Scent Technology Leads The Way

Augmenting the interplay between scent and human emotion.

Within an hour of waking, many Americans interact at least five times with company brands. Coffee, tea, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, skin cream, hair gel…sunblock… More often than not, they have chosen the brand based partly on the product’s scent. Significant studies have been done on sensory stimulation and consumer behavior. It has been positively shown that behavior is influenced by not only sight, but sound, touch, taste and smell. The more senses that are incorporated into an environment, the more influential it is.


When we think of scents we love, many are tied to an emotion. As marketers run out of ways to target perspective clients, scent technology leads the way. The psychological and physiological effect of using scents is the new frontier in branding business. The power of scent makes content extremely immersive and compelling. It creates mood, such as foreshadowing or ambiance; intensifies emotions, such as love and establishes place and season. What scent identifies and blends with your business model? An increasing number of companies today aim to attach aroma to their brand identity. Thinking of it as an aromatic logo.


Interplay with Technology-enhancing the mobile interface.

With so much of life based on electronic representations of reality, digital media not only represents our physical reality but has changed the way we perceive and interact with the world. In more than one way, technology has simplified human experience but sometimes it seems to miss out on triggering the emotional and human quality.


The recent interest and innovation in scent technology intends to change the interactive entertainment experience. Understanding that smell reaches out into a new, visceral dimension, transporting viewers, gamers, music fans and consumers into the realm of the senses. Atmosphere, mood, emotion, and products can all be enhanced with scent.


What if communication could open now on the sense of the smell? Odor in fact is so closely linked with memory that people would communicate more effectively with each other if using it.

Smell as the new layer of communication could become a new revolution of a kind.

Mobile communication has so far succeeded in transmitting audio and video, stimulating two of our five senses. One possible evolution of telecommunication could be to enhance the multi-sensorial experience of the user.

Digital Scent Technology aims to scent-enable movies, games, music, animation, or any digital media to create a more immersive and captivating environment for the audience.


Scentography promises a vast extension of sensory space, with profound implications.


New devices such as artificial noses which can capture and playback the smells in digitized format are on the verge of becoming a commercial reality-moving into food, beverage, medical, and environmental applications.

Some more examples:

Jenny Tillotson, a researcher at the University of the Arts in London, has produced the world's first interactive scent outfit. She called her prototype dress 'Smart Second Skin'. Just like the scent of the skin changes with emotion, the Smart Second Skin fabric interacts with human emotions whereby the aroma dimension is an integral part of the wearers wellness sensory experience. "Just as people store different genres of music on their iPods, this method offers a new sensory system to collect and store a selection of fragrances close to the body: a modern iPod of the fragrance industry embedded in fashion".


In the near future, beside text, audio and video, communication will integrate an additional layer focusing on the sense of smell, which will help trigger memories and emotions. You may be able to capture a fragrance snapshot of your environment and send it attached to a text message or email.

On the horizon:

-Engineers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed an odor recorder that can analyze scents and reproduce them by combining the 96 chemicals packed inside the device.

-Redefining the home theater experience with the sense of smell is what the SMELLIT concept is all about. So, next time a chef’s cooking a meal on TV, you know how it smells if not how it tastes.

-The latest trend in food packaging: Jars and boxes lined with "smell technology" emit molecules that push against their contents, infusing the items with different flavors.

-Researchers at the University of Southern California in LA has patented a project that would allow US Army officers to use coded smells to give orders. These can be delivered silently, in the dark and when loud noise is drowning out speech.

-An upstart called ScentSational Technologies, founded in 1997 in Jenkintown, Pa., is working with a number of food companies to harness the science of smell. The aim: to produce tasty products without sugary additives like corn syrup or expensive ingredients such as heavy cream.

-A group of Savannahians have teamed up to produce the world’s first scent-enabled music album. The first CD equipped with scent-technology is UNLEASHED by ZAN, who lives and records in Savannah. As the computer plays songs, the teapot-sized Scent Dome releases different fragrances triggered by code embedded in the CD.

