Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Better Business Conference Review & Videos

| August 20th, 2014 | No Comments »

Better Business Conference Review

by Mitchel Ahern
VP Marketing, Cantina

“Businesses have always employed designers to improve the look and feel of products and experiences, but we are now seeing design thinking happening sooner, and more deeply integrated into an organization’s products and services.”

At Cantina we’re seeing design considerations steering technology choices in new ways that speed development, increase iterations and increase roadmap flexibility. Design Museum Boston (DMB), a distributed museum, is running their most recent exhibition, Better Business By Design, at the The Innovation & Design Building in the Seaport District. I attended both the opening and the Better Business Conference held there last week. The exhibit and event provided insight into the impact design is having on business, and illustrate different aspects of how design principles are being applied to businesses, spaces and products.

The exhibit itself is a series of illustrated case studies, which included models, mock-ups and even a demo robot. Overall, the case studies can be summarized as “paying attention to design is good business,” and that point is made through narrative, comparison and a big chart pointing up how much better design-centric business shares perform over the market average.

On Wednesday, August 6th DMB expanded their brief to host their first miniconf at the Better Business by Design exhibit. It was a success. Presenters from Mad*Pow, Preserve, Communispace, Digitas and Essential each gave a short talk expanding on their particular piece of the show. There was something for anyone interested in business design-related topics. For me the two stand-out sessions were Eric Hudson’s explanation of what Preserve is up to, and Richard Watson from Essential discussing their product design process as evidenced by work they did for iRobot.

It was hard not to be infected with Eric Hudson’s enthusiasm about recycling #5 plastics, the material yogurt containers are generally made from. His presentation was equal parts business, environmentalism and practical design. Everyone got a Preserve toothbrush, which I’m happy to report does the job splendidly.

I was also very happy to see Richard Watson, Partner and Co-Founder of Essential, describe their approach to product design as applied to work they did on iRobot’s Roomba. They evolved three new Roomba variations by focusing on brand, user experience and platform opportunities. By using an iterative design process they were able to quickly create three differentiated sub-brands to hit three different price points, without altering the underlying technology platform.

I liked the miniconf format. Presenting a lot of good content in one afternoon session achieved a nice balance of learning and networking while still leaving an open chunk of the day for getting things done, and an after-party to unwind. Looking forward to the next one!

– Mitchel Ahern

Eric Hudson- Founder & CEO, Preserve

Michael Tiedemann- SVP Creative Director, Digitas

Melanie Seaborn- SVP of Services Design & Innovation, Communispace

More videos from the Better Business Conference coming soon!

Design Museum Mornings Interview with Jeff Lahens

| July 31st, 2014 | No Comments »

Jeff Lahens

Boston, MA — July 31st, 2014


Design Museum Mornings in August Presents Jeff Lahens Manager at Dress Code Boston. Dress Code Boston is your reference guide for your individual style beyond the conformity of most dress code rules, and it answers your questions surrounding fashion and seasonal styles. Jeff will share great insight on how to further your personal brand!

Learn more about this event here.

DMB: Is it all about physical “look” or does DressCode for Boston go deeper than the suit?

Lahens: This goes deeper than the suit and tie especially when many work places do not require a suit and tie all the time. Your appearance is what customers will see of you – you want your look to leave the lasting and correct impression of the brand it is representing. Your brands integrity lays in your seam line. What do you want the look to say about you today? Men and Women have been undressing the casual friday for a while now but we want to keep the scale balanced from looking attractive professional and looking sexy attractive.

DMB: How will DressCode for Success ultimately better my brand?

Lahens: Brand is who you are – your appearance acts as the brands packaging of how you are perceived and represented. Stylists might try to tell you what you are doing wrong but this is about your own style. There is no particular way to dress. Essentially you want your apparel to make you feel good, look good, and represent your brand good. Everyone is an individual with a personal style built into their personal brand package.

DMB: Explain what a Strategist’s day to day is like?

Lahens: What is my day like? I work with retail and marketing firms who are trying to connect with their consumers. I work to find a brand/look that works with who they are. If someone walks into store they should know exactly how to use brand. Don’t sell to consumer but sell what the consumer wants. A consumer needs to know they are looking at something unique and up to date with trends, I give these firms tools to keep up with that. I want to engage people, make people look and create conversations that last.

Learn more about this event here!

Interview with Intercontinental Boston: Home of Honey

| July 30th, 2014 | No Comments »

Intercontinental Boston

Boston, MA — July 30, 2014


Our next Field Trip brings us to the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston! We got to sit down with ICB’s Engineering Coordinator / Sustainability Rep, Fabiene Eliacin, and the Executive Chef, Chef Didier Montarou, to ask questions about the Green Initiatives at the Hotel and what seems to be Buzzing around their Roof!
Learn more about this event here.

