Blog is on pause, but please do enjoy my tweets :)

Exped Airpillow - instant classic

When hiking or traveling my weak spot is the pillow. Having a poor sleep can ruin a lot. After trying many versions from regular ones to high end down -versions I can say that I know guite a lot of pillows.

Exped has made a good job in ensuring excellent sleep in winter conditions with their Downmat. Now I dare to say that they have made a iconic travel pillow:
Airpillow M is extremely small, lightweight, has comfortable surface and is easy to fill and empty. Also it looks good. Only down side is that it's so popular it's hard to find at least in Finland. I found mine in Scandinavian Outdoor Store :)

Aging in style

I love products that age with style.
In fact I might not be the most careful user of products, since I want them to look that they've been used. Especially outdoor gear looks a bit newbie if it's brand new.

When I unscrewed these worn lock pedals I felt slightly sad, but on the other hand happy to be able to look what they've gone through.

If you try to find a material that ages with style - go with aluminum, but be careful not to overdo the finish since the phase between glossy surface and worn out style might be nasty.

Graphics work: theme for a homescreen clock

My strengths are on the product and services concepts and not so much on the graphical design. Despite the tendency I sometimes have artistic urges to fulfill.

Not so long ago, we realized a co-operation possibility with my ingenious colleague, who has coded a clock/timer application to Ovi Store on his spare time. I had a vision to work with fonts covered by paint or dirt and he could use a theme for his application. As in design work generally - there was a feeling of magic in bring this -this time artistic- vision alive. Theme builds on the Symbian Anna software refresh.

Here's the preview of the theme, but you can as well download the whole application to your smartphone to get a better picture :)

Enhancing creativity and innovatio by doing mistakes

Have you ever felt that the success is must and you cannot fail? Did you feel stressed?

Most (if not all) people do feel stressed if failure is not an option. What we know about stress is that it limits the our creativity and our capability to see possibilities instead of threats. If your resources are low and solution is needed instantly - isn't it quite obvious that you try something that has been tried before and works for sure?

In organizations where jobs are in danger, showing that projects run smoothly and mistakes do not happen can feel important. Unfortunately this kind of thinking leads into several problems.
Organization stops learning from each other, ability to create new innovations drops and information of ongoing crisis or failures of larger scale can be buried. -And we need to remember that this happens in ALL levels of organization. -We all have somebody to report ;)

Sam Swaminathan tells a story in how one organization was changed by celebrating the Mistake of the Month.

Personalization using product printing and modelling interface

Nervous System is a magnificent company. They manage to combine three highly appealing trends and form beautiful products as end result.
1) Personalization: Enabling user to modify the design or make completely unique design to make product truly personal via intuitive user interfaces.
2) Biomimicry: Combining nature and digital by basing the designs on patterns found in nature. If you think about it Now - there's no better foundation to build algorithmically formed designs.
3) Using 3D printing as manufacturing method to accomplish all this.

Check some of their videos or try their modelers and enjoy :)

Growing a Hyphae Lamp from Nervous System on Vimeo.

Industrial design - fighting against windmills

Old colleague of mine left the company to continue her PhD in an academic project in metal industry. The main problem is the old one - how to get users needs and opinions better into consideration in product development.

The same issue continues to puzzle in all branches where R&D plays a role in success or failure of products. I see this area as area where industrial designers operate. We are supposed to be the answer to the very problem! -Why have we failed?

Industrial designers have learned the methods of user centered design, we can conduct user studies and usability studies, we can recognize behaviors and see the parts which could be improved. We can even improve service processes. Why majority of the industrial designers skip most of this and work only on trends, forms, surfaces and finishes?
-Could it in the end be the lack of competence?
-Could it be the strict organization models?
-Credibility in the eyes of management?
-One possibility is our own ambitions. Every industrial designer wanting to be a "Star Designer" - drawing masterpieces with just intuition.
-Or could the reason be the lack of terms and definitions for a industrial designer that not only makes an artistic interpretation of the actual product, but also finds and uses the user data to create a product proposition to this foundation?
-In the end, it might be just a matter of education and knowledge in the company management.

I have described the work of industrial designer as fighting against windmills. The management is slow, stubborn and resists change. All the little pieces of change and true needs of user that we can fight to the products are all little victories! -It's just to decide that which mills you want to fight against and by which means :)