The February Progress Report for the Designers Accord is out and my fears of this organization being merely a well-intentioned handshake between designers and affiliates are allayed. The list of guidelines has been stream-lined and a helpful introduction about carbon footprints from Natural Logic is a good starting point for fulfilling Step 4: Measure your carbon/greenhouse gas footprint and pledge to reduce it annually.

In other musings on sustainability, I found it interesting to see that, in a Levi's Store in Chicago's Wicker Park, their Capital E line of jeans made from organic cotton were integrated into the rest of the clothing display. The only indicator that they were eco jeans was the white-and-green Levi's label replacing the signature red label. A great example of how to effectively market (or not market!) green products.

Sharepoint and Facebook are now friends.

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There are a lot of challenges in this very interesting shift of enterprises becoming more web and mobility-centric. We are just at the beginning of businesses coming to grips and embracing concepts like social networking and mobility to be more productive, though they do come with the complex requirements of keeping company data secure.

However, more and more we are hearing of the shift in the way we communicate and how that is impacting the way we work, not only the way we live our personal lives. Philips, Intel, and now post merger Alcatel Lucent are publicly stating and developing strategies to develop offerings for the "dynamic enterprise".

The right offerings for this shift will be more transformational and less incremental; they will initiate behavior change in enterprises. More than ever, design is in a better position to help understand how people communicate and interact and imagine the future of work. Designers who leverage the social sciences into their work will provide the most value. So, let's step it up guys!

[via apophenia] I always wondered who clicked on banner ads. There don't seem to be perfect data, but apparently "the 6% of the online population accounting for most of the click-throughs skews toward male Internet users ages 25 to 44 with household income under $40,000." I love the author, Danah Boyd's, beautifully politically incorrect hypothesis that, and I paraphrase, only dumb poor guys from the country click on banner ads. The best thing is the part of her hypothesis that says, and again I paraphrase, the same dumb people are the ones who meet up with strangers on social networking sites.

For most of us, this is no surprise. Nobody you know clicks on those idiotic epilepsy inducing things. You probably couldn't find anyone who does within a mile radius of your house, but there are probably at least one or two people making money off of them in your neighborhood.
The funny thing is, even though there is a lot of money being paid for clicks, these are not the clicks that most advertisers want. For instance. In meantime, other models of ad pricing are getting more traction.

Even though some are saying that this discovery has laid bare one of the biggest problems with online advertising, the real interesting thing to me is these people seem to actually be interested in the contents of banner ads. I have been known to fall for an especially funny or useful marketing ploy, but what is going on with these guys? They meet up with strangers online and then click a bunch of banner ads? I guess I never really thought about it, but I'm not surprised that the two activities are related.

Made to Order Mobility

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Another brick crumbles for the walled garden.

zzzPhone, a US-based startup, is selling phones where you select the features and then get them within 15 days. Is it perfect? Hell no, but it is opening up the business model for device manufacturers and will impact carriers. There's no way the carriers can continue in their current model and there will be a tipping point soon where, if they don't adapt to these changing conditions, they will ultimately lose in the market.

Keep in mind the 700 MHz auction, $G,000,000,000,000gle, and what these two things working together can do.

Data, data everywhere.

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The folks at know that, "What we do online increasingly represents who we are." The issues of ownership and privacy are daunting, especially when dealing with data like health-care history, but that is a short term problem. Privacy will have to be figured out because here is no holding back the flood of personal data. Companies want it too badly. The real question is, once we have it, what will we do with our personal information?

The problem is we are all essentially illiterate in terms of personal informatics. Pioneers like Feltron are trying to make sense of what has gone beyond info-overload, but it still doesn't seem very actionable. The prophetic types at iA Japan are predicting an "infolution" that will take us into web 3.0, but they don't say what that will mean in people's everyday lives.

Similar to the way that social networks like twitter and dopplr let us channelize and streamline communication online, we will need the tools to help us understand our personal and social information so that it can be useful to us, not just to Google and Amazon. Visualizations are an obvious (and cool) first step, and the infrastructure is being built, but real tools are the future.

Got any good ones?

UPDATE: I just found a highly related link here, with some google account data horror stories to boot.

Motorola spin-off of mobile business?

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Motorola is considering a "structural realignment" to spin-off its mobile device business. The article mentions that Motorola's main problem is its inability to come up with something new to follow the one-hit wonder Razr. If it does, in fact, move in this new direction, Motorola should consider two things.

The first is to structure the organization so there is a sustainable creation of value; this means using design and design thinking to help explore and expand growth opportunities. The second is to think more systemically about its design. Let's face it, after getting my iPhone, I've never thought twice about the horrible user interface on the Razr phone. Motorola took the design only so far. Kind of like an attractive person with ugly teeth.

No doubt the Razr introduced a new dimension to what's possible with industrial design on handsets, but it needs to put as much emphasis where a product's personality really comes to life: the user interface.