Design and Emotion 2008

Friday October 24th, 2008 | thoughts on conferences, design, thesis paper

Me at Design and Emotion

I spoke at the Design and Emotion 2008 conference two weeks ago in Hong Kong (thanks to Matt Forrest for the photo!). I spoke about my thesis paper – the relationship between classical music and service design – and had very positive feedback on both the presentation itself and my topic. So, a very successful first conference presentation! For those of you who are interested, my presentation can be downloaded here, and my full thesis paper can be found here (the conference paper was shortened and didn’t include everything I wanted from my full paper).

The conference itself was pretty good, even though I witnessed the same couple of flaws I’ve seen at other conferences. My biggest gripe: if you are presenting at a design conference, please make sure your presentation actually looks decent. No one hates a poorly designed presentation more than designers.

Hong Kong itself was great, even though I really only got a day and a half to fully enjoy it. The last time I was in Hong Kong was in 2000, and my cousins over there have since multiplied! I met a lot of cousins’ kids that weren’t even born when I last went. The food and shopping of course were fantastic. More photos from Hong Kong and the conference can be seen on my Flickr site.

I am now back in San Francisco, in my second month of my job at Nokia Design. So far it’s been pretty good. Different methods and environments of work than I’m used to, but it’s a fun challenge to overcome and I’m learning a lot in the process.

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Wordle-d (and the thoughts that ensued)

Saturday August 2nd, 2008 | thoughts on conferences, design, service, thesis paper

So, it seems has been gaining popularity as I’ve been making my way through my design blogs this past month. I’ll join in on this game!

My blog, wordle-d:

Well, I can’t say I’m surprised. Although the ‘relaxing’ threw me off at first.

My thesis paper, wordle-d:

Okay so fine, I talk about service… a lot. Everywhere. But this is a pretty accurate description of my thesis paper, if you cut it up into words.

On other thesis paper news, I will be speaking at the 6th Design and Emotion Conference this October in Hong Kong. I will be presenting a shortened version of my thesis paper, highlighting the main strengths that classical music has to offer in helping strengthen the field of service design. While the idea of spending 14 hours alone on a plane doesn’t particularly make me jump for joy, I’m really excited at the opportunity to present some more of my theoretical work at a public venue. All of the talks I’ve given so far have really been more practical in nature, and this should be a good mix-up for me. Thank you to the School of Design and Nokia for making this happen.

Anyway, all this visualization of my thoughts and writings has got me thinking. While I hope that I can put my service design knowledge to good use at Nokia, I am really excited to be dabbling in areas that are outside my ‘service design’ zone. I am definitely interested in mobile device concepts and the idea of mobility itself, in sustainability and ethical dilemmas, and in the globalization of products and services. I wish I could write more about these but I don’t know enough about it yet to contribute anything really meaningful. So hopefully as I step out and expand more of my design knowledge, I’ll be able to write more about the connection of service design to these various issues.

What a great field we designers are in today. We seem to like to use all facets of human knoweldge and capabilities: from century old psychology, to new theoretical ideas, to the more practical applications, to the use of kindergarten tools (pipe cleaners, markers, and playdough!), to using space-age innovative mindsets… all this knowledge and open-mindedness inform designs and ideas that have the possibility of affecting millions of experiences people have around the world each day. Oh, and as an added bonus, whatever we make or think of is usually pretty easy on the eyes (and brain) too. Pretty neat.

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New job!

Wednesday June 18th, 2008 | thoughts on life, work

I seem to have nothing but updates to post lately. That’s what happens when you get out of school and relax for a month. I have had plenty of things to blog about other than updates, but when I have free to time to write, somehow it seems more enjoyable to spend it outside, in the sun, roasting marshmallows, rather than sitting in front of my computer blogging…

Anyway, I suppose this update is a pretty big one. I got a job! I recently accepted an offer with Nokia as an Interaction Designer in their new design office in San Francisco. I am really excited to be joining the group and the company and can’t wait to see what sorts of work, challenges, and excitement will come in being part of a brand new office.

I will be starting at Nokia in mid-September. To all my friends: please come visit me now that I’ll be out of Pittsburgh! ;)

(P.S. If anyone is interested, I was interviewed by Jeff Howard regarding my Master’s thesis project. Read it here.)


Two weeks too late, but…

Saturday May 31st, 2008 | thoughts on business, life, music, school

I’ve graduated! Two years of projects, classes, clients, tiredness, fun, and general smartness have resulted in another giant piece of paper:

I’ll be working a little bit this summer with UPMC doing some entrepreneurial design. But so far all I’ve been doing is relaxing, relaxing, and… more relaxing (and submitting a paper to Design and Emotion). I can’t really complain. This new vacation period has been pretty awesome.

Now, off to relax a bit more. ;)


One Line of Service Design, part 2

Tuesday April 8th, 2008 | thoughts on design, service, thesis project

Just a short update… I asked my mentor from this summer, Susan Spraragen (who is currently in Paris presenting our work on service blueprinting) what her service design one-liner would be. Here’s what she contributed:

Service design is about creating and taking decisive and deliberate actions that will promote, support, and sustain positive service experiences in order to strengthen provider-customer relationships.

I like the decisive and deliberate part. And especially the part about sustaining positive service experiences. Too often designers are asked to provide quick, band-aid solutions that may help in the short run; not provide solutions that will work in the long run.

The issue of sustainability is an interesting one. We’ve been discussing it a lot in my Designing for Management and Organizational Change class, in terms of how one would go about teaching/changing/designing an organization so that they can grow and succeed on their own without clinging on to a consultant.

This lead me to think about the issue of sustainability in service design. Especially in regards to my thesis project: how can I design a solution that will allow Children’s Hospital to continue thinking about sustaining the values (family-centered care, control, support) that I’m trying to enforce? Is a well-designed service or system enough to have a service provider convinced to keep practicing good service design? Or is there something more to getting someone clinched to always bettering their service offerings?