Archive for June, 2007

Clash with productivity

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I think I’ve figured out why I’m being somewhat unproductive at work. There’s too much I want to do, and I’m having a hard time focusing. Everywhere I turn, there seems to be something new and interesting that I haven’t seen before, and naturally I try to dig up everything I can on the subject. A couple of thought provoking papers, some fascinating people to talk to… it’s a dangerous habit, especially with a paper to submit in less than two weeks. Of course, I could argue that all this gold I’m digging up is related to my work, but at some point I need to learn to stop and make do with what I have. I can’t do everything at once in seven weeks.

However, my procrastination is also in part due to an inability to focus on my paper. My mentor and I have plans to submit to the portion of a conference entitled “Design Sketches” – papers in this area are supposed to showcase work in progress (which ours definitely is). Personally, I’m having a hard time writing about work in progress. We’ve come up with a couple of new things, and I can write about those… but there’s still so much to change and to discover that I feel like I won’t have enough space to describe our new ideas plus all of the ideas we have that we just have not yet had the time to develop (the paper is supposed to be a maximum of six pages. Ha.).

For those of you who don’t know, my work this summer is in the area of service design. More specifically, I’m focusing on coming up with new ways of visualizing services. Traditionally, service blueprinting has been used to map out service systems. They are sufficient to some extent, but there are many things lacking with these blueprints, so my work is in trying to improving and adding value to them. I’m not sure how much more I’m allowed to divulge, so I’ll stop there.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure blogging isn’t helping this procrastination. Wish me luck as I muddle through and attempt to organize the very messy idea filing cabinets in my brain. Although purchasing filing cabinets for my brain first might help with the organization bit ;)

Going bananas over grocery stores

Monday, June 25th, 2007

My mentor brought up Stew Leonard’s today. I’m going to blame my unfamiliarity of this jungle of a supermarket on me being Canadian. In any case, it was brought up because we are trying to find examples of good services to study. I’m not sure if this supermarket falls into my definition of a “good service” (apparently in the warmer months, they have petting zoos outside the market?), but they definitely have their fair share of tricks to maintain profits. Making customers walk through the entire store to get to the other end, having signing animals (and produce) to entertain the little ones, and their famous policy of “the customer is always right” (even when they’re wrong).

New York Times has called this place the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores” (they’re apparently the world’s largest dairy store). Barring the fact that I don’t think grocery stores should be in any way related to Disneyland, it makes me wonder what sorts of decisions went in to making a place like this.

(My particular interest in this may or may not have been due to the fact that I was close to studying Whole Foods for my thesis this coming year.)

Ant on the Beach

Monday, June 25th, 2007

“Viewed as a geometric figure, the ant’s path is irregular, complex, and hard to describe. But its complexity is really a complexity in the surface of the beach, not the complexity in the ant.” [from Herbert Simon’s The Sciences of the Artificial]

I like.