Category Archives: Cases

Jasper Morrison, Super Normal designer

Piknic, a unique building in Seoul, hosted an exhibition of a British designer Jasper Morrison. The title of the exhibition was THINGNESS.

For the hundredth anniversary of the Bauhaus, piknic presents an exhibition offering a general introduction to the world of British designer and modernist interior Jasper Morrison, who has created a sensation with his “Super Normal” philosophy. Born in London in 1959 and studied Design at Kingston Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art in London, with a one-year scholarship to the HDK design school in Berlin in 1984. Morrison is considered one of the most important designers of our era, holding supreme status in his field since establishing his studio in 1986 at the age of 27 and working with such distinguished companies such as Vitra, Littala, Muji, and Samsung. Focusing in everything from small daily essentials like knives and forks to the public transportation systems of cities, he places no limits on the areas where he works. As they share in the design journey of someone who has created a wide variety of objects related to human life, we hope all our visitors will find their answer to the question of what constitutes a “Good Thing” – and what makes a “Good Life.”

I found from the brochure that Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa designed an exhibition in 2006, which called attention to design management. Indeed, Naoto Fukasawa appeared in this website thanks to his electronic products such as Muji CD player and his paper products under the name of SIWA.

I participated in a guided tour led by a female “docent.” Although I did neither plan for it nor pay for it, she shared with us interesting story about each work. Listening to why and how each work has been completed enriched the whole tour experience.

He has made a wide variety of products including chair, lighting, kitchen utensil, and home care products. My favorite was the cork side table. Although the docent highlighted the functional feature of the cork which naturally repels termites, I was simply fascinated by how it looks. It reminded me of a wine cork.

Joy, A., & Sherry, J. F. J. (2003). Speaking of Art as Embodied Imagination: A Multisensory Approach to Understanding Aesthetic Experience. Journal of Consumer Research, 30(2), 259–282.

This article focuses on somatic experience–not just the process of thinking bodily but how the body informs the logic of thinking about art. We examine the links between embodiment, movement, and multisensory experience insofar as they help to elucidate the contours of art appreciation in a museum. We argue that embodiment can be identified at two levels: the phenomenological and the cognitive unconscious. At the first level, individuals are conscious of their feelings and actions while, at the second level, sensorimotor and other bodily oriented inference mechanisms inform their processes of abstract thought and reasoning. We analyze the consumption stories of 30 museum goers in order to understand how people move through museum spaces and feel, touch, hear, smell, and taste art. Further, through an analysis of metaphors and the use of conceptual blending, we tap into the participants’ unconscious minds, gleaning important embodiment processes that shape their reasoning. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Journal of Consumer Research is the property of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Chinese people need more than a drinking fountain

We know that westerners and easterners think differently. Markus and Kitayama (1991) argue that different cultural thoughts come from different self concepts. Roughly speaking, a US citizen has an independent concept whereas a Japanese citizen has a dependent one.

Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological review, 98(2), 224.

People in different cultures have strikingly different construals of the self, of others, and of the interdependence of the 2. These construals can influence, and in many cases determine, the very nature of individual experience, including cognition, emotion, and motivation. Many Asian cultures have distinct conceptions of individuality that insist on the fundamental relatedness of individuals to each other. The emphasis is on attending to others, fitting in, and harmonious interdependence with them. American culture neither assumes nor values such an overt connectedness among individuals. In contrast, individuals seek to maintain their independence from others by attending to the self and by discovering and expressing their unique inner attributes. As proposed herein, these construals are even more powerful than previously imagined. Theories of the self from both psychology and anthropology are integrated to define in detail the difference between a construal of the self as independent and a construal of the self as interdependent. Each of these divergent construals should have a set of specific consequences for cognition, emotion, and motivation; these consequences are proposed and relevant empirical literature is reviewed. Focusing on differences in self-construals enables apparently inconsistent empirical findings to be reconciled, and raises questions about what have been thought to be culture-free aspects of cognition, emotion, and motivation.

Although this research taught us Asians may think similarly to some extent, they do not necessarily behave in the same way. For instance, Asians seem to communicate in different modes depending on where they live. Recently, I have noticed that their preferences for water temperature differ greatly as well. At the Hong Kong international airport, for instance, no Chinese airline passengers used a drinking fountain. Instead they brought their own containers and stood in line for a hot water dispenser. I cannot imagine Koreans wait in line for hot water when cold water is available nearby. The world is full of different people!

Street signs for kids

I have never met any street sign which encourages someone to DO something. Instead, most street signs ask someone NOT to do something. For instance, they ask pedestrians not to run fast or they ask drivers not to drive fast.

