Daily Design Inspirations 34: When CX is Designed for the Nose! (#dailydesigninspirations)

s3-news-tmp-134998-tower_transit--2x1--940In early March this year, a news item struck me – the public bus operator in Singalore, Tower Transit, will pump the new scent into 100 of its buses, following a months-long partnership with the local marketing company AllSense. In an interview with the BBC, scent expert Terry Jacobson described the smell as having a “green note” that reflects the city’s biodiversity, mixed with a cool, refreshing aroma that soothes passengers in the city’s tropical climate. And while the smell is subtle, so passengers aren’t overwhelmed, Tower Transit hopes it’s strong enough to keep riders coming back—and more importantly, to lure people away from their cars.

While it is still early to see the results, those who have had a good whiff of the Transit Tower’s marketing ploy reported, for the most part, positive reactions. Most who spoke to the local news site The Straits Time and BBC welcomed the fact that it made the buses smell fresher and said it would make them want to take public transit.

That is the objective – reduce dependence own private vehicles and make the public transport option more appealing. Now, can those feelings translate to action? Time will tell. But it reminded me of how important it is to engage with customers at sensory levels, and how rarely it is practised.

And brings us to that question we are all trying to answer – in a hyper-crowded marketplace, how does a customer tell the difference between products and services? How do we create offerings that are not just efficient and beautiful, but also emotionally compelling? How do we engage with customers through other, innovative channels that are subtle, pleasant and non-intrusive? Beyond the typical mobile/computer UI approach?

The ideal customer experience should delight the customer by engaging all five senses, not just their mobile device. And smell is a key piece of that puzzle: Scents have been proven to eliminate stress, stimulate fond memories and inspire customers. The right scent has been shown to make people more comfortable at hotels, shorten the time they think they are waiting at banks, and improve sense of performance at a gym. Nike conducted research with the Smell & Taste Research Foundation that found a scented retail environment induced more favorable product perceptions in in shoppers – making them more likely to buy the shoes, and often willing to pay more for the product.

Using scents to not only enhance customer experiences but also to inspire certain behaviors is a growing trend in marketing. According to the latest research in the Journal of Marketing, “The Cool Scent of Power: Effects of Ambient Scent on Consumer Preferences and Choice Behavior” by Adriana V. Madzharov, Lauren G. Block, and Maureen Morrin (2015), by using warm scents in store, more attention could be attracted towards high-end products.


Recall North Carolina’s steak-smelling billboard, or the many odors of the Magic Kingdom, or city streets’ infamous Subway Smell, or magazines’ scented papers, which are themselves the olfactory offspring of the perfume-strip ads that have been around since the 80s. Traditionally, however – to the extent that scent-based advertising is traditional — smells have been used bluntly. Scent is notoriously indiscriminate: It reaches all those in its proximity, promiscuously.

Back in 2012, a U.K.-based baked potato company installed ads that waft the aroma of “slow oven-baked jacket potatoes” at bus stops whenever you press a button. More aggressively, Dunkin’ Donuts in South Korea installed dispensers in public buses. Every time their jingle came on, riders were treated to—or bombarded with—a blast of coffee aroma.

Engineers employed by the shop’s marketing agency created a machine that, air-freshener-like, “releases a coffee aroma.” And they designed the device in such a way that its scent-squirt would be triggered only by the sound of the Dunkin’ Donuts jingle – so that, “When a Dunkin’ Donuts ad plays on the radio, a coffee aroma is simultaneously released.”

What’s fascinating is that, after the commuters were subjected to the olfactory factor, they were much more likely to frequent, Dunkin’ Donuts says, a Dunkin’ Donuts store. Over the course of the campaign, more than 350,000 people “experienced” the ad, Cheil estimates – and sales at Dunkin’ establishments located near bus stops increased 29 percent. The sound-scent combination – the synaesthetic approach to advertising – seemed to be, in this case, effective.

So the use of scents makes … well, you know. The power of smell when it comes to human cognitive connection is well documented; it’s fitting and unsurprising that marketers would want to capitalize on that power when it comes to brand associations. The Dunkin’ advertisers orchestrated their experiment to optimize immediacy; the point was to create a scenario in which commuters would hear Dunkin’ Donuts, then smell Dunkin’ Donuts, then see Dunkin’ Donuts … and then, you know, taste Dunkin’ Donuts. After buying Dunkin’ Donuts.

