DownsideUpDesign

Musings of an Aussie design strategist gone North

Does GM Design “get” Social Media more than Ford? The Lab is an emphatic “Yes”

It’s been a while since I’ve turned my mind to the GM empire (in fact the last time I saw fit to comment was when the highly questionable GMC Terrain surfaced…). But conversations with the head of social media at GMH (Holden) and a little discovery I made yesterday has got me thinking about the people’s car company all over again.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks discussing the ability of social media to open up dialogue between automotive designer and customer. The benefits, as I see them, are twofold. Firstly, designers get access to crucial insight from the people they often have the least professional contact with, their customers. Secondly, the designers themselves, as opposed to the cringe-inducing PR lackeys, can help spread the message about their work, breaking down the hitherto impermeable walls of the design studio.

Lo and behold, GM has jumped into the ring with a new project called The Lab (take a look at it here) and it seems to be a solid first step in engaging designer and customer in a productive, conversational way. This marks a turning point  in the use of social media as a truly two-way street into and out of automotive companies outside of the PR department. It’s also heralds the incorporation of social media research into the product development process by enabling access between customers and the people responsible for designing their cars. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Car Culture, Collaboration, Design, Design Strategy, Social Media, Things I like, Web, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Antonella gains a voice, brain, pulse and a… well, becomes a boy

me_and_molly

There’s a risk that I may depart on some vainglorious romp here, but I figure a little self-indulgence is warranted given that DownsideUpDesign has just kicked over the 10,000 visitor mark.

While I was out in Broken Hill, I had to good fortune to catch up with Mark Charmer at the Movement Design Bureau and, even more fortuitously, Rob Hunter and Amy Johannigman, whose work I had the pleasure of reading as part of the Sue Cischke project back in May.

We ended up having a mind expanding conversation (they come along with pleasing regularity when in Mark’s company), discussing the potential for a highly personal style of social media to help generate really meaningful dialogue around design and sustainability.

It’s dialogue that companies like Ford need to be having yet can’t seem to get started. I have a sneaking suspicion, as do Mark, Amy, Rob and many others, that their reliance on mute personae like Antonella has something to do with it…

While I’ll let Mark and Amy fill you in on the details, I’m honoured by the profile they’ve put together and the concept Mark discusses is something that resonates with me on so many levels. It speaks of a bright future for not only  this DownsideUpDesigner and the others out there like me, but also a more open, responsive and sustainable future for the automotive industry, which I seem to have been destined to be a part of for a while now.

If you’ve got this far, then your the kind of reader I love to have. It’s even better if you leave your thoughts below because without the dialogue we share, DownsideUp is just another tree falling in the woods.

Thanks so much for being a part of the first 10,000. I’m looking forward to many, many more.

[Image: Juliana O’Dean-Smith. “Glamorgan”, Manilla, North-Western N.S.W, longer ago than I care to remember]

Filed under: Blog, Branding, Car, Car Culture, Design, Design Strategy, Social Media, Sustainability, Things I like, Web, , , , , , , , ,

Update: Sue Cischke, meet Drew Smith. And Dan and Amy and Robb too!

Now with a 10 minute highlights reel of the original 40 minute interview

Last week I was offered the enormous privilege of taking part in a project being run by Joe Simpson and Mark Charmer of the Movement Design Bureau. They’ve been tasked with looking at the perception of Ford’s sustainability message, from top to bottom and inside out. Having watched the project develop over the last few months, I leapt at the chance to be involved.

I was asked to review Joe and Mark’s interview with Sue Cischke, Ford’s group Vice President of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering and provide my observations based on what I heard. Given Sue’s long and illustrious history in the industry, it wasn’t a task I took lightly. My take on things now been published for the world (and Ford) to read and I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction.

It wasn’t all about me, however, and I commend you to read the fantastic contributions from Dan Stuges, of Intrago, and Amy Johannigman and Robb Hunter from the University of Cincinnati’s storied Department of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning.

