creativity

Kids iPad App Uses Image Recognition for High Tech Play

As a parent, we are always faced with a choice about how and when to introduce certain technologies to our children.  I know that technology is no longer a skill, but a part of our culture and foundation for any type of work.  However, the iPad can either be part of a passive entertainment device or a portal for learning.   What I love about the Osmo app is that is allows for traditional analog toys ( that often facilitate tactile play and spatial thinking ) to be activated on the ipad, combining the best of both worlds.  From a design perspective, it also opens up a new realm of designer user interfaces, which could really open up a lot of verticals / industries.

From a product marketing perspective and product engineering perspective, it makes me wonder why more app developers don’t take into account sensors and peripheral ports in their product roadmap.  This year especially, we will see a huge array of smart objects, IOT (Internet of Things), and contextual devices that enhance user experience and better performances of existing networks.

Think bigger & learn from other discipline areas. Where one person sees a toy, other people see a design solution for a new field that has never been discussed.  Innovation is everywhere, you just need to look at it from a different perspective.

 aside: Reminds me a of a more open source version of Siftables. 

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This iphone Concept brings the best of Windows 8 to iOs

I love seeing how mobile ux designers rethink and look at existing OS and how it could be improved.  Recently this concept video of live tiles appeared on the web that showed a widget / live tile version of iOs for iPhone / iPad.

When windows developed live tiles, it was a shock, but it made sense.  People wanted access to their content faster. The buttons to access those feeds were really just a formality.  However, hitting those buttons were a legacy interaction that was baked into the system, but also expectations of how a UI was “supposed” to work.

It has been universally agreed upon that as many user experiences are based on feeds, that it starts to make more sense for UI elements to simply be viewing windows of data rather then buttons that view that data – skip a step, right?   There are many ways to express this. I personally believe that the windows phone UI was a very elegant solution to this, however it is worth noting that Android introduced some widgets that addressed this early on as well.  Not everyone agreed this was a good solution, but many people have embraced it.

Apple is currently using push notifications to bring feeds to your screen while asleep.  In essence, it performs the same utility, but with a less sexy interface.  The design question at hand is at what point in the mobile experience do you want to access what type of data? Both have advantages.

Where I am fascinated by this suggested UX idea, I am even more interested in the areas where IP law overlap with Mobile UX.   Even if this solution maybe be better for a significant amount of users, there starts to be areas where a manufacturer cannot go due to threat of infractions on another companies idea or IP.  Even if people love this, apple may not be able to innovate here in fear of legal action from Samsung or Microsoft.

I question as creator, are there areas where the law should not limit the evolution of design progress.  I understand the need to protect an artists work, but I also fear that legal can in some instances prevent UI from growing, thus decreasing overall utility of an entire system / generation?   I am not a lawyer, but its a very interesting debate, in many verticals and progressions.  At some point, lessons learned should be shared with the greater group if they benefit all users.

Even though I have a few critiques for this specific design solution, I applaud any designer who puts their work out there for the public to judge. We need creators more then ever in this time of automation and optimization.  We always need both, but new ideas are rare, even if they are heavily influenced or recycled. The first step is to attempt to create something of value and improve the human condition.

 

 

 

How Red Dwarf Stars made me reconsider life on earth

On the plane today I got to watch in my airplane headset a video about SETI and the probability of life outside of our solar system. Much of this was predictively impressive and reinforced the things I would have guessed about statistics of alien life and astronomy ( which I dont know a lot, but I have always been hopeful).

Here is what I found really cool.  I have been taught since age 2 that planets spin, and certain conditions have to be met to sustain life in a solar system.  However, it turns out that their are several degrees of this criteria.  For Red Dwarf stars ( the smallest ones ), small planets nearby them do not rotate, leaving one side really hot, and one side really cold.  This means that there would be in theory a ring of life around the planet, with no days and nights.  With sides of uninhabitable space on either side.  One continuous strip where life like forms could evolve.

I imagine somewhere on the other side of the galaxy there is a culture living like this, thinking how odd it is to them that our planet spins and has seasons and nights.

Everything we are taught has outliers and exceptions. The next time you have a problem in front of you, examine if the fundamental rules are true, can be bent, or can be redrawn – in our universe or another.

 

What 80s Skateboarding can Teach People about Marketing Channels

When Street Skating took off in the late 70’s early 80’s,  many skaters had to end up making a choice whether to do contests or do videos.  Contests where very structured and was the traditional paid route (mainstream).  Video cameras at this time were also coming to light, and kids could finally afford to create and distribute their own content.   Many had to choose between what they viewed as making a living and selling out, and trying something truly new and innovative.  Which where highly copied, shared, and coveted across a very selected engaged community.

One media channel was very well established, strict regulations, low risk, low rewards, and high barriers to entry.

Another new media channel was taking off, had no rules or regulations, and were sought out by tons of fans.

Similar forks in the road are forming every day.  Which one would you choose, and what levels of diversification can you employ to balance the well known and established and take a risk and get noticed?  A better question is how does your media strategy align with an ever changing bell curve with uneven distribution and ROI. 

 

-pd

 

 

The 3 Places that Innovation Really Come From

1. Firms with a lot of money or time.

Not always, but if you have the right culture, drive, and resources, you have the opportunity to be more creative. This does not guarantee results, but there is a reason a handful of firms continue to win Lion awards and adage mentions.  Certain places attract talent, and those places often attract jobs and resources that allow that to continue.  Culture can build culture.

2. From other industries who have a new perspective on an old problem. 

People always say great minds think alike. Really, great minds don’t.  Being the odd man out, can give you a different way of approaching a problem, and sometimes you are the disruption that everyone has been looking for.

3. From the bottom up. Out of Necessity. 

The opposite side of the spectrum is the underdog.  Ones that want it better then anyone else, and will sacrifice everything to get it.  More then resources, timing, its drive and passion that can find a way.  Sometimes even a bit of crazy.

 

Im not saying that innovation always leads to results. Thats a different topic.  But when you are looking for disruption, creativity, or different – those are the 3 places I would start.  As always, context and execution are everything.

-pd

 

 

Spotting Creativity

Sometimes, it’s really a matter of keeping an eye out for new approaches to things you never even considered. A new lens on life can give you an entirely new tool set to approach issues and challenges you have at work. 

But when disruption and true innovation happens, you can take note. The real lesson is learning how to pivot those insights and apply them to new situations. Sometimes all its takes is some inspiration mixed with a new perspective on solutions, not problems.