HBR: Use Design Thinking to Build Commitment to a New Idea

A great read:

HBR: Use Design Thinking to Build Commitment to a New Idea

Roger L. Martin
JANUARY 03, 2017


The logic we use to understand the world as it is can hinder us when we seek to understand the world as it could be. Anyone who comes up with new ideas for a living will recognize the challenges this truism presents. It means that to get organizational support for something new, the designer needs to pay as close attention to how the new idea is created, shared, and brought to life as to the new idea itself.

The Normal Way of Generating Commitment…

Normally, we commit to an idea when we are rationally compelled by the logic of the idea and we feel emotionally comfortable with it. In the modern world, we focus disproportionately on the logic, assuming that the feelings will naturally follow. Analysis has become the primary tool in this regard. A logically plausible proposition, combined with supporting data, is presented to produce a cognitive “sense of proof.” Hence the modern equation is: logic plus data provides proof, which generates emotional comfort, which leads directly to commitment.

More here.

Daily Design Inspirations 28: Jeanne Liedtka on How to Think Like a Designer (#DailyDesignInspirations)

I learned Design Thinking from her. And she remains one of the stalwarts in the space of Design Thinking, as a teacher and a practitioner.

Jeanne has been involved in the corporate strategy field for over 30 years. She is a professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia, where she teaches both MBAs and executives and consults on innovation, organic growth and design thinking. Beginning her career as a strategy consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, she has served as Associate Dean of the MBA Program at Darden, Executive Director of the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation, and Chief Learning Officer at United Technologies Corporation.

Jeanne Liedtka’s model

Here she argues that learning to approach problems the way Designers do can be a useful way to spark innovation. (Original link from Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business)

CO.DESIGN: Frog’s Ex-President Brings Design Thinking To Academia

3058198-poster-p-1-ex-frog-president-doreen-lorenzo-to-join-faculty-at-u-t-austinDoreen Lorenzo—formerly of Frog and Quirky—is running a new integrated design program at UT-Austin.

“It used to be you went to school and became a graphic designer or an industrial designer, but that’s all changed,” says Doreen Lorenzo. “Now design is about problem solving and critical skills. Long gone is the sole inventor.”

Lorenzo should know—she’s been a leader in the design industry for nearly two decades, serving as president of both the prestigious design firm Frog and the invention platform Quirky (she also writes a column for Co.Design). At the beginning of March, Lorenzo announced that she has taken a position at the University of Texas at Austin to oversee an initiative to integrate design thinking into the curriculum across the university.

As director of the Center for Integrated Design, Lorenzo will work with faculty in fine arts, business, engineering, architecture, and computer science to create a program that will allow students to study design from a multidisciplinary perspective and earn either a certificate or degree. The idea is to encourage students to use the school’s many different resources to learn about design as a problem-solving system, a concept that the professional world has already embraced.

These days, you can’t sit through a boardroom meeting without hearing the words “design thinking.”

“Business moves fast,” Lorenzo says. “It used to be, you had these 18-month, two-year product cycles—that’s all changed. Now you have rapid innovation, you’re constantly iterating, you’re constantly designing. You almost don’t have time to teach people all the fine nuances, so the more that we can make our students able to jump in and help, the more valuable they are going to be.”

This is something Lorenzo learned first-hand working at Frog, the innovative design and strategy firm behind projects such as Humanitarian Data Exchangeand the Kidaptive learning app. During her 16 years there—7 of which she served as the company’s president—Lorenzo saw the company grow from a boutique firm with 50 employees to a global company with 1,000 employees and 11 offices worldwide. She ran Frog as a team-based organization, hiring people with a variety of skill sets and experiences. “What I saw from the design world very early on, from working at Frog, was that you needed to work in a very integrated fashion,” she says. “In order to get a product out the door, you needed different people to come in and work with you.”

Integrated design eventually reached the business world, which today recognizes the importance of problem solving and working across disciplines. Now you can’t sit through a boardroom meeting without hearing the words “design thinking.” “Businesses caught on, everyone’s a software company now—you have to understand software and technology because that’s how you get up to speed,” Lorenzo says. “Academia has slowly been getting up to speed.”

Some integrated design university programs do exist—MIT Media Lab and Stanford’s d.school are two well-respected examples—but they are relatively small. UT-Austin is one of the biggest public universities in the country, so the program will be implemented at a much larger scale. Other programs also tend to be at the graduate level, training students who’ve already had work experience. At UT, Lorenzo will reach students before they enter the workplace, where “design” doesn’t just mean making a product. It might mean solving a human resources issue or operational problem. “If we can give them critical thinking skills and teach them problem solving and how to work cooperatively, they have a better chance at success,” Lorenzo says. “And they have a better chance of finding something they never knew about. They don’t have to wait until graduate school.”

