Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Making companies better.

Can the approach that revolutionized product design change the way entire companies are organized and work?  Can a corporate culture be design centric?

Design Thinking simplifies complexity and makes customer interactions more intuitive and enjoyable.  It emerged out of Stanford's D-School and IDEO.  It is not about aesthetics – it's a business strategy to achieve differentiation, customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Design Thinking forces a company to embrace a more intimate understanding of its customers and their interactions with the brand, and then be very reductive in creating more valuable experiences.  Principles such as user empathy, rapid prototyping and learning from failure make Design Thinking practical and action-oriented.

This practice has been embraced by companies as diverse as Hermann Miller, Apple, Kohler, 3M, Method and Target to improve products and customer experiences.  David Butler, Coke's head of innovation, stopped using the squishy "D-word" and instead talks about how his team can "make stuff better."

So this makes me wonder if Design Thinking can go beyond "stuff" and make entire companies better.

For example, applying Design Thinking to a professional services firm like an advertising agency could have a tremendous impact.  It would inspire us to reorganize in a way that emphasizes what clients value most (e.g., ideas, innovation, results).  We'd simplify how we solve complex marketing challenges to create more time and space for big ideas.  We would emphasize rapid prototyping and use an iterative ideation process to create bigger and more effective ideas.  And together, agency and client, we would have to become more comfortable with risk, an essential ingredient in a test and learn culture.

Team Detroit was born of change.  If any team is capable of being the first to apply Design Thinking to itself, it is us.  After all, it's what we do!

Monday, August 24, 2015

How digital video changes story telling.

Thought provoking discussion on how storytelling differs between TV and digital video.  This goes deeper than length.  It's about breaking free from the traditional closed loop story arc (having a beginning, middle and end) to a more open ended storyline.

Monday, June 8, 2015

What we're doing online.

Great infographic.  It is mind-blowing to see the change in our online behaviors and growth of new platforms in just three years.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Google's take on the future.

I met with the team from Google today and continue to respect the ideas that come out of the Googleplex.  Yes, they're always right on the verge of Big Brother type stuff.  But the stuff they do helps organize our lives and enable us to do more (consistent with their mission!).  Since the future of Google is increasingly the future of us, this is worth watching.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Happy Birthday, Moore's Law.

Today is the 50th anniversary of Moore's Law.  And I'm typing this on a tiny device that is smaller, more powerful and less expensive than any of its predecessors, yet will be larger, less powerful and more expensive than the device I will likely be using in two years time.  

I became enamored with the power and clarity of Moore's Law when I worked with Applied Materials to help market the world changing merits of nanotech. Moore's Law is one of the primary reasons why we live in awesome times, and why business is increasingly more productive. 

Thank you Gordon Moore.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Never stop learning.

It was good advice then, it remains vital advice today, given the increasing pace of change.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

SXSW Panel: What marketers can learn from political campaigns.

From the emergence of mass media via Television, political campaigns have used the medium with great effect to build belief in their candidates. From Eisenhower’s patriotic “I like Ike” campaign, to LBJ’s “Daisy Girl” commercial, campaigns used the broad appeal of television to create belief. Today, technology has democratized conversations and put power into the hands of real people—emphasis on real.

What can Madison Avenue learn from this transformation?

In this panel, we discuss how brands and marketers can adopt the road-tested tactics of successful political campaigns, including smart data segmentation, rapid response, emotional storytelling, and influencer engagement. By moving supporters up the ladder of engagement and asking them to take more and more meaningful actions on behalf of the things they care about, brands can create a community of advocates prepared to act on their behalf anytime, anywhere.