Next Big Design

Friday, September 12, 2014

Key Design Takeaways from the Apple Watch

On Tuesday, the much-anticipated Apple Watch was finally revealed alongside the new iPhone 6.  It’s easy to dismiss this as just another new tech product launch in an overly crowded market, with other companies like Samsung, LG, and Motorola who have already made their mark in the space.  But, don’t be so easy to judge - if you look closely at the Apple Watch, you can see the tech giant executed some seriously innovative ideas that are set to impact the future of technology design.

Here are some key design takeaways from the Apple Watch, according to Fast Company:

Security Over Ease Of Use: Apple talked a great deal about payments in their launch presentation- how NFC (or near field communication) chips in their new iPhones and Apple Watch will enable you to make a credit card payment by holding your phone or watch against a payment plate. But, it’s not that simple - if it were this simple, you could check out with a wave of your hand. Apple is still having you confirm every payment with the iPhone's Touch ID thumbprint sensor. This extra step will mean that paying for things won’t be as simple as making a gesture and credit card companies will have to continue keeping a close eye on card security.

Customizable Products Are Here to Stay: The Apple Watch can be customized a many different ways including the band, the hardware, and the digital watchface. And, Apple isn’t the first electronics company to offer a mass customizable product, but it has been a one-size-fits-all company. For over 10 years,  the company’s has offered a product in a small handful of colors. The Apple Watch admits that a few colors is no longer enough because it’s no longer just an electronic – it’s a fashion statement.

Gadgets Get Luxurious: Apple has released its first product made of gold. Not just gold paint (like the Kardashian phone) but 18-carat gold around the bezel.  As our gadgets become fashion accessories--and in this case, jewelry even--they will naturally adopt the glitzy materials used for centuries in those fields.

Digital Can Be Intimate:  Apple’s most surprising feature of their new watch called “Digital Touch” connects us on a very physical, intimate level.  By accessing your contacts, you cannot just message them, but draw them a quick scribble, send them a series of taps, even share your heartbeat, which will pulse away on their wrist. 

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.   

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business?

A truly great company logo becomes synonymous with its identity. For instance, McDonald’s golden arches, Apple’s apple, Coca-Cola’s cursive typeface, Nike’s swoosh and all of those iconic brand images stuck in your head. But what does a logo say about your company? 

Check out this infographic designed by 123Print about what a logo means to a company

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business?

by 123Print.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Changing Role of the Chief Innovation Officer (CInO)

As the competency of corporate innovation continues to expand and improve, more Chief Innovation Officer roles are appearing in large, corporate organizations. This is a welcome development and recognition of the ongoing value that leadership sees innovation efforts delivering for organizations. This recognition is demonstrated by the focus on the CInO role by several conferences, including The Back End of Innovation in Las Vegas on October 6-8.

I have been reading a lot about the CInO role lately and recently spoke with Luis Solis, the author of a book titled “Innovation Alchemists: What Every CEO Should Know to Hire the Right Chief Innovation Officer” to get his perspectives on the CInO role in the context of this value generation.

What changes have you seen with the CInO role recently?

As the CInO role continues to evolve and develop, one significant change is that the previous focus on process and activity is being augmented with a serious and deep scouting function. That includes scouting for technologies, trends, and cultural insights. This means that the role is expanding into other more established corporate functions, such as Competitive Intelligence, Strategy, and HR, so these CInO’s need to better manage and shape relationships across the organization, often where there may be competing interests. More than ever, it’s a delicate balancing act.

There is also more focus on impacting the culture of an organization as a precondition for success, but not only that, it is viewed that the CInO and resources may be a better catalyst for shifting the organization towards an innovative culture, perhaps more than what has been in place until now.

How do you see the role changing going forward?

Look, the reality is that the CInO is here to stay and it’s an expanding role. We are in a macro-economic recovery and this gives companies more confidence. So I think that this and next year will be a bumper crop of CInO roles becoming available. Unfortunately I don’t think that there is a body of future leaders to take that leading role, so there is a market opportunity for that pipeline to be filled.

I have heard you talk about the importance of employee innovation networks, so how does that connect back to the CInO role?

