During the COVID19 crisis, digital networks have played a critical part in keep humanity connected and informed. The adoption of networked experiences has scaled exponentially, seemingly overnight. In most cases, these designed experiences were crafted for very different contexts than what they are being used for. In our new, digitally connected yet physically isolated future, we will need new design mindsets and methods to account for hyper-connectivity, data-enriched experiences, and participation by non-human actors in the network.
Patrick Newbery joins me on this episode of the Cohere podcast to discuss the history of experience design, the opportunities for a more holistic method of design, and what the near-term future of our designed world might look like. Patrick is an expert on design methodologies and implementation, the Co-Founder of Method, and the author of the book “Experience Design: A Framework for Integrating Brand, Experience, and Value“.
Key quotes from the episode:
Patrick on Design Education
“I think in design, a lot of times the education focuses more on what I call kind of the formal aspects of design. So it is more of the components and the aesthetics and the way in which design can communicate and evoke a kind of emotion and response. One of the things that I read early on in my research into what design was about was the history of the Bauhaus. (I) was really struck by two things: number one, the general sense of removing the artifice and the subjectivity of design as a goal of the movement; the other was thinking about people like Jan Tschichold and the approach to book design which was really predicated on both economic efficiency as well as aesthetic value
Patrick on Design Perspectives
“As I practice today, I look at design from three different different perspectives:
1. Pragmatic Design: What are the requirements of kind of the product or the service definition? What are the, what are the goals that the designer is being asked to solve for? What are the kinds of formal aspects of design that you play with? What is the strategy around how to do this efficiently?
2. System / Reference Design: Design for the business has to address a lot of things that may not be product or services. Any single product or service is probably part of an overall ecosystem of value that is being delivered to the customer. So you take a different view on the stages of relationships, the touchpoints that are used, how they cohere together, where those flexibility needed in thinking about how you’re really trying to help design.
3. Strategic Design: Which is really looking at what is changing for a business. Why will tomorrow be different? How do, trends in emerging technology and trends in economics or social-cultural context.
Change the kinds of products and services or even business models that the business will need to have in the future.”
Patrick on the Future of Design
“I think we should realize that everything that we’re doing right now and everything that we’re thinking about right now is really very early-stage and naive in terms of thinking about what is possible with designing technology. There’s been so much change in the past two decades that it’s really difficult to kind of keep in mind that there’s not enough history yet for us to understand what really are best practices and what makes the most sense in terms of design in business, and that as we look at the arc of technology things are going to continue to change and whatever we think now next decade, we’re going to look back and say, “Oh, that was a little naive. We didn’t anticipate this coming.” What excites me about things in general though is I think the ability for us to actually begin to think more in terms of data and information, because I think data and information are key to the design process. If we begin to think “where can we create value or, better resiliency, better ability to have things be regenerative in terms of value creation, specifically around things like climate change or, or health care?” To date, we’ve largely looked at a lot of these solutions or approach these problems from an economic perspective as opposed to a systems perspective.”
Patrick’s LinkedIn Profile
Graphical Thinking Tools: Time for Design
Graphical Thinking Tools: Boxing Day
Graphical Thinking Tools: You’re Out of Line!
Graphical Thinking Tools: A Path is not a Map is not the Territory
Experience Design: A Framework for Integrating Brand, Experience, and Value
Bastian Unterberg is the founder and CEO of Jovoto, a Berlin-based platform that enables global brands and enterprise businesses to solve design and innovation challenges – ranging from new product design to sustainable architecture – with a community of over 60,000 creative professionals. In 2013, Wiley published Bastian’s book, “Crowdstorm – The Future of Innovation, Ideas and Problem Solving”. Crowdstorm delves deep into the methodology Jovoto uses, and is an insightful read for anyone working with creative communities and crowdsourcing initiatives.
I met Bastian at Crowdsourcing Week 2015 in Brussels and was impressed with Jovoto on multiple fronts: the quality of brands that were sponsoring projects (Starbucks, Adidas, Coke), the commitment by Jovoto to engage and compensate their community, and the way that Jovoto encourages the community of creatives to lead crowdstorm projects – including solution selection and distribution of award funds.
This interview is the culmination of ongoing conversations I’ve had with Bastian since meeting him last fall in Brussels.
Q: What motivated you to start jovoto?
