I have been exposed to design thinking in a variety of ways over the past 13 odd years. From conferences, startups and projects – I have used the framework to develop and build services, software and hardware which incorporates one of the most important elements in the design: empathy.
Empathy ensures that the designers, developers and creators of these products “walk a mile in their shoes” and put the users at the center of the development lifecycle rather than technology, limitations or costs.
This TedX talk is a nice example of empathy in something critical that all of us can in some shape or form relate to, which is being born. The video centers around the design thinking process which went into the design and development of Neonatal Intensive Care Units and the equipment which nurses and parents have to deal with when a child is born prematurely. It is a great example of how empathy was an integral part of the process from start to finish.
I have also learned not to take glory in the difficulty of a proof: difficulty means we have not understood. The idea is to be able to paint a landscape in which the proof is obvious.”
I often refer back to this data set when looking for statistics on the history of global living conditions. In times like these we sometimes need something positive to look at, and how far we have come. But as we have learned, history does not always predict the future. It will be interesting to see what impact COVID-19 has on the future of global health as we know it.
One of the more interesting stats from the data:
In 1997, the child mortality rate (< 5) was 8.37%, in 2017, it was 3.91%.
As a creator and contributer to open source projects I am often torn as how to license my projects to encourage the greater community to contribute and have creative freedom with a project. However I would still try to ensure that I maintain control over as much of the intellectual property (IP) or business value as possible – especially if this value is what I have in place as a revenue generator and would enable me to continue development of the project.
Sentry – which is a great error logging/monitoring tool – recently evaluated their open source licensing and had some reasonable goals in mind:
- Anyone should be able to run Sentry for themselves or their business
- No difference between our cloud service and our open-source product (no open-core model)
- Minimal limitations on usage of code; as free as possible
- Protection from other companies selling our work
Due to the weight on the last point, Sentry decided to change their license from BSD-3/Apache-2.0 to BSL.
Plaid is a company in the financial technology, or more commonly known as the “fintech” space, which was founded in 2013, pivoted sometime in 2014 and was purchased by Visa in January 2020 for $5.3 billion dollars.
Plaid was founded by two entrepreneurs who set out to develop a consumer app in the budgeting and account reconciliation field. A mobile or app-based version of Quicken or Intuits Quick Books where users could provide their credit cards and bank account and the interface would allow them to get some insights into their spending habits and create budgets and reports to better manage their personal finances. The startup entered and won a prestigious grand prize award during a TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon in New York in 2013 with their application which at that time was called “Rambler”. During the development process the founders recognized that one of the biggest challenges to building “Rambler” was the bank connectivity component – it was time consuming and resource intensive to develop a solution which connected to each financial institution. The duo wanted their application to connect to the majority of US banks and this required writing code which would need to securely connect and consume the banks exposed API’s for retrieving account information, transaction reports and transaction details. This development exercise was required for each new financial institution the company wanted to include in their app.
It’s a relevant and intriguing story of how one employee at Kroger, Michael Kullen, wrote a 6 page letter to a Kroger VP, encouraging them to consider a different business model. He was not taken seriously, resigned from Kroger and opened his own grocery chain called King Kullen. It is considered Americas First Supermarket due to it having separate departments; self-service; discount pricing; chain marketing; and volume dealing. In 2007 King Kullen had revenues of $800 million and operates 32 stores in New York state.
”It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime.”
I like this quote from the founder and CEO of Visa. I believe “thinking out of the box” is a challenge for many of us when your mind is fulled with preconceived notions and ideas. I am also reasonably convinced there is strong correlation between the longer you continue to use and believe the existing ideas, the harder it is to get them out …