Expert Products, Novice Consumers

Crate and Barrel, one of my favorite stores following Pottery Barn and Williams and Sonoma, has a section called “Everything You Never Knew You Needed.” It introduces highly specialized kitchen utensils including jar spatula, melon baller, strawberry huller, avocado slicer, dual citrus squeezer, egg timer, and herb scissors. At first, they look useless for many who…

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Mobile World Congress (MWC) sketch

Mobile World Congress (MWC) takes place February 24-27, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. Some companies put huge design flavor into their booths to successfully attract attention from visitors and press (see pictures and articles on the Arts Technica by Ron Amadeo). Here are a few more pictures sent from one attendee. They are Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, LG…

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Helping People Make Color/Material Choice at Tesla

Choosing the right color and material is difficult for car buyers. Tesla store in Toronto helps visitors make decisions by allowing them to see/touch/smell a few samples. In the store, two working vehicles stand in the middle and they are surrounded by a wide variety of small components of the vehicle such as color samples…

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Microsoft Store vs. Apple Store

I recently visited a MicroSoft Store in a shopping mall in Toronto. My first impression was that it looks highly similar to the Apple Store. For instance, the MS Store places a simple logo outside, displays a wide variety of working devices on the tables, and has many assistants wearing blue (!) T-shirts. However, many visitors in the MS Store spent…

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Design Thinking: David Kelley + Roger Martin

David Kelley, the president of the IDEO, visited Toronto and talked with Roger Martin, the former dean of Rotman School of Management, under the title of unleashing the creative potential within us all. He started his speech saying that his life long question is how to innovate routinely. He suggests we need three things: creative…

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Airport moving walkway: Japan vs. Canada

Although the same moving walkways are installed in the airports in Japan and Canada, the two countries place them differently probably because of the different cultural norms: Japanese walk on the left side while Canadians walk on the right side.

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Seoul changes its face

People want modern shopping experience though they often go to the place the tradition is preserved. Indeed, balancing the tasteless convenience and inconvenient taste is challenging. The old downtown in Seoul has been much changed and people will evaluate this movement soon.

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Integrative learning

                I have scratched the surface of a few different disciplines including literature, business, and design. Reading a book written by Goethe took time but understood. Learning marketing principles needed effort but digested. However, learning adobe illustrator and draw an umbrella was impossible! Reading books and mastering skills…

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Car shaped ski lift

There is nothing much skiers can do while they are sitting on the lift. Although some chat with other skiers sitting next to them or make/receive a few phone calls, others keep quiet and desperately search for something to kill their about ten-minute boredom. I have met an interesting OOH (Out-Of-Home) advertising at Yongpyong, a Korean…

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The world’s first DC motor 3D printer: RAPY

Everyone has dreams but only few pursue them. I love the anecdote of the inventors of the world’s first DC motor 3D printer, RAPY (Rapid Advanced Printing sYstem). I decide to support it at the Kickstarter. I learn how to use this machine now and hope to “play” with it soon. The following is what…

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Ski lift ticket: Canada vs. Korea

At the Gleneden ski resort, lift tickets (above) contain full information only on one side. Date, type, and bar-code number are above and the legal notice is in the bottom. Then, skiers fold the other half of the lift ticket over so the sticky sides stick together over the wicket.  Interestingly, at the Yongpyong ski resort, one of the…

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Card for Better Taxi Experience

Using taxi is tough where its fare has been traditionally determined by negotiation (e.g., Tuk tuk in Thailand). Even when the taxi driver turns on the meter, foreigners sometimes arrive at a wrong destination because they cannot speak local language. In order to relieve these concerns from the international travelers, some Bangkok hotels provide an interesting concierge service.…

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Marketing in Chinese Language

I have long believed that marketing is a unique business discipline because it cannot be translated into Chinese. Different from Marketing, other business disciplines have their own Chinese names: Accounting is 會計, Finance is 財務, Manufacturing is 生產, OB/HRM is 組織/人事, and Strategy is 戰略. Interestingly, I have recently met the sign of the marketing department at the Window of the world (世界之窗) in…

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Helmet-shaped booth of an insurance company

OOH (Out-Of-Home) advertising is any type of advertising that reaches the consumer while he or she is outside the home. Since this medium is in contrast with broadcast, print, and Internet advertising, it is focused on marketing to consumers when they are “on the go” in public places, in transit, waiting (such as in a…

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Design center at Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is well-known for Kao San Road, Pad Thai, and foot massage. Like other Asian cities, however, it has an upscale design center. Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) is located on the top floor in the Emporium shopping complex, a luxurious shopping mall in Bangkok. As this center is located at the heart of the city (Phrom…

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Lightening tactitle paving for pedestrian safety

