Innovation

Notes from Future: When Nobody Dies

(“P” and “N” are kind of long-distance friends residing in two time zones 30 years apart. “P” stays at year 2050 and “N” at 2018. These are few of the many notes '“P” wrote to ‘N”: )

Warning - PURE FICTION 

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Inspired from the book "Homo Deus" by Yuval Noah Harari

IIn the past, war used to be a big killer but in last few decades there is no big war. The chance of a real war is only getting slimmer as time passes. In the past, hunger used to be a cause of death. Today we already have enough food for all and in future there will not be any death due to famine. In the past, disease was a big cause of death. Today we already have knowhow and mechanism to control any deadly outbreak. Disease is no more a cause of large-scale death.  

In future, we will live a very long life, may be we will have no compulsion to die.


Hey N,

You seem to be curious about how life seems at 2050. I will try and describe some of the things happening around here. Future is nothing like you see in Sci-Fi films but there is a rapid change happening. Let me try and describe few of the interesting things, which are noticeable. 

Today let me tell you few examples of things happening because human beings are almost not dying anymore.  At 2050 we can extend our old bodies to the maximum. Most people these days live beyond 100 years. There are no diseases or other external factors, which endanger health. Our body does become old and frail but there is no suffering due to sickness. 

Scientists are now doing research for keeping the body young at very old age. In few years, we will see our mind maturing with time, but the body remaining at 20 years only. 

Now let me quickly tell you some of the interesting things, which I see around myself. 

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There are lots of Exoskeleton shops in the city these days.  There is even one at Bavdhan. This Exoskeleton centre make interesting attachable smart mechanisms which are attached to the hands and legs. They help frail bodies to increase strength of their limbs for heavy lifting and speed walking for long distance.  These are individually customizable depending upon the specific weakness. It is a very helpful service, which keeps elderly people active so that they are able to take care of themselves quite well.  Most of the elderly are now working and have very active life.  These Exoskeleton parts come with various colours and styles. They are now considered fashion accessories. Even young people are using them, so that they can enhance their physical abilities considerably. 

Next, let me tell you about Gene Therapy Clinics.  

Most of the older hospitals have transformed into these clinics. They ensure long-term wellness and provide whatever medical help we need.  Treatments these days are focused on gene issues.

Looking for Right companion for elderly has become a big business. Dating, live-in, changing partners is a need these days.  People experiment living in various kind of relationships, as time is not a constraint any more. Relationships like commune, robo-companion, contract relationship are norms these days. Marriage is a forgotten practice now. 

Now I need to go and change my body Exoskeleton. It needs more strength to keep up with my adventures world-tour journey I am planning. 

With love 

P

Ideation!

Ideation

Life & work is full of challenges. How do we creatively tackle everyday challenges? One Monday Morning1, two young designers at Elephant2 share ideation as a tool to solve challenges.

I haven’t failed. I have found 10,000 ways that won’t work
— Thomas Edison
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Innovators are supposed to think new. What do accountants do when they are faced with challenges?  Or, for that matter project managers or software coders? Is it possible to institutionalise creative thinking?

Tanmaya Rao & Shruti Jain, Designers at Elephant, conducted a workshop session that introduced ideation not just as a process but rather a tool to creatively look at problems. Given a set of constrains, individuals & teams were able to conjure solutions to unfamiliar challenges & constraints.

There were 3 main take-away from the Monday workshop;

#1

Working as co creative teams is an effective way to look at cracking a problem.

#2

Ideation cannot be a random process of simply starting to think at a given moment. It helps teams to arm themselves with a “Creative thinking technique” like SCAMPER6.

Such tools help look at challenges with a changing perspective. As with Thomas Edison, a technique can also help a team cover all angles and possible eliminate most ideas that don’t work. 

#3

Participating teams went beyond using the tools to note down ideas, choose a few promising ones, go beyond to execute a couple of ideas and most important, share.

“Ideation without execution is delusion”, say’s, Robin Sharma. When an idea is executed, it gets tested and there is feedback. It is feedback and subsequent evolution or rejection of ideas that leads a team on to a path of problem solving.

