People enjoy artificial products

20130606_Ran @ Kyunggi (2)

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.

20130620_@ Paris Croissant

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).

20130621_@ Kirin Ichibang (1)  20130621_@ Kirin Ichibang (2)

In general, artificial products look perfect. For example, artificial plants are super green, artificial breads are nicely baked, and artificial beer has an adequate amount of cream. When people are exposed to these artificial products too much, they might take for granted that they can enjoy the best moment of life without investing effort in achieving it.

Holistic approach for furniture sellers

20130606_Ran @ Kyunggi (4)

20130606_Ran @ Kyunggi (6)

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 the holistic approach and displays carefully selected items in different sections with specific themes, not only the store looks upscale but also I purchase some items (e.g., What is the secret of the upscale home deco stores?).

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 spaces (front/back). First, it has a huge alphabetical name similar to chemistry acronym (LT = Liver Therapy) and provides detailed instruction in a visual format. Moreover, the overview/functional information about the health supplement (what it is for) is provided in the front side, whereas its more detailed/usage information (how to take it) is provided in the back side.

20130602_Yuyu pill design (3)

20130602_Yuyu pill design (4)

Experiment for collaborative office space in Seoul (2)

> Continued from Experiment for collaborative office space in Seoul (1)

The team discovered two issues for building a collaborative office space in Seoul.

  • First, people have a double standard. They generally use the open space for serious reasons such as discussing business issues or having meetings with clients. However, when they notice others occupying the space, the others “seem to” chat over a cup of coffee, read casual books, or just have fun. This unnecessary strictness of others inhibits them from visiting the open space.
  • Second, people prefer the sofas located next to the window over the white table located in the middle. This skewed flow does not allow accidental interactions.

The team decided not to attack the first, psychological issue but to attack the second, technical issue and then conducted a few experiments to smooth the flow with a hope to make the whole space more vital. For example, the sofas and the round tables with chairs switched each other. As shown below, many people followed the sofas and while doing so, they made some accidental interactions, which is a key feature for collaborative office spaces (see Adam Alter’s post).

Space design (1)Space design (3)

This project shows that a minor change in an office space determines the flow, which in turn makes the space where collaboration can happen.

Experiment for collaborative office space in Seoul (1)


Although many people want their offices similar to the Pixar’s office or the Google’s New York office, only few had them. Adam Alter, Assistant Professor of Marketing at New York University, wrote a piece of article on this issue at U99 (How to build a collaborative office space like Pixar and Google). In this article, he argues four key features of a collaborative office space.

  • An open plan and other design features (e.g., high-traffic staircases) that encourage accidental interactions.
  • More common areas than are strictly necessary—multiple cafeterias, other places to read and work that encourage workers to leave confined offices.
  • Emphasis on areas that hold two or more people, rather than single-occupancy offices.
  • Purpose-free generic “thinking” areas in open-plan spaces, which encourage workers to do their thinking in the presence of other people, rather than alone.


Dongwha holdings, a company selling interior items and dealing used cars based in Seoul, opened a space called Green Lounge in 2010. This space was dedicated to encourage collaboration among employees. It was equipped with sofas and tables, designer chairs, upscale coffee machines, and a plenty of casual books, etc.

20130306_Action Learning @ Dongwha (6)

This open space, however, was mostly empty. Very different from Californians and New Yorkers, people in Seoul avoided mingle with strangers and thus accidental interactions did not occur. Instead, they stopped by this space with their colleagues and picked up free coffee and left. Alternatively, they occupied meeting rooms for chatting with friends or keeping focused on their own businesses.

In order to revitalize this open space, a team of employees conducted research; they performed deep interviews with others, video recorded others’ behaviors, and collected and analyzed the flow in the open space. This research revealed two issues and the team decided to attack one of those issues by conducting several experiments.

> Go to Experiment for collaborative office space in Seoul (2)

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 varies. Thanks to this tangible decision support tool, I did not have to scratch my head to figure out the numerical value of the steak thickness. Instead, I picked up one piece of wood plank and simply said “I would like to go with THIS thickness.”

20130601_@ SSG Food market (3)Wood plank will help other buyers choose the right steaks and taste the flavor of the professional services.