Solving Problems with Puzzles

Designing business processes with blockchain technology It was a defining moment for the retail industry when Sharon Buchanan scanned the first barcode at the Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio at 8:01 a.m. on June 26, 1974. Barcodes re-wrote the entire landscape around tracking physical assets by encoding information in printed tags. It might visually resemble…

Informality and Nostalgia in Urban Space

Low-income urban communities are well-documented but poorly understood. When North American housing projects and British council estates appear in pop culture and the news media, more often than not they are portrayed as bleak, dangerous places. Worse yet, plans to redevelop these communities are often influenced (to varying degrees) by these same biases. This needs…

What is Sound Design?

Sound design is the art and practice of creating, collecting, adapting, and producing audio elements. Like any other type of design, sound design is a process that involves turning an idea into an outcome. What makes sound design different are the tools used in that process. Whereas a graphic designer’s toolkit includes typography, images, and…

The Frontier (Part One): Digitizing the Human Body

This post was originally published on the Digitally Cognizant blog. It is the first post in a blog series on “Digitizing the Human Body.” Populating the human body with powerful technologies is no longer just the domain of sci-fi. Existing and emerging technologies are rapidly ushering in an era of human augmentation, self-regulation, automated diagnosis and treatment, and…

Designing Meaningful Customer Experiences

A Challenge From the World of Genomics Imagine scientists researching and exploiting naturally occurring genetic variations in order to ensure food challenging, impossible even – but that is the mission that LGC’s genomics division has set for itself. In doing so, the division has grown rapidly, both organically and through acquisition, leaving it with a…

From Artistic to Artificial Intelligence

The Emergence of the Creative Machine Creativity has long been perceived to be immune to falling under the dominion of machines. However, this is changing fast. Machine learning and big data now enable intelligent systems to be used in many creative fields, such as music production or the culinary and visual arts. Even though we…

The Myth of Simplicity

Simplicity. As a concept, an idea, or an aesthetic, it connotes ease of use, elegance, efficiency, and flow. We like to think of ourselves as creatures that crave, appreciate, and enjoy simple things. But human beings are anything but simple; as semiotic forms of expression, our simple things (and the relationships we have with them)…

Temporality and Innovation

Using Design Anthropology to Imagine and Design for the Future  What is Temporality? Anthropologists use the term “temporality” to talk about the way we experience time; temporality allows us to think about how time is, what it feels like, and how it exists in our lives. Whereas time can be understood as the objective movement…

Convergent Evolution: A Design Lesson

Design and evolution. To a scientist, using these two words in the same sentence borders on offensive, as it conjures up notions of intelligent design and other pseudoscience. I’m not even sure I would have ever contemplated this article until my recent immersion in the world of design. Illustration: Jennifer Backman…

A New Layer in History

Mexico City and the Quest for Socially Responsible Transformation Through Design Alejandro González Iñárritu, the Oscar-winning director behind The Revenant and Birdman, once said that his native Mexico City is “this big, complex monster of a city that has always had real problems and needs,” going on to explain that he’s “always found [his] way…

Crisis of -Cracies

Who Will Shape 21st-Century Politics? The political events of 2016, from Brexit to Trump, left many without an explanatory narrative, blindsided by actors and interests beyond their control. Panicked explanations ran the gamut from geopolitical conspiracy to the mass-diagnosis of the psyches of “deplorables.” Many looked to external causes for these events, citing the authoritarian…

The Human in Humanitarian Innovation

Transformational innovation – the sort of thing that turns traditional paradigms and models of thinking upside down and inside out – is, quite frankly, rare. It takes an enormous amount of risk, vision, and necessity for an organization to reinvent itself. While such reinvention has happened in the corporate world when companies faced extinction or…

Foodpreneurs and the Future of Fridges

A Conversation with Greg Dollarhyde Given all of the experience you’ve had in terms of building brands from scratch and working with a variety of big players, I'm curious what your outlook on business is when it comes to the food space. There are a lot of new brands and business models cropping up, and…

Jen Richards on the Future of Gender

A Conversation with Jen Richards The ways in which a person experiences and expresses their own identity are always shifting. With maturity, experience, and time, each person journeys to discover who they are and how they present themselves to the world. Jen Richards, an advocate focusing on racial and gender justice, looks at what happens when…