Burberry part 2

Burberry has never before been an inspiring brand to me. Until they reintroduced their heritage, changed the tone of the brand and started to find fascinating collaborations between fashion and other art forms. In an old warehouse, they exhibited the new collection together with amazing photography of the United Kingdom from the seventies.  The details in light, images and the dressing of the building gave an extra dimension to the clothes. The different outfits referred to classic English wear combined with contemporary sizes and processing techniques.

This is a way of showing and positioning a brand that amazes me. It makes me happy to see how they have turned themselves around and keep using the rich heritage of the country to which they belong.



Dissertation Completed

Last Monday the day had come, a deadline, handing in the dissertation. Relieved, tired and proud was I when clicking “submit assignment”. On the one hand, I realised that a chapter closed, on the other hand, I had found new topics that I wanted to explore and could not add to this thesis as it was becoming a phd, and that was not necessary this time around. So I scraped so many words and topics that all left is, hopefully, a clear answer to the research question.

My research question: where are elements of innovation in organisations that can be amplified through service design? leading to the thesis with the title: ‘People Amplify Innovation’. In case you wish to get a copy to read through, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Service Design Signature

As part of my dissertation I have interviewed various service designers, have read as many blogs and listened to podcasts as I could. There is something interesting about all those service designers. Almost all of us have a different background, were missing something and moved to a more human centric version of a design. Most of us were unsatisfied with the limitations of the inventions rich design fields.

These backgrounds become visible in the signature we have as service designers. Everyone sees our design discipline differently, why it is important and how it should be done. We also have elements in common, we all love people and we love improving their experience. And we all understand that every context requires a specific approach. I have fallen in love with this discipline because it adopts tools and ways of reasoning from so many other disciplines.

My mind wonders off to the question how I want to develop myself as a service designer, and with whom. As my heart lies with South Africa and their development but learning in Europe seems so wonderful too! I start with writing a manifesto as part of my dissertation, to position myself.  Let’s keep sharing on film, tape, text and slideshows that grows us as service designers.

Let’s keep sharing on film, tape, text, and slideshows that grow us as service designers.

The world in Microbes

Microbiology never meant much to me as I am not a scientist looking into the smallest living particles of life. The Dutch summer interview series ‘Zomergasten’ (literally: summer guests) invites 6 interesting people over the summer to speak for 3 hours about their interest, fascination and their life. The first of this season was Rosanne Herzberger, a Dutch woman and microbiologist. She did not just talk about her work as microbiologist where she has an interest in the vaginal microbes, she spoke more about the misconception and powerful voice we have that we lay over the world. The way we interpret history, animal behaviour and the role we play amaze her and when she places that next to microbiology she shows how things can also be seen.

Also  why we believe bloggers when it comes to food advice and we stop trusting the government and scientists. In this instance she explained how E-numbers are not harmful at all but how bloggers made us believe they are. Or how she asked in her column who is sponsoring the websites where hate towards women is the norm and fun. Many of these sponsors have resigned. She showed beautiful, and a bit extreme, Jewish tradition of the Belz Mizvah Tantz and Grizzly man, humans in their habitat.

Since I saw this last week I started wondering what more we can learn from microbiologists. Thanks for TED and understandable talks that made me realize: where ever I would end up in an organisation, I have to look for the microbes, the things that make the life and transfer resources into energy. Through the eyes of Herzberger I am starting to understand how life works, how we work as living beings and how being a bit crazy can be incredibly beneficial.

Oh and the decor of the program makes it even more pleasurable to watch. Up next: the mayor of Amsterdam. Cannot wait.


Live – connection

I worked for a year at oil for live communication where we focussed on creating pleasant places to converse and connect. The perfect conversations and connections happen over food. No wonder the Italians always have meetings over food and good coffee. Chatting with the waiter, asking for recommendations and what are the extras of the day are all part of the restaurant experience. Of course, if you don’t want to be disturbed the waiter/tress is considerate and stays away, are you chatty, so are they.

Now today I took place in ‘Bella Italia’ where we had the choice to order via a tablet. We forgot a side, the drinks, ordered food and actually did not discuss anything with the waiter until he brought our food and offered grated cheese. Which was grated above our plates, that was personal.

Towards the end of our main the tablet lighted up and offered deserts. I actually did not want anything from that moment on, I just want a chat with my waiter, not call him with a machine and order via an interface. Can we please make restaurants chatty places again and use food as the connector between people?

Courageous playing

There are days that we have to be reminded that our world is not all about hitting targets, paying bills and achieving the next step in life. A Dutch correspondent wrote on a critical news platform (In Dutch: De Correspondent) today that we are losing the art of playing. Why do we not play, learn from playing and go on adventure anymore? Because we are all trained to become workers.

nina 96_lido di dante SwingAs a child I went to a Montessori primary school, learning while exploring, loved it! Now I want to become a Lego serious play facilitator, going back to the bricks we have always known and play to move forward. Play to discover and most importantly articulate ourselves. Exploring with our hands and learning from copying is extremely important. We do not find life experience in writing 12.000 words, as I am doing currently, the experience is finding joy in the task, discipline but without losing the love for finding interesting insights. I want to keep on going with this game of exploration.