How Design Thinking Can Improve Your Marketing Plan: Lessons From IBM Design Studio: Forbes:

by John Ellett, CEO and leader of the CMO Accelerator at nFusion, and author of The CMO Manifesto: A 100-Day Action Plan for Marketing Change Agents. He writes in Forbes on Design Thinking

As marketers focus on developing engagement programs and brand experiences that are consumer-centered, there are many parallels with designing software products. I recently visited the IBM Design Studio in Austin Texas for a tour and a discussion with Melody Dunn, Chief Design Officer for IBM Commerce. Dunn has previously held several marketing leadership positions prior to her new role so much of our conversation was centered around lessons marketers can take from the Design Studio.

Here are five tips that may help you be a more effective designer of your marketing plan.

Start from the customer’s point of view – Dunn has worked with marketing departments across the globe. She has observed a common need in many of them. “Marketers really need to focus on their customer’s experience. A lot of times marketers tend to be very inward focus and think about their products and services, what they have to say and how quickly they can get it out. Each customer is going to be different. Some prefer certain types of channels, others don’t. You can’t treat everyone the same. I think that’s going to be come even a bigger challenge for marketers in the future because there’s such interdependence with technology from the customer’s perspective, how they choose to engage with you. It’s very easy for them to disengage if you don’t do the right things. They expect you to know them on a personalized basis. We’re still not taking a lot of that into account.”

Enroll multiple disciplines in planning – Collaboration has been a key to Dunn’s success as a marketer and design leader. “Marketing has a whole process. Marketers have to collaborate with others. It’s that collaboration that makes marketing really, really powerful.” To design new products, IBM brings together three disciplines. “We’ll have offering managers, sort of the GMs of the product. We’ll have the actual designers, the people who will be doing the creative interaction patterns or visualizations of that. Then we’ll have the actual engineers and developers. So we call it ‘Three in a Box’” said Dunn.

IBM Design Studio

Create physical collaboration spaces – IBM has been changing its remote working practices recently. Dunn explains it this way. “It seems like in team sports the players should all be on the field at the same time. There’s nothing like looking someone in the eye and reading body language, and making sure you got alignment, consistence and understanding. You can do that remotely but I think it’s harder. When you’re all together it just goes faster.”

Embrace agile methodologies – As a software marketer, Dunn applied lessons from her design and development counterparts. “We learned to have a daily scrum and to work agile to do jobs you don’t normally do. It was really eye-opening and it was liberating too because we broke out of the old IBM marketing mold and learned to work in a very different fashion.”

Develop a risk-taking culture -“One of the things that design thinking enables you is to do is fail quickly and fast, and not to be fearful of it. The more experimentation you can do the better,” advises Dunn. “We did hundreds of mockups around Journey Designer before we got to something we were comfortable with. It was that fast iteration, getting the teams together, and not try to design for perfection but design for the majority of use case and getting that out there and getting customers’ interactions. As soon as you can do that the better you are. It’s the same with marketing, the sooner you can try and not be afraid to fail, that’s the way you’re really going to learn. It’s learning from those failures more so than your successes that I think makes the difference.”

Daily Design Inspirations 16: Qantas Safety Video. (#DailyDesignInspirations)

Every time we post on this thread, we get a lot of great responses. On the topic, as well as on the “inspiration” itself.

This time, it is not a product or a solution. But an idea…

A mundane Flight Safety video has been transformed by Qantas into a visual treat of Australia’s stunning landscape and scenery, without missing on the message!

The video will be introduced across Qantas’ domestic and international fleet from February, as well as featuring on the airline’s online channels. While the video is first and foremost a safety communication, it will also form the basis of a new tourism campaign.

Qantas and Tourism Australia will work together over the next 12 months to promote the locations featured and maximise the benefits for local tourism operators. In particular, Tourism Australia will lend its social media marketing power, helping the video reach millions of people globally.

The scenarios featured in the video include:
● An oxygen mask demonstration at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart;
● A life-jacket demonstration at Bondi Icebergs;
● A brace position demonstration during a yoga class on Hamilton Island;
● Counting rows to the exit on a Yarra Valley winery; and
● An emergency slide demonstration at Josephine Falls in Queensland, among others.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce describes the new safety video as “a unique platform” to promote tourism while “capturing the confident-but-relaxed Aussie personality”.

“We’ve experimented with different settings for our safety videos over the years, but this time we saw an opportunity to celebrate Australia itself,” Joyce says. “The result is something that we believe is really special and powerful, but warm, funny and down to earth at the same time, because it’s about everyday Australians. We’re confident that it’s going to grab people’s attention and get them focused on the safety information that every Qantas customer needs to know.

