Danny Stillion: [lecture NCState] Interaction Design at IDEO

February 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

Danny Stillion, an alumni of NC State, returned to the College of Design to give a lecture on topics compelling: interaction, design and projects at IDEO.
Danny is a design director and associate partner at IDEO. With a background in fine art, visual communication and product design, Danny was drawn to the field of interaction design through his early interests in communication design and time-based media and an interest in how we physically interact with products and services. Prior to joining IDEO, Danny taught interactive media courses in higher education and consulted as an interaction designer. Today he continues to mentor and learn from other design colleagues in the context of active projects that span telecommunications, medical, service design, consumer products, and vehicle telematics domains” (http://www.ideo.com/thinking/voice/danny-stillion/).


Over the projects he reviewed were various related with the health area. Transcutaneous immunization delivery method for Intercell is an application method for a needle-free vaccine delivery patch. The Bayer Contour USB is a portable blood-glucose meter and test strips, which plugs directly in the computer (using the simple USB technology) to launch software for managing diabetes. One of the most interesting to me was the Nurse knowledge exchange for Kaiser Permanente. Why? The component of interaction in this particular project has more to do with experience and an interdisciplinary background, than the design of the device itself. Doctors can corroborate this: nurse shift changes in medical environments are crucial for the continuity of a patient’s care. The research (very qualitative) done is well described in the case and it is evident when we see the success of the solution implemented. So development of better health practices is made within the hospital environment. Key issues to be designed [what we may call key touch points]: schedules, software, information hand-offs, and patient interactions. The social components of these interaction projects are huge.
Other projects that he talked about relate with the diverse touch points of the brand being designed from an interaction point of view. PNC Bank Virtual Wallet interactive banking experience , Join BugLabs & IDEO’s Open Project , Ford Motor Company Hybrid Electric Vehicle Dashboard Interaction , Emotive Epoc Headset , Western Digital My Book

On the conversation with the panel composed by Meredith Davis, Santiago Piedrafita and three students at NC State, various topics were touched. How design is shifting from products to services. How exploring with business partners can a big difference when addressing innovation. Stillion highlighted the idea that working with big partners gave them the platform helps them to explore and affect in greater ways. “When you make a project with partners like Walmart, you can do a small thing and make a big difference”. Danny mentioned that in the IDEO organizational culture, they work with T shaped people: individuals that have a strong preparation in something but can or are prepared to cross with others. There is a strong component of empathy in the IDEO teams, “You have empathy in learning what the people at your side are doing”. One of the students in the audience asked: “If you have an interdisciplinary team with graphic, interaction and industrial designers… who goes first in solving a project?” Stillion explained “We all go first! From day one we are all working together”. The idea that the business partner is also integrated in this team is relevant for the designers.

Amber Howard, PhD Student at NC State asks about mobile opportunities. Danny comments that they ask themselves how to make the business offering really mobile. Not just having the APP or the link to the APP store added. “So we ask ourselves, how do we change the offer from just talking about the vehicle [the car] to the mobile opportunities, that is giving the option to know about the transportation, tourist destinations, etc. Really offering a system”.  On the other hand Danny Stillion was very emphatic in the usage of prototyping as a tool for thought: “It’s in our DNA to prototype, we try to do it in the market, to go BETA, we prototype in a small scale”. There has been a paradigm shift, Stillion remarked, in the focus on how people experience products instead of looking to the “style” of form of the products. “When they showed the IPAD they didn’t show the back”. So it is not about the product features, but about the physical touchpoints.

Commenting about the opportunities for innovation, he told the design community that they look a lot to developing countries for the “what” they do with basic instruments. A lot of this has to do with the work they do in India.


Entry filed under: Design Research.

Check on the students’ blogs! Approaching the end-user/ Field research 1

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contact + citing (CC license)

Constanza Miranda PhD(c) design.anthro
* Currently @ DILAB
* Ex.VR @ Stanford's Center for Design Research [DesignXLab]
* Ex.Instructor @ PUC Chile [Design+Engineering]
Use citations ¡Citar es ético!
Creative Commons License
Design for Social Innovation initiative by Constanza Miranda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.innovacionsocial.cl.

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