Targeting the Pleasure Axis

Enlightened Indulgence the New Food Status
Pleasure, Well-Being, and Flavor merge in Food Innovation

Consumers are looking for healthy indulgent products that provide a sense of well-being, satisfy cravings, experiment with food culture, and follow organic, artisan food movements.

Food makers confronted by today’s challenging economic times within an individualistic society allowing people to think “it’s all about me” culminating in rising expectations about food, must continue to invest hard in innovation to beat the downturn. Today, there is a new focus on amp-ing up foods with nutrients and flavor.

Indulgent products with premium attributes are in high demand.
Consumers are persuaded by health and indulgence. Food and beverage appeal is heavily influenced by the intensity of sensory attributes in taste and flavor. With high-nutrient ingredients such as those labeled all natural or organic. Or with enhanced flavors appealing to a “variety of senses” such as new ethnic cuisine with food companies now hiring chefs to create products with unique spices and seasonings that provide a complete culinary experience.

As a sensory experience, taste operates in multiple modalities—not only by way of the mouth and nose, but also the eye, ear, and skin. Aesthetics is realigned from “a science of sensory knowledge” to a philosophy of beauty in relation to sensory experience and tactility of taste. Even a feast for the eyes only will engage the other senses imaginatively.

-Extending the whole food experience, Patricia Urquiola, one of the most exciting designers working today has created a sensual compendium. Her tabletop designs combine smooth and textured surfaces, solidity and translucency as well as Western and Ethnic influences resulting in a truly inspiring collection.
-The Gloji ingredient showing up in a lot of gourmet and health foods. The unusual light bulb shaped bottle is a nice reference to the energy-giving properties of the drink.

-The Aroma of You, music CD by Mel Rosaenberg Trio

Emerging trends:

According to Datamonitor’s Products Online database, top trends for packaged foods in  2009 include bolder flavor and texture, organic food ingredients in more demographic segments, fresh foods, superfruits, exotic and ethnic tastes, and green food production.

-Energy transitions to motivation and focus. The term ‘energy’ becomes more specific  s a method of creating motivation or enhancing focus.

-Linking natural to functional.
Increased linkage in the health benefits of natural, non-processed, and raw diets.  Direct importance to outer beauty benefits and immunity.

-More emphasis now on what people should be eating rather than what they should not be eating.

-Lal’Food has been carrying various trials in order to promote the application of probiotics into new food applications: ice cream, chocolate, dry snacks with fillings, breakfast cereals, chilled fruit juices.

-Watch for Cupuacu, known as the new “Superfruit 2.0″ a little tree found in the Amazon rainforest that belongs to the Cocoa family, and bears fruits the size of melons.

-Groove, enhanced H20

-The ice cream purveyor Cold Stone Creamery is using “Healthy Indulgences” as a tagline in a new frozen dessert line with the slogan, “Healthy and flavorful don’t always go hand in hand. At Cold Stone however, they do.” CCC offers healthy indulgence with mix-ins such as crunchy nuts, fruits, and nutritional supplements for their products.

This year’s SIALfood exhibition in Paris. was a showcase of new ideas that could help to boost margins and weather the economic storm. Innovations in pleasure and sophistication gained pace in new products. In the area of confectionery, the selection displayed a heavy presence of organic dark chocolate, certainly linked to pleasure and sophistication but now segueing from an indulgence to a health food.

-Chocolate plus innovation, in pasta, body rubs, beer. New ingredients will be added to an old-time favorite – fortification with omega 3s, plant sterols, and probiotics will grow as chocolate continues to be the easiest functional good-for-you flavor choice.

-Chocolate is one the few foods thought to be both stimulating and soothing at the same time. There are theme parks and museums devoted entirely to chocolate, and spas where you can be soaked, scrubbed and massaged with chocolate.

Belgian brand NewTree, wholly embracing the powerful well-being phenomenon is staying ahead of the curve merging the growing trend for sophistication and ‘medical’ into a new value-added product, a chocolate bar with a pleasure promise through the originality of flavors and positioning: Crave, Renew, Sexy, Blush… and a unique combination of pure dark chocolate, spicy chili, roasted flax seeds, and Omega 3, known for its beneficial effects on the heart, mind and overall mood. A good balance between taste, emotion, flavor and texture. A healthy twist to drain away any residual guilt.

