D A Y # 12

CONCLUDING REFLECTION: Post-Project Thoughts

Day #12 marks the end of the subject ‘Business Innovation’. Despite only spanning over the course of 2 1/2 weeks, I have found the subject quite interesting and insightful.

Reflecting back upon my initial expectations of the subject on DAY #1, I wrote that the subject would “explore the fields of design management, management theory, innovation and leadership to give students contexts for designing entrepreneurially”.

Task 1, 2 and 3 definitely covered all these aspects as mentioned in the subject outline as was expected. However, what I did not expect was the way in which we were encouraged to look at ‘future worlds’ and ‘future markets’. I had no idea that predicting the future was so important to business entrepreneurs, and that there are a countless number of websites, organisations and blogs which talk about future trends and technologies.

Initially, I found it difficult to grasp the concept of ‘future worlds’. I found Task 2 a really valuable exercise as it helped to clarify exactly what we were expected to do for the subject.The ‘futures matrix’ demonstrated the wide range of different future scenarios, formulated through different ‘drivers of change’. From Task 2, we were then able to work on Task 3. I am proud of our overall design pitch and feel that it could in fact be a potentially successful product for the future.

In my first blog entry I wrote that “I hope to gain a new outlook on design and widen my potential to become an innovator for the future”. I’m not sure how successful an innovator I will be, but I have definitely gained a new outlook on design practices, and gained valuable insight on how to create not just for the present, but into the future.

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D A Y # 11

JEHS – ‘OUR SERVICE’

For Task 3, our group has developed a service for the future world of 2030 based on our predicted future scenario. As mentioned in DAY#9, we believe that our target market in 20 years time will be businesses with an increased interest in personal well-being. We have identified the client as companies who want to minimise work-related stress and increase the well-being of their employee’s, and therefore raise the morale and productivity of the company.

Reducing work-related stress increases productivity

“What our service aims to do is to provide an outlet or escape from the stress of the daily grind. Working full time, up to 60 hours or more per week, can be a demanding task, placing pressure on an employee’s physical, mental and psychological health. JEHS has developed a unique service to cater for the well-being of all employees. It is not only a service, but a tool to maintain positive attitudes in the workplace and to raise productivity.

JEHS will set up ‘creative spaces’ within your company, providing hobby hubs, relaxation areas and interactive rooms designed to stimulate one’s creative juices, and release the inner child. These ‘creative spaces’ place an emphasis on playfulness, creativity and freedom of expression,   featuring a wide range of different materials, equipment and furniture.

‘Creative spaces’ may include woodwork stations, games and puzzle rooms, art studios,  library lounges, and fitness and relaxation areas. If required, a mentor or teacher will be available to work with the employees in order to gain full advantage of the areas.

‘Creative Spaces’ may include activities such as:

  • cooking
  • games/puzzles – chess, checkers, bingo, trivia
  • woodwork
  • art/craft – paint, draw, clay, pottery, candle making
  • sewing/knitting/crochet/cross-stitch
  • karaoke
  • origami
  • photography
  • exercise
  • relaxation
  • music
  • reading
  • drama

These ‘creative spaces’ are low-cost to set up, and inexpensive to maintain – JEHS handpicks the most basic items to create incredibly powerful, rewarding and beneficial programs. Investing in a ‘creative space’ will reap long-term benefits, raising the overall morale and productivity of the company.

Companies will be able to allow unlimited access and/or allocate certain time slots in the week to allow their employees to utilise these ‘creative spaces’. It will not only create a dynamic break in the perpetual routine of work, but will give your business a competitive edge.

We believe that each company is unique with varied ways of operating, a diverse mix of people and different types of demands. Therefore, a range of activities will be custom picked for the particular needs of your company in order to suit the employees perfectly.

We are constantly building upon our list of activities to fill these ‘creative spaces’ and are open to exploring all things creative, enjoyable and that will make a positive impact on the employee and the company’s well-being. In a world where financial gain is often placed at the forefront, we at JEHS believe in building a healthier and more optimistic workplace environment for the future.”

D A Y # 10

TASK 2: FUTURES MATRIX

For Task 2 we had to select two drivers of change and present 4 extreme scenarios in a ‘futures matrix’.

Driver of change #1: mass-production of goods & industrialisation vs. smaller businesses, local & markets

Driver of change #2:
increase in self-awareness & interest in well-being vs. no interest in well-being, anaesthetised

20110629-113410.jpg

Group Five's 'Futures Matrix'

‘WORLD OF ZERO CONSCIOUSNESS’

In quadrant #1 the world is an extreme place to live in, with an increase in the mass-production of goods, and a disinterested, unhealthy and anaesthetised population. The world is very much a dystopia reminiscent of Blade Runner’s 2019 Los Angeles – bleak, miserable and functioning like a repetitive monotonous machine.

