch with the radically evolving needs of its many current and potential new constituencies. These range from a generation of toddlers just as comfortable with touchscreens as they are with books, to college-aged men and women questioning the value of physical campuses, to middle-aged and elderly professionals hoping to earn new skills in their spare time to secure a new job in turbulent economic times.
One could argue that Steve Jobs’ prominence in the collective imagination of what a truly innovative business leader should think, say, and do has only strengthened exponentially after his recent demise. As it often happens in the case of similarly influential, seminal figures, the hard recollection of facts and of “what really happened” gets quickly out-shined by references to memorable, albeit often anecdotal, events in that person's life. These are the stories that tend to be told again and again until they take on the aura of myths, and as even the modern Greeks can easily attest most human beings tend to embrace myths, especially when they come wrapped in compelling narratives involving a hero.
Along these lines one could also argue that Jobs’ near-ubiquitous biography has been instrumental in this still ongoing “mythification” process: If you happen to work as a professional in the creative industry, countless conversations these days start with a client, a colleague, or even a friend quoting a passage from the book, and one can can come to see this state of things either as a precious conversation starter or as an unavoidable reference to someone whom you're expected to either praise or criticize.
Those that know me will tell you that I tend to reflect on things, but the sad truth is that my brain is simply slow: here I am, writing about the iPad months after everybody else has put the microscope down and decided to wait for the thing to finally hit the market for real.
From my vantage point of non-engagement I must admit it was oddly amusing to see Apple for once unable to safely ride out the centrifugal mammoth hype tube they managed once more to build around their latest miracle product. It was similarly amusing to see everyone work themselves up into an overexcited frenzy until moments before Steve Jobs' (second) revelation, and then to see fervent trepidation mostly turn into bitter disappointment. It was finally amusing to see most everyone criticize the product to death, and to see most criticism targeting the iPad as if it were a product, some analog artifact with functions and features permanently bound by the original arrangement of its atoms. I am sure others have said it before me and much better than I ever could, but the iPad - just like the iPhone before it - is ultimately just one high-performance touchscreen with a powerful cardboard-thin computer laminated behind it. In other words it's a service - not a product - it can pretty much become anything developers - or make that Steve - will want it to be.
So, the iPad. Hugely successful in the long term. Why? Medium-sized touchfrastructure.
On September 21, 2009 I was lucky enough to speak at a TED Salon, held in London at the wonderful Unicorn Theatre for Children. Tim Leberecht, Till Grusche, Sam Martin and the rest of the frog Marketing team have my respect and deep appreciation for creating (and giving me) this great opportunity, and for flawlessly organizing such a great event. It was thrilling to breathe a TED-like atmosphere for an evening, and even though I tend to be relatively relaxed when talking in public the red 3-letter acronym glowing behind me on stage kept me on the edge more than I expected. Always interesting to learn something about yourself.
Looks like this is shaping to be “interesting products from a present future” week at Postcards from Connectedland.
Bayer's Didget Blood Glucose Meter for children interfaces with the Nintendo DS, and testing regularly generates points that kids can use to unlock new game levels or buy in-game items (via Tom Armitage.).
The mind's reeling.
Biostats as currency. Social currency.
(Virtuous) behavior as currency. Social currency.
Behavioral change through Play.
Hey, my brain's too small, that's enough.
What happens if MC Biofeedback shuffles the tempo of the music you're listening to while exercising, so that you can run to the beat of your own heartbeat, and influence it in return? Hello Yamaha BODiBEAT
"What if your iPod or MP3 player had a heart rate monitor built right in, and the power to sort your music by beats per minute? The BODiBEAT is a music player that monitors your heart rate and automatically selects music to match your running or walking pace."
Remember the days when people got all excited as soon as anyone mentioned the Semantic Web?
Well, that's still a promising future evolution of our beloved digital playground, but in the meantime other semantic goodness has already come into the world.
People are talking.
The One Machine has started answering back in Furby-like memes gleaned from the conversations it's been eavesdropping on.
Here are three projects I love that point the way by word-mining human internet chatter to reveal patterns.
The July 09 U.S. edition of Wired magazine has an interesting set of articles dealing with what happens once the body goes electric and becomes a beaming node on The Network, pulsating bits with its every heartbeat:
"And not only can we collect that data, we can analyze it as well, looking for patterns, information that might help us change both the quality and the length of our lives. We can live longer and better by applying, on a personal scale, the same quantitative mindset that powers Google and medical research. Call it Living by Numbers, the ability to gather and analyze data about yourself, setting up a feedback loop that we can use to upgrade our lives, from better health to better habits to better performance."