Posts tagged ‘Co. Design’

The blogs (and sites) we spend the most time with.

In honor of this special Leap Day, I’ve taken a close look at the blogroll and updated it based on Daily Design Idea’s ever evolving focus.

A big welcome to our newbies:
The 99 Percent
The Designers Accord
Public Interest Design

Hope you enjoy!

February 29’s daily design idea is many people have spoken and written on the fact that people tend to be a mix of the individuals they spend the majority of their time with. In the internet age, the same could probably be said for the websites you visit. On which sites do you spend most of your time?


February 29, 2012 at 10:58 am Leave a comment

The (re)positioning of public transportation.

Chris Whitcomb, Communications Manager at Cannon Design, recently brought my attention to the Co.Design article “How Do You Wean People Off Cars? By Rebranding Bikes and Buses.” As Whitcomb notes in his recap of the article, “How we perceive the use of these public [transportation] systems is arguably as important as how well they work.”

One idea for re-positioning public transportation is to make driving seem like a less interactive (and less fun) option. Some efforts already exist in support of this, such as the yearly Park(ing) Day celebration, colorful bike additions like Contrail, or even tools like that readily show the amenities available in walkable neighborhoods.

image of Park(ing) Day in Minneapolis from 2009 by Flickr user Sveden

image of Park(ing) Day in San Francisco in 2010 by Flickr user Steve Rhodes

Experimentation with classic forms also draws a certain amount of celebratory attention to transportation alternatives, for example the bicycle. That’s not to say that unattractive forms don’t have their benefit as well; just ask Dublin about their bike sharing program.

February 20’s daily design idea is regardless of how it’s ultimately repositioned, public transportation should be the city dweller’s focus and not his or her alternative. What efforts have you seen that are helping to make public transportation people’s preference?

February 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

Tweeting on housing: Co.Design

via @FastCoDesign (Feb 12, 2012):

“America has changed dramatically since the 20th-century rise and proliferation of the suburban single-family home (and we’re not just talking about an influx of immigrants, but also more single-parent families, multi-generation families, and so on). The housing stock has not. Gang and Lindsay show how elegant little design tweaks here and there can redefine home ownership to better reflect both the social and financial realities of Americans today.”

Read the rest of the Co.Design article here. Read its source content, written by Jeanne Gang and Greg Lindsay and published in the New York Times, here.

Rendering of “The Garden in the Machine,” a proposal by Studio Gang “for transforming the inner-ring suburb of Cicero, Illinois, to better meet the living and working needs of its residents.” The proposal was developed for The Museum of Modern Art’s Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream exhibition.

February 19’s daily design idea is a quote from the Times article by Gang and Lindsay: “instead of forcing families to fit into a house, what if we rearranged the house to fit them?”

February 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Diversifying print.

There is currently a lot of discussion about the death of print, but my favorite moments in this conversation involve the re-use of these potentially ill-fated materials. For example: the exclusive Women’s Premium Print Pack by Nike, “a limited edition set of sneakers designed out of shredded magazines.”

discovered via Fast Company’s Co. Design (December 23, 2010); photos by Nike

Check out the Nike Mayfly if you’re liking this innovative approach to shoe design. And don’t miss Charles Kaisin’s Newspaper Extendable Bench if you’re looking for more inspiration on how to creatively recycle your print.

March 23’s daily design idea is how else can print creatively live on?

March 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

“A business model geared for innovation”

Already know that your sweet spot involves starting up a business? Then definitely check out Dean Crutchfield’s article “Method: The 6 Keys to Creating an Innovative Organization” which outlines “a six-step process that can guide organizations to conquer the challenge of building a business model geared for innovation and business transformation.


The article is full of inspirational messages and practical guidance, resulting in gems like these:

“Consequently, it is essential to become the ruthless enemy of ambiguity and ask entirely different sets of questions about the business: how will you innovate and evolve the brand? An excellent framework for analysis can be found in Michael Porter’s five forces: the degree of rivalry in the category, threat of new entrants, the chance of substitution, buyer power, and supplier power. In basic terms, the framework requires that an organization evaluate their strategic position relative to the forces. By understanding influences such as competitive threat and supplier bargaining power, a business can generate an edge in the category.


