Smart Design

Today, Breaker group was introduced to design research at Smart Design, an innovation consulting firm that is well-known for designing the OXO products and that champions the human-centered approach. 

Brandy Fowler, the Associate Director of Insights and Strategy at Smart Design,  gave Breaker a Design Research 101 and some nice Twitter-friendly takeaways.

First of all, why has Design Research become increasingly important over recent years? Because it is crucial to business success and addresses the limits to internal brainstorming—user research helps inform what to make and how to make it. We want to start by asking the “why”, before the “what” or “how”, as design is all about people, instead of things, and as we all know, people often make irrational decisions or behave in complex ways. Therefore, understanding the motivation behind those behaviors is crucial. Interestingly, design research has its root in anthropology. Bronisław Malinowski, an anthropologist, pioneered the participant disciplined observation method that provided the foundation to design research. By being as close to the end users as possible and putting ourselves into the shoes of users to empathize with their pain points and need,  we would be more able to take into account of all the all touch points while using the product and avoid making products that turn out to be useless and fail when they’re mass-marketed. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday Breaker was joined by Dr. Tom Guarriello, the Chief Idea Officer of True Talk Consulting, for a session on Storytelling.

Humans crave narrative, its a core element of our culture; one which transcends culture, gender, and race. Tom describes stories as being the software of our humanity, and our brain is the hardware. Our hardware drives and shapes software; stories are a delivery system for the six basic emotions. Emotion is defined as a feeling state with physiological, cognitive, and behavioral components. Using this definition, our feelings are: fear, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise, and joy.

Tom posed a question to the Breakers, “How can you embed your product or experience in an emotionally engaging story? Stories are written for the moral, and follow the same basic structure that Aristotle codified.
To explain the question in more detail, Tom answered it for us. He told us the following story: Tom was working one day and became very tired, he went to Starbucks and got a venti americano. He was so refreshed that he was able to finish his project. In this story there is a victim, villain, and a hero. The villain is fatigue, preventing work from being accomplished. While the hero is Starbucks, saving Tom and enabling to complete his work.. Many people are not comfortable with the idea of a corporation being a mentor or hero in their lives. This is not the way people consciously think. Tom went to Starbucks for some coffee, not for a guide to show him the path towards vanquishing his villain. Yet when people attach memories or beliefs to a brand this is precisely what they are doing. Powerful brands enable us.

When crafting your brand’s story, be cognizant of the emotions you utilize.

This is cross posted on the blog of a current Breaker, Sean O’Connor 

MTV Scratch

For the fifth week of the Breaker Project we were hosted by MTV Scratch for an ‘ideating’ session.

According to their website, “Scratch is a SWAT team that channels the reach, connection and creative force of Viacom in new ways to drive culture and commerce. Through consumer insights, consulting and award-winning creative, Scratch is engaging with our partners to transform industries and activate audiences.”

What does that actually mean? Scratch is part consultancy and part creative agency. They leverage the research, insights, and connection to culture within Viacom to help clients make an impact among their target makret. Our brainstorming session was fantastic, it was led with the framework of ‘yes, and’. Meaning that as we talked about ideas the Scratchers forced us to dig deeper into each thought. This one day enabled us to take our weeks of research and boil them down to the beginnings of several potential firms. The patterns of our research that emerged during this session were: - Our values for this project are not monetary, we seek people to make a time commitment to motivate change - Story is very important to us, and we seek a solution which will capture people’s attention As a Breaker I cannot thank the Scratch team enough for helping us to refine our ideas. I look forward to hearing their feedback at our mid-project presentation next week!

This post is cross listed on the blog of a current Breaker, Sean O’Connor

Breakthrough Solutions: Fellows Friday with Juliette LaMontagne
2/3/12

“What we’re hearing from participants is that Breaker is seen as an alternative-learning pathway for those who’ve chosen not to go to college after high school, or as an experiential supplement to college coursework, or as a transitional opportunity for early career professionals. We see all three types applying to our program.”

Breakthrough Solutions: Fellows Friday with Juliette LaMontagne

2/3/12

What we’re hearing from participants is that Breaker is seen as an alternative-learning pathway for those who’ve chosen not to go to college after high school, or as an experiential supplement to college coursework, or as a transitional opportunity for early career professionals. We see all three types applying to our program.”


"Design Within Limits: The Urban Agriculture Project"
by Michael Noer
1/25/12

"It will be a demanding road for the young Breaker participants, but at least one with plenty of signposts."

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"Design Within Limits: The Urban Agriculture Project"

by Michael Noer

1/25/12

"It will be a demanding road for the young Breaker participants, but at least one with plenty of signposts."

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"Imagining Skyscraper Farms"
by Michael Noer
1/23/12

"The 13 youthful participants in the urban agriculture Challenge come from a wide range of different disciplines, including architecture, creative writing, economics and public health. LaMontagne has enlisted two visionaries to guide the project, Majora Carter, a MacArthur “genius” fellow and National Public Radio host, who founded Sustainable South Bronx more than a decade ago and Danielle Gould, the CEO of Food+Tech, a “media” company (they blog, provide analysis, and do events among other things) focused “connecting food and tech innovations.”

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"Imagining Skyscraper Farms"

by Michael Noer

1/23/12

"The 13 youthful participants in the urban agriculture Challenge come from a wide range of different disciplines, including architecture, creative writing, economics and public health. LaMontagne has enlisted two visionaries to guide the project, Majora Carter, a MacArthur “genius” fellow and National Public Radio host, who founded Sustainable South Bronx more than a decade ago and Danielle Gould, the CEO of Food+Tech, a “media” company (they blog, provide analysis, and do events among other things) focused “connecting food and tech innovations.”

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"Designing an Educational Breakthrough"
Q&A
12/18/11

"There are legions of underestimated young people with new insights into old problems who need only to be asked, in specific ways, for their contributions. And when those individuals see the impact of their creative capital on the marketplace, you have a new breed of social entrepreneur changing the world." -Juliette LaMontagne

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"Designing an Educational Breakthrough"

Q&A

12/18/11

"There are legions of underestimated young people with new insights into old problems who need only to be asked, in specific ways, for their contributions. And when those individuals see the impact of their creative capital on the marketplace, you have a new breed of social entrepreneur changing the world." -Juliette LaMontagne

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"One Great Idea for K-12: Turn Students into Better Problem-Solvers"
by Caroline Howard
9/09/11

“Young people who would never have self-identified as entrepreneurs or product designers have come to view the world and its challenges through the lens [of problem-solving],” says LaMontagne.
What kind of change will this bring to education? According to LaMontagne, it is the best way “to shock them out of apathy of the classroom.”

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"One Great Idea for K-12: Turn Students into Better Problem-Solvers"

by Caroline Howard

9/09/11

“Young people who would never have self-identified as entrepreneurs or product designers have come to view the world and its challenges through the lens [of problem-solving],” says LaMontagne.

What kind of change will this bring to education? According to LaMontagne, it is the best way “to shock them out of apathy of the classroom.”

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