What we read this week (27 Apr)

The Internet Fridge Factor, GPS’s clever sibling, what real user-focused design looks like, spotting the future and what influence social media and new technology have on the way we interact socially.

Quotes of the week

Change is the only certainty, today is the slowest rate of change we will ever experience, and those who are most responsive to change stand the greatest chance of survival.

Jonathan MacDonald

Smart cities will be places that foster creativity, where citizens are generators of ideas, services and solutions, rather than subservient and passive recipients of them.

Usman Haque

Articles of the week

  • The Atlantic: Social Media’s Small, Positive Role in Human Relationships
    There is an interesting, heated discussion taking place on how technology influences the way we interact with other people. Sherry Turkle, on the one hand, believes that we’re increasingly sacrificing true, deep social interaction for superficiality as a result of new technologies. David Banks counters this stance, demonstrating point by point the flaws he sees in Turkle’s argumentation. This article, by Zeynep Tufekci, makes an excellent case for the benefits of social media.
  • Wired: How to Spot the Future
    The future is fickle, and hard to predict. Yet there are some patterns that can help us figure out trends early on. All it takes is the effort to look, and these seven guidelines by Wired magazine’s executive editor Thomas Goetz. Hint: If you want to spot the next big thing, look for those ideas/companies/people who fit not just one, but several of these characteristics.
  • Co.Design: The Apple Way: How The Second-Gen Nest Thermostat Evolves To Help Users
    The Nest thermostat’s “small, thoughtful improvements that help users” make it an exemplary piece of product design. The designers went out of their way to make the Nest friendlier to use, even inventing a new type of screw (and matching screwdriver) that would allow it to be fixed easily to drywall. Here we see what it means for a company to have its users’ best interests at heart, and how this attitude is the best kind of marketing there is.
  • ExtremeTech: Think GPS is cool? IPS will blow your mind.
    You have probably never heard of IPS before. Think of it as the much more precise brother of GPS. And it will have as many – if not more – implications. IPS, or Indoor Positioning System, would let you know not just where a shopping center is, for instance, but where the shops inside it are. This article sketches out some thoughts on how IPS might be applied in interesting ways.
  • Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino: The Internet Fridge Factor
    In this blogpost, Alexandra discusses product ideas – such as jetpacks and internet fridges – that catch on to an extent in people’s minds, but don’t quite make it to properly useful implementation. See the slideshow at the bottom of the article to find out more about the Internet Fridge Factor’s relevance in terms of the Internet of Things.

Author: Maddie

Maddie is a strategist and researcher. She spends much of her time on the think tank side of Third Wave, and enjoys getting into the details of many different topics at once. Through this foraging for information, she finds ways to apply knowledge from one field in new, seemingly disparate ones, both in client work and other research. She holds an interdisciplinary BA in Computer Science, Linguistics and German, and has previously worked at VCCP and at the Science Gallery in Dublin.