Design Language

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Good design was what drove Dieter Rams forward in the 20th century, from the materials he used to dress the machines he was designing for; to the user interfaces that delighted his users. No design opportunities were spared - from the little details of the product to the emotional experience of the packaging.

For design-driven companies to communicate a clear story, message or experience to the user, it must have control over every user's touch point, from the time they step into the store to the usage of the product. Modern industrial design is used today to achieve a clear presentation of product functionality and engaging experiences that will eventually intensify the user's appreciation for their products.

Insanely Great Design

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I have always been fascinated with Apple products and their ability to create delightful experiences for the user. The book that I am reading right now is entitled Keep it Simple by Hartmut Esslinger, a German-American designer who to my surprise was responsible for helping Apple re-imagine how its products would look like in the future. What drove all of this was a design language called Snow White.

Hartmut Esslinger was not even an Apple employee back in 1982 when he first met Steve. He was already running his design firm called Frog Design and was well on his way to design products for Sony and Louis Vuitton. But Steve wanted to drive design first at Apple, and that was a rare opportunity for Esslinger to experience even in his industry.

While reading his book, I was blown away to find out that his design influences on Steve's thinking and Apple's products have stood the test of time until today. Even back in 1982, they were already thinking about how the Mac Book and iPad would look and feel, even to the extent of building prototypes for those products. Designing is not easy. Great designers design for the future in mind so that the company's DNA, culture and vision can be conveyed over many decades.

Evolution Of Tech

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Not many saw it coming, but the futurist and technologist have been waiting patiently for technology to catch up with humans, and like any loving parents, they too would like to see their techno child take form and stand alongside us.

It started with the pre-agricultural revolution when humans were hunters and gatherers, culminating a whole range of skills to survive in the wild. Fast forward in time came the post-industrial revolution, where humans began to specialise themselves in order to develop greater things as an organisation, opening up the opportunity for mass-production and mass-comsumption, but they could not achieve this without the advancement of technology.

Capitalists soon realise that technology and automation were the key drivers to increase profits. Henry Ford took advantage of machine automation during his time by introducing the assembly line, and now banks like Axis and Deutsche are using Robotic Processing Automation to automate their processes, making RPA a $29 billion industry by 2021.

Technology now armed with algorithms, fast computational power and memory that never clears, marches on to take over our specialise work, especially in the service sector that hardly requires any physical needs, only good cognitive capabilities to perform the work. Cognitive needs are what technology is excellent at, and AI with its algorithms are poised to prove to us all that it can do a better job.

There are no surprises here that technology is competing with us today. Jobs are already being replaced by bots and machines over time, with higher precision, driven by smart algorithms to make calculated decisions based on a large amount of data, far beyond what we could do today. So it is humans versus machines, will we rise to the calling of finding new jobs and opportunities as technology replaces our 20th-century job roles?

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/paularmstrongtech/2016/08/17/technology-vs-human-who-is-going-to-win-an-interview-with-gerd-leonhard/#2a69884249cd

  2. https://www.ynharari.com/book/sapiens/

  3. https://automationedge.com/robotic-process-automation-rpa-in-banking-industry/

Digital Governments

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The way we want to engage our government is rapidly changing due to the advent of powerful smartphones and high-speed networks like 5G, which can enable people in remote areas to now access the government much easier. Gone were the days when we dread the long queues at the government offices, an effort that would have cost us unnecessary time and money.

For governments who are not able to leverage on cutting edge technologies to serve their demanding citizen's needs will soon find it difficult to compete with other digital governments who may already be adopting AI to drive their systems and processes.

Digital governments who are able to manage large amounts of data from their citizen’s engagements can start to develop insights for service improvements; or provide a richer network across the public sector to improve collaboration and cultivate innovation.

So what can non-digital governments do to transform themselves quickly?

Some would suggest starting with the basics by first understanding what is the current pains points and needs of the citizens and then decide to group the relevant government services around those needs. Governments in Singapore and New Zealand have been quick to accept their citizens as their customers and to serve them the same way any private company would. Satisfaction and customer experience are critical factors for consideration; therefore government services should be designed around the citizen that empowers them with personalisation, virtualisation, automation and self-service. This is better known as the citizen-focused mindset.

My personal opinion, start with the top man in the government to drive the change in mindsets to move from a service-focused mindset to a citizen-focused mindset and recognise shared accountability across the government officers to drive new value for their citizens.

  1. http://fortune.com/2018/10/08/what-is-5g/

  2. http://time.com/5087385/why-you-shouldnt-be-afraid-of-artificial-intelligence/

  3. https://www.ey.com/my/en/industries/government---public-sector/ey-digital-government

  4. https://hbr.org/2016/01/how-local-governments-are-using-technology-to-serve-citizens-better