Product design

“Novel ideas by themselves have no impact on society. It is their implementation that separates invention from innovation.”

We were talking “innovation” at work so I thought I would pull out this article. Innovation is such a buzz word it seems, to me at least; it loses its meaning each time it is uttered. But it’s meaning is concrete.

“innovation is more than just the generation of novel ideas or the dissemination of knowledge, it is about making a change or doing something in a new way.”

This distinction is crucial. Novel ideas by themselves have no impact on society. It is their implementation that separates invention from innovation.

In other words, good ideas are not enough. In my day job as Fairfax’s resident mad professor we have a battle cry of “Demo or Die!” which I feel sums up the sentiment accurately. If we can’t demonstrate implementation, then the idea doesn’t have legs.

published in the SMH September 24, 2011:–mirrors/australia-a-nati…


WebDU 2012

It’s been a few years since my last webDU so this year’s conference was a reunion of sorts with familiar faces, friends and dear old colleagues. I should point out that as a daemonite alumni I was a guest, so yes I am biased and I do think this conference is awesome. The staging was great, the food better and the speakers stellar. Did I mention there was ice-cream?

There is no point in me sharing the 16 pages of notes I took over he 2 days—that would be a pretty tedious conference review. So, what I thought I would do is share the reasons you might want to follow up on the session slide deck and speaker profile. So here goes …

Terry Ryan from Adobe evangelising device testing then showing us Shadow

Terry Ryan, Adobe, Keynote Day 1 and Semantic HTML
Reason to click

Shane Morris on Microsoft’s Metro design language
Reason to click

John Bristowe – Make awesome web
Reason to click

Alex Danila (Google) – on the new shiny of HTML 5
Reason to click

  • Updates on new attributes and native applications of HTML 5: camera, microphone and more.
  • <canvas>

Mia Horrigan – The unsubscribed: designing for conversion
Reason to click

Dale Rankine – Mr Spock! Consumerise the enterprise
Reason to click

Marcus Shappi– the internet of things
Reason to click

Matthew Hodgson – The trouble with time travel
Reason to click

  • Case studies on two different agile project frameworks and the lessons learned in using them to create collaboration between UXers and developers.
  • Follow up for user workshop/design research  ideas.
  • Slidedeck

Of course, the above is just my view of the conference. I’m not a developer so if you want to follow up on the techier talks check out the the webDU site. I also have neglected to divulge the hilarity of Dmitry Baranovskiy’s you’re just not doing it right JavaScript comments on the speaker round table and the inspirational and thoughtful Colin James day 2 keynote. That deserves a blog post all to itself.

Until next year.


Tim Hughes – the business and future of online travel, 2 May 2012 at FED

Tim Hughes on the couch with Brad Howarth
Getaway Lounge is a daily deals site for travel with its brand leveraged from Channel 9’s TV show of the same name. It’s CEO Tim Hughes, also a blogger on the online travel industry was on the couch at FED last Wednesday.

Tim Hughes chatting with Brad Howarth of FED

Hughes talked about the challenge of selling travel with the short lead time of a “deal”, the advantage of a television plug to build your database and the importance of SEM, but mostly he talked about search. The future of search to be exact — recommendations and natural language queries that can help customers decide where to go next and give them ideas about their upcoming holiday. That future isn’t here yet, hence the relevance and current viability of traditional travel retailers, so it will be interesting to see what the  innovators in the space do and how the incumbents respond.

The Work Experience

Are we switching off after hours? Adam Turner reports from SMH

A new survey from Human Resources vendor NorthgateArinso claims that Australians are actually getting better at saying “no” to work. According to the survey results; 

– Fewer workers make work-related calls from home this year (24%) than last year (36%)

– Fewer workers check emails at home this year (38%) versus last year (46%)

– Fewer workers feel that work is intruding on their personal life this year (39%) versus last (52%)

– Fewer companies are providing employees with laptops this year 24% versus last (35%)

I’m quite surprised by these results, except for the last figure because more organisations are encouraging staff to use their own laptops for work. NorthgateArinso’s ANZ managing director David Page thinks the shift could partly be to cultural change within organisations, as they realise that “online fatigue” can actually make workers less productive rather than more. This might be the case with some enlightened bosses, but I expect they’re in a minority.