Innovation has been on our minds lately. In all sorts of ways, we are intrigued, challenged, and motivated by those who are able to develop new ways to do, build, interact, see the world with different eyes. In that spirit, here are some recent stories that have made us pause, think, talk, and discover.

Can you design innovation?

Picture a gleaming building wrapped around an expansive tree-filled courtyard. All the walls are glass so you can see what's happening in the ground-level retail and open-plan offices on the upper floors. In lieu of cramped hallways there are wide-open walkways and a snaking ramp that ascends to a rooftop lawn. Apartments are close by and there's a constant hum of activity and interaction throughout. This is the image of a forthcoming innovation district in Miami, Florida. In business, everyone is racing to develop the next big thing. Similarly, cities and developers are capitalizing on this by building entire neighborhoods to foster innovation. But one question lies at the heart of the trend: Can innovation really be designed?...  Continue reading at Fast Co.Design

A little empathy goes a long way: The social intelligence workout for leaders

This guide aims to present you with an easy way to understand and apply empathy better. It will hopefully be useful to everyone, and is written especially for leaders. We start with an overview of emotional and social intelligence, and end with an audiobook workout routine. Much has been written about emotional and social intelligence. As the phrases become increasingly popular, they are often used interchangeably. Let’s start by establishing the distinction. Emotional intelligence is the ability to accurately observe one’s emotions and the emotions of others, and social intelligence is the ability to apply these observations to navigate complex social situations... Continue reading at Medium

Can appliances be designed to make you happy?

What if your household appliances could make you a happier, saner person? That's the idea behind recent RCA grad Ted Wiles' final project, Involuntary Pleasures, which includes a toaster, alarm clock, mirror, and telephone that are designed to nudge the user into performing physical actions that invoke feelings of happiness and delight... Continue reading on Fast Co.Design

The 7 rules of caring for junior UX designers

From start-ups to big business to agencies, everyone has had their own unique pleasures and pitfalls when it comes to handling the more junior members on the UX team. A stark memory I have as a junior experience designer (JUXD) at a London-based digital agency was being treated like I had absolutely nothing of value to contribute. One definite low was being asked to add a box to a wireframe—my only job all week! That particular stint sent my confidence to rock bottom and it took me a long time to build back up again in a more supportive environment. Unfortunately, it seems that it’s a consistent truth that there are many lead and senior UX designers who have no idea how to care for their junior designers, as well as many JUXD’s who feel unfulfilled and stifled in their current role...  Watch it on UX Magazine

Brands think they provide great customer experience, consumers disagree

When competitors with better prices are just a click away, customer experience (CX) is a key differentiator for brands. Brands appreciate the need for great CX but, according to a new report by Econsultancy, the gap between this and the customer view is considerable. The Consumer Conversation report, produced by Econsultancy in partnership with IBM, highlights the gap between marketers' intentions and their customers' satisfaction. Here are a few highlights from the report...  Continue reading at Econsultancy

3 ways users make decisions—subconsciously

We don’t always have the mental bandwidth to weigh every possible outcome of our decisions or collect every piece of information available. Luckily, our brains have a fantastic way of processing data in less-than-optimal conditions: heuristics. Heuristics are rules we subconsciously use to form judgments and make decisions. These mental shortcuts often involve focusing on 1 piece of a problem while ignoring others, usually due to the problem’s complexity. In the absence of hard data, we also make design decisions this way—to help users with exactly these issues—creating the easiest, simplest flow through the product based on our assumptions about our target users’ behavior...  Continue reading on In Blog

Walt Disney: The world’s first UX designer

I'm a huge fan of the Walt Disney park experience, and my family has traveled to Walt Disney World and Disneyland multiple times. The service we’ve received has always been exceptional, and I return from every visit with at least one extra-special memory. The reason the Disney experience is so consistently good is a focus on quality, detail, and the customer. For the Walt Disney Company, that focus came from the man whose name is above the door. Walt Disney was an innovator, a creative force, and a brilliant businessman. But even more than that, I consider Walt Disney the first user experience designer, for reasons I will explain...  Continue reading at UX Magazine