* * * * John Maeda Design In Tech Special * * * *
The fourth Design In Tech report by John Maeda is out. Looks like a Pet Shop Boys album which is no bad thing.
As usual it’s good. Interesting and detailed. Last year I asked for it to be published in html rather than as a PDF. John has obviously listened ;) and there is an html version. Maeda is pretty humble about it, which is nice. FWIW it worked fine in Chrome on my laptop.
One advantage of html is that you can link to specific sections. So here goes.
Maeda's The Key Takeaways
The recognition of design’s value grows. Especially as the big gains in tech become smaller.
The design thinking + business school romance continues. Easy to see this dominating Exec education for a while.
The big management consultancies continue to make acquisitions and hires. I wonder to what extent this is hurting WPP and the like.
There’s an interesting bit about the changing design software. As an old man I’ve been struck by this recently. I’m the only one using Adobe. Hard to see how they still have a business model when everyone uses Sketch or Pixlr or stuff from this huge list.
Voice, AI, algos.
China, china, china. (I need to get to China this year.)
Ben's Other things worth noting
There’s lots about Inclusive Design which is good, but it reads like the design industry is just discovering it. I don’t think that’s true and I think the coverage in this report has been driven too much by the Microsoft Inclusive Design Guidelines which are excellent, but not new news.
Maeda talks about there now being three kinds of design. Classical Design, Design Thinking and Computational Design. I’m not sure this is right, the third one feels unfinished. But the other two are good and I like this approach. This will develop and is worth keeping an eye on.
Be afraid Marketing. Alibaba Luban, a piece of "design AI", produced 400 million banners during the 2017 singles day, resulting in a 100% increase in conversion rate.
There's more here, "About 10 types of robots were used by Alibaba for different applications for this year's festival. One of them, named Luban, is an AI designer who created up to 410 million product posters for the Singles' Day, according to the Alibaba statement. Another customer service robot named Ali Xiaomi answered more than 90 percent of the questions asked by consumers on the shopping festival day."
Brian Chesky on culture is interesting. “Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.” Reminded me of Russell's and Giles's recent blogs on GDS.
The bit about designers needing to learn the skills of product management gives you a good list of skills relevant to any designer in tech. You could argue that product managers have learned those skills from design... but whatever.
Nice to see Durrell’s Line Us get a mention.