BUT WAIT….What Will the 21st Century REALLY Taste Like?
A preview of what you’ll be eating for the rest of the century from Momofuku chef David Chang. Hope you like veggies.

David Chang shared his thoughts on the future of food in a recent interview in Esquire says: Prepare yourself for a vegetarian world. The infrastructure which has supported the world’s meat-heavy diet for so long, is now breaking down due to epic gas and feed price increases. This situation, Chang  believes, will lead us back to a primarily vegetarian, grains and greens focused diet.

Guess what? The machinery that’s pumped so much meat into our lives over the last half century was never built to last, and now it’s breaking down big-time. Feed is more expensive. Gasoline is more expensive. Milk, rice, butter, corn–it’s all going through the roof. And for the foreseeable future, it’s not coming back down. At the table, this means our plates will be heavier on grains and greens, and meat will shift from the center of the dish to a supporting role–the role it’s played throughout history in most of the world’s cuisines.

The next trend is fresh foods.
Citing Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market format, which opened earlier this month and stocks many varieties of fresh foods and prepared meals, “fresh” is hot. Frozen food products to look for include those cooked with steam in special microwave packages — such as Rosetto Steam’n Eat Ravioli.

The proliferation of high-nutrient foods – is another very much evolving trend. New superfruits will emerge, such as the Chinese yumberry, and is used in a new line of drinks from Frutzzo Natural Juice.  Expect large mainstream manufa
urers to be getting into superfruits.

As a market becomes more difficult, so innovation is increasingly necessary. The global whole grain and high fiber foods market is projected to reach about US$21 billion by 2010. Innovation that embraces today’s, and tomorrow’s trends, will be key to success.


All about map mashups and local content.
Geography is about everything that is (literally) close to consumers, and it’s a universally familiar method of organizing, finding and tracking relevant information on objects, events and people. We’re getting close to the “Local Wide Web“. Maps are an intrinsic part of local search.

Made-in-SF Laptop Messenger wrapped in a San Francisco street map. It doesn’t get more local than this.

Multiple Exposures

Having a plan of attack to address multiple consumer touch points.

In researching and planning a PR strategy, designing or promoting a new product, consider input and exposure from multiple viewpoints.

If you really want to get an idea of how your product will be perceived or used by a wide group of consumers in diverse venues and situations; pitch, position and package it multiple times, from the viewpoint of a different audience each time.

Provide them with the same general information, benefits, features, but take careful note of how they interpret and react to it differently. This can tell you more about the product/service than you thought you knew in addition to providing you with an idea of the most effective way to market/promote it.

New products contain complex interrelated functions for multiple consumer demographics thereby creating uncertainties about precisely which solution path to take. Optimal positioning can often not be anticipated beforehand.

There’s no room in the marketplace for all things and all people, so you need to figure out how to be something to somebody.  At the get-go in planning, narrow your audience and be unique, you need to embrace the niche and the out of the ordinary.

It is important to have a plan of attack and address each touch point, whether it’s gender, generation or geography.

Let’s take the kitchen. One place for everyone, or is it? The average American spends three to four hours in the kitchen each day. But various groups view and use the kitchen very differently, in food prep, for gaming and crafting, or simply entertaining.

Even if you are selling one product, you need to think about the entire kitchen experience and how this impacts the way you segment and cross-sell and promote your merchandise in multiple ways.

As consumer groups view the kitchen differently, OEMs will increasingly take the different generational attitudes into consideration when designing and marketing their products.

The Gen Y group is completely connected and wired all day. Most rent, are still in school, or are just entering the workforce.

GenX is typically raising a family, so the kitchen is a family communications hub for them. It involves creating shared experiences and enjoying life’s simpler pleasures. This is a new generation of cooking enthusiasts, and “gastrosexuals” a breed of men who consider cooking cool and use it to impress friends.