However, at a school in Hong Kong, I finally met a different street sign designed for students. Several yellow people were painted on a street surrounding a tree. Interestingly, they ran by carrying different items including basketball, football, soda, and noodle (?!).

According to a group of psychologists, we behave differently when we are in the promotion-focused mode than when we are in the prevention-focused mode. I hope we see more promotion-focused street signs painted on the road (e.g., please fly drone here, please use mobile phone here, etc.).

Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2010). Construal-Level Theory of Psychological Distance. Psychological Review, 117(2), 440–463.

People are capable of thinking about the future, the past, remote locations, another person’s perspective, and counterfactual alternatives. Without denying the uniqueness of each process, it is proposed that they constitute different forms of traversing psychological distance. Psychological distance is egocentric: Its reference point is the self in the here and now, and the different ways in which an object might be removed from that point—in time, in space, in social distance, and in hypotheticality—constitute different distance dimensions. Transcending the self in the here and now entails mental construal, and the farther removed an object is from direct experience, the higher (more abstract) the level of construal of that object. Supporting this analysis, research shows (a) that the various distances are cognitively related to each other, (b) that they similarly influence and are influenced by level of mental construal, and (c) that they similarly affect prediction, preference, and action.

Foreigners form impressions instantly about countries

In Berlin, Germany, I met a vending machine in a steel cage. Covering the machine with a cage surprised me because it was inside one of downtown subway stations. My friend told me the machine could be damaged at night by drunken people. I formed an impression that Germany was unsafe; juvenile vandalism, an action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property, was popular in this country.

 

 

A few days later, I met a public book shelf in another city. At a market in Frankfurt, people freely opened the window and picked up as many books to read as they wanted. Then, I corrected my impression and thought Germany is safe.

 

 

I find myself using trivial cues to quickly form an impression about a city or a country. A steel cage led me to think Germany was dangerous for tourists. However, as Brunswik suggested in his Les Model research, the first impression fails to reflect the truth. Soon after, leaning occurs. A book shelf changed my viewpoint about Germany; this country is safe for travel. I expect same things happen to foreigners. When Europeans come to an Asian country, they probably use a trivial cue to form an impression and use other cues to correct it. Learning should occur to understand different cities, countries, and culture correctly.

 

Brunswik, E. (1955). Representative design and probabilistic theory in a functional psychology. Psychological Review, 62(3), 193-217.

This is the core or basic paper in a symposium on the probability approach in psychology. The paper expands on earlier contentions of this author that the environment to which an organism must adjust is semi erratic and that therefore all functional psychology is inherently probabilistic, demanding a representative research design of its own, and leading to a special type of high-complexity, descriptive theory. “The expansions beyond the earlier publications… concern mainly the use of a behavioral example… ; the brief consideration of such semi representative policies as ‘canvassing’; certain comparisons with factorial design and the analysis of variance, as well as with non-functionalistic uses of probability in psychology; and a discussion of actual and potential applications to the clinical-social area and to related domains.”

 

 

 

Opt in vs. Opt out: Different defaults in different cities

I used to order the same sandwich at the Subway in Toronto (turkey-breast on a six inch, honey oat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and black olives). Subway opened a store recently in my campus in Seoul. 

 

 

I ordered the same meat and the same bread. Then, I said to a server the same vegetables, “lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and black olives.” She added cucumbers and peppers. I asked her why. She answered “I pull out the vegetables customers say.”

 

 

I noticed that most customers said nothing about vegetables. They considered the five vegetables on the window as the opt out, default options. Only few customers said “everything but…”

 

 

For the people who do not usually make a series of choices for a single meal, opt out default vegetables may relieve their burden. I expect choosing from meats and breads to vegetables and dressings are demanding for most Asians. For them, choosing which vegetables to add are additionally demanding. When they skip choosing vegetables, they may enjoy meals more even though they do not like to eat more vegetables.

 

Scheibehenne, B., Greifeneder, R., & Todd, P. M. (2010). Can There Ever Be Too Many Options? A Meta-Analytic Review of Choice Overload. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(3), 409–425.

The choice overload hypothesis states that an increase in the number of options to choose from may lead to adverse consequences such as a decrease in the motivation to choose or the satisfaction with the finally chosen option. A number of studies found strong instances of choice overload in the lab and in the field, but others found no such effects or found that more choices may instead facilitate choice and increase satisfaction. In a meta-analysis of 63 conditions from 50 published and unpublished experiments (N = 5,036), we found a mean effect size of virtually zero but considerable variance between studies. While further analyses indicated several potentially important preconditions for choice overload, no sufficient conditions could be identified. However, some idiosyncratic moderators proposed in single studies may still explain when and why choice overload reliably occurs; we review these studies and identify possible directions for future research.