It may help to institutionalize the act of ideation first as a mile stone is the process of looking at challenges (just like say, Root Cause Analysis8 is one such milestone when looking at challenges). Teams must realize that an idea alone is not good enough and a whole lot more thinking, detailing, execution, testing is required before a problem gets creatively solved. Theodore Levitt, American economist & Professor at HBS9 had famously remarked, “ Ideation is not a synonym for innovation, conformity is not its simple antonym and innovation is not an automatic consequence of creative thinking.”, indicating that creative ideation alone is not sufficient to solve problems.

Having said this, the workshop did provide non-design & design teams with a mind tool & technique to keep handy when facing a challenge.

Notes

  1. Monday Morning Meeting, is a weekly feature at 10:00 am where the entire Elephant team gets on to a share & learn platform.
  2. Elephant, is India’s independently leading Design Consulting organization www.elephantdesign.com .
  3. Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931, was an American inventor & businessman.
  4. Tanmaya Rao, is an Environment Designer working at Elephant.
  5. Shruti Jain, is an Environment Designer working at Elephant.
  6. SCAMPER, is an acronym for 7 ideation & thinking techniques, (S) substitute, (C) combine, (A) adapt, (M) modify, (P) put to another use, (E) eliminate and (R) reverse, credited to Bob Eberle.
  7. Robin Sharma, is a Canadian writer and leadership speaker, best known for his The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari series.
  8. Root Cause Analysis, (RCA) is a method of problem solving used for identifying the root causes of faults or problems.
  9. HBS, is Harvard Business School.

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Start Up & Design Thinking

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Select START UP teams of The Intel & DST – Innovate for Digital India Challenge 2.0 underwent #designthinking workshop Elephant Design Learning Centre yesterday. 

As a mentor adviser Ashish Deshpande spoke to top teams at #T_Hub earlier this month. 

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Lean Check - Elephant & a Start up

Hospital-acquired infections result in over 100,000 patient deaths every year* LeanCheck is India’s first system with a mission to reduce hospital-acquired infections significantly through a holistic approach. 

Elephant is happy to support this start up. 

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Need to gain disruptive insights

Changing consumer standpoint: Need to gain disruptive insights

Design research is gaining momentum for establishing good human factors. What are the trends that will impact the design research, how does new technology play a role in this new evolution and how does one reach out to the concerns of the new age end user.

By KRANTI VANJARI

‘Design Research’ is one kind of proficiency that uses an eclectic approach to understand deeper consumer needs. Empathy helps designers create products or services, which are best suitable for people needs.  It would be half a truth, if we consider Design Research as a tool used only by Designers. Consumer centric businesses also have the requirement to learn their user needs, which ultimately leads to a greater business opportunity.

There is a noticeable trend that more and more corporate brands are adopting Design is a tool to serve various business requirements whether it is about developing a new product or entering into a new consumer segment. This has also brought in more challenging opportunities to both designers & design researchers to create & refine methods to dig deeper and extract useful insights.

Buying is not just about buying

Working on a product, designers were looking out for a key question. Why does this consumer buy that product? A standard interview approach was not helping. We stepped back and realized that today buying is not about buying for a need, it is also about getting the best deal. Consumers are aware of the plethora of options available today. This is playing on their mind all the time.  We applied an interactive play tool for our research, which helped users to configure features that mattered the most, were willing to pay, why and what they valued as the best deal.

It is vital to make subjects think and reflect on their needs, a little play, story, a scene can open out people to a level of preparing prototype scenarios wherein consumers can make real time buying decisions based on their wishes.

Online vs. Offline

If we ask a present day consumer, how do they buy, they talk about online purchases, price & features comparison. People rate the best deal for them, and then they either buy online or offline. Today, consumers want a comparison between prices and products before they buy; but through a singular interaction, the way it happens online on a PC screen. In retail spaces, sales people help to compare but that is not always efficient. This learning was another eye opening trend that we observed.

People as consumers are changing. Online shopping has made them accustomed to make quick and sound decisions – purchase is just a click away. The greater responsibility for design research and designers is to explore these decision-making patterns used online and how it can be replicated in a brick and mortar scenario along with an enhanced experience.