Tactile paving is a system of textured ground surface indicators. It aims to assist pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired (see Wikipedia) and is also called truncated domes, detectable warnings, Tactile Ground Surface Indicators, or detectable warning surface. In Seoul, Korea, some of the tactile pavings light up at night. Interestingly, its color turns…

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Learning from errors

Stellan Ohlsson, Professor in Psychology at University of Illinois at Chicago visited COGENG (Cognitive Engineering Lab) at SKKU and gave a speech on skill acquisition. He introduced his own work of learning from errors in which he argues that, in order to acquire or specializes in a certain skill (e.g., changing a lane to the left while…

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Self experiment for behavior change

Changing behavior is important but challenging. Thus, it attracts huge attention among practitioners as well as researchers. For instance, Charles Duhigg introduced various examples in his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Professor BJ Fogg at Stanford University proposed a behavior change model at the Persuasive Technology Lab. Designers graduating from…

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Hand print for escalator safety

Jenny Xie wrote A Potentially Brilliant Idea to Keep Escalator Obstructors to the Right at the Atlantic Cities. In her article, a London-based designer called Yoni Alter made an interesting proposal to signal “stand on right, walk on left.” Although his idea has not been implemented yet, he proposed to paint two different foot prints on the…

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No more SWOT analysis for strategy

At the Dong-A Business Form, Richard D’Avneni, Bakala Professor of Strategy at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University, gave an interesting talk about Hypercompetition, which is the term that he coined about 20 years ago arguing that there is no sustainable competitive advantage. In this talk, he emphasized the dynamics of market by telling us…

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Cafe: East vs. West

People often go to cafe not for coffee but for work. According to Mehta, Zhu, and Cheema (2012), an appropriate ambient noise (e.g., cafe noise) enhances work performance. Their five studies showed that people performed creative tasks better when surrounded by the moderate ambient noise (70db) than the low one (50db) or the high one…

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Participation for immersive experience

When people visit a historical place, they wonder what happened long time ago. They sometimes enjoy watching an exhibition such as changing royal guards in Seoul (above). In the historic place at the Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, however, young visitors go beyond watching an event; they march in the parade with soldiers. This immersive experience…

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Printed vs. Online newspaper: Humor

Imagine that you are looking for tenants. Typically, you go to the websites of flea markets (e.g., Craiglist or Kijiji) or newspaper. You rarely pick up and open the classified section of the printed newspaper. However, I recently met a funny ad in the classified section of the printed Washington Post and, thanks to it,…

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Unexpected color for taste perception

Color determines food judgment. According to Hoegg and Alba (2007), for instance, the brightness of an orange juice affects people’s taste discrimination more strongly than its brand name (e.g., Tropicana or Winn-Dixie) or its price information. Food judgment is probably influenced by the hue and saturation of the food as well. Recently, I find some stores…

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Street people: East vs. West

Street people are the people who live a public life on the streets of a city. Some ask us to view them as our community members (e.g., Homelessguide) and others consider them as business opportunities (e.g., Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid). Regardless of our objectives whether we want to help them or make…

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Interdisciplinary media art work @ KGIT

KGIT (Korean German Institute of Technology) held a new media party. In this year, students presented their year-long projects under the name of X-program, which encourages students to work with others from different backgrounds. Therefore, some works highlighted their commercial aspects and others stressed artistic flavors. Among many interesting works, I was impressed by the art…

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Artificial products for consumers

Most urban dwellers want authentic, natural goods. Unfortunately, growing plants or baking breads requires a significant amount of effort. Therefore, they often buy or enjoy artificial ones instead. Some artificial products are so carefully crafted that people misjudge them as the real one (See the real frozen beer (left) and its imitation (right) at the Kirin Ichiban popup store).…

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Holistic approach for furniture sellers

Analytic (holistic) approach makes a store look cheap (upscale). I have visited an outlet furniture store in which the whole items are simply piled up. This analytic approach made me difficult to imagine how a room looks like. Therefore, I decided not to buy any item in this store. If the manager in this store uses…

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Package design for health supplement

Recently, Yuyu changed the package of its health supplement. Its previous package provides information mostly in the front side and mostly in the verbal format, which makes it challenging for its sale representatives to communicate with potential buyers. The new package embraces visual design and zoning. It now provides much information visually as well as provides different types of information in different…

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Wood plank for steak choice

Buying a steak is not a challenging task. We can simply choose portion (e.g., sirloin), quality (e.g., AAA), and weight (e.g., 8oz). However, when I visited the SSG food market, an upscale grocery store in Seoul, to buy a steak, the store asked me to choose the thickness of the steak as well. Interestingly, I was provided with several pieces of wood plank whose thickness…

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