Blade Runner's dystopian Los Angeles - Ridley Scott, 1982

There is an ongoing and continuous demand for goods with everything operating 24/7, yet there is no ethical or moral conscience. High density living, pollution, the depletion of natural resources, mental illness, depression, robotic, mindlessness, repetitive – the people of this world work for mere survival and do not feel any desire to fulfil their inner mental, spiritual, psychological or physical needs.

Johnny lives in a tightly packed 50 storey apartment block, built only 3 metres apart from neighbouring blocks, creating a haunting replication of the now demolished Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. His apartment is comprised of one room of 12 square metres, the ceiling low enough to brush the top of his head and the concrete walls cold, dank and heavy. His singular window makes the space dim-lit, forcing Johnny to rely on artificial light perpetually and blurring the definition between night and day.

Johnny's world bears a haunting resemblance to the demolished Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong

His personal possessions are little to none – a bed which folds out from the walls, a kitchenette, a heater/air conditioner, a desk, a chair and a computer. Toilets and showers are located on every second floor and despite being communal, Johnny has never bumped into any other tenants during one of his rare trips to the bathroom. His kitchenette is most obviously the cleanest part of his apartment, appearing almost unused due to the quick, inexpensive and convenient delivery food services. If it were up to him, Johnny would not have a kitchenette if it did not come built in with the apartment – it was one of those mass-produced products, making each apartment in his block identical to the next.

Johnny’s skin is a pale colour, having not found the need nor the desire to venture outdoors (even if so, the tightly-packed, high density buildings would have hidden the sun). Besides, he needed to remain at his computer or his boss, whom he has never met nor spoken to, would declare him unreliable, inefficient and therefore redundant.

His chair is heavily worn down, the cushioning barely identifiable underneath the pressure of Johnny’s 130kg body. He can no longer recognise his family despite the potential for interconnectedness in his highly technological world. He thinks of nothing other than completing the ongoing list of tasks sent to him and updated every half an hour. Johnny’s job is to complete a certain task somewhere in the middle of the production process, to be passed on to another, and then to someone else across the globe, in an endless chain of mass-produced goods.

He claims to have seen and travelled the world, yet does not realise that viewing these things virtually through the computer screen is not what we of the past would consider as ‘experiencing’. His body is under intense physical, mental and psychological strain and is, unknown to Johnny, a ticking time-bomb. Like many others, Johnny is not expected to live past 35 years of age, yet he does not find this statistic questionable.

When Johnny dies suddenly at 29, the computer immediately detects his absence and sends corpse collectors to his apartment. Five men are needed to carry his body away to the city’s cremating area. Johnny’s apartment is declared ‘for lease’ and is occupied by another man named Johnny 2.5 hours later.

D A Y # 9

IDENTIFYING FUTURE MARKETS

In Australia, the total cost of workers compensation claims for stress-related conditions is estimated at over $200 million every year. Some of the many causes of work-related stress include long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity, and conflicts with co-workers or bosses. Symptoms include a drop in work performance, depression, anxiety and sleeping difficulties. It is important for employers to recognise work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue. A company can and should take steps to ensure that employees are not subjected to unnecessary stress.
– Better Health Channel 

The two drivers of change which my group has decided to work on is an increase/decrease in industrialisation, and a lack of/interest in personal well-being.

We predict that the most likely future scenario would be a world where there is a huge increase in the mass production of goods (although not to the extent where ALL small businesses are wiped out), and a population who is increasingly aware and taking interest in their personal well-being.

In 2011, we all already living in a highly technological world where most people are connected anytime, anywhere, all the time. Throughout the duration of this subject I have realised how much I actually rely on my iPhone. It allows me to stay connected through calling and texting, tells me the time, rings my alarm, allows me to check my email, update my facebook, take photos, download apps, play games and music.. and everything is constantly updating and improving.

The most surprising aspect of the iPhone or other smart phones, which I have begun to notice over the past year, is the way in which our generation is able to instantaneously retrieve information at the touch of the screen. Don’t know the answer to a quiz question? Want to find out the number of your favourite restaurant? Want to research design blogs?

Google it.

Our generation has become so reliant on technology and so consumed by globalisation, that it has become a natural part of our daily lives. So much in fact, that the phrase ‘Google it’ has developed to mean in short form ‘just search it up on the internet’. Answers within less than a minute’s reach, we are able to obtain masses of information in a way never possible before.

So what is this saying about our world today and into the future?

I believe that in 20 years time, this 24/7 connectivity will become much more efficient, but also much more relied on. People will become consumed by the advances in technology, by industrialisation and financial gain. No doubt, stress levels will rise, and it has been proven that this will lead to an increase in mental health problems, lowered self-esteem and lowered quality of life.

Our group aims to reach this 2030 market as it displays huge world-wide potential.

D A Y # 8

WHAT WOULD THE WORLD LOOK LIKE IN 2030?

Find immediate influences that will impact the world 20 years from now.

Identify solid ideas which are emerging now,and will impact us into the future.

