Bask in this glory: A friend and colleague of mine at ID just sent me the NY Times’s most popular article for today, May 29, 2007, aptly titled:
It references the Cooper Hewitt (which I visited earlier this year), Martin Fischer’s Kickstart, and has a small gallery that shows the LifeStraw, a cooling-evaporation pot, a water roller, and the treadle pump. I love that these exciting innovations is becoming mainstream!
Here’s a good fact that Dr. Paul Polak from IDE mentions
“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”
—Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises
Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago announced that he wanted to make Chicago the Greenest city ever. It would appear that lately, steps have been taken to actually make this a possibility. For instance, recently our street (and many other streets in our neighborhood of Bucktown have been getting these beautiful blue recycling bins.
Yes, that’s right. Say goodbye to those blue bags at Whole Foods that you always felt a little nervous asking about, because they weren’t brown paper (and thus not as easily recyclable).
Now, it’s so easy to recycle. FINALLY, maybe I can get my roommate and friend of 8 years, who is obsessed with all things ocean related (reef diving, surfing, etc) to start sorting out his aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and newspapers that he rarely reads and throw them into the recycling bins.
I even sent him this picture of a turtle to guilt him, from this link that was dugg yesterday:
I’ll let you know if it worked.
Well, at long last, restaurants have decided to do the right thing. Start offering smaller portions, for a lower price. I really distaste eating out sometimes, when eateries have a tendency to give me mammoth sized entrees, frown at me when I want to share it with someone, and charge me a small fortune on top of everything.
In the linked article, it mentions that consumer choice increases consumption and brand spending. So, instead of ordering one large entree, does TGI Fridays expect that I order 2 small ones? I also find it fascinating that they are calling the portions “right size”– instead of healthy. Doesn’t this imply that the previous gargantuan entrees are absolutely the wrong size — and thus capable of being split with other diners at no penalty to the consumer? If the premise of the restaurant’s decision is that consumer choice expands, and increases brand loyalty, I contend that training is required, especially at these chain-establishments to welcome and embrace diners who, instead of ordering small portions, order large portions and split them.
I prefer not to eat at chains, but it is nice to know that they are striving for healthier portions. If only they had more transparency in the ingredients and methods of preparation I might be cajoled into visiting a (in the words of a friend) “TGI McChillibees”.
I muse at this paragraph in particular:
As colorful, ever-so-tempting photographs of the new “right portion, right price” menu options flash on the screen, the headline over the entrees serves up a particularly calorie-laden promise: “Smaller Portions Allow More Room for Dessert.“
So, I’ve started making my list of summertime goals and #3 on the list is get back to updating my blog on a regular basis.
I thought I’d have more time, since school is over, but that time is rapidly becoming filled with work. This summer, I am working on a research project here in Chicago for the school. The research being done is for a large oil and gas client looking for ways to bring more sustainable forms of energy to the Chinese household.
I think I told most people that I was going to DC to work for the World Resources Institute, so this may come as some surprise to some of you. Though I was excited about both offers, the chance to work with Chinese professors/graduate students on interesting emerging market sustainability problems won out.
Starting in June, I will be going to Shanghai for a month– right now I’m a little worried about finding vegetarian food there. Soon I imagine I will go to Costco and stock up on vast quantities of protein bars and cereal.
Zaijian for now.
Wow. It’s almost 2am, the night before a huge Strategy Conference that we (Institute of Design) are hosting at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I really should be sleeping right now, I know, but there is so much to be done and besides, I am excited to listen to the interesting speakers the next two days. It’s obviously too late to sign up now, but worry not. There are a number of ways you can find out what’s going on if you miss it.
There’s a conference blog, that will be moderated by John Maeda and Becky Bermont from the Media Lab @ MIT, located here.
If you go here, the speakers presentations will be uploaded and available for viewing after the conference.
I suppose I should go to bed now, so I can be in condition to blog about the interesting tidbits from this year’s conference. Hope you can join in on the fun.
This past weekend, we had another design charette for Wonjoon Chung, a graduating PhD student at the Institute of Design who is leaving Chicago to teach in Canada.
It was similar to the first charette (We were again designing an object for the classroom, a desk). There are a multitude of problems with the desks that we currently have– mostly they are unstable and tend to fall. Not exactly designed for laptops, either.
This charette was different because people who participated in it had varying years of experience. We had MDes students, Foundation, and MDMs in it. This posed some challenges that were not apparent before when we had a charette with only Foundies, but the challenges were good and I walked away with specific knowledge about how to “level” the playing field when you have a lot of variation in the groups. The two ways to overcome the problem, in my mind, is to appoint specialists on each group… Or have a sketching/foamcore modeling session prior for 30 minutes to teach everyone how to use the materials given to them. Or… just somehow prime people into pulling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty. There exists a high cognitive barrier that prevents someone from bridging the gap between thinking about the problem and creating something to manifest that thinking— Charettes need to be billed as an enabler to reduce this barrier for them to work.
I’d be interested in hearing thoughts from anyone else who was in the charette or see the fruits of the research Wonjoon is doing. Oh that brings up another one. I wonder how many people act differently based on the fact that a video camera is pointed at them and a microphone is recording their conversations. (I can say that I don’t think my group really changed our behaviors or thought patterns, but I can’t speak for everyone).