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Generative Design

Wilbert on Design, March

Hi, this is the first edition of Diverge/Converge a monthly e-mail on Design and Strategy. Things that I find personally fascinating.

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Design in 2019

Designing Your Design Work, Carissa Carter, 2016

Design in Tech Report 2019 John Maeda designintech.report

Last week John Maeda published his yearly design in tech report

Video

The trend that stands out for me is that design is more about designing your design work. Which was already a trend coming up last year in a presentation by Carissa Carter.

Designers find themselves more often designing a system that fuels designs. For example a design system, a wysiwyg editor or state of the art Ai driven system.

A very interesting topic and we’re only scratching the surface.

Design automation

Slide from the 2019 trends from the Future Today Institute

2019 Tech Trends Annual Report

futuretodayinstitute.com

Design automation is still on the rise and this year it made it to the ‘keep vigilant watch’ of Amy Webb’s yearly tech report.

Not only do our design tools get better, algorithms are taking over a lot of jobs that can be done manually, but are require a lot of time or craftsmanship. Better, more accessible tools democratise design and the act of making something.

For example Spectre uses machine learning to create a beautiful time-lapsed pictures, something very difficult before. Or take a tool like colourise, it takes a black and white picture and colourises it, with a focus Singaporean photos. Or SC-FEGAN, a tool for altering faces just by drawing on them.

Pinterest on steroids

If these generative tools move from pictures to video (and they already did) we eventually move beyond 3D-modelling to create alternate realities that look completely real.

This kind of generative technology can also used towards turning any idea into pictures or maybe even a technical scheme. Think what this can do for architecture or interior design. It’s like talking to Pinterest or turning a mood-board into AutoCAD. Increasing accessibility by lowering the technical barrier.

Inspiration

Amazing Medusa clock by Maximilian Büsser/MB&F

The watch website Hodinkee makes a Podcast and they have some great long discussions with designers and their passion for design and engineering.

Maximilian Büsser

Jason Fried

Yves Béhar

The history of Design Thinking

Divergent and Convergent thinking. Image designthinking.ideo.com

Design Thinking by IDEO

designthinking.ideo.com

IDEO popularised Design Thinking. The definition is quite broad. For me it’s applying skills designers learned to bigger problems that aren’t necessarily a design problem, but a human problem. And allow non-designers to use them.

It’s a different way of looking at a problem. Long time IDEO was on the forefront of this design domain. It’s great they created this overview. IDEO and Design Thinking contributed a lot to how design is spreading through companies.

Categories
Notes

3 people to follow

At KLM, Marco and I send out a monthly e-mail with some of the best things we came across that month. In one of the version I linked to 3 people I really like to follow, because what they share often sparks your thinking.

Auke Hoekstra, Researcher
Auke is a researcher at the TU in Eindhoven and has a strong vision on electricity and vehicles.

In 2040 Norway wants all short haul flights (leaving the airport) to be electric. In this series of tweets Auke describes the idea.

What if it could be done?

There is quite a big network effect when it succeeds. Planes that do not pollute, are silent and have a shorter runway can be much closer to cities and have less limitations. It’s one of these moments where a technological innovation can have a big impact on the the playing field.

Auke on Twitter

Ben Thompson, Strategist
I’m a big fan of the Stratechery website, where Ben Thompson share his ideas and dissects a tech companies strategy.

This story about Uber bundles is fascinating. It highlights how Uber boosted competitor Lyft and how Google seized the opportunity resulting in a reposition from Uber towards being a platform.

Ben Thompson on Twitter

Horace Dediu, Analist
Horace became known for analysing a lot of Apple data and becoming spot on predicting Apple related to sales and volumes.

Since some time his new object of interest is micro mobility where he analyses the need for a new form of mobility. Most ridesharing trips are short and don’t need a car.

He argued ridesharing companies would move in this direction. Hence all the bicycle and scooter start-ups flooding big cities.

And when there is a gold rush the winners are people selling pick-axes. A Chinese company called Ninebot bought Segway and is a key supplier in this new rapid growing industry.

Horace Dediu on Twitter

Categories
Product Management

Simple Product Metrics

When working on a digital strategy it often becomes very complicated, very fast.

I like to use two simple metrics when building a product strategy.

Sales
Clear goals. Measurable in conversion, sales or whatever metric you like to use. Very tangible and easy to track. Short term.

