My husband brought home a sample of Sugru this week. As I was trying to figure out exactly what I should do with it, I found that many people out there have a lot of ideas they’ve shared about the usefulness of this medium – which turned my thoughts to DIY design. Often, the most powerful insights come from those moments when users try to work around problems and create solutions for themselves; so what happens when we make that flexibility a feature? I’ll keep you posted when I figure out which problem to solve with my little packet of possibilities!
Building on my selection from two weeks ago from The Economist, On Opinions Beyond the Reach of Data comes 21st Century Design: Shaping Behavior for Preferable Outcomes from Rob Girling of Artefact. Girling takes the idea of emotion rather than data driving our opinions and expands it thus:
“A core finding of this work is that we are not primarily the products of our conscious thinking; we are instead the products of thinking that happens below the level of awareness. Reason, it turns out, is highly dependent on emotional value judgments and therefore is highly susceptible to bias.”
Girling cites this as a departure from 20th century thinking, driven by economists and policy makers who proffered the idea of people as rational beings who make weighted, rational decisions based in data and fact.
I think that for designers and creatives, it’s instinctual to understand the role of emotion in human opinions and choices. In fact it is widely professed in design schools as a universal truth. There have been numerous discussions around the role of designers in the business world, and more recently around the growing demand for design thinkers in the boardroom, but what does it all mean?
In the abstract, Girling proposes that the new role of design is to shape consumer behavior towards the preferable future: “By defining preferable futures as the outcome of our work we are forced to consider the longitudinal impacts of our work socially, culturally, ethically and environmentally.” This is supported in part by the role of “corporate decision makers and corporations as powerful forces for positive change if they can prioritize positive impacts and outcomes over pure profitability.” It sounds idealistic, but not too much to ask. Shouldn’t our role in business be to find solutions that do just that: promote best-outcomes without compromising the bottom line? Are designers not some of the best-equipped minds to find a way to guide the future of business while preserving the basic tenants of capitalism? To shape consumer behaviors by designing persuasively, encouraging consumers to engage and react build relationships that align with the preferable future?
The full work, in which Girling shares some examples of basic application of persuasive design, is available on Slideshare here: http://www.slideshare.net/artefactgroup/21st-century-design-paper.
Or, if you’re short on time, an excerpt is available over on Fast Company here: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669055/designs-next-frontier-nudging-consumers-into-making-better-life-choices.
Finally, if you want to hear from Girling himself on the subject, you can find that here: http://www.artefactgroup.com/#/content/21st-century-design-on-fastco
Talk to Lindsey @lindsey_bean.
You need to work on your attitude. You’re way too nice! Studies show that “the rich” are much less empathetic and more selfish. Will changing your attitude change your bottom line, or will changing your bottom line change your attitude or the attitude of your children? - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44084236/ns/health-behavior/#.TkLKu2UtiuI
Talk to Darryl @UX_Life.
I praise this technology – http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679384/chew-on-this-edible-silk-sensors-to-monitor-your-food – (its ability to be small, yet house incredible intelligence), but it seems completely impractical. Can’t we use four of our five senses (or six, depending on your personal self-assessment and talents) to gauge whether or not our food is spoiled? Can’t we also use common sense to help navigate us through these decisions – ‘I bought a tomato 4 week ago, is it still good to eat?’ Obviously not.
What I appreciate is that there is an opportunity for these sensors in monitoring health vitals, which is mentioned at the end of the article. The fact that these silk sensors are edible is a novelty, I wouldn’t even classify it as functional. But being able to apply these sensors to those who are, let’s say, going home after major procedures can help monitor their progress better as they heal.
Lots of potential for these, but just in a different application.