Incremental innovation: coffee cups from Ikea

It’s a small thing, but it’s very thoughtful of them. Ikea (they probably got the idea from someone else) added drainage slots to the bases of their coffee cups so that they dry better. This is particularly good news for users of dishwashers: there are few things more annoying than sprinkling brackish dishwasher juice from the base of a mug…

Steve Jobs on working backwards from customer experience

“The hardest thing is, how do [those features] fit into a cohesive vision? … One of the things I’ve always found is that you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it. And I’ve made this…

Crossing bridges

There’s a reason that most marketers advise us to sell things to people who are already buying: getting something important into the hands of people who have never had it – and doing it in a way that makes a sustainable difference – is difficult. An incremental improvement on a single axis is unlikely to be enough: You’ll need to…

Knotty problems

A good knot: Solves a problem Is easy to remember Is easy to tie Is easy to check Is strong (causes as little reduction in the strength of the rope as possible) Is secure (doesn’t come undone when you don’t want it to) Doesn’t jam (doesn’t become extremely difficult to untie after being put under strain) Is easy to undo…

Design Singapore: Changi airport (1)

Design Singapore: Changi airport (1)

It’s simple, but so rarely done well: put yourself in your customers’ shoes at every point of interaction with your organisation and ask “What do I need at this moment? What would help me, and make me feel helped?” This photo is classic Changi – just after immigration and the bustle of putting your passports away, as you look up…

Marks and Spencer as disruptive innovators

Marks and Spencer have been a mainstay of British retail for more than 100 years, so it’s hard to imagine them as disruptive innovators – but it turns out they were innovative all over. More immigration and innovation Michael Marks (born in 1859 Slonim, then part of the Russian Empire) moved to the U.K. in 1882, and within a few…

Parallel processing: finding the right people

In computers, parallel processing is the processing of program instructions by dividing them among multiple processors with the objective of running a program in less time. TechTarget . Vision of the future Computer processors haven’t actually got much faster since the early 2000s. The speed of an average computer’s CPU has hovered around 3 billion cycles per second (think about that for a…

In their hands

Make something people can use. Put it in their hands. See what happens. If they’re eager to pay – attention, time, money – you’re onto something. Watch them. Listen to them. Tweak it. Make more of it. See what they think. If they tell their friends – and if their friends tell their friends – then you’ve got it. What…

Structure Counts: Information Architecture reading list and who’s who

I know almost nothing about Information Architecture, but I’ve been thinking a lot about structuring information recently. Here’s the metaphor: Jacques Carelman‘s famous Coffee pot for Masochists. All the pieces are there, but it just. doesn’t. work. We’ve all used badly put together tools, instruction manuals, software, doors. At best they’re slower and frustrate us. At worst, they cause us to…