Sunday, January 27, 2013

This Is Smart UX

Notice the small things. This is a paid service. It's important to get users to sign up. 
-The price is not in a bright red button "buy now". 
- You are told that you signed up before you actually completed the sign up process.
- You are asked to "Pledge" to start.

And many other small details. These few pictures are a great resource for nudging your customers towards activating them.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oyster Cards Died Today


Transport For London just announced that you can now use contact-less credit cards on any bus or underground tube station.

This is a great success for NFC technology (near field communication). And we are all one step forward to the obvious future: paying by taping your phone.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Future is Here: 3D Print show 2012

"The internet changed the world in the 1990's. It's about to change again" - 3D Print Show

What's a 3D Printer?

A 3D printer is a machine that prints physical products, layer by layer. It's a process called additive manufacturing. It's an old technology, which started in the 1980s. It's almost as old as the internet.

This is a sleek 3D printer for the home.[[posterous-content:pid___11]]

And this is one of the most popular 3D printers out there from Makerbot: The replicator 2.[[posterous-content:pid___12]]


What can you do with a 3D printer?

You can print physical objects out of digital models in different materials. Mainly, it's plastic. However there are 3D printers that can do it in gold, titanium, stainless steel, bio-materials, corn startch, chocolate, etc.

Here are a few examples for the show.


Who cares about 3D printing?

Manufacturers care. A lot of companies use 3D printers to prototype and test parts. It's faster and cheaper to do it this way. DIY and hackers care. It's a jewel for any maker who wants to make stuff. Businesses and retailers care. A 3D printer allows you to make a product only when a sale is made. So you don't need to have stock. You don't need to have to throw unsold products either.

And, Children care. I saw a lot of children playing around with 3D modeling software. They understand it. Maybe easily thanks to computer and console games.

Here is a game called printcraft. It let's children create their own structures and shapes using Mindcraft and then print them.


[[posterous-content:pid___5]]Here is another kid looking at a 3D model of himself. He was scanned using a $20,000 scanner for industry.[[posterous-content:pid___7]]And that's me![[posterous-content:pid___9]]

So what's the future for this?

I think the dream is obvious. The unspoken truth is this. One day, you will purchase your products online, on the iTunes of 3D printing. And you will click print. Then your 3D printer will print your product out with different materials. Voila!

Of course, we are very far away from this. However, something very similar is happening and it's close than you think. One of the things I discovered is a new market for business, retail and designers.

I think it will be known as Co-design. Let me explain it with an example. Imagine you want to buy this designer cup. (see picture below).[[posterous-content:pid___10]]

It's only available online. So you go to the online store, and you get the choice to buy it now, or customize it through an online 3D software for free. So you change the scale, you twist it a bit, you add your name, you add a color. And then you buy it. It get's 3D printed and sent to you.

As a designer who created this cup. You have to prepare your design to be co-designed. As in, prepare it to be modified and re-designed by others, many times. Some aspects of the design will be fixed. See this lamp for example. The scale, color, texture and pattern are fixed. What the consumer can do is modify it gently... And that changes everything.


This is a strong trend because it allows the consumer to have a bespoke "designer" product that is unique. For now, the perception of 3D printing is still positive and considered as different and innovative. What is exciting for designers is that they will have to exercise their ability through the open source and hacker culture. And there is a new criteria for good design:

Good design is redesignable.

It's such a great challenge to create a product that can evolve and change but still keeps it's DNA. Let's see what happens.

If you have thoughts or ideas/questions, just write them in the comments below.

A small note

At a time like this, I cannot but mention my country and my city. Lebanon is going through a tough time. The assassination of brigadier general of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces Wissam al Hassan on Friday killed 8 other people and changed the lives of 100 others in Beirut. Since then, fighting and protests irrupted many places around the country. The tension is enforcing political and sectarian devide between communities in Lebanon. At a time like this, I cannot but ask Beirut to stay strong, stay safe and stay united.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crowdsourcing Innovation for Communities

If you missed it. Here is the talk I gave at Stanford University in April 2012 at the AMENDS conference. In the video I am speaking about how you can use Project Better to crowdsource innovation on a scale of a community. And how people's ideas can inspire inventors and entrepreneurs.

Project Better creates spaces for ideas. It makes it easy for a community to start a conversation about "something". Whatever that "something" is.




Friday, June 15, 2012

To Visualize A Business Model In Beirut


Graphic Designers. Branding Experts. Product Designers. Human Resources Advisors. And Consultants. These people are participating in one workshop. What do they have in common?

This. They are starting, or just started, a business in Beirut.

And they are taking an avant-garde approach to entrepreneurship. It’s the rise of design. Design entrepreneurship.

In Mirada Madrid’s workshop, they will learn how to Visualize a Business Model. And I will share with you a few ideas on how it might help you, and your project.

Plus, you can download all the tools for free at the end of this post.

So in a nutshell, the workshop is based on the Business Model Generator. And their famous Business Model Canvas.

1) It Let's you 'see' things

It's always surprising what people make with sticky notes, markers and glue. Visualizing your business model let's you have a holistic image of your work. See beyond 'Supplier' and 'Customer'. And understand:

Cost structures. Revenue streams. Key Activities. Coopetition. Channels... All this in one visual experience.

2) Uncover peek times


By setting up your milestones and projects into stages. And spreading them onto a timeline, you get to see when you are under pressure. You also find where there is potential to grow and develop your business.

3) Fast prototype your business

One of the beautiful things about the Business Model Canvas is that you see the links between the different parts of your business. This lets you then prototype different business models by just switching around elements and substituting them with new assumptions.

4) Kill procrastination

I think this is the powerful effect of Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 visualizing your business model. Business Model Canvas let's you have a handmade and colorful infographic of your business. It simplifies your 40 page business plan into one canvas. It let's you know that the things you have been stressing about are not so.... stressful! Majority of the participants said that they now know what they are supposed to DO for their projects.


Visualizing your Business Model brings the creativity of design into the strategies of business. Here is where you can get all the tools to do it yourself, for free.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What scares me about Lebanon Now

I am writing this as I listen to the speeches from Tripoli at the funeral of the sheikh Abdel Wahed.

Religious figures and politicians asked for the execution of the soldiers who shot sheikh Abdel Wahed.

They blamed the government, Hizballah and the army for being biased and following the orders of Syria.

A group of heavily armed men from Akkar say that they do not follow any political leaders. They demanded the retreat of the army from Akkar and giving them the soldier who shot Sheikh Abdel Wahed. Before sundown.

Tonight, I think there is an 80% chance that roads will be closed again.

If you want to make a change, I want to tell you what is difficult. I don't have solutions.

The slice of lebanese society that are engaged in this discourse are far away from you. They do not speak like you and they do not live like you. This is why you will have difficulties communicating with them and convincing them.

This is not a civil war. Which means its not about showing love between different religious figures. This is an internal war, which means its about justice, anger and honor. This means people want their right or they will take matters in their own hands.

This is the army's biggest test. They are asked to sacrifice their soldiers To be executed. Otherwise they will face a confrontation with armed civilians again. If they do decide to push for this and have there soldiers executed, there will be a ripple effect inside army. Trust between soldiers and leadership will be weakened tremendously.

This is a social battle. A lot of soldiers in the army are from Akkar. What will happen when the confrontation takes place? Will soldiers defect? Will the armed civilians decided to assassinate certain members of the army to regain honor?

I don't know.