正如一篇充满令人惊叹的智慧的文章中运用一个聪明引人入胜的开头，随之在结尾处运用呼应，Don Tapscott 和Clay Shirky分别开启和终结了TEDGlobal会议。Tapscott 和Shirky，这两位在当今网络世界中最受欢迎的专家，运用两种不同而同样有活力的方法，充分分析和还原了我们所处的社交网络时代。TEDGlobal结束后的2012年7月到8月之间，我们邀请两位用书面形式向对方抛出尖锐而引人深思的问题。正如你接下来要看到的，每个提问都得到了优雅而启人思考的回答，从而引发更进一步的探寻和对话。
The SCAD graduate students split up into teams and gathered around their copies of the Collective Action Toolkit (CAT), considering their homework assignment for their next class period. Their task: To pilot the first activity they would use with local high school students as their first introduction to working together in a group. In two days, they’d have to do a dry run with their classmates. As they looked over the toolkit’s action map, they began to where they should they begin? By having a “Knowledge Fest” or a “Skill Share?” By helping their group identify a goal right away, or by having fun and getting to know each other?
The CAT has been out for almost two months, and from the emails and conversations we’ve received since releasing the CAT, situations such as the above are happening more and more. The toolkit is being deployed far more broadly than expected, such as in our new Chinese language edition. People are finding new uses for it, from local education to entrepreneurship in global organizations. And we’ve embarked on our first educational pilot, working with SCAD’s Design for Sustainability program.
How did this happen? And in what ways can you use the CAT that you may not have considered?
This past September, I spoke at AIGA Seattle's Into the Woods, a multidisciplinary retreat whose theme was "Survive and Thrive." Five speakers were asked to speak on that theme through the particular lens of their practice, on topics as varied as sustainability (Scott Boylston) to inspiration (Jeanette Abbink) to creativity (Howard Lichter) to business (Seth Johnson and Karen Kurycki). The topic I was asked to speak on was design and education.
In business today, “user experience” (or UX) has come to represent all of the qualities of a product or service that make it relevant or meaningful to an end-user -- everything from its look and feel design to how it responds when users interact with it, to the way it fits into people’s daily lives. You even people talking about UX as the way in which a consumer connects to a business -- all the touch-points from marketing to product development to distribution channels.
It’s the “new black,” to borrow from a fashion phrase—as well as a reference to its influence on profitability.
The value of UX as a corporate asset is no longer in question. Just look at the $1 billion price tag paid by Facebook for Instagram, whose primary asset is not technology, but the best photo sharing UX in the business (and some of the best UX talent as well). Look at the recent Apple vs. Samsung judgment: 93% of the damages were related to design patents that define the iOS user experience. The growing appreciation of the value of UX is not restricted to consumer-facing tech companies, like Google with their new focus on unified design or Microsoft Windows 8 with its sleek new “Metro” design language. At frog, we hear the same things from executives in financial services, healthcare, and infrastructure. Companies like GE and Bloomberg are recruiting leading designers to build UX capabilities at a corporate level. We even hear it from our clients in the international market, such as regional telecommunications companies, who see a “unified user experience strategy” like Apple’s as a sign of status.
The recognition of UX’s importance seems to be slowly sinking into corporate culture the way "brand" did a decade ago. Today, it is not uncommon to hear an executive talk about managing a $30 billion brand. But that was a foreign idea not so long ago. As brand thinking has been institutionalized, management has figured out ways to assign value to this "asset." So, if you are an enlightened executive in the post-Steve Jobs era, how do you grow and manage this emerging corporate asset? Some companies believe that outsourcing to design firms is becoming less attractive as the value of UX as a core business asset increases. frog and our peers in the design consulting world have become more adept in recent years at helping companies build this capacity internally. But even as big business looks to bring UX and design talent in-house, few companies are willing to embed designers on every product development team (and, frankly, there is not enough talent to go around even if they wanted to). So in-house UX groups generally focus on a few high-impact product releases a year, leaving much of the business – and most of your offering – untouched. So what is management to do? How can large organizations deploy this capability on an enterprise scale?
Five years ago, frog launched Project Masiluleke, an attempt to tackle the HIV epidemic in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, with a mobile-technology solution (in this case, a simple text message that encouraged people to reach out for information on HIV testing and treatment). It was our first meaningful social impact collaboration, and the beginning of frog’s mandate to create a series of initiatives that deploy mobile services in a humanitarian context and build support for scalable solutions that can have a positive social and economic impact.
Back in 2007, we had zero funding for Project Masiluleke and no idea how we might make any sort of dent in the AIDS crisis in South Africa. All we had was the fairly tenuous belief that we could be a catalyst for the role of design and technology in the social sector—that we could help bring together a diverse group of cross-sector partners and address one of the most challenging public health problems in the world. One way or another we felt fairly sure that this endeavor would teach us new things about the role of design and renew our appreciation regarding the privilege of being a designer.
In the last 12 months we have seen our commitment to deep learning through social-sector collaboration reach a new scale both within frog and across a broad ecosystem of industries and fields, from health to energy, finance, gender empowerment, and disaster response. We have engaged teams from almost every frog studio, from Shanghai to Kiev to Austin, Texas, in this work. And we have seen deep partnerships with organizations such as UNICEF reach substantial scale. We are working on a variety of solutions that include, but expand beyond, mobile technology. We have also been able to attract a much more diverse set of funding from corporate foundations (Nike Foundation, GE Foundation, Johnson & Johnson) to philanthropic organizations (Robert Woods Johnson) to NGOs (World Health Organization and UNICEF).
Andy Warhol knew it all along: “Good business is the best art.” And lately, a number of business thinkers and leaders have begun to embrace the arts, not as an escapist notion, a parallel world after office hours, or a creative asset, but as an integral part of the human enterprise that ought to be woven into the fabric of every business—from the management team to operations to customer service.
John Maeda, the president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and author of the book Redesigning Leadership, predicts that artists will emerge as the new business leaders and cites RISD graduates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, co-founders of Airbnb, as prominent examples. The author William Deresiewicz heralds reading as the most important task of any leader. John Coleman makes a compelling case for the role of poetry in business. Intel named pop musician will.i.am as director of creative innovation. And the World Economic Forum has been inviting arts and cultural leaders to its events for several years and this year added the ‘Role of the Arts’ to its Network of Global Agenda Councils.
Indeed, the “art” of business becomes ever more important as the “science” gets ever more ubiquitous. Against the backdrop of our hyper-connected economies and as Big Data and sophisticated analytical tools allow us to maximize process efficiencies and standardize best innovation practices worldwide, intuition and creativity remain as the only differentiating factors that enable truly game-changing innovations. Like any “soft asset,” they cannot be exploited, only explored. And like artists, innovators must develop a mindset and cultivate creative habits in order to see the world afresh and create something new.
Two months after the New York City region was hit by Superstorm Sandy, the devastating scope of its damage is becoming even clearer. Consolidated Edison, for example, recently estimated that the cost to repair its electric grid in the New York area will reach $450 million. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, power was lost at many homes and businesses, affecting millions of people. This meant no heat, no way to store food safely, and no way to charge mobile phones for basic emergency communication. As of today, many residences, offices, and stores are still reeling from business lost and lives upturned by losing electricity. Hearing these stories (and because many of us at frog experienced power loss ourselves at home and at work), we wondered what simple-to-use emergency power-generating solutions could prove effective as a disaster relief tools.