Satisfaction
How do people value the experience they have. Do they like it, is it a reason to return. Measurable based on how people rate a certain product or experience or how often they return. Often less tangible, a bit more difficult to track. Long term.

Sales and Satisfaction
Sales and Satisfaction

As a designer you need to be able to merge both.

Long term thinking, building a relation while not forgetting what keeps the boat afloat.

Categories
Design Strategy

Design in 2019

2018 was a year with some personal changes. In November I switched jobs from KLM to head up Product Design at Takeaway.com.

In 2018 I read, discussed and talked a lot about Product Design roadmaps and Design teams. On building career paths and scaling the capability of designers within companies that are more and more driven by technology in every domain.

I believe digital design is moving through some of it break through years and how we organise as a design community, share and learn will deeply influence the future of our jobs. It’s so exciting to just look at the challenges ahead.

How the role of the designers changes/d

Agile: The agile movement pushed design towards Product Teams within companies, not just tech, but all companies dependent on tech. Let’s call it the ‘incremental movement’, which is not only for software, but also for hardware and life styles. Everything as a service, long time goals, short term plans.

Back to technology, by decentralising design it created space for centralised support functions as design system teams, design research and designOps. Moving teams in house, even for companies that exist despite of technology, not because of.

Marketing: The disconnect of Product Design from agencies and marketing departments continued. This is both good and bad.

It’s good because it helps Product Design to grow up, be independent, close to product and customers and a driver for making a better product and experience.

Agencies found new ways of operating and adding value delivering teams as a service, joint-ventures, training or some other hybrid form. It only works when you work together.

What’s bad about this disconnect is that a company is a collection of people, who all deliver value on a certain level. For a customer, product, sales and services are becoming a single thing, the experience.

What’s the difference between web and social? When is it service, marketing or sales? And who cares? The customer doesn’t, only departments do.

The companies that do well are companies that connect or integrate verticals best and are in some sense led by a clear vision or goal. Where they use customer feedback to steer. A learning system.

Integration: Marketing is becoming product, product is becoming marketing, service is product and product is service. The digital split between touch points is evaporating.

Online stores are opening retail stores, why? Because once you start integrating both online (web, app, social, smart sensors) and offline (location, experience, people) there is a lot of additional value you can deliver.

We’re moving towards a system (brand) that delivers an experience. How you organise this behind the curtains makes all the difference.

Back to design

As a result design is getting out of control of a single group. There is no single experience anymore. It’s the a collection of interactions. Beyond the control of a person or department.

A lot of people get involved in the process of design. Through design sprints, business model design or some sort of a proposition canvas. It’s based on design values.

This image by Ideo ages very well: https://twitter.com/openideo/status/747564693678587904

This is why this is such an interesting time for Design. We can be the glue, between people, business and technology and contribute on a different more strategic level in companies.

That’s why it’s about the scaling of principles. Look at the overall experience and see how something small can have a big impact.

For me it’s most like a city. What makes a great city? It’s not control. It’s culture, rules or lack of rules, opportunities, safety. No single person or organisation controls the city, everyone contributes.

The big question is. How do you build a great city?

Categories
Notes

Reading tips from 2018

The books and stories I liked most are about long term thinking and taking a long view. How to be sustainable on all axes. People, profit, planet.

All four books are very honest, discussing mistakes, lessons and luck. How staying close to key principles – and open to others – help to build great companies.

Om’s blog is great, and this is a great interview with Brunello Cucinelli, the king of cashmere on quality and long term thinking

Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness this is a sign of the times.

The Leading Design Slack, started by Andy Budd. There are so many valuable discussions happening here.

2018 was the year I spend more time in different Slack groups then on social networks. I closed my Facebook account and I’m thinking about doing the same with Instagram.

I still love Twitter and make a lot of pictures. I have put some on VSCO

Categories
Notes

Running in 2018


Didn’t reach my goal, yet, 10k at a 4.00/km pace. Next year. Overall 2018 was an awesome running year, running over 800 km, alone, with family, friends, colleagues, in the rain, snow, sun and in different countries.

Categories
Notes

New challenge

After 3 years working as a UX manager for KLM, one of the Dutch corporate icons, its time for a new challenge.

This week I joined Takeaway.com, a new Dutch icon. I will be responsible for Product Design.

I had an awesome time at KLM/AirFrance and I look back on a great time with great people.

KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines, somewhere above France
KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines, somewhere above France