 

 

What makes Copenhagen the most bike-friendly city in the planet?

Many cities aim to be bike-friendly but only few succeed. Wired ranked Copenhagen as the most bike-friendly city in 2015 and in 2017. Interestingly, an article in the same magazine estimated the cost to have a bike-friendly city.

… a fully-realized protected bike lane costs about $445,000 per mile, according to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. (Infrastructure costs vary widely by location, but compare that to the $280,000 the city spends to install a single traffic signal, or the $571 million per mile spent building Presidio Parkway.) Temporary infrastructure can be built, studied, and scrapped if necessary without too much financial fuss.

Then, what will be the benefits of installing fully-realized protected bike lanes in the city? These special bike lanes will give two psychological benefits to bicycle riders: competence and autonomy.

First, bicycle riders will be competent when bike lanes are physically separated from car lanes. In Copenhagen, bike lanes are often mounted higher and sometimes are separated by bus lanes. When traffic lights are designated for bicycle riders, everyone on the street assume they should follow some kinds of traffic lights.

 

 

Bicycle riders will be competent when they notice certain things are designated solely for them. One example is the trash can angled on bike lanes. Another example is the pipe-shaped hand rest with a foot rest. Many riders lean on this device when they need to wait for the green light.

 

 

Second, bicycle riders feel autonomous when the bike lanes are wide enough for two bicycles. They are sometimes in a rush and other times want to go slow and steady. In Copenhagen, most of the bike lanes are wide enough to meet riders’ different needs.

In sum, cyclists in Copenhagen will enjoy competence and autonomy thanks to its fully-realized protected bike lanes. These two psychological motivations are the drivers for people to enjoy constrained creative experience (Dahl and Moreau 2007). We apply the same framework to understand the psychology of bike riders in the bike-friendly cities, which improve riders’ experiences in other cities.

 

Dahl, D. W., & Moreau, C. P. (2007). Thinking Inside the Box: Why Consumers Enjoy Constrained Creative Experiences. Journal of Marketing Research, 44(3), 357–369.

From cooking kits to home improvement shows, consumers are increasingly seeking out products that are designed to help them be creative. In this research, the authors examine why consumers participate in creative activities and under what conditions these experiences are the most enjoyable. A qualitative study explores the diverse motivations for undertaking creative tasks and identifies the role of constraints in such endeavors. Then, the authors conduct two experimental studies to understand the importance of constraints (e.g., instructional guidance, target outcomes) in facilitating a balance between perceived competence and autonomy for consumers involved in a creative task. When consumers engage in creative activities with a sense of both autonomy and competence, they enjoy the experience more. The authors discuss implications for managers and provide opportunities for further research.

 

 

Design Thinking vs. Behavioral Economics

Crate and Barrel sells various cookware. Most products in this store are grouped into product categories. However, some are grouped into why we need them. The two “ad hoc categories” are [7 Essentials for Every Kitchen] and [Everything You Never Knew You Needed].

 

 

Ad hoc categories, coined by Barsalou, motivate impulse buying. I bought some tools I did not plan ahead and saw some customers standing in front of the two sections for a while.

Barsalou, Lawrence W. (1983), “Ad hoc categories,” Memory & Cognition, 11 (3), 211-227.

People construct ad hoc categories to achieve goals. For example, constructing the category of “things to sell at a garage sale” can be instrumental to achieving the goal of selling unwanted possessions. These categories differ from common categories (e.g., “fruit,” “furniture”) in that ad hoc categories violate the correlational structure of the environment and are not well established in memory. Regarding the latter property, the category concepts, concept-to-instance associations, and instance-to-concept associations structuring ad hoc categories are shown to be much less established in memory than those of common categories. Regardless of these differences, however, ad hoc categories possess graded structures (i.e., typicality gradients) as salient as those structuring common categories. This appears to be the result of a similarity comparison process that imposes graded structure on any category regardless of type.

Interestingly, the two ad hoc categories in the Crate and Barrel tap into different psychological processes. [7 Essentials for Every Kitchen] are the products used by others. They nudge you to follow others, which is often recommended by behavioral economists. In contrast, [Everything You Never Knew You Needed] are the products useful for you. They help you discover your own unmet needs, which is always suggested by design thinkers.

Then, which framing is more effective between “competing against others” and “following your heart”?

 

 

We can answer this question by comparing the sales numbers between spatula and dual citrus squeezer. The two products belonged to the [Everything You Never Knew You Needed] four years ago. Now, only spatula belongs to the [7 Essentials for Every Kitchen]. If spatula sales have increased and squeezer sales did not, behavioral economics beats design thinking. In contrast, if spatula sales dropped and squeezer sales did not, design thinking beats behavioral economics.