Baby boomers are either entering the empty-nester phase or are experiencing children and/or parents moving back in with them. This group is going to need to work longer than planned, but with an overall commitment to wellbeing. They are still the highest group of disc
retionary income for housewares. Their kitchen is about rejuvenation. Where is your product positioned in that mindset, in this environment?

Prime timers are concerned with safe aging-in-place. They want to grow old where they are, they are inventing themselves, their focus is on ergonomics and intuitive design. Help these consumers save money and offer options that make home food prep easier. Products like pressure cookers, slow cookers, airtight storage and canning products are gaining in popularity and are helping people to live within their means.

For big reach, you have to create niche (smaller) marketing tactics that provide inspiration, excitement and education, like Try Me’s, POP displays, in store demos, and newsletters…that respects the consumer divide.

Whether you are a retailer or manufacturer, you have to show that you understand the specific enthusiast.


Fast Finds

So much new technology on the horizon!
I'll be capturing my "fast finds" in this blog…

Here’s a new one out in market today…Inhaled Chocolate. A new inhaler concept named Le Whif is a revolutionary gastronomic gadget developed by scientists, allowing chocoholics to enjoy all the treats they can handle for zero calories.
A chocoholic's dream!

The device lets users breathe in chocolate to curb cravings and satisfy their sweet tooth. Invented by Harvard professor David Edwards, he is launching four different flavors: raspberry, mint, mango and plain. Edwards worked with his students at Harvard University to develop the product and said he was inspired by thinking beyond normal ways of eating food and into the future.

He says: ”We’ve been eating smaller quantities at shorter and shorter intervals. Eating was tending toward breathing, so, with a mix of culinary art and aerosol science, we've helped move eating habits to their logical conclusion. We call it whiffing." It fills your mouth with almost pure chocolate – it tastes really good. It's zero calorie, so could also be used as the new diet tool.

Inhaling chocolate flavor is only the beginning – where will this innovation go next?
Consider the sense of smell. When was the last time you actually stopped and smelt flowers, took a deep breath of sea air or let your nose flirt with freshly baked bread? The sense of smell is one of the most powerful and advanced forms of human interaction with our surroundings, but one that has very often been overlooked as a medium of communication.

According to research by Millward Brown, it is estimated that by the end of 2009 over 35% of Fortune 500 companies will adopt the concept of sensory branding. Of the five senses, the sense of smell is by far the most powerful yet also the most underexploited medium through which to connect brand and consumer.

Defining brands through scent.


In-Context Package Design

Understanding people’s desire so you can intersect it.
Understanding people’s influence so you can leverage it.
Consumers are far more sophisticated now and they are looking for something they can relate to. Recently, a few marketers have begun to realize that they will lose the consumer’s attention if they continue attempts to “shout” over competing brands. Today’s consumers are savvier than ever. They can see right through yesterday’s marketing keywords such as “new” and “improved,” and they are searching for meaningful brand connections.

In this economy, it’s about toning down the “noise” in today’s crowded retail space and standing for value in the consumer’s mind. It’s about understanding that the complete package with a sensory experience, will contribute to a brand identity that stands out in a crowded marketplace.

Value isn’t just about price. In fact, battling competitors in a price war to achieve the lowest price is the road to eroding brand value with consumers. Other brand assets should be leveraged to create value. For example packaging that is so well-designed, consumers want to interact with the brand it represents over and over again.  Rather than containing mundane products they need to use, consumer packaging can deliver something so extraordinary, it adds enjoyment and pleasure—thus a value-added perception–to everyday items.
Is your company packaging experience?
Rethinking package design can lead to an all-important second moment of truth (SMOT) with consumers. Adding a new aesthetic to functionality can accomplish that.