Honey Comb

DMB: What are some ways Intercontinental Boston Hotel is Green?

Eliacin: Intercontinental Boston is a ZERO waste hotel. Everything we do here is recycled. We provide ample recycling receptacles around the hotel and send older furniture to shelters for further use. We send out our dirty cooking oil to be cleaned and then reused to warm up the building. We have been working hard to not only be Green but also educate our peers on how to be greener. Here nothing goes to waste, we send our soaps to Nigerian shelter (previously 760 lbs). We try to be as local and seasonally-aware as possible with our food. Our meat has less hormones in it and we also produce honey at our own rooftop apiary.

DMB: How do you want your guests to feel at their stay here?

Eliacin: “When you are here you are home and welcome. People are very comfortable and amazed at what they walk into. Recycling is in everyone’s’ hands here and they may not realize it.”


DMB: Tell me about your bees.

Chef Didier: Intercontinental Boston Hotel has had the Apiary for 6 years and was the first hotel to house one. We gradually grew our hives and now there are 8 hives currently reaching over 40,000 Bees. The Bees don’t harm anyone and live peacefully with one mission, to make honey. Each hive has its own Queen which sets the mood and personality for each hive. When there is an aggressive hive it means the Queen is aggressive and we find a new Queen.

DMB: How do you harvest the honey and when was your last harvest?

Chef Didier:I actually just harvest some honey– I harvested 5 trays which got me 18 lbs of honey. The honey can be unpredictable because it is all up to mother nature but we can get up to 600 lbs of honey. The different seasons and types of pollen affect the color of the honey, this honey is lighter in color.

Learn more about this event here!

Beautiful Aerial Video of Summer Series Venue

| July 24th, 2014 | No Comments »

This evening we’re heading to Somerville for the first of three events in our Summer Series! Each event will take place at the brand new Assembly Row outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Mystic River. To truly get a sense of the venue and preview these three events we partnered with Above Summit, a Boston-based film and production studio specializing in aerial coverage through the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) as well as ground coverage using professional cameras and equipment.

Enjoy! And join us for Summer Series at Assembly Row!

Design Museum Mornings Interview With Benedicte From Beyt

| June 13th, 2014 | No Comments »

Dustin DiTommaso

Boston, MA — June 27th, 2014


Curious about this month’s Design Museum Morning presenter & talk? Read this teaser interview with Benedicte.

Learn more about this event here.

DMB: The titles of your projects derive from something meaningful, can you elaborate on how the names ‘Beyt’ and ‘2b design’ came to be?

Moubarak: Beyt, our brand name derives from one of the dimensions of our mission: building bridges and promoting reconciliation between communities that are in a state of tension. Beyt means ‘House’ or ‘Home’ in Hebrew and in Arabic. Through our projects, we involve people of diverse religious backgrounds to work together in one ‘home’. 2 b design, our company name represents my first name, Benedicte, derived from a latin root meaning ‘blessed’ and my married name, Moubarak, from a Semitic root which also means ‘blessed’. We want those who get involved in our project to feel doubly blessed!

DMB: One of the most important steps in your process is finding discarded and lost items in rubble, can you describe the experience of these actions?

Moubarak: It is a challenging and complicated aspect of our work. It involves traveling to different towns and villages in the Middle East and searching in salvage yards for the right pieces. We bring each piece to our Beirut workshop; design every piece individually; transform the pieces according to the design; ship each piece to Cambridge, MA in the U.S. for further transformation; and finally we display our creations in our showroom in Cambridge. Any other process would not achieve our goal. We often dream of simply placing an order with a supplier, getting a box with the product and selling it! It would however defeat the purpose of what we are trying to achieve.

DMB: You instill a sense of community by employing the unemployed. What does it take to do so and how have you changed lives?

Moubarak: It takes the belief that we can change the life of a person who is facing insurmountable challenges. It takes readiness to make personal sacrifices, and willingness to devote time, effort and compassion to each new hire.

It took years of close work with the team of disabled ironworkers to get to the quality of craftsmanship we have today, it took years to train the ladies from marginalized backgrounds to turn them into world class artisans. For many months I thought that an individual from Roxbury whom we hired last year would not be able to handle the work, but today— a year later— I see how all the efforts are paying off. Our job is to infuse confidence in every person, and no matter their circumstances, we are here to help them as they are helping us.

Learn more about this event here!

