Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

For some reason I love to listen to children explain their paintings. One gets to hear stuff much unexpected.

The first drawing is by N, my 10 year old g-d.

As is my wont, the Q-A session followed.

First take a look at the painting before I tell you what ran in her mind while working on it:

This piece – words are mine, thoughts hers – captures the entire time scale for the human race. Planet Earth hanging at the top left represents ‘The Past’, the exploring astronaut shows the human enterprise today, ‘The Present’; and, the future? You see the colonies on the middle left, those are to-come-soon ‘The Future’ settlements in the new frontiers. So it’s one chotu picture for the humankind’s entire ‘The Past’, ‘The Present’ and ‘The Future’!! Logarithmic scale for Time? What’s that?

That’s not all. There are two other interesting elements in the picture: a) The bright Sun at the top right blazing in full glory – very unusual in pictures of dark outer space – is the beacon of Hope for the race and b) the flag carried by the explorer in his hand signifies cooperative human endeavor containing the emblems of all the countries on Earth!

So much wordless eloquence in a few square inches of paper!!


The second piece is from another 10-year old, A, also a g-d. Here it was a little different. It was going to be a painting from her for her mom’s birthday. The theme: a party scene. Invitees: only animals because her mom liked them. She took out a drawing book and selected animals in postures, small and big. Starting with the table in the middle, the invitees stepped in one by one taking their seats, not crowding each other. The ‘Hidden Line’ problem – the near obscuring the far – was handled on the way! Finally when the ‘dish’ came out of the ‘kitchen’ it had all panned out well as she wanted it to be! While light on symbolism’s, the composition, by no means simple, was deftly put together, with so many guests all kept together and apart in good shape and humor!

Here it is:

Now to the interesting part – conversation with the artist over her creation. It was fun to see how the child, unprepared, played me unfazed.  Not stumped, her off-the-cuff responses – quite imaginative and sensible. Looks like they make children differently these days! Here we go:

No humans? “They don’t mix well with animals in parties“

I persisted – not even the birthday girl? Thought I got her this time. “You see, she (the birthday girl) is not in it because she’s the one taking a snap of them. See, they are all looking at her? Only the cow is a little startled by the flash.”

Are you sure  they’re having fun? “Don’t you see the cake and candles on the table, balloons and even caps on a few heads? There, I gave the bunny a new dress! Everyone at ease and posing for the shot. If you noticed, the turtle (or a tortoise?) is even wearing a grin, mighty happy with the proceedings!”

I also learnt alligators get invited too without fear because they behave themselves well on such occasions!


So it went on…enjoyed every bit of peering into those little minds thinking, and me ready and wanting to be surprised.


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Design Thought



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Use-cases lying on the edge of system scope and occurring infrequently are usually the ones that get overlooked in gathering requirements and, often, also the ones to trip systems.

This could be a case in point:

Bollywood actor-director Rahul Bose recently shared a video of an incident on his Twitter page.

In the video, Bose can be heard saying,So I’m shooting in Chandigarh and I’m staying in this beautiful suite at the JW Mariott, where they give you all these elegant freebies like these chocolate cookies and God knows how much these flowers must have cost. But get this – I was in the gym and I asked for two bananas while I was working out and, of course, I got the bananas. Check the bill out. They’re just too good for me. Well done, JW Marriott Chandigarh.” The bill mentioned Bose’s order as ‘Fruit Platter’, which was shown to have a price of INR 375. Added to that was the GST, which brought the price of the bananas to a total of INR 442.50…

To get the perspective, the farmer from the village might have sold it for less than INR 1 each.

Could be, as pointed out by some, the guy at the other end had no way of entering into his system an order for just two banana’s? He merely selected one of those available items on the menu? Sounds plausible.

The hotel had not reacted so far.

While the opening remarks on the edge cases are generally true, in India they may not be so infrequent and hence may need more attention.


Source: NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: July 24, 2019 14:31 IST

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They all have small feet!