-This creamer package embodies function, pleasure and style. Consumers say they often are performing another task simultaneously while preparing coffee, but many creamer packages make it difficult for them to multi-task. Product Ventures collaborated with WhiteWave on the research and created a more European-like, ergonomic new bottle with flip-top cap design, while also retaining the brand’s message of continued pleasurable and enjoyable brand experience, making consumers feel pampered during the coffee making ritual.
Effective design communication can “trigger” a bundle of emotions and positive attitudes that increase the likelihood of consumer purchases. Some examples:

-New product from a SONIC and Microsoft collaboration.
Computer mice are typically packaged in a clear shell following the contour of the product like a second skin, allowing user not only to visually inspect the product from multiple angles, but also to check if the ergonomics of a particular mouse shape works for them. There are many advantages making a product accessible to our five senses. It is part of human nature not only to look at objects of interest, but also to hear, touch, smell, and eventually to taste them.
To experience something untouchable on the other hand leaves room for our imagination; it triggers curiosity and desire. Out of reach, it can elevate the value perception and emphasizes on the emotional and inspirational benefits of a product. SONIC developed a package that intentionally separates the merchandise from the outside world. Unlike any other product in this category, the mouse is placed sideways highlighting the innovative folding mechanism and beautiful product profile. Positioned as a lifestyle product and catered to a hip and fashion conscious target audience the mouse is featured completely intangibly in a clear-folded plastic box to convey the premium nature of the product.
-This Shiseido bottle may look like a beauty product or a sophisticated skin cosmetic, but a closer look at the inside proves you wrong.
Those are hexagonal pills! The bottle refers to water and earth, with the green and blue colors. The underlying concept behind this new brand of supplementary health tablets from the Japanese cosmetics company is the belief that from good health and well being flows true beauty. The product is made using grasses found growing on high cliff-tops by the sea in eastern Japan. The designer refrains from plastering the design with obvious health-evoking imagery and instead attempts to subtly point to the water, temperatures and environment.

Identify Touch-Points and Emotional-Triggers. It’s tempting to jump right into its aesthetics. What should first be considered, however, is how you can cultivate the creation of moments of engagement between the consumer and the brand, and the emotions and associations these moments foster.

With the shift in consumer and market behavior that will drive packaging trends, what can we expect to see in 2010 and beyond?

-Multiple-Solutions Design:

Companies are turning to design to address the economic reality as well as new consumer sensibilities. Innovative packaging is one means of combating the high cost of resources and delivering products more efficiently. (For example Walmart’s redesigned milk container has reduced shipping labor by 50 percent and water usage by 60 to 70 percent. The new packaging enables Walmart to stock 224 containers in a space that used to hold 80!)

Too much category packaging looks similar, so how about investing in structural packaging? Structural packaging is a standout; new innovations and unique package structures become easy brand identifiers over time, and strong differentiators on the retail shelf. A structurally distinguished package also can refer back to the brand in a decisive manner.

-Lotus Splendour Lancome’s extraordinary launch this February. The lotus head packaging splits open to reveal three petals containing lip and eye products and a mini mirror, each leaf hinges & clicks back neatly and seamlessly into the weighted base by using hidden magnetic closures.
Estuche Grand Class, best carton award/confectionery.

-Heightened Point of Difference:
Eye-popping new graphics and visuals also might be considered. Some of the world’s most visible and celebrated brands benefit from new graphic architecture. Remember Pepsi-Cola’s pop art bottles last year? And Coca-Cola’s this year? Established brands can become tired, and nothing generates new excitement for products like engaging, daring new packaging that plays into today’s cultural values.
Employ bold design to showcase valuable differentiation and communicate a proactive message to the marketplace. Now is the time to take a deep breath, be brave and unleash hi-visible design with a clear point of difference.

The trend is toward less cluttered but more compelling graphics and clear copy.

-Ultra-stylish ‘Mockingbird’ beer bottles. They are the kind of bottles you want to be seen drinking from and not pouring the brew into a glass. Gorgeous, pearl-clad women holding birds, legs, and female silhouettes adorn the bottles. Under the cap of each are fun little quotes like, “Birds of a feather rock together” and “it’s good to be a little bit crazy.”

-Cheetos goes bi
time. Building on its track record as the most mischievous and playful snack brand in the world – not to mention a rich history of cheesiness – Frito-Lay’s Cheetos brand just announced one of the BIGGEST innovations to ever come out of the snack food industry – Giant Cheetos snacks.

