Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Evolutionary Design: Stokke's Sleepi - Part 2

Now what makes the design of the Stokke's Sleepi children's bed so significantly WOW so much so that I am raving about it so much?

Well firstly, the design itself is a possible, well almost perfect actually, model for another way product can be designed to be sustainable. The usual idea of Sustainable Design that is propounded is more geared towards ensuring that the 'birth-to-grave' factors or considerations of a product that is being designed is considered as a afterthought of sorts, meaning that designers are working with the natural eventuality that a product would eventually be outlived by her users...meaning that there is no sort of design 'future-proofing' or evolutionary design functions that are inbuilt into the product/s itself to ensure that the product grows, or 'evolves' with the natural progression of her user/s. So like the clothes that we are wearing, once we outgrew it, we will either throw it away, or hand it down to others that are more able to fit into them, if it is not torn or soiled in the first place! This is even more so when you consider that the Stokke's Sleepi is targeted to young children, an age group of which most of their products do have a very short, or a relatively shorter'buy-to-bin' time cycle! Interesting isn't it.

Another thing that impresses me too is the evolutionary design that the designer/s have so thoughtfully taken into account. As a child grows and his or her physical size and needs grow, the bed itself is also able to 'evolve' accordingly, albeit with some help and additional purchases by the parents. But what I like to impress upon here is that fact that the product life cycle here is able to be extended through this design evolution, rather than taking the eventuality that a product can only be extended for only THAT long!

Here are some snapshots of the bed that I would like to highlight:

The first snapshot on the left reveals the basic function as a bed for very oung children. One would notice the enclosed nature of the bed, as a means to give both the user and the parents peace of mind.

The second picture shows that as a child grows bigger, her needs of being reassured, as well as her parents are still being met by the same product, but this time, with the bedding 'platform' itself being raised to meet the differing (and taller) physical requirements of a growing child!

As a child grows bigger and become more mobile and agile, the bed itself evolves to cater to these demands. Being able to offer a 'gap' between the beds while at the same time, also offering some measure of safety to both parent and child through the subtle use of 'lower-looking' rails at the sides. The gap offers and meets the expectations of a growing child by offering her a quicker way of accessing and recessing from the bed freely too.

The last picture shows that as the child grows even older, her needs are still constantly being meet through some minor physical changes to the bed! Don't you think its cool, and so (R)evolutionary!?

So what happens when the child have outgrown the bed itself! What do you think would happen to the bed? Now this is where the final surprise kicks in! The parent can actually separate the bed into two separated partitions to form 2, yes, 2 chairs that the child can still use! I don't have the pictures here, but let me reassure you that it is possible!

Now that is what I call a Design (R)Evolution!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Evolutionary Design: Stokke's excellent model towards 'Product (design) Sustainability'?

My significant other and myself are anticipating our very first nephew from her side, and being the adoring aunt and uncle that we are, we have decided to get a baby pram for him! And true to the nature of my other half, she'll always be the one who will busy herself with marketing and product research of her intended purchases, whether she would eventually purchase it being of an insignificant factor at times! More often than not, her tastes and comments would be almost spot on, and somehow or rather would be almost be reflective of what I have in mind...well almost!

Anyway, while researching for a suitable baby pram for the newest member of the family, my other half and myself went through various models and brands of baby prams, of which only a significant few in numbers of brands, and an even fewer number in models of these brands, are of the variety that we would like to have, or to be used by our first nephew! And from one particularly momentous moment a few days ago, I've fallen in love with Stokke!

I think Stokke is one of the best, if not THE best, in terms of their design of user-centric products for the younger age group. And when I mean user-centric, I am not only talking about the the children (being the targeted end users) only, but also the user experiences of their parents! One of which that I have shown in the picture above is the design of their Stokke Sleepi children's bed.

