How a simple design can have a big impact on society

Sometimes it is difficult to see how a combination of technological developments can have an exponential impact on society. The video below shows a very good example of this.

A guy was able to fire a few bullets with a 3d-printed gun before breaking apart. Think about the impact of this. Suddenly gun-control is no longer something that can be enforced by rules and regulations, metal detectors just became useless in detecting guns.

The design may still be flaky, but it is already out there. All you need is access to a 3d-printer and a very small file containing the design.


The Maker Movement

Chris Anderson – until recently chief-geek at Wired – talks about about the maker movement, a technology driven subculture of DIY. He explains how easy it is to order stuff in at a factory on the other side of the world or design and make your own products.

Inspiring talk.


Here come the cyborgs

Oakley just started selling its Airwave Goggles in the Apple store. It’s an amazing product that gives you a head up display while skiing or snowboarding.

I really like how technology is getting closer to us and starts annotating reality. It’s still a bit clunky and we are looking for implementation and useful interfaces. It’s out there, and happening.

Will the world start to look like a first-person shooter game? Creating a whole new field for interface design.!

A while ago the Google’s Project Glass project made a video of the DVF fashion show entirely filmed with Google Glasses.


Clay Shirky about disruptive innovation in higher education

Clay Shirky writes about how the system of higher education is being disrupted by online startups like Udacity. This won’t go away.

The people in the music industry weren’t stupid, of course. They had access to the same internet the rest of us did. They just couldn’t imagine—and I mean this in the most ordinarily descriptive way possible—could not imagine that the old way of doing things might fail. Yet things did fail, in large part because, after Napster, the industry’s insistence that digital distribution be as expensive and inconvenient as a trip to the record store suddenly struck millions of people as a completely terrible idea.

Once you see this pattern—a new story rearranging people’s sense of the possible, with the incumbents the last to know—you see it everywhere. First, the people running the old system don’t notice the change. When they do, they assume it’s minor. Then that it’s a niche. Then a fad. And by the time they understand that the world has actually changed, they’ve squandered most of the time they had to adapt.

It’s been interesting watching this unfold in music, books, newspapers, TV, but nothing has ever been as interesting to me as watching it happen in my own backyard. Higher education is now being disrupted; our MP3 is the massive open online course (or MOOC), and our Napster is Udacity, the education startup.

Napster, Udacity, and the Academy


The data-driven campaign of Obama

Interesting article about how data helps to get a billion dollar in campaign funding and how to spend it the right way. This really makes you think about campaign strategy and future elections.

It was this database that helped steady campaign aides in October’s choppy waters, assuring them that most of the Ohioans in motion were not Obama backers but likely Romney supporters whom Romney had lost because of his September blunders. “We were much calmer than others,” said one of the officials. The polling and voter-contact data were processed and reprocessed nightly to account for every imaginable scenario. “We ran the election 66,000 times every night,” said a senior official, describing the computer simulations the campaign ran to figure out Obama’s odds of winning each swing state. “And every morning we got the spit-out — here are your chances of winning these states. And that is how we allocated resources.”

Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win.


Make stuff

So true, and way more fun than making powerpoint slides ;)

David Kelley of IDEO, via Raimo


Design vs numbers

Why a design perspective helps building a better company, Design Thinking Starts At The Top

The late Bill Moggridge, director of Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, made an important point when he discussed how companies will readily employ business management consultants to study and suggest organizational change from a numbers standpoint, but then fail to follow through on that change with a visual representation of it.

Moggridge went on to say, “I think that’s where design has a fresh opportunity to be influential because, as designers, we know how to create a prototype of some example that illustrates that change. We can show something. We can show an experience. We can show a design solution, and that’s much more real to the management who are receiving the input than the realistically dry report.”

If you like the subject of design driven innovation make sure to read Change by Design by IDEO’s Tim Brown.


O’Reilly’s view on the networksociety; Birth of the Global Mind

Tim O’Reilly talks about the birth of the global mind in this one and a half hour during video. A real inspiring talk about things coming together.

Watch the complete video on


Driverless cars

An interesting summary about all the good that can come from driverless cars.

“According to a report published by the MIT Media Lab, “In congested urban areas, about 40 percent of total gasoline use is in cars looking for parking.”

Design Projects

De dienst is het product

De afgelopen week bezocht ik twee congressen. In Eindhoven organiseerde Philips in kader van de Dutch Design Week “From Data To Meaning for People“. Later deze week was ik in Rotterdam op eDay 2012. Met als thema “Always On“.

Op beide congressen stonden de op dit moment veel terugkerende thema’s. Mobiel, altijd verbonden en Big Data centraal. Het overkoepelende verhaal heeft – wat mij betreft – toch wel meer te maken met het ontwerpen van services en niet zozeer met de individuele trends die daar onder liggen.

Een product alleen is er niet meer, het gaat over de hele dienst die je aanbiedt. Dit is op zich niet nieuw. We hebben de laatste jaren veel producten gezien die juist een succes werden door het eco-systeem waar ze in zitten, denk bijvoorbeeld aan de iPod samen met de iTunes/app store.

Het is interessant om te zien dat bedrijven zich nu ook steeds meer qua organisatie in gaan richten om diensten samen met producten te ontwikkelen.

Philips gaf als voorbeeld straatverlichting. Voorheen verkochten ze lampen. Inmiddels verkopen ze “lighting as a service“. Een stad koopt een verlichtingsoplossing. En met slimme producten is een verlichtingsnetwerk straks een netwerk met sensoren. Philips komt hiermee op dit gebied op het terrein van IBM. Van productleverancier naar software leverancier.

Ook Tjeerd Hoek van Frog Design sprak ook over het ecosysteem als product. En benadrukte nog maar eens hoe bedrijfskritisch software aan het worden is in een organisatie en dat je het als bedrijf echt naar je toe moet trekken. Je toekomst hangt er vanaf.

Het product is niet langer het product. De dienst is het product.
Om dus een goed product te maken is het belangrijk dat over al deze technologie heen een holistische aanpak hebt. Voor een klant is het immers één product, maar intern raakt het alle vlakken van de organisatie en moet iedereen betrokken zijn.

Als voorbeeld bij Philips kwam de verbonden tandenborstel voorbij. Stel dat een tandenborstel weet wie er poetst hoe vaak en hoe lang dan kan de tandenborstel of eigenlijk de dienst achter de tandenborstel hier op inspelen.

De tandenborstel kan “beter” worden door je te laten weten dat je vanavond toch echt beter je best moet doen. Daarnaast kun je spelelementen voor kinderen toevoegen, maar de fabrikant komt ook meer te weten over storingen, levensduur en wie precies de kopers zijn.

De mogelijkheden zijn eindeloos, de uitdaging zit er in om het aan de voorkant in één ‘product’ te vangen en aan de achterkant alle onderdelen van een organisatie samen te laten werken. De toekomst van producten en diensten kent een hele hoop mooie en complexe design uitdagingen.

En vergeet de concurrentie niet. Beam Technologies timmert hard aan de weg wat betreft die verbonden tandenborstel.

Dit bericht verscheen eerder op het Somehow blog