One of the really exciting aspects of  this project is that 4 people have come together and drawn three different, but highly related (and, in my view, relevant) conclusions from Joe and Mark’s interview with Sue.

Although small in scale, the process amply demonstrates the power of the internet to enable collaboration and connection between geographically dispersed stake-holders, something that Clay Shirky talked about to great effect in his 2005 presentation at TED.

Head over to Re*Move to see the other critiques, plus a whole lot more on the Ford project.

Filed under: Collaboration, Design Strategy, Eco, Social Media, Sustainability, Things I like, Web, , , , , , , , , , ,

@drewpasmith = Yes, I’m on Twitter!

Not having full connectivity on my pony somewhat limits my spontaneity with Twitter but I’m there for better.

Or is it for worse? Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Xing and LinkedIn combined makes me feel a little like a character in the cartoon below. “Just take ten deep breaths and relax, everybody’s doing it!”

yes_im_a_geeksigh

[Abstruse Goose via PSFK]

Filed under: Applications, Blog, Social Media, Technology, Web, ,

Facebook owns your soul (and your photos too)

facebook-logo-edit

The more I read, the stronger my fears grow. Call me paranoid, but the latest storm brewing in Facebook land had the hairs on the back of my neck dancing a merry jig.

Two weeks ago Facebook made a change to its terms and conditions regarding ownership of posted content. As far as I can glean, the new conditions stated that Facebook becomes the owner of all uploaded personal content (photos, videos, comments, notes and the like) and this ownership continues should I decide to delete my account. So even if I wanted to opt out, I couldn’t.

I say couldn’t because upon logging in this morning there was a message stating “…we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.” Damn straight you’ll resolve them. Whether it’s for our benefit remains to be seen. Here is the paragraph at the centre of the furore:

 

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. 

 

What’s most galling is that these changes were introduced on the sly. I challenge any of my readers to have noticed this transfer of ownership being communicated through Facebook itself.

I’ll admit that have been a willing participant in the Facebook phenomenon. My patience is being sorely tested, however, as the broader implications of my online presence become more obvious. Put it down to the benefit of 20:20 hindsight. If I lose ownership of my content it will be the last straw.

 The problem is, as a person who deals in new cultural trends and observing society’s reaction to the world at large, if I lock myself out I lose this valuable stream of information. As with so many of my generation, I want to have my cake and eat it too…

Play safe people and make sure you go through your Facebook security settings and lock it down. Apparently it’s the only way you have of clinging on to your data.

Filed under: Photography, Social Media, Things I Hate, Web, , , ,

Social Media: The Followup

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The other day I wrote a post about my discomfort with the combination of the pervasiveness of social media and the lack of nuance and subtlety provided by text -based communication. I put it that our willingness to be part of a, and share with a, community can overrule our desire to retain control over our personal information and that text can be an inflexible foe when trying to communicate with a deft touch. Bring these two together and you can have  miscommunication with horrifying outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Philosophy, Social Media, Things I Hate, Web, , , , ,

The Problem with Our Relationships With/Through Social Media

The fact that we are almost constantly connected and streaming our consciousness through social apps, I think, has become so second nature that the ramifications escape us most of the time. You just had a great work out, had an awesome night out or fell in love with someone and you want to let the world know, and why not? More often than not, people don’t respond but you feel happy in the knowledge that your friends are sharing the great moments of your life as they happen.So what happens when you start sharing the not so great moments in your life? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Applications, Things I Hate, Web

About DownsideUpDesign

I'm Drew Smith and I'm a freelance design strategist and journalist for the automotive industry. DownsideUpDesign is a place for me to collect stuff that I like, often love and sometimes hate for safe keeping. Get in touch at downsideupdesigner (at) me (dot) com or tweet me (@drewpasmith) to rant, contribute or collaborate!

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© Andrew Philip Artois Smith and DownsideUpDesign, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrew/Drew Smith and DownsideUpDesign with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.