How else could they get into other people’s shoes 🙂

In his article ‘Empathy Is The Key To Innovation’ Baruch Sachs assertively identifies a key ingredient for innovation:

“…Every great innovation has come from a place of empathy. This makes great sense because innovation is so often borne out of someone’s frustration with the current way or state of things. For example, Steve Jobs was frustrated that he could not carry his library of music around in his pocket. He thought others might share his frustration. His answer? The iPod.

Ride-sharing services were borne out of people’s frustration with the overall taxi experience. All of the innovations that Uber, Lyft, and others have created through their technology and services have come from a place of empathy. These are just two examples showing how empathy has driven tremendous innovations that have shaped the lives of millions of people…”

And yet “… Empathy is the single most-overlooked ingredient of innovation. This is a huge problem because empathy is a critical ingredient of ensuring successful innovation…”

Design thinking and other methodologies by themselves will not take the org far in innovation in absence of empathy.

So you know now who is the most likely to drive innovation in your org.


Image from cio.com

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“Good service design is important for the overall user experience. Yet, it is even more important at the end of an experience (or exposure to a brand) due to the Peak-End Rule and Recency Effect. Placing the business needs before the user’s needs, breaking the user’s flow and not addressing a user’s need at the point of their need are primary culprits in designing a poor experience.”

Chris Kiess writes in his article “Service Design — How to Fail at the Checkout and Ruin Your User’s End Experience” appearing here.

While he talks about “8 ways I see retail merchants like Target, Walmart or Meijer fail in service design as it relates to the end of the customer experience and the final impression they make with consumers,” there’s an interesting snippet about a negative perception and how it could be turned around.

First about the perception:

“The biggest faux pas of superstores is having too many checkout registers and not enough cashiers. Most people would probably not be concerned during the holidays (or any other time) if they sauntered over to the checkout and there were ten cashiers at all ten registers with lines behind each. This would give the customer the illusion the store is busy and they are doing everything they can to help customers move through the checkout process. But, what generally happens instead is you walk up to the checkout area after finding everything you need and there are thirty registers with only five in service. This, I cannot understand. On the surface, it gives the impression the store could do more. After all, there are twenty-five more registers and surely they could open one or two more of them. It boggles the mind that a store would feel the need to install thirty checkout lanes and never use them all at one time.”

He suggests:

“This is largely about human perception. The simple fix is to cut the number of registers installed and use a greater percentage of them during busy times. This would give the impression (and shape perceptions) a greater effort is being employed to move people through the lines.”

A thought:

The suggestion could still leave at times a few unattended counters. So why not have counters that could be rolled in from back of the store on need basis and wheeled away when done? Just as many as needed, leaving no visibly unattended counters at any time.

Also could the stores do like the airlines doing in-line check-in with staff going around with their special devices? Of course, it needs some adaption to allow for handling the purchases in the cart.


Image from here.

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Vide விஷ்வாமித்திரர்

Drawing water using manual pumps (If the clip doesn’t show, go here):


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Leaving aside the party politics for the moment, it’s still an amazing case of innovative problem solving and communication the corporate’s would do well to look at its merit.

ToiletThis is election time in India with parties engaged in a fierce fight over voters’ mind-share.

The above is a message in this tussle coming from Prime-Minister Modi’s party BJP.

On the left is a panel depicting the state-of-affairs under the rule of the Congress Party that held sway for most years since independence, dominated by the Nehru family. It shows a man relieving himself publicly under a sign-board admonishing Don’t commit nuisance here‘. On the right is a panel intended to show the transformation achieved over last 55 months of BJP’s  rule. Here the sign points the offender-to-be to Use the toilet 50 feet away from the spot!

The difference in the approaches of problem-solving and its communication is so stark and brilliant!

Of course, it’s another matter to independently check on what the ground reality is.. Though the official claim is: 1.31 crores of public facilities were constructed in the state of Tamil Nadu during those 55 months of their rule under the Swatch Bharat campaign.



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I am Programmer,I have no life. m





Source: I am Programmer,I have no life.

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