March 21’s daily design idea is another quote from Crutchfield: “The secret of business innovation is to think big, act small, fail fast and learn rapidly.” For more insight into this innovative, action-filled approach to business, be sure to look into effectual reasoning and action.

all illustrations via Fast Company’s Co. Design

March 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment and piece of advice #6.

via Fast Company’s Co.Design (March 7, 2010):

Design and innovation consultancy IDEO “announced today that it would spin off a genuine 501c3 corporation to handle its social innovation practice.” The new “non-profit,, which will officially launch in the fall, will be in a better position to get grants from foundations whose rules make working with for-profit companies difficult.”

While IDEO has a history of doing projects with social impact priorities, “the new organization will aim to work in three different ways: partnering with non-profits to design solutions to problems in the areas of health, agriculture, water and sanitation, financial services, and gender equity; using open innovation platforms and social networking to share insights on best practices; and launching a year-long “future leaders” fellowship program that will pair fellows from the developing world with selected IDEO staffers.”

But will these new approaches be as successful as everyone hopes? IDEO plans to set the bar high for which projects even get picked up, and then be the first to find out if there is a real and positive impact made. “Projects themselves will have to meet a rigorous set of standards: they’ll have to be aimed at low income communities across the globe, be funded by a non-profit enterprise, and deliver tangible results — a real product, service, or system that will directly benefit the community it targets.” In addition, “there will be a huge emphasis on understanding impact,” says the head of IDEO’s Social Innovation domain, Jocelyn Wyatt. “We’ll conduct pre-project baseline surveys, do post-project evaluations, and bring in academics or other third parties for analysis of the results.”

March 10’s daily design idea is professional piece of advice #6: document and analyze your results.

March 10, 2011 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

Can you measure innovation?

Today, Fast Company’s Co. Design published an article by Paul Valerio, Principal of Insights at Method (which is currently doing a whole series of articles for Co. Design). The article is called “Eight Things Stand-Up Comedy Teaches Us About Innovation” and is a delightfully tongue-in-cheek comparison between successful product innovation and stand-up comedy. In Valerio’s words, “Innovation, like comedy, is a messy, often counter-intuitive business. It’s an iterative loop of creation, feedback, revision, rejection, and creation again. Used correctly, research fuels the understanding that leads to real breakthroughs. In the wrong hands, it all but assures the death of originality.”

I believe in the value of market research and focus groups, but I also know that the best designers have excellent design intuition. You only need to remind me of the recent Tropicana rebrand and failed packaging for me to concede that research isn’t as reliable as we’d like it to be. Valerio makes this fact all the more clear by pointing out that the opposite is also true: “Herman Miller’s Aeron chair and the Seinfeld pilot bombed in research” despite both being huge successes with consumers when introduced into the market.

Herman Miller’s Aeron chair, a huge success despite poor results in preliminary consumer research testing

All that said, I still believe in research and – even more importantly – in documentation of your successful innovations. Whether it’s visitorship and membership rates, community responses and user satisfaction feedback, or how much graffiti appears on a newly built structure, clients are already trying to measure the return on their design investments (see “Prove Your Design Has Value” published January 3, 2011 in Architect magazine). In my opinion, it’s definitely time for designers to start regularly including a diversity of metrics in their project documentation as well.

Aurthur Buxton shows us the five most common colors in 28 of Van Gogh’s paintings, by relative percentage: one not-so-soft metric for starting to understand these paintings (plus it’s a great piece of art on its own)

March 3’s daily design idea is while it’s unclear how to measure innovation, measuring the effects and performance of your work is more straightforward (and it will help create credible support for your innovative-ness). So ladies and gentlemen, start your measuring!

March 3, 2011 at 11:12 am 1 comment

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