Design Museum Mornings Interview with Dustin DiTommaso

| May 19th, 2014 | No Comments »

Dustin DiTommaso

Boston, MA — May 19th, 2014


Curious about this month’s Design Museum Morning presenter & talk? Read this teaser interview with Dustin.

“How can we create software and technology that facilitates one’s motivation to interact with someone or something?”
-Dustin DiTommaso, VP Experience Designer at Mad*Pow • Design Museum Mornings May presenter

Learn more about this event here.

DMB: What is the difference between motivational technology and persuasive design?

DiTommaso: After the first boom of web design we came to a conclusion that behavior is what we are designing for — the two way conversation between people and technology. Persuasive design says that we influence behavior and get people to do things with computers, more specifically how do we get people to buy more things and click on more buttons? Even though the word persuasion doesn’t necessarily mean manipulation, it has spun into that framework. To reverse this idea we ask, how can we design to reverse that? How can we create software and technology that facilitates one’s motivation to interact with someone or something?

DMB: How much does sound design play into an immersive experience design?

DiTommaso: Sound design has a lot to do with immersive experience. Sound is still an underutilized component of digital design. I do it less now, but it was my gateway into design in many ways. If we are thinking about design that is going to support an aesthetic & sensory experience, sound has the ability to connect with people. The right sounds added into devices and products not only form the big picture of immersion and emotional context, but also help people complete the minute tasks that they are doing.

DMB: How do you consider form when designing experience?

DiTommaso: As a process, we think about what does the design need to do. What is the purpose for the people who will be interacting with it? How does form support that process and optimize it to make it the best it can be? So, if someone is going to use something once in their life or many times a day, that digital form needs to support all of the goals and reasons for simply being.

Learn more about this event here!

Design Museum Mornings Interview with Louis Joseph

| April 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »

Louis Joseph

Boston, MA — April 3rd, 2014


Excited to hear from Louis Joseph at the next Design Museum Mornings? We are too! We spent some time with Louis Joseph this week, and here’s what he said.

“Passion tends to abound at PUMA and there are very few instances when designers have to search for inspiration.”
Louis Joseph, Global Director of Strategy & Innovation at PUMA • Design Museum Mornings April presenter

Learn more about this event here.

DMB: How much is the professional athlete involved in the process of designing footwear at PUMA?

Joseph: The extent to which the athlete is involved has a lot to do with our familiarity with them as individuals. This means getting to know the characteristics and meticulous requirements of the individual and creating the footwear to best serve them. Most professional athletes have busy schedules but, they and we, find it important to make an effort to connect regarding all matters of product creation and performance expectations, no matter where we might be traveling in the world. More than anything, the understanding that we form with our footballers, sprinters, golfers, and F1 pilots is robust.

DMB: Is there a huge difference in emotional impact when designing performance footwear verses designing an everyday pair of shoes?

Joseph: PUMA designers are highly passionate about whatever type of footwear they are producing. Within our creative process the consumer is always the center of attention whether they are a performance athlete or have a desire for premium style and fashion. Technology and performance are certainly of high demand but the emotional connections and rich experiences that great products generate are what makes a company truly consumer centric. Passion tends to abound at PUMA and there are very few instances when designers have to search for inspiration.

DMB: What was PUMA’s response to the Marathon Bombing on both local and global levels?

Joseph: The response was shock and sadness. I think for all members of the Boston community such a tragic event has provided us with a time to pause and consider the bravery of real heroes such as all of our first responders who we often take for granted. Ultimately, we continue to gain a sense of perspective from last year’s marathon and our goal is to not lose sight of that as we become entrenched and involved in sports every day. However, if sport is a metaphorical journey of challenge and achievement, tragedy and triumph, then I know that we are all extremely excited for the 2014 marathon where Boston’s runners and supporters will illustrate a strength of character and resilience that will be truly powerful and uplifting.

Join us for April’s Design Museum Mornings event– register for a free ticket here!

Green Patriot Poster Review – Benita Hussain, Greenovate

| March 20th, 2014 | No Comments »

Green Patriot Posters Review

Benita Hussain on Breaking New Ground


The revolution will be designed! This post continues a series focused on our exhibition, Green Patriot Posters. These posters inspire us to take world-changing action against climate change, and for the next five months we’ll be giving posters to local design, community, and sustainability leaders and asking them what they think. This post comes from Benita Hussain, Co-Manager of Greenovate Boston.

Break New Ground
Joe Wirtheim

Inspired by the WWII Garden of Victory campaign, in his Green Patriots Poster, Joe Wirtheim presents what he calls his “own propaganda campaign for new American home-front values.” And within that campaign, he asks us to “break new ground.” But what ground are we being asked to break, and what power do we wield with our own shovels, on our own soil?

