Two Icons: Too Little Conversation

by April 8, 2005

Last Thursday I attended Two Icons, Two Perspectives, One Conversation: Yves Béhar in conversation with Bill Moggridge, moderated by Steven Skov Holt at the San Jose Museum of Art. Though both Yves and Bill had captivating perspectives on design, the moderation of their conversation did not allow enough of their thinking to permeate. Here’s what I was able to glean:

Advertising used to be the predominant way to connect people to brands. Now design is a prominent force because people directly connect to products. As a result, design can be thought of as a process for making things culturally relevant.

The core skills of design are creative thinking, subject synthesis, prototyping, and implementation. These are increasingly being applied to business problems (as evidenced by discussions in business literature). Design is a glue that can merge silos and skills. The synthesis of diverse skills is the future of design.

Effective globalization is measured by the “right excitement for the right experience across cultures.” The needs of local users will determine how culturally relevant a design is. Though 90% of a commercial product seems to be relevant across different cultures (Yves).

Transparent design (though often advocated for interactive products) might not be the right answer as users may “be sad to see a beautiful thing go.”

There are few places where one can learn “service design”. The ipod was built around the iTunes music service (which was launched before the first ipod was ever sold).

IDEO is about two things: people and prototypes. Innovation is driven by people and prototypes. Let the needs of people drive the design of products. Don’t be afraid to throw out designs.

IDEO’s initial team consisted of engineers interested in art from the USA and Interaction Designers from Europe. IDEO looks for people with diverse backgrounds and is currently looking to hire sixteen Interaction Designers. Yves’ fuseproject team has people from twelve different countries that share design as a “second language” and a vocabulary of what is good, what needs work, and what simply doesn’t suffice.