“It’s a video that people can really connect with, and there’s an opportunity to expand its reach by sharing it online and through social media – giving it a dual purpose as promotion for Australian tourism. Qantas has always been the biggest private sector supporter of Australian tourism and we’re delighted to be working with Tourism Australia on the social media campaign that goes with the new video.”

Enough said. Just watch.

#Innovation #QantasAd #Experience


Daily Design Inspirations 12: What good design is all about: simple innovations that make products better (#DailyDesignInspirations)

What is the most powerful quote that I have in mind, when I talk on Innovation? It must be Leonardo da Vinci’s famous line “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. When I read Designer Daily’s blog post on simple design improvements, it again brought this fundamental ethos of designing as a part of problem solving back to me. Brilliant ideas, these…

What is so significant is that in all these 12 inspired ideas, strong User Needs are being addressed. Clearly showing a focus on the Empathy element of the Design Thinking process – the foundation of Human-Centred Design. To empathise, we:

  • Observe. View users and their behavior in the context of their lives.
  • Engage. Interact with and interview users through both scheduled and short ‘intercept’ encounters.
  • Immerse. Experience what your user experiences.

As Human-Centred designers we need to understand the people for whom we are designing. The problems we are trying to solve are rarely our own—they are those of particular users; in order to design for users, we must build empathy for who they are and what is important to them. Watching what people do and how they interact with their environment gives us clues about what they think and feel.

Here’s to 2016! A year of Empathy for Designing better Solutions.

What good design is all about: simple innovations that make products better

Good design often goes unnoticed, but it is everywhere around us. This post is dedicated to present some small, almost unnoticeable, design improvements made to products.

The Drop Rest mug

Drops of coffee are tiny, but they can quickly create pretty big stains if they reach the bottom of your cup. Korean designer Kim Keun Ae decided it was time to do something about it and created the Drop Rest mug, a mug with a simple line that prevents any coffee drop to go any further.


A space-saving bike rack

Most cities’ bike racks are installed in a way that takes up space, no matter whether they in use of not. This simple and clever design solution makes it take much less space if the racks are not used.


A regenerating candle

How to make your candles reusable instead of throwing them away after the first use? Easy, just buy this incredible candle holder by Benjamin Shine.


The anti-theft lunch bag

This reusable packaging for your sandwiches will keep your lunches safe from your less honest co-workers or classmates. It will deceive them into believing that the bread is full of mold, enough to disgust them and prevent them to eat it.


The baby bag that turns into a bed

If you ever travelled with your baby, you’ll know how practical this baby bagthat can turn into a bed truly is.


Seil bag

These clever bags are made just for bikers and integrate some LED lighting system on the back. Unfortunatly, these weren’t funded as the Kickstarter project to finance the production didn’t reach its goal. Too bad, because it would have been a real progress towards better safety for bikes on the road.


The phone case that does everything

This case doesn’t just protect your phone, it’s the Swiss knife of phone cases and without a doubt the most useful protection case ever. Open your beers, measure stuff, screw anything,… all of that with the Task One multi-tool phone case.


The carpet alarm clock

An alarm clock is actually meant to do more than just wake you up, it should wake you up and ensure that you get out of bed. This is exactly what thecarpet alarm clock does, you have to stand on it if you want it to stop.


Easy to clean hairbrush

A little piece that you can add to your hairbrush to make it easy to clean. Once you are done, just take it off and hair will not stay stuck in your brush.


SpoonPlus: when chopsticks meet spoon

When I was a kid, I remembered that using chopsticks was the coolest thing that could happen in the kitchen (apart from eating fondue). However, I would also often wonder how people would eat soup when eating with chopsticks. Design duo Amandine Chhor and Aïssa Logerot found a good solution to this issue.


No loss soap dispenser

This soap dispenser is inspired by cheese graters and produces snow flakes that are much easier to dissolve and guarantee that you will use just what you need. It will also prevent loss of soap like a regular soap place would.


A tailing light for your bike

A tiny add-on for your bike that will create safety lines on the go while riding. This is pretty awesome and will greatly increase the rides of bike owners.


Published on December 31, 2015 in

Daily Design Inspiration 5: The Little Italian “Wasp” (#DailyDesignInspirations)

The year was 1946. The World War had just ended, and not too well for Italy. And Italy needed a modern and affordable vehicle that could transport the country’s people along roads and byways decimated by war.

original vespaIndustrialist Enrico Piaggio took up the challenge and had his engineers construct a new kind of motor bike. When he first saw the prototype, commissioned from Corradino D’Ascanio, a distinguished aero-engineer, Piaggio had apparently exclaimed, “It looks like a wasp!” The design that captured his imagination featured a complete engine cowling that shielded the rider from dirt and grease, a flat floorboard on which you could rest your feet, and a large front fairing that provided significant wind protection.