Reassurance syndrome

If an alien were to visit a modern retail store, what will it see? People with their shopping carts, looking through numerous shelves and buying things for themselves. If one takes a closer look at this scenario, people are not only looking through the shelves, there is a lot of reading people do on and off the shelf.

One can imagine several hypotheses in such a scenario; like modern retail spaces are designed in such a way that products are more visible, readable even from a distance.

Clean up the space, make the product accessible to the consumer.

Another hypothesis could be people rely on their own subconscious thinking which keeps on alerting them while in a public space - “Am I getting judged because my shopping cart is looking less heavy than others”, “Am I picking the right pack or people around me are considering me an unhealthy junkie”, “I need to look smart so I must read carefully before any purchase”. Such thoughts are output of natural human behavior like; Mrs. Responsible, Mr. Righteous, neighbor’s envy, be no fool and so on. However, environments are also catalysts to evoking such reactions. And therefore, even while buying a regular brand, a shopper in a modern retail will not just look for a brand, but will read the Front or Back of pack to reassure herself about the content, health benefits, calorie contents etc. Yet another perception could be increased consciousness around health and appearance, which has led consumers to read a lot on the pack before buying. This is a trend; we cannot turn a blind eye towards. What is the story your product is telling, which will reflect reassuringly on the target consumer’s mind?

The new age consumer

Some of these consumer trends that we discussed, such as looking for best deal, online buying models or drivers to understand a product gives us a deep insight that the choices and preferences for buying have changed pragmatically. Influencers to these changes could be many like increased awareness, exposure, connectivity etc.

Here the interesting part is diversity and ambiguous patterns of consumer behaviors. Today’s consumers are loyal to brands at the same time, they are not afraid to express their opinions against it, if need arises. Even a basic experience about a product or service is shared or tweeted for increasing personal social quotient. Review based websites are flooded with feedbacks on minor inconveniences, not only for making use of the social platform but to express people opinion. It is the arrival of an aggressive age for consumers!

A consumer no longer is the unsung meek but rather a roaring warrior with multiple faces of expressions like the mythology figure, Ravana ( epic Ramayana ).

Marketers, researchers or business strategists have to become more sensible to understand the deeper grieve and eventually win people by addressing best solutions tailored for their needs but also value at affordable prices.

To understand today’s consumer and to dig more into their minds one has to take a diverse approach in the study. It might not be enough to make few handful people sit in a discussion and probe them for feedback. Such practice may or may not lead to unfeigned insights. One has to customize methods that are best suited to the intent of the study, right from clustering consumer cohorts by their behavioural patterns or to deploying interactive tools, which will help consumer express themselves freely. The social presence of the consumers cannot be ignored. Articulations based on people opinions on social media will provide added knowledge about people’s both offline and online life. A disruptive insight is a denouement, which is best achieved with help of tailored user centric approach and tools.

KRANTI VANJARI is an Asst. Manager, Subject Expert, Strategy & Design Research at Elephant. She has a graduate diploma in Mechanical Engineering, WCE and a Post Graduate Diploma in Strategic Design for Business, MIT Institute of Design, Pune, India.

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Adapting technology to create experiences

Adapting technology in physical environments : Create exuding experiences.

Branded environments in India are evolving. What trends are affecting experiences, how does new technology play a role in design of spaces and how does one connect with the new age end user.

By SHRISH TILEKAR

Experience based environments encompass a variety of sectors in today's world, they span across the service , manufacturing and retail industry .

Within the manufacturing sector, traditional companies, rather than carrying out boardroom presentations, are now setting up experiential spaces to communicate their offering. Working alongside designers companies are creating user journeys to best experience and explain their products & services.

The service industry having realised that customer engagement for good service is about good experiences, are creating positive memories at various touch points. They understand the relevence of this model to keep up in the ever competitive market. Mobile service providers are offering in store expert advice and value added service like free wifi, refreshments in an attempt to give a wholesome experience to their customers.