Green With A Twist:
Approach sustainability with a healthy dose of perspective. Many companies are asking if sustainability will lose relevance in the current economic climate. Research says that it is more important than ever before. With all things being equal – price, efficacy, quality – a green benefit can be the tiebreaker. Consumers reveal that consciousness may also be inspired by a sense of hope for the future, and a desire to do and to feel good.
Most Americans don’t understand companies’ green claims. Even though consumer desire is increasing to live more sustainably, they are confused and looking to companies to provide a laser-focused direction on how their products and services will help them do that.
The food and beverage category is central to perceptions of sustainability. Consumers view the category as salient to all zones of sustainability and make direct connections between food and the earth.

Consumers are also looking for personal benefits in green products. Think about green where design, lifestyle and packaging meet.

-Pangea Organics, glueless carton packaging innovation.
-New eco-friendly mascara from Physician’s Formula.
-Trek Wine Karafe, reusable aluminum bottle.

-Treepac, a new design concept for solving the problem of single use shipping and mailing packages as a reusable container intended to replace cardboard boxes.
-Xooma X20, water enhancement product in packets, with BPA-Free reusable water bottles.

Being green is becoming a key factor in the way consumers view companies and each other. Even consumers who aren’t green or still confused, are getting pressure from their children, parents, friends and peers at work…green is a huge power.

There is a need for a company to be legitimate with its green claims. Consumers are asking for green, but the reality is that even with a lot of misinformation, these very connected consumers will call you out on false claims.

Consumer Pull, Technology Push

Product triggers fall into two main categories: market pull and market push. Pull refers to the demand by the market for a product or product features not currently offered by your company. Sometimes competing products may be edging ahead of your current products, creating enhanced demand for catch-up, or sometimes there may be market needs not currently satisfied by any existing product. Technology push refers to the availability of a new technology creating an opportunity for innovation. This new technology could be a new material, manufacturing process, or new design concept.

Successful product design innovation depends on analysis, and asking the right questions. In marketing, it is new products that are meant to pique the interest of consumers and thereby stimulate demand at stores, restaurants and dealer showrooms.

This is a very good time for brands to get out there in new and different ways, because of the economy; consumers are talking about reassessing their brand favorites. The new product pitches are coming from all manner of marketers, from global behemoths — among them Campbell Soup, General Mills, Mars and Unilever — to family-owned companies like Sargento Foods.

One reason to stay the course on new products is that they can offer marketers new reasons to reach out to consumers when the impulse may be to pull back. So marketers and designers will often produce ideas for products in response to market forces. Consumer pull. Examples of these market influences include:
-A demand from consumers for new or improved products.
-A new/competing product launched by another manufacturer.
-A manufacturer wants to increase market share with brand extensions.

-Häagen-Dazs five ice creams feature the cleanest, most minimal layout ever for their new ice creams, made with just five ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, eggs + the flavor ingredient.

-FarCoast is a premium brand of freshly brewed coffees, teas and cocoas. Designed by Mint for The Coca-Cola Company, the visual language and identity system for the new brand and each of the 17 blends feature customized illustrations, wordmarks, patterns and color palettes.
-21st-century redesign of a treasured Georgian classic, new packaging for Fortnum & Mason are a great improvement on the original packaging. The labels look like a coat of arms which automatically give them more elegance.

Occasionally a designer will design a new or improved product simply because they feel that it is needed or because a demand will be created by the very existence of the product. Designs like this may succeed or fail, depending on consumer demand, how innovative the product is, and the state of the market. Does it meet the design need or situation? Does it fit the purpose for which it is intended?

-Cold Stone as a good example is bringing out, and promoting, new extension products. Their goal is to introduce some new products that will encourage consumers to go with the family to the “ice cream parlor.”Ice cream cupcakes, blended coffee drinks, Jell-O Pudding Ice Cream and a line of cheesecakes…the hope is that amid the changes consumers are making in buying habits, they’re still looking for that 10-minute vacation at Cold Stone.