This goes back to maturity, because the current view is that innovation takes place at the BU level. What this approach misses is connecting the effect of those project teams for intelligence gathering, practice sharing, risk reduction, speed, etc. All the benefits that come from connecting networks are missed, or at least more difficult to generate with discrete teams. So organizations are anywhere above two years in their innovation journey are, or should be, looking for something that is better than the separate projects. Innovation networks are just the natural extension beyond that.
At a certain point, leaders recognize that this is more than just about an innovation department or program, but it is a set of capabilities spread across the organization. With that perspective, the innovation program becomes the enabler of systems behaviors, rituals, and ultimately about building and managing an enhanced culture.

What has surprised you about the book’s reception, now that it has been out for a few months?

The first thing that I learned was that there is an extraordinary amount of interest in this CInO role. Leaders want to know “What it is?” “How it should be designed and organized?” “Who is qualified to fill that role?”
What I had not expected to encounter is that most leaders are not asking “if” they should have a CInO, but now it’s “who do we use and when?” It’s just a given now that this role is essential to business leaders. To me that’s a pretty big change in the past couple of years.

What are the biggest risks or conflicts that CInO’s need to manage?

One of the key issues for CInO’s is that they are impacting leaders of Strategy, Marketing, Competitor Intelligence, Digital, and R&D functions in vary tangible ways. So, proper thought needs to be given to addressing the inevitable tensions that this new role generates. When designing this role, the CEO really does need to account for 2-4 years of their support, or it will be difficult to take route and grow. In my experience that has been a challenge, especially when a CEO rotates which can lead to a high rate of failure.

About the Author: Anthony is the CEO of Culturevate (, an organization that empowers a company’s employees to execute ideas and inspire a culture of innovation, through employee networks, a resource portal and training programs (developed in association with Professor Chris Labash from Carnegie Mellon University). Anthony is a widely read author (, speaker and advisor to industry leaders at organizations such as Pfizer, U.S. Postal Service, Johnson & Johnson, ADP and Fidelity. He previously led The BNY Mellon innovation program and has a Masters of Commerce (University of Sydney) and Bachelor of Economics (University of Newcastle).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Transform Big Data into Big Decisions at FT’14

If you had all the data in the world at your fingertips, what would you do to delight your customers?
- Andreas Weigend

Join Keynote Andreas Weigend, Former Chief Scientist, AMAZON and Director, SOCIAL DATA LAB - as he takes stage at (FT'14) Foresight and Trends Conference,  November 11 - 13 in Los Angeles, CA.  During his keynote-The New Consumer: Celebrating Individuals, Cultivating Relationships - Andreas discusses how the social data revolution impacts individuals, business, and society. As we move from a data-poor to a data-rich world, those who hold the questions trump those who hoard the data. 

Foresight & Trends 2014
November 11-13
SLS Hotel
Los Angeles, CA

Along with Andreas, FT'14  keynotes include:  

The Climate for Innovation
Mark Polson, Vice President, Marketing, Creativity & Innovation, Global Management

Organizational culture is difficult to change. By some measures, it can take nearly a generation, that can be up to seven to ten years. Creating the right climate for innovation is something that is much easier to accomplish to get faster results. This presentation will look at why companies need to innovate, what the difference is between climate and culture, how climate can be measured, and some best practices.

Structured To Get To "Yes"
Stuart Jenkins, VP Innovation, DECKERS

If innovation starts with "yes," why is everyone in the organization empowered to say "no"?  I believe that companies have a built-in structure which favors "no" and empowers nearly everyone to say "no." The real innovator's dilemma is building a leadership structure around innovation that balances the power and leans towards "yes."

Additional Keynotes Include:

Shifting Culture and Social Norms Through Media and Products
Miki and Radha Agrawal, Co-Founders and Co-CEO's, THINX and SUPER SPROWTZ

Street Food and Community Space
Brett Burmeister, Owner, Managing Editor, FOODCARTSPORTLAND.COM

And, many more!  

Download the brochure for full conference details:

Make sure to not miss The Off Site Kick-Off Cocktail Reception & Exploration Of Oblong Industries:  From Fiction to Reality: How the Technology Envisioned in "Minority Report" and "Iron Man" is Transforming Workplace Collaboration and Big Data Visualization- John Underkoffler, CEO, OBLONG INDUSTRIES.

Looking to take action on insights that will ensure your future success? Join us at FT'14, the leading place where revolutionaries gather to decipher insights and turn them into an actionable and strategic plan for future relevance.  Mention code FT14BL & Save 15% off the standard rate. Register today:


Foresight & Trends Team