Banks are adopting user centered approach to design to make customer journey seamless and a pleasant banking experience. Such experiences help create an emotional connect with the  customers, helping build long lasting relationships enabling a loyal customer base.

 Hotels are coming up with theme based rooms to offer exclusive experiences to their guests and to try and present something new each time. Spaces like hotels are emphasising on distinctive moods and perceptions. Themes, lights, textures, alternative seating options make each visit into a novel experiences within a single space.

In Retail, brands have moved past the requirement of maximum SKU displays , brightly lit spaces, and use of multiple colours and materials. They have started to realise the importance of consumer centric designing , thus focussing on creating differentiated  journeys  and better experiences in the space which do not directly relate to the selling of the product but to build lasting memories , loyalty and superior impressions of the brand.

We are seeing a period when local players are realising the need for innovative and creatively designed experiences in the space that would help them compete with the global brands that are storming the Indian markets.

E retailing is also growing at the rate that one had never imagined. Though the e-retailers are changing the way people have been shopping and a complete change in the mindset of these people as well , the brick and mortar stores still hold their own charm amongst these users and also are an important element in the marketing mix.

Axis bank branches designed to suit every need and comfort of the customer to the highest order. A customer centric design approach that ensures customer comfort and hence builds better relations and brand loyalty within the customers.

Axis bank branches designed to suit every need and comfort of the customer to the highest order. A customer centric design approach that ensures customer comfort and hence builds better relations and brand loyalty within the customers.

Over the last two decades advancements in technology and the rising internet and mobile phone penetration has changed our lives and the way we communicate, do business and the way we shop or receive a service.

Technology has reinvented almost every aspect of the journey of a user within spaces through new ways of browsing,  digital shopping cart, reinventing changing rooms, sizing and customising on screen, in store remote video broadcast, real time SKU tracking, multiple payment options and methods. Technology is affecting how a store operates, thus presenting a completely new canvas to the designer.

Design will not just be restricted to one channel but there will have to be a holistic approach towards omni-channel retailing. Design of these physical spaces will have to be thought of keeping in mind other channels, where essentially the same kind of experience will have to be replicated or where the digital experience will have to be seamlessly integrated with the physical space. It is about the digital interactions and journey that comprises of human to space ,space to human, human to digital and digital to human interactions.

One such current technology is the mPOS ( mobile point of sale). The introduction of this technology has comprehensively transposed the journey of a user in any given environment.

It eliminates cash counters, queues, paper receipts, dependency on wired or even WIFI internet connections, bulky billing devices, and much more. For the customers it means safe transactions, cash free wallets, hassle free multiple payments and no long boring queues, all this for more shopping time with a better experience.

mPOS is now being used by every retailer around us, at fuel stations, grocery stores , retail stores ,cab drivers,&nbsp; e-tailers for payment on delivery and so on. Ezetap is a good India centred example.

mPOS is now being used by every retailer around us, at fuel stations, grocery stores , retail stores ,cab drivers,  e-tailers for payment on delivery and so on. Ezetap is a good India centred example.

User fast adapting to new tech, are also evolving simultaneously. The needs and the demands of these users have changed drastically prompting the brands and the designers to take quick steps towards creating environments to suit their expectations. In this scenario designing environments will be more about mapping an experience of a target customer and less about clever furniture or a different looking space. Experience Retail will be less about trying to sell more things but moreso be focused towards great customer therapy.

Retail will no longer be just a place to buy. It will be more of social zones, hangout places, informative and educative. It will be a place that provides a holistic experience and a seamless integration with out-of-store engagements. People manning these places will be a lot more than just sales people. They will be the facilitators to conversations, educators and also designers that would make changes in the journey of a user based on his past experience with that particular user. Personalisation of experiences will be taken beyond the visible expectations of a customer like on the go, adventurous, relaxing, involving and so on.

Designers now will play a crucial role as an integrator, showing keen understanding of new tech, e commerce and people psyche’.

SHRISH TILEKAR is a Senior Designer, Environment Design at Elephant. An alumnus of National Institute of Design, Bangalore and with a Masters from IED, Milan, he leads a cool team of designers focussing on retail, special functional spaces and branded environments.

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