As part of this I want to point out a documentary: The Eagle Huntress, about a courageous girl in Mongolia who wants to become an Eagle Hunter, a job that was only for men. But her whole life she played with her dad, the eagle hunter, and learned all the details of this art. For her becoming the huntress was not about proving the men wrong, it was about playing the game she always wished to play. Absolutely worth watching! And it even has amazing shots of the landscapes and the gorgeous animals.

Tools, process, doing, thinking

Process driven design, empathic design, design thinking, so many terms and even more interpretations. Every designer has his or her own way of going about situations and will name this process or the approach differently. Design thinking is becoming an accepted term for human centred design, but there is a lot more to it.

Service design is all about ‘the design of services’ according to GOV.uk, but is it really? Is it just like any other design discipline; a way of thinking with a specific toolset to tackle and find a great variety of issues that need a response. Birgit Mager says that service design ‘is about choreographing processes, technologies and interactions within complex systems in order to co-create value for stakeholders.’ This sounds more like it to me. For my dissertation I have started to look into the application of service design in Citizens UK and their development plans. The reason is not just because of the opportunity but also because of the nature of engagement with staff and members that is needed. The service we want to develop comes with a shift in the culture within the organisation. Service design in this scenario goes far beyond the service itself.

Talking with a senior service designer this morning, and reading blogs this afternoon I learned that designers often just do a lot ‘because we are busy’ the question is: are we thinking WHY we do what we do? Why do we ask time to test what we test? Why do we use the tool we are using? In other words, shouldn’t we just learn how to deal with all the tools in our toolbox, the same way a shoe maker learns how to handle his tools? Sometimes all we learn is how to sharpen the knifes we have before we are able to make the right cut.

The top 1%

356924c8371c6a2d2c859dbb15de9380The top 1% owns 53% of India’s wealth, in China they own 37% and in the UK the top 1% got a lot richer than the rest of the country. People build luxury health centers where people pay from £150,- a month to be a member, or buy £ 15.000,- worth of suits p.a. Not to forget a building emerging next to my college with the price tag of 1 billion, bought by an investor from Hong Kong. I am stunned and happy with the ‘just be normal’ attitude of the Netherlands. We laugh and sigh when people show off their wealth, we tend to share our wealth so we are all better off. Incredibly high bonuses are a reason for investigation and thus less common.

There is something else. These numbers have been flying around for the past weeks and all I wonder is; are they happy? How do you go to bed at night with golden water tabs in your house, just had some caviar and probably wiped your hands once on a towel ready to be washed with liters of water? Many questions, many people fighting for rights, saving the environment, saving to eat and go to school and yet, in the 21st century equality is still huge. Take your responsibility, keep your head held high and look yourself in the eyes, what can YOU do to reduce environmental impact, inequality and economic issues?

Pretotyping and Minimal Viable Products

Produce! New ideas, keep the ideas for yourself, someone might steel them! So produce in secret and let them buy it!

No, stop.

We should share ideas, the more you share the sooner you know there is no way someone is interested in it, or many people are, and you have to start/stop making it.

There is a step in between the idea and the end-product. The prototype. The test. I love the idea that a test is as simple as faking a phone call to test how to serve someone. I totally see the point of making MVP’s or pretotypes with a piece of paper pasted on your smartphone to test viability. For my current two projects I will use and play with these features. I have found that in both instances my clients are not 100% receptive of these creative approaches. What is kind of nice though is that, partly because I am still a student, I get a playground to test methodologies. The first test will be later this month, another round of tests in June. I can’t wait! Will keep you posted!

Creative Conversations: How can creative businesses be ethical & profitable?

1,5 hours is too short for discussing this question. Obviously the answer to the question is yes, one can generate profit in an ethical way. But there was more to think about, it is not just an artists choice to be both ethical and generate some profit, part of the question lies in the hands of companies and government who don’t see the value of true ethics.

The sad thing is that the conversation is held between people who already value ethical entrepreneurship. People who already understand that their impact goes beyond numbers of people clicking on a website. During the discussion I wondered how we can create understanding with corporations, so they see value in a way that is more than a number in the bank. We live in a world where everything ought to be measured, yet for the really important stuff: ‘Social Impact’ we have no up to date measurement system. For years we have been working in paradigms that have not shifted with us to the 21st century. Is it up to us, millennials, to push harder?

‘Young designers should stand for their ethical goals that they wish to pursue in society.’ I would like to take this statement one step further. I strongly believe that we all should question in our society to understand what the real value is that you wish to support. Where do you spend your money? Do you know who made your jeans? Do you know who contributed to the innovative ideas of your company? And as designers, all designers, educate yourself on price, values and communicating both to a potential client. Only than will we be able to pursue our ethical visions for the world. And I know, in ethics we have to choose our battles. We cannot always be green, responsible, the right price, selling at the right place, no carbon footprint, locally produced and serving needs all at once. But, ask yourself, should we not try to strive to serve as many of the ethical issues as possible?