As part of our continued focus to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of techculture, a small group of us went to Lisbon this November to attend Web Summit 2016.
Here are this year’s highlights:
Concept ideation – reversed
Rasmus Skjoldan, Product Manager at Magnolia International Ltd. explained how he as a product developer is inspired by the way the automotive industry uses prototyping.
Conventional wisdom within the industrial design discipline is that you start out with a lot of ideas, which are then prioritized and refined down to only a few through an iterative process – which is also how the process typically rolls at Attention.
Interestingly enough, this process is somewhat reversed in the auto industry, where the development starts with the introduction of the concept car – a single, unified vision for what a car could be, which then becomes the inspiration for a number of concepts directions, models and features.
Getting ready for a drone-filled future
Airmap and DroneDeploy talked about how we will divide up the skies to allocate space for the coming wave of drones and other autonomous flying machines. An industry where regulation is hard to enforce because everybody can go and build their own rogue drone.
The use of drones has grown tremendously over the past couple of years, and they’re now being used in areas previously unimagined. When Attention attended the Drone Pop-Up Lab in Sweden earlier this year, some of the many uses and trends were revealed. Read the report here.
Designing at airplane-sized scale
The ever-inspiring Anne Pascual, Executive Design Director at IDEO, talked about designing at scale – how design processes can help companies explore how they’re able to scale their business in new ways.
While focusing on solving a particular issue, it is important that the team members are informed and aware of the different contexts that are related to this issue in order for them to be able to imagine how the solution might be scaled even further.
During the talk, Anne Pascual discussed several cases that IDEO has worked with, where ‘walking in the user’s shoes’ is key to developing the right solutions. One of these cases was their project with the airline company Lufthansa, where they built a full scale mock-up of the Airbus A380, which you can read more about here.
At Attention, we know that capturing the users’ experience is vital for the success of the products we develop. However, we were happy to experience that there is in fact an increased focus on the topic.
Get inspired by the man who bet millions of dollars on Instagram – alone
Steve Anderson, the man behind one of Silicon Valley’s most successful investment firms, Baseline Ventures, talked about the beginnings of his VC adventure and how he handles running the company alone in a culture where large VC companies are the norm.
He runs the company single-handedly, and he is placed the second highest on the Midas List (Forbes’ list of the world’s smartest tech investors) due to his very early bets on companies including Instagram. You can read Forbes’ interesting profile on the lone-wolf investor here.
To translate or to transform
In his talk “Designing the Next Industry Transformation” Frog CEO, Harry West, asked how company leaders and executives can catalyse the creative transformation that will carry their organisations into the future.
On the matter of going digital, West stated that companies should start thinking in “transformation rather than translation,” meaning that this new digital paradigm presents new challenges and opportunities that require new tools as well as new ways of thinking and acting.
At Attention, we often work with the challenge of integrating new digital technologies with the products we develop. But for the future we would like to see companies look more thoroughly into their business strategy before moving on with digital transformation.
When the disruptive technology is available, but the world isn’t ready for it
In their talk Making our Devices as Intelligent as Possible, Don Dodge from Google and Brian Subirana from MIT talked about how intelligent devices are impacting the world and what we can expect from emerging technologies.
As a common reference, Dodge and Subirana pointed out the smart phone as the intelligent device par excellence and used it as a benchmark to describe the impact that new technologies will have on everything from our homes, health, insurance, travel, eating habits, science, transportation etc.
When listening to a company like Google discuss this topic, you get a sense of just how influential and wide-ranging their efforts are.
Don Dodge said: “When it comes to new technology, too much is expected too soon. We’ve had self-driving cars at Google for many years, but governments, policy, security and infrastructure aren’t ready for it yet.”As an example of this, the EU is rolling out a new Data Protection Directive in 2018, which will take into account the incredible technological changes over the last twenty years.
Dr. Kyu Rhee, Chief Health Officer of IBM, presented news on how their Watson platform is helping the health care system in prevention, diagnostics and treatment by acting as the extended mind of doctors.
IBM takes advantage of the powerful data analytics technology to develop solutions that can empower their patients. In the talk, Dr. Rhee also explains how the digital health devices are moving away from popularization and towards personalization.
There is only one way to gather the insights that are needed to create personalization, and that is via the vast amount of data the users provide. But how do you get people to use the technology and engage with e.g. wearable fitness devices? Dr. Rhee explains: “If you look at millennials, they’re very comfortable sharing their data, if they get something back.”
And once you get people to use the technology, the engagement can be enhanced by the interconnection between people. For example, by connecting with friends and family, you can keep track of their movement and then nudge each other to be more active.
Leveraging this data to create a product that fits the user’s needs is one the main challenges we work with at Attention. Watch the full talk here.