 

 

Artwork at ICN airport

Something colorful was hung some distance below the ceiling at the Incheon international airport (ICN). At first it looks like a bunch of tiny colorful balloons. However, each one has different shapes and even move up and down.

 

 

The name of this interesting artwork is “Hello.”

 

This work uses Hangeul, a major cultural heritage of Korea, as a model to raise international awareness on the scientific excellence and creative design of the Korean language. The content, delivered by an object comprised of 1,000 Korean consonants and vowels, introduces the diverse travel cultures of countries around the world. With 1,000 Korean consonants and vowels as LED units, this artwork achieves three-dimensional forms and movements by connecting a motor and microcontroller unit to each consonant and vowels to control height and LED color. -By Kang HeeRa

 

 

 

 

 

Do we enjoy brunch more if we combine foods to create it?

In cafes in Copenhagen, Denmark, customers are often asked to create their own meals by combining foods. I succeeded in this creative task in one cafe but did not in the other. Two cafes have slightly different menus.

 

 

I enjoyed the meal in the Mad & Kaffes (Food & Coffee). Foods were divided into six categories on the menu (green, dairy, bakery, meat and fish, and treat). I decided how many categories to go (3, 5, or 7) and then selected one food in each category.

 

 

I did not enjoy the meal in the Moller Kaffe and Kokken (Moller Coffee and Kitchen). Although individual foods were excellent, they were listed under one category. I could not figure out which foods to choose.

 

Since I knew little about Danish cuisine, categories relieved my burden and helped me create a meal. A similar logic was discovered ten years ago by marketing researchers who showed why kids need to follow instructions to assemble Lego bricks. To reach a creative outcome, we may need decision supporters such as categories, instructions, or even constraints.

 

Dahl, D. W., & Moreau, C. P. (2007). Thinking Inside the Box: Why Consumers Enjoy Constrained Creative Experiences. Journal of Marketing Research, 44(3), 357–369.

From cooking kits to home improvement shows, consumers are increasingly seeking out products that are designed to help them be creative. In this research, the authors examine why consumers participate in creative activities and under what conditions these experiences are the most enjoyable. A qualitative study explores the diverse motivations for undertaking creative tasks and identifies the role of constraints in such endeavors. Then, the authors conduct two experimental studies to understand the importance of constraints (e.g., instructional guidance, target outcomes) in facilitating a balance between perceived competence and autonomy for consumers involved in a creative task. When consumers engage in creative activities with a sense of both autonomy and competence, they enjoy the experience more. The authors discuss implications for managers and provide opportunities for further research.

 

 

Why do people exit the bus at the front door?

At Quora, someone asked “Why do people exit the bus at the front door even when it’s not crowded?” It received seven answers.  

 

  1. Habit. If a bus has two doors it is actually more efficient for passengers to exit by the back door as any new passengers enter through the front door. However, most people use the front door when exiting out of habit, sometimes even walking the full length of the bus to do so.
  2. I do it for two reasons. First: I do it because I may be transferring to another bus. And believe me, getting out the back door vs. the front can make the difference between making your next bus and missing it. It happens sometimes, and i never know which time it will be. Second: I do it so I can thank the driver personally. They have a tough job. Lots of people abuse them. I like to treat them well.
  3. Because it is safer. Using a back door bears the risk that the bus driver won’t see you and could slam the door on you or depart while you are in mid-air. It has happened to me on more than one occasion.
  4. I do so mostly out of habit but also so that I can thank the driver. These women and men sometimes cop abuse that is quite unwarranted in my view. They deserve the same courtesy as everyone else and for getting me to my destination safely and comfortably. 
  5. Maybe they were closer to the front than rear. Maybe they did not feel like walking to the rear. Maybe they were unsure if the rear is crowded. Maybe they were absent-minded and accidentally took the front. Maybe they figured it doesn’t matter. There could be many ‘maybes’, all with their own reasons, only way to be sure is to ask.
  6. Handicapped people find it easier to use the front. The driver can pull closer to the curb and “kneel” the bus to make it easier for cane-users. Wheelchair-users need the ramp in the front of the bus.
  7. If they are sitting right at the front of the bus it is the closest door. It is normal to just exit at the closest door.

 

All the answers were based on the assumption that people should enter the bus at the front door. I used to have the same thought before I went to Prague and Nagasaki where the front door of the bus was designed differently.  

 

 

At these two cities, passengers get off the bus at the front door. In other words, at Prague and Nagasaki, people exit the bus at the front door not because of habit or convenience but because they are educated and trained. Something that was taken for granted to me was not to them.