How to avoid inflexible design

How to avoid inflexible design

A couple of months ago I heard a podcast on the how to make change with the fewest number of coins. I learned that in the UK, self service checkout machines are generally not very efficient about the process. While the mathematical challenge intrigued me, it is the design problem that has stuck with me, because it highlights the challenges we face we don’t consider that the tools we build may need to adapt to broader contexts of use.



Aesop for analysts: why storytelling matters in business

Aesop for analysts: why storytelling matters in business

Storytelling is an important skill for anyone who works with data and turning insights into action. A story is more than an account of incidents or events.  It is a path to understanding, and serves a purpose greater than simply relaying information, because good narrative can enable decision makers to both see the import of the data, and see the path to action.

A quick guide to not driving to Canada

A quick guide to not driving to Canada

Tell me if you’ve heard this before — a Lyft driver with a programmed GPS (almost) ends up in the wrong country. No, not the one where the Uber driver got stuck on stairs, or for that matter any of myriad examplesof people blindly following a magical machine voice, with morals about the dehumanization power of machines. My story is about how machines, or perhaps, more appropriately, the algorithms that run them, need to be considered as active agents in social interactions, albeit ones that do not behave in the same way as human actors.

Seven things startups (and everybody) should know before talking to customers

Seven things startups (and everybody) should know before talking to customers

One of my many activities I enjoy is mentoring entrepreneurs and startups. A key part of the startup playbook is talking to customers. On the philosophy that everyone could (and should) be talking to other people, that means there are a lot of these conversations happening. Here are 7 key things to keep in mind, before, during, and after customer interactions.

Does magic have a role in design and innovation?

Does magic have a role in design and innovation?

As an anthropologist, I am familiar with the interplay between magic and science and the seemingly divergent realms of rational scientific process and causality through magical association. Often the lines between them are not so distinct as we might like to believe that they are. The same holds true In business, where the belief that following certain (rational) processes, steps or frameworks will, by (magical) association, lead to desired results.