Saturday, October 23, 2010
Barcelona Design Week - Day 1
Tuesday 21st October saw the start of the Barcelona Design Week.
I was the last speaker of the first session following on from great presentations from Paul Jeremaes Director of HP Innovation Centres , (on the business of innovation); Liz Sanders from Make Tools in Ohio, (on design driven co-creation) and Steve Rogers UX Director for Google EMEA, (on the relationship between creativity and data).
Paul spoke about the system that HP have put in place across eight centres to help their top 2000 clients engage with innovative thinking and processes supported by HP. All CEO’s believe in innovation and that it has strategic importance. But it is still difficult to do. Especially as the lifecycle of innovations is getting shorter. (HP generates 6-700 product or services a year with most revenue generated from those delivered in the last two years).
The innovation activity in HP is categorised in four containers: for HP (internal); for customers, with customers and enabling customers. Paul’s focus was on innovation with customers.
The HP Innovation Centres form a platform for HP Execs to help them be creative, focusing on business breakthrough to expand their visions and pull through to business results. And it is is 'killer innovations’ , (a significant and highly profitable departure from current offerings or practices that is difficult to imitate), that are being sought. The Innovation Centres provide personalised, immersive environments and tools such as graphical facilitation and rapid concept prototypes. In meeting the innovation imperative, HP works with their clients to design innovation experiences in an immersive environment.
Liz Sanders spoke to us about her work in the field of co-creation, starting with a history of the language we have been using for people in the field. This started with customer, consumer, (1980’s); user adapter, participant, (1990’s) and co-creators (2000’s). In other words it has moved from expert driven through user-centred to co-creation.
Make Tools works with people to help them enact and act out in the generative, ‘intentional design space’ to solve wicked problems, inviting co-creativity. On whether or not designers should 'lead innovation', she prefers to think of design as 'seeding innovation'. Designers provide the fertile ground to enable others to be part of the creative process.
Steve Rogers told us that Google’s top principle for creation is, ‘focus on the user and all else will follow’.
Steve then talked us through the role of data at Google asking the question, ‘should creativity be reduced to data?’. Referencing the recent discussions on whether or not it is 'possible judge a shade of blue with data', Steve’s view on data to support creativity was “Why not?...". If data can help support creativity and better design, then it should be embraced. And of course, one of Google's key assets is its ability to scale because of the magnitude of its data collection and analysis.
The role of data was then described in Google’s process to develop one of their latest innovations for Google Mail, the Priority Inbox. This related to maximising the benefits available through usage data and with customer insight, to create and rapidly test (globally) the an automated filtering system for emails. The filtering process identifies and separates ‘important’ emails and ‘all the others’. And key to that process was the definition of being able to connect ‘relevance plus recency’.
Steve closed with an animation of new ways of visualising data showing a very elegant 'living' plant form on the screen in visualising the battery state of a mobile handset when charging (and not a simple little battery icon with bars).