You need to be the designer to satisfy that problem area.

Identify drivers of change that have never really been considered before to find a niche.

What kind of design firm are we going to be to target a certain customer base? It needs to be sit within a market which people will appreciate it. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Future Drivers of Change

– focus on humans rather than machinery – designing for machines to fit humans
– social – changing attitudes and ideas of different generations, e.g. baby boomers
– we are now more likely to change jobs/career paths multiple times compared to the generation before us who prioritised money and job security over personal desires, sticking with one occupation for most of their lives
– increase in technology and away from prints
– changes in the way we communicate, learn, teach
– readers instead of textbooks – changes what we carry around, changes the print industry, reduced wastage and logging
– technology will be more intuitive – responding to natural human actions
– we put more value on achieving personal goals rather than monetry – wanting to fix something or create something innovative rather than soley making money
– technology will be quicker, faster, more productive to enhance, improve and make our lives easier
– icloud – different ways of storing data

Why do people design things? e.g. flat pack items

If they are designing simply for aesthetics, the design will not last.

If they are designing for a purpose or a cause which impacts us now and into the future, e.g. urban density, pollution, environmental reasons, it will have longevity and may impact for the next 20 years.

Think about the practical aspects of setting up a company. What do you need to consider when setting up a business? What are the things that may go wrong? How do businesses actually run?

– a business plan – financial, marketing, etc.
– private or public sector?
– money
– where would you operate from? office or home?
– logo
– what kind of clients? in person or online?

D A Y # 7

RANDOMWIRE
Exploring Asian Culture, Travel & Technology

The Evolution of Interaction
David, 12 Nov 2010

Researching and exploring different sources for this project has widened my eyes to the world of technology. Randomwire’s article ‘The Evolution of Interaction’ comments on contemporary and classic devices, bringing up a very interesting point which had never occurred to me before.

“…technology of the past was defined by physical switches and buttons which each served a single function but today’s devices are mere windows into the software which ties all their component’s together”.

I was completely awestruck by this observation. I found it interesting how modern devices, such as the iPad, are almost like mere ‘containers’ – it is their operating system which is the main key to its functionality. Unlike an old school radio which serves one purpose at the touch of physical buttons and knobs, modern gadgets are somewhat separate to their operating systems (e.g. Android OS, iOs, Microsoft Windows) and can be continually updated to evolve and improve over time.

 “…hardware is no longer what defines an object in much the same way that a person’s body is not what makes us who we are”

Hardware as a vase into which functionality is poured

I have been brought up in a time where technology has advanced incredibly fast yet without a second thought did I really think about how my interaction with these objects were changing dramatically. From the walkman I used to blast tunes from back in 2000, to my iPhone which allows me to play music, call, surf the internet, check my emails… and a whole list of other endless applications. I remember being amazed at the development of the touch screen, yet now it is such a large part of my life that I no longer give it a second thought. I have adapted to these new technologies so swiftly and smoothly that using a mobile without a touch screen feels foreign and uncomfortable.

The future world
will be a place full of these ‘containers’, completely separate from their operating systems. Maybe these gadgets will not simply be computers or mobile phones, but we will have devices for all aspects of life including our wardrobes, kitchen appliances, shopping and monetary systems. Perhaps this will evolve to the extent where we have an endless number of gadgets, each unidentifiable from the next – we will not be able to know what the object’s function is simply by looking at it, but we will know how to use it instinctively.

DAY # 6

DESIGN INTELLIGENCE

The Softer Side of Technology
Scott Simpson, 3 May 2011

Technology places a premium on leadership and collaboration, demanding that everyone communicate in ways they never did before.

It has become quite clear to me that technology is getting better, faster and more efficient as time goes by. There’s no doubt that in 20 years we’ll be doing thing that we may be able to predict now, and there will be breakthroughs which are perhaps impossible to comprehend at this present moment.

The article ‘The Softer Side of Technology’ talks about the possibilities for advancement and innovation of technology and how this will impact architecture, building and construction. It is incredible to think how much changing technologies really do impact every aspect of the design process, from initial design development, to leadership, team and client relationships and during the actual construction phase.

I found it interesting that, ‘the power of technology lies not in the equipment itself, which is inert and useless without a user, but in how it affects human behaviour’. The whole design process is transformed from a small team working in the same vicinity, to team members situated at all different parts of the world. Communication technologies are so advanced that we are finding this an increasingly convenient and successful way to outsource. Like Ridley’s article in Designophy, companies are discovering that international collaboration and the exchange of ideas are the drivers for innovation and creative design. The thinking process also changes, replacing ‘traditional silo thinking with lateral thinking, linking together… special expertise and diverse points of view’.

Simpson comments on the way technology will move so fast, that we will soon be unable to keep up with it. Will information still be accessible in future years, or will everything become obsolete? We need to be able to shift our ways of organising, doing and thinking in order to accommodate and embrace such changes and utilise technology to its full potential.

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