Provocative essays of the week…

Here are a couple very thought-provoking pieces from this past week that deserve some extra attention, on the role of design research and the nature of interaction design in practice. Enjoy…

** Don Norman: Technology First, Needs Last

I’ve come to a disconcerting conclusion: design research is great when it comes to improving existing product categories but essentially useless when it comes to new, innovative breakthroughs. I reached this conclusion through examination of a range of product innovations, most especially looking at those major conceptual breakthroughs that have had huge impact upon society as well as the more common, mundane small, continual improvements

[Note: Steve Portigal has written a rather eloquent and insightful post, as he says, to “reframe, rather than refute” Don’s statement, located here.]

** Jon Kolko: Our Misguided Focus on Brand and UX

If there is a future for designers and marketers in big business, it lies not in brand, nor in “UX”, nor in any colorful way of framing total control over a consumer, such as “brand equity”, “brand loyalty”, the “end to end customer journey”, or “experience ownership”. It lies instead in encouraging behavioral change and explicitly shaping culture in a positive and lasting way.

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