Line extension development requires an understanding of current market trends as well as implementation of these trends into the development of a product that will renew interest and extend the life cycle of the product. To hedge their bets on the multimillion-dollar costs of introductions, many marketers bring out new products under the banner of brands that consumers already know well.

Surveys of the commercial success of products triggered by either market pull or technological push show that market pull products are three times as likely to succeed. Not even the most technically awe-inspiring new product will sell if consumers do not want to buy it. This does not diminish the importance of technology push as a trigger for new development. It just means that the technological excellence of an idea is not sufficient, on it’s own, to make the new product successful. Thorough and detailed market research is needed to ensure that the new technology is fulfilling a real consumer need. One of my favorite bloggers and thought-leaders Seth Godin said this so simply in his blog today: “What does BETTER mean? Are zippers better?”

He writes: “For years, I always wore jeans with a zipper. After all, zippers are better. They’re faster and easier and they do what they’re told. What an amazing invention! How did we survive without zippers? Last year, just for kicks, I bought a pair of jeans with a button fly. Middle age crisis, I guess. Now, that’s all I wear. Buttons are better. How can buttons be better? They’re archaic. They take a long time. They’re difficult. Except that I like the way they look. And since I like them better, they are better.
This is a hard lesson for marketers, particularly technical marketers, to learn. You don’t get to decide what’s better. I do. If you look at the decisions you’ve made about features, benefits, pricing, timing, hiring, etc., how many of them are obviously ‘better’ from your point of view, and how many people might disagree? There are very few markets where majority rule is the best way to grow.”

Look for where the pull is.

Designing for Multi-Touch

Innovation at Your Fingertips: ways to re-imagine.
Until recently, the closest most of us got to experience gestural computing interfaces were in futuristic Hollywood films like Minority Report. But with the advent of the iPhone and Wii, gestural UI is now common place — and in its infancy.

As Dan Saffer says in his book Designing for Interaction-“tap is the new click.”
Nice review of D4I by Michael Cummings on his blog: “One of the many strengths of his book (aside from Dan’s depth of insight and breadth of experience) is that he ties together so many varied perspectives on interaction design, to include those of others (a good example for all designers) directly, through interviews. These serve as fitting diversions; quick, germane interviews with interaction design founders and luminaries.”

Microsoft’s Surface platform and other similar technologies, give us the ability to re-imagine everyday experiences on a grand scale — whether it be retail, social or play.

Faster Focus

Innovation full speed ahead-the new reality for product development.
The new consumer is shifting their focus faster. Faster paced preference change is the new reality and time to market and corporate agility are the new corporate capabilities.

Innovation isn’t just about new product design, it’s about reaching and interacting with the consumer in new and different ways. The new consumer is no longer nuclear. Hyper-nicheing is the new brand reality. The new product is up-side down as innovation changes –connected partnerships are the key ways to speed things up. Interactivity is the new brand foundation. Social-networks are the new brand influencers.

Illusory Perceptions

We seem to be looking for illusions. We live in a constantly evolving, artificial environment, submerged in computerized simulation, and virtual reality. We change our surroundings and personal appearance at will. Boundaries between man, technology and space are elusive, difficult to describe or capture.


I see a growing interest in the changing, ever-evolving nature of life on earth, resulting in emerging new and altered patterns. This mood carries into sports, products, lifestyle, and environments. Traditional distinctions between the seasons blur, day/night merge and urban/rural activities inverse.

There is also a movement in our “real” world placing value in the beauty of transience, particularly in relation to nature – letting unpredictable forces take control. I see consumers experimenting. Exploring subtle interactions with their existing environments, adding movement and adapting to a transient fleeting world.

In line with this mood, there seems to be a re-appreciation of light. In design, its diffused and translucent qualities add an ethereal element.

Here one moment, gone the next:

Developed by the Graffiti Research Lab, a division of the Eyebeam R&D OpenLab, LED Throwies are an inexpensive way to add colour to any magnetic surface.

To make a Throwie all you need is a lithium battery, a 10mm diffused LED and a rare-earth magnet taped together. This inventive DIY form of graffiti throws a new light on tagging.