BU: “Towards the end of my studies at the University of Arts in Berlin I was asking myself “What’s next, how do I want to work?” Looking at various verticals across creative industries, I realized that most work environments available to me did not match my DNA and understanding about how I want to work. So much amazing talent leaves university to face a world that simply does not nurture them or help them reach their full creative potential.
Hierarchy, politics, poor feedback culture – these are some of the factors in traditional creative work environments that suppress rather than nurture creativity. And this is something that I wanted to change for myself, for my graduating classmates, and for others around the world who were looking to break free from the traditional agency model.”
Q: The concept of community is core to jovoto’s business. Can you talk about the type of people who make up the community and what motivates them to participate?
BU: “We know that by embracing the concept of community, the majority of our creatives prefer to work on jovoto rather than elsewhere. To my knowledge, there are no other open innovation platforms that listens, supports, and nurtures their community to the extent that we do.
The jovoto community consists of creatives from all over the world who value their freedom to work from wherever they are, whenever they want and with whom they find interesting. They are highly independent and rely on feedback to develop and improve. They are open to collaboration and are not afraid of working with others when they see they lack certain skills to make their ideas as good as possible. They don’t rely on one skill but are rather interdisciplinary and great problem solvers in general.
What motivates them? Our community is motivated to participate on jovoto by many factors, but what might come surprising to many, is that earning money isn’t at the top of the list for most of them. For some it is the chance to work with great global brands on interesting tasks, for others it is the learning they get through collaboration and feedback, and then of course there are always those motivated by prize money.”
Q: There is an unusually high level of collaboration amongst community members. How did you go about building a strong community culture that values quality and contribution?
BU: “Open innovation naturally attracts a certain type of creative who are more likely to engage in collaboration in a different way. To nurture this even more, we reward certain behaviours that creates the culture which we want. Creatives who collaborate with and give great feedback to others, have opportunities to win special awards. We also have a team of creative guides who know the client and the community who also give feedback on ideas, as well as support and encourage the creatives. All of this contributes to the unique and supportive culture within our community.”
Q: Why is social impact important to you? Can you describe some of the global projects jovoto has hosted that have made a positive impact in the world?
BU: “One of the things you can observe on jovoto, is how creativity and mass-collaboration is an powerful tool to affect positive change.
I’m pretty proud of our track record in hosting important projects that will help make the world a better place. From the $300 House challenge, crowdstorming low-cost irrigation solutions for farmers in India, and the universal logo for human rights.
Last year, our most successful campaign was with Greenpeace, to put come up with campaign material to help put pressure on McDonald’s to stop their use of GM feed in poultry. The campaign was a success; McDonald’s in Germany announced in 2015 that they would stop using GM!
Corruption is another issue on the top of everyone’s list right now with the recent news about the Panama Papers. One of the ways we are engaging in the global fight to end corruption is by collaborating with Transparency International, and supporting the work that they do by helping to spread the word against grand corruption.
One of the reasons crowdstorming works in all of these cases, is that not only do projects promoting positive-impact projects tend to have a high engagement rate on the jovoto platform, but creatives participating also tend to spread the word off the platform, gaining even more visibility for important projects. It is a win-win-win situation for everyone. The creatives participating who can contribute their time and creativity to important projects, the organizations we work with who get great ideas, and for social and environmental impact.”
Q: You’ve said that you want to grow jovoto to the point that creatives could actually make a living solely from the platform. How close are you to achieving this vision and what will it take?
BU: “We aren’t far off, actually. Just this month, our top-earner took home €11,000 EUR (over $12,000 USD).
As more and more young people are looking to alternative forms of work, and more and more global business are looking to the future and to open innovation, the chances happening are already helping establish this new reality.
For jovoto, it is about supporting the best talent working on our platform, to reach new levels of greatness. We give creatives the chance to grow and learn and reward outstanding creative work. If you’re really good on jovoto, you can climb the creative ladder, with more invites to even more projects, some with guaranteed payment for participation. The more great clients we have, the more opportunities we can provide to creatives, and the securities we can offer scale.”
Q: What is your advice for those seeking to pursue a path of self employment through platforms like jovoto?
BU: “The first step is simply to participate! Submit ideas, give others feedback, and find other creatives to collaborate with.
The creatives that succeed on jovoto are usually creatives that give and listen to feedback, are genuinely helpful and supportive and engage with others. It’s an open innovation process so the more open you are, the more successful you are.”
Jovoto is a client of Structure3C.