Project Ansible: Anywhere Workers of the World, Connect

Today, Siemens Enterprise Communications introduced Project Ansible, a new visionary communications platform bringing together voice, video, social media and search into a smart, seamless, intuitive experience. (For additional details: www.siemens-enterprise.com/projectansible and www.frogdesign.com/work/project-ansible.html)

Project Ansible is the result of a research and development partnership between frog and Siemens Enterprise Communications. We spoke with Justin Maguire, executive creative director in frog’s Munich studio, about Project Ansible’s potential impact on businesses and communications, collaboration and productivity in the age of the flexible, mobile Anywhere Worker.

Empowering Local Communities through Group Problem Solving

One by one, fingers excitedly point at the image-covered walls. “I was surprised how quickly we were able to reach agreement once we were able to share our differences of opinion,” says one. “We talked about healthy food, too, but after a lot of discussion, we thought violence prevention was a better topic for our team to focus on,” says another. “It can’t be fixed without everyone coming together,” says still another.

Piloting the Collective Action Toolkit in Savannah High Schools

 

The students at Groves High School were holding back tears. After weeks of discussion, they had decided to focus their efforts on providing food to homeless people. None of them had any personal experience with the issue, so the designers invited a homeless advocate from the community to visit their class and share his experiences. But during a pause, a familiar voice rang out: “I don’t think I ever told any of my students that have been here at Groves this, but I’ve been homeless.”

Towards an Urban Design Toolkit: thoughts on the 2013 New Cities Foundation Summit, São Paulo

Sao Paulo lies deep and vast over the horizon. Where one continuous line of buildings stands—extending further (by far) than the view from, say, Greenpoint towards midtown Manhattan—such skylines persist in every direction. The effect swallows all individual orientation but rewards with nothing so much as a sense of being…cradled. This apparent sense of drama continues even into Sao Paulo's open spaces, such as the one in which we now stood, Parque Ibirapuera, a quietly contrasting gap in the endless march and roll of buildings and roads.

frog Wins IDSA IDEA Award for the Collective Action Toolkit

frog is honored to accept an International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) from the International Designers Society of America (IDSA) http://idsa.org/idea-2013-design-strategy. IDEA is recognized as the preeminent international design competition and referred to as “the Oscars of Design.” frog's Collective Action Toolkit received a Bronze in the Design Strategy category.

Today’s Phones and Tablets Will Die Out Like the PC

The personal computer is dying. Its place in our lives as the primary means of computing will soon end. Mobile computing—the cell phone in your pocket or the tablet in your purse—has been a great bridging technology, connecting the familiar past to a formative future. But mobile is not the destination. In many ways mobile devices belong more to the dying PC model than to the real future of computing.

Not Too Big to Innovate: How Design Strategies Can Transform Financial Services

 

Clients come to frog to discover the next breakthrough product or service that will inspire and delight their customers. Increasingly we’re hearing from banks and other financial institutions that are seeking design strategies to accelerate innovation in their organizations. Like consumer products and entertainment companies, banks want to create more dynamic and engaging user experiences based on the real needs—both emotional and practical—of their customer base. And once they define these opportunities they need to push the best ideas through the organization toward realization.  In many cases, our design strategy approach has helped accelerate the process of getting innovations to market—in ways that often surprise our clients.   

Product Design with Lean Startup

 

On July 3, frog’s Milan studio will host a Lean Startup Circle to discuss the methodology, challenges, and best practices. Click here for more information

The lean startup methodology, and its Minimal Viable Products strategy have grown hugely popular, but what are the challenges of applying lean startup and how can it be applied when working with external companies?

Lean Startup
Lean startup is a product design and realization methodology formulated by Eric Ries.  The approach borrows from production practices, such as lean manufacturing and kanban, which focus on execution and adaption as strategies to achieve innovation (a more throughout review of lean startup can be found here.) Although the name includes the word ‘startup,’ the concepts can be applied to companies of any size—from a one-person startup to big, multi-national companies.

A Model for Innovation in Emerging Markets

In the outskirts of Musanze, in northern Rwanda, mattresses have become a tool for female empowerment, family security, and social change. Hilarie, a softspoken farmer, mother, and wife, is the mastermind behind this association and has become a figurehead of change in her village and over 30 others in the region because of it. How Hilarie became a purveyor of mattresses for social change offers some fascinating insights about human behavior, community dynamics and… financial services.

Yes, financial services. Specifically, the challenge of financial inclusion—bringing financial services to the poor for the purpose of improving their lives. This is one challenge that resists easy scaling across markets. If a solution devised by a bank, mobile operator, or other financial services player achieves some level of success in one market, it's highly doubtful that the same idea will work in other markets. The always-cited example of this is Safaricom's highly successful M-Pesa mobile money platform in Kenya; no other mobile money service in the world has had even close to the same level of success.

Visualizing Service Design

Roberta Tassi is a senior design researcher and interaction designer at frog Milan, with a deep background in information visualization and communication design.
 
While working on her graduation thesis—exploring the interconnections between Communication and Service Design—Tassi developed Service Design Tools, a website that gathers visualizations used to support design processes. The collection was created with the idea of sharing her research within the design community, and so far it has caught the attention of both academic and industry insiders. Yet, Tassi warns these tools are meant to inspire, not act as one-size-fits-all solution.  
 
Tell us a little bit about Service Design Tools.
I put together this web platform called Service Design Tools in 2009, and I still manage it today. After published, it has immediately become a sort of reference point within the service design community, it's an organized catalogue of tools and examples that professionals can use to support their design activities day-by-day. It can be browsed in different ways, according to specific communication purposes, and it's conceived as an open platform: I still receive a lot of examples of new tools, keeping the collection growing in time.
 
Why are visualizations specifically crucial in service design?
When we speak about a service or a system, an ecosystem or concept, they are a lot of times abstract things. Visual representation is a way to make them more tangible, and so, sharable.
 
The same is when we deal with research outcomes, usually there is the need to translate them into meaningful insights and frameworks to inform the design process, establishing a foundation for all the following activities. And visualization again can be really helpful, to turn information and data into usable materials.