A lot of power, Wirtheim argues. In a world where energy policies can’t seem to keep pace with our changing climate, we need to break through our own literal and figurative constraints—feelings of impotence in the face of something so huge, the inertia of our daily lives, the constant frenzy to buy bigger and consume more. Our “new American values” must prepare us for a bigger battle—climate change and its impacts–and they must empower us to feel individual responsibility towards changing our future.

But that’s the big stuff. More tangibly, Wirtheim also shows that victory can actually rest in the garden. As more individuals take up arms – creating ground-level movements to conserve natural resources, support local economies and increase their access to healthy food – our backyards and the soil in our own cities are part of the solution. Even here in Boston, an urban agriculture movement has flourished, where city farmers can now, through progressive zoning laws, grow and provide fruits and vegetables for their own communities.

The open spaces and green roofs on which these farmers grow also help manage storm water in low-lying areas and moderate cities’ overall temperatures — lowering our heating and cooling needs, and saving energy to and reducing carbon emissions. And because local food production both helps stabilize food prices during extreme weather events and provides new sources of income to residents, city farming can be especially helpful for those most vulnerable to climate change’s impacts: the urban poor.

Art is often used to bolster our most important causes. And the most effective art begs us to question how we view what is around us, in front of us, and within us. Wirtheim is asking us to do the same: To break down our own perceptions of our own abilities in our fight against climate change, to grab our shovels and dig.

— Benita Hussain

Read more expert reactions to Green Patriot Posters.

Design Museum Mornings Interview with Paul Paturzo

| March 12th, 2014 | No Comments »

Paul Paturzo

Boston, MA — March 12th, 2014

Here’s a preview to Paul Paturzo’s University project in Tanzania, and a sneak peek of his Design Museum Mornings talk. Learn more about this event here.

“Social responsibility comes from re-educating the population in environmental stewardship.”
Paul Paturzo, Architect, Design Museum Mornings presenter


DMB: Why is it important for the design community in Boston to learn about your project in Tanzania?
Paturzo: Boston is one of the leading cities in planning for climate change and extreme weather. The environmental work that is being done around the world is relevant to the Boston design community because this challenge has no borders. Scientists and designers have become allies in experimenting with solutions and generally engaging in creative problem solving when it comes to mitigating and adapting to climate change. Projects located near the equator such as this one, have been dealing with the effects of extreme weather for several years now.

DMB: How do you think EAUST (East Africa University of Science + Technology) will benefit East Africa/Tanzania?
Paturzo: Right now there are no universities in western Tanzania– we would be the first in the region. In many ways this project is already helping the city of Kigoma because the founder started a community college for people who, like himself, had lost time to famine or war. Our University will educate students in ecology and science, and will invite researchers to come and share knowledge. There will also be a curriculum set up for people who will be trained for jobs that are trade oriented such as hospitality.

DMB: You have designed many various projects, how is building a university different than building lofts and residences? Do you have a preference?
Paturzo: If I spend a whole day designing a detail or the day working on a complicated site plan I feel the same sense of accomplishment. The difference with this project is depth of collaboration and making design decisions based on maximizing the positive impact on the area. For example, we are designing trusses such that local tradesmen can fabricate them verses having the parts made abroad and shipped in for assembly. This kind of thinking is new to me and it will influence the form of the buildings.


Want more? Register for a free ticket for this month’s Design Museum Morning here!

Missed our first Gallery Talk?

| March 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »

We had our first Gallery Talk!

Inspiration, good laughs and thought-provoking conversation!

On February, 21 we held our very first Gallery Talk with Lindsay Farrell and Florian Mewes, two Green Patriot Poster designers featured in the exhibition!

After taking a special tour of the Green Patriot Posters exhibition with Sam Aquillano, we had the chance to learn about Lindsay’s and Florian’s design processes, and their participation in the Green Patriot Posters movement. Lindsay an architect, and Florian a graphic designer, revealed the diversity of this initiative and strengthened the GPP spirit. What we weren’t expecting was how they made us laugh about climate change and sustainability – such great jokes and funny comments! Not to mention the spontaneous after-party on the 20th floor rooftop lounge of 315 on A! A breathtaking view of the city and one-on-one pool matches with the designers!

Thanks to all who joined us last Thursday evening, and don’t miss our next Gallery Talk on Thursday, March, 27th with design curator and Graphic Design Chair of MassArt, Elizabeth Resnick!

Check here for more info on Green Patriot Posters events and tickets!