- Teague, a brand name design firm that's been around since 1926 and calls itself "the original design consultancy" is bowing out of general design consulting to focus on travel. The big, (sometimes) household name design consultancies (with 100+ employees) that primarily serve big, blue chip corporate clients are getting disrupted. Teague is adapting to a changing marketplace through specialization, a bet that seems pretty sound to us, given their track record in that space.
- It's a total falsehood that China is a great manufacturing nation but a non-contender when it comes to generating new ideas and designs. The latest example of Chinese companies leading with design is Huawei hiring a former Apple creative director to the position of Design Chief.
- Greentown Labs, an incubator/co-working space primarily for cleantech companies is planning to double in size. More money and opportunities for technologies that cut fossil fuel consumption is good for all of us.
- 3D printing metal with a desktop-sized machine. Details are next to nonexistent, but $14 million has been raised, and the team looks solid. We will be keeping an eye on this one.
- The people behind your products. The complex (and very human) calculations L.L. Bean has to make about hiring to meet demand changes in the market.
Roadmapping the Future:
- As device ownership becomes "ownership" - where we are, legally speaking, renting a device and agreeing to certain (ultra fine print) terms and conditions we can lose the right to repair them. iFixit, makers of repair kits for things like iPhones, GoPros and XBoxes, have been fighting the good fight to keep repair a real, viable, legal option even in a culture of disposable electronics.
- Really thin batteries that could make wearable tech more practical.
- More and more work is being done remotely, at least some of the time. We work with clients on both U.S. coasts, China, Brazil, Germany, etc. - it's not always as straightforward as sitting down next to someone, but with the right tools and strategy it can have great results. A pretty informative presentation on what to think about when working remotely on design efforts. (47% of the respondants said the output of remote work was worse!)
- Designing your home around your art collection. Crazy but cultured.
Bias and Brains:
- There seems to be more and more evidence that pipelines are not the problem when it comes to companies building more diverse teams. Restrictive ideas of who is and is not a good fit leads to creating a biased pipeline for hires. Students at HBCUs are taking matters into their own hands and working to build their own solutions.
- The highest paid female executive in the U.S. is (probably) not a household name.
- A somewhat creepy article on using brain science to manipulate customers more effectively. In one sense it's nothing new- branding and advertising have always sought to use the lessons of research to get more business for their clients, on the other hand as we develop more powerful tools to understand the brain do we need to draw new ethical or regulatory lines to prevent outright abuses in the name of commerce? Besides, faux-luxury packaging design gimmicks are needlessly wasteful.
More next week.