Designing women (and men)

Another must-read article, this one from Time magazine:The School of Bright Ideas. It's all about how a company named Ideo is helping companies by looking at the design behind what they're doing, and how it plays out in real life. My favorite example:

Then there were the AT&T Wireless execs who were sent on a scavenger hunt and told to use their Mmode location software to find an ATM, a drugstore and a particular kind of Japanese cookie. Almost immediately, Mmode proved too hard to use. One participant broke down and dialed 411, and another called his wife and asked her to Google a location. "They realized their competition wasn't Verizon," says Ideo's Duane Bray, who designed the exercise. "Their competition was real life."

I've been thinking a lot about design since I read this post on Seth Godin's blog, and the Time article just clarifies my thinking. Most of us involved in the meetings and hospitality arena are lucky in that we often are in the customer's seat--attendees at meetings for meeting planners, listening to other speakers for speakers, reading other writers for journalists, staying in other hotels for hoteliers, etc. But how often do we stop and really think about what we are observing? And document it in some way? And try to fix it in our work? I'm going to start, as of today. It's just too good an idea--and too easy to implement--not to.
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