“Vespa” – that’s “wasp” in Italian, and the name stuck.

A Legend is Born

D’Ascanio’s Vespa was cheap and reliable, while its step-through frame meant that women could ride it in skirts, and its concealed engine – tucked under the seat or over its small back wheel – kept oil, grease and dirt from chic Italian clothes. More than this, the Vespa was fun. Especially so in a post-war Italy still recovering from the Allied bombings and that now turned to the production of modest machines for a domestic market longing for entertainment but with precious little to spend.

roman-holiday-vespaWomen certainly loved the Vespa. Its appearance in Roman Holiday, the 1953 romantic comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, is said to have been worth 100,000 sales. Perhaps it was. The glamorous Hollywood couple spun carefree around Rome on one of the scooters, aimlessly and stylishly. Audiences wanted to do the same.

Other stars and films followed, providing more free advertising campaigns for Piaggio’s mechanical wasp. From Angie Dickinson, fulsomely gorgeous on her Vespa in Jessica, a Sicilian romp from 1962, to Gwen Stefani, racing one in the 2007 video for Now That You Got It, women have been as important to the myth and success of Piaggio’s bestseller as men.

The male part has been played, variously, by moody Mods in 1979’s Quadrophenia, a disturbing Matt Damon in 1999’s The Talented Mr Ripley and by the whimsical Italian film director Nanni Moretti in Caro Diairio in 1993.

As fuel prices soared worldwide, and as urban commuting has become ever busier and parking spaces fewer, more people took to scooters in Europe. And, despite ambitious rivals over the years, the Vespa has been top of the polls since it first turned a pair of tiny pressed-steel wheels.

The Design

Although thought of as essentially Italian, the idea for the motor scooter came to former Italian aero-engineers from watching US military aircraft drop tiny, olive green Cushman Airbornes to troops in the industrial heartlands of Milan and Turin fighting fierce German resistance. Made in Nebraska, the Cushman Airborne – a skeletal steel motor scooter – allowed troops to nip about deftly as never before.

Using skills and materials drawn from the aircraft industry, D’Ascanio transformed the idea of this basic, yet brilliant easy-ride motorbike into the Vespa.

Vespa-946-Black_02In 2013, Piaggio launched its 946 model, a beautifully made scooter that harks back in terms of styling to D’Ascanio’s original. It has four times the power and sturdy ABS braking as well as traction control. While the 946 pays homage to Vespa’s history, it definitely feels modern and tad bit futuristic. For the first time ever, Vespa has used aluminum in one of their designs. As a plus, from the stitching on the leather handle grips to the final polish, every premium component is assembled by hand. From rear side panels that tap the art deco style for inspiration, to the full LED headlamp (another first!), the Vespa 946’s modern approach to the iconic scooter is truly well done.

The Design journey is beautifully shown in this short video

Focus on User Experience

Piaggio CEO Roberto Colaninno recently described how the company’s marketplace continues to evolve. With a worldwide and culturally diverse customer base, understanding the consumer on both a regional and global basis is important to Piaggio. That’s why the company is now using the SAP HANA platform and predictive analytics software across the group to analyze customer and sales data to gain greater insight into consumer preferences – from color choices to favorite options.

“The digital marketing strategy of Piaggio is to think passions, not products,” remarks Davide Zanolini, Piaggio Group’s executive vice president of marketing and communications.

This insight says a lot about customer loyalty.

“We want to know our customers as people, understanding in real time what they like and want in a vehicle,” adds Chiara Ugozzoli, the company’s senior vice president of global digital marketing and CRM. “The concept of loyalty today has changed. People are loyal to companies not just because they like a product. They are loyal because companies are delivering great brand experiences.

The Future

More than 16 million Vespa motor scooters have been made to date in thirteen countries and sold around the world. A design that exudes Italian charm and styling, the Vespa will be buzzing through the world’s city streets for many years yet. These days, there are a full line of Vespa scooters, and Vespa is one of seven companies owned by the larger Piaggio Group. The Piaggio Group remains Europe’s largest manufacturer of two-wheel motor vehicles with products that include scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles marketed under various brands such as Piaggio, Gilera, and Moto Guzzi. The group also operates in the three- and four-wheeler light transport sector.