Now what impresses me on the design of this particular bed is the evolutionary design thought and model that has really gone into its design. In this age of rapidly changing technological changes, where handphone models are in a constant change every quarter, and where every other product that adorns us are subjected to the same fashionista treatment like a 'Project Runway' of sorts, it is refreshing to see that the design intent at Stokke, and particularly of the Sleepi bed model that I have mentioned, takes into account the evolutionary (or revolutionary at times!) phases of the intended end users. In fact, could I say that this is perhaps an almost perfect, if not A perfect product design model that perhaps designers can adopt, in this current craze and pursuit of sustainability in design.

For more information on what I mean by this 'Evolutionary Design', please have a go at their Sleepi and other product collection!

What is your CQ?

It is indeed heartening to see that the local education system is now undergoing a paradigm shift of sorts, where the measure of excellence is not necessarily see from an academic perspective. What with the ideas of 'many peaks of excellence' being propounded by our own Prime Minister himself, it is good to see that the education system is now refocusing on its core business, i.e. educating.

But how then do we go from here? I read somewhere that tin any organization or system, when a performance ceiling has been reached, the only way for it to be breached is for one to look at creative and/or innovative means! I find it rather oxymoronic at times that whilst we are propounding out-of-the-box thinking, there is seemingly this sense of difficulty in really and actually moving out of 'this box'! What we have here are classic cases of a 'boxed-up yet out-of-the-box' approaches, and the thing about this is that it may work some of the time, but not necessarily at a scale significant enough to breach that 'ceiling'.

Which brings me back to the title of my entry for the day. Could we then teach CREATIVITY? I strongly believe we can, and in fact the general feeling that I share with some of my acquaintances is that it is in fact teachable. And in fact, I do personally and strongly believe that on top of cognitive and communication ability that our students are generally equipped right now, the third specific skill or quotient that they need to be equipped with is their CREATIVE QUOTIENT (CQ). But how do we then measure this? And how do we then have tests and assessments for this? Hmmm, so typical don't you think. But lest we forget that necessity is the mother of invention, coming out with a set of assessment or marking guidelines should be the least of our concerns at the moment. I mean it is only a matter of time before we have various assessment standards like SATs, GPAs, TOFEL and others just for measuring one's CQ! Give it time, and before you know it, we would definitely have one! :)

Which actually brings me back too to one of my previous posts, which is on DESIGN QUOTIENT (DQ). Wouldn't it be good to if we can develop something similar too? Any takers?

(picture source: )

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Peter Principle

I am currently reading Stephen Covey's 'The Speed of Trust', and though some of the principles and ideas that he propounds in this book are rather common-sensical, one thing that really sticks out to me is this idea of the the Peter Principle. In short the basic premise of this principle is that at times, people do get promoted to a state of incompetence! An oxymoronic principle don't you think? In fact, just like you, that was my first initial reaction when I came across it. But upon reading further, and delving further in to Stephen's reasoning, I do foresee some similarities of such a principle in my life, not that it is in a detrimental state or anything.

The basic idea is this: Let's say that a particular person, a Mr X has been particularly good at doing the operational matters in a certain organisation, hmmm and has been in fact an outstanding member and an excellent one at it! When the time comes for a promotion to a higher, more management-oriented position, guess who is the first to be promoted, the Mr X himself. Now in this new position, Mr X might be faced with an array of job specifications that would require him to do lesser of things that he WAS good in, and more of the things that he is NOT trained, or readied for! Since this new promoted position requires him to either learn a new set of skills, and to a certain or large extent, gives him a reduced opportunity to do the things that he was originally good at, what would you think would happen to him. Well the Peter Principle states that at times, Mr X, instead of becoming better at his new job, would in fact be at a state of incompetence, due to his inability to handle and cope with the rigours and demands of the new 'promoted' post! So there you see, there is a logical view to this oxymoronic statement.

Now, I do wonder at times, is this really happening to me? Hmmmm, sometimes I do feel it, but then again, at times, I do feel there is just this need to test and know your limits. And mind you, sometimes the Peter Principle occurs not because there is an inherent flaw in the promoted person's attitude, but I do think, more often than not, this is surely due to the mismatch of skills and expectations that the promotion entails.

But hey, this is the cynic in me blogging...