IDEO Interview

We caught up with the team from IDEO that created the graphic statement for our [i]Design Solutions[/i] issue.

IDEO is one of the world's most decorated design consultancies. Apple's first mouse was IDEO's work. The firm employs experts from disciplines as disparate as graphic design, mechanical engineering and anthropology to create human-centered design solutions for some huge clients.

And they did some work for us too. For GOOD 006 we asked an IDEO team to create the graphic statement-a blank canvas to interpret the issue's theme: Design Solutions. You can see their piece here. We recently caught up with them to learn more about their work on this project and their process.

Hi. So IDEO is known for its diverse teams. Could you introduce the core team that worked on the GOOD project?

Roshi Givechi: The core team consisted of Ian Groulx, a graphic/communication designer; Beau Trincia, an environments designer; and myself, a new media/interaction designer and storyteller.

What were the very first meetings like?

Ian Groulx: There was a lot of buzz. People wanted to get involved. It wasn't just a graphic design exercise. We included people from several disciplines in the early brainstorms. The core team then trimmed back down to filter and focus, and when it came time to make it real, we brought in a group of designers to explore the possibilities of how we might execute the final concept.

Did you have any guidelines as you began thinking about the project?

RG: Guidelines? Not so formally. We did aim for a couple of things though: Make it a call to action-an invitation-and make sure the end result reflects that there's a designer/problem-solver in all of us.

IG: Also, we wanted to stay true to the theme of the issue, and try not to get too deep with content. Our job was to be a spark…an intro to the issue.

You ended up using a café scene and overlaying a wide range of handwritten design improvements. How did you settle on that picture?

RG: It was partly driven by composition, partly by the serendipity of the people in the view frame, and partly because of the context (a café). It's a place that a larger population of people will relate to.

The GOOD > GO DO label in the top left: why?

RG: We wanted to leave the page intact because of the existing GOOD logo. It's a subtle "entrance" and it seemed to respect your magazine as well.

IG: The whole idea that it's a call to action for those "people who give a damn" seemed fitting. The play on the name of the magazine was the icing on the cake.

I noticed some of the ideas in the piece incorporated sustainability improvements. To what extent is green, or sustainable design becoming synonymous with good design?

RG: To me, in order to design well, we need to consider many threads, and sustainability is thankfully becoming one of the usual suspects.

IG: Our thinking is that sustainability is not just a trend. We think it's a long-term change in the ways that companies are doing business and people are living their lives. One of the nice things is that a lot of it is happening by choice. People are really motivated to make a difference. Sustainability is part of being good these days. It's on the checklist, right before kerning.

One of the ideas from your piece is having a billboard double as a climbing wall. That would be a legal nightmare to get done. Even something like getting more street plants would probably get all tied up in a city council. How could the relationship between business or government and design be improved?

RG: Promote human-centeredness as a way to instill trust and promote understanding. Find ways to "see" the same situations together, like swapping roles for a day or two to gain empathy. Communicate the differences in policies or structures and clearly identify the areas where all three can more naturally participate. We've found that using design to refine processes and systems is extremely effective.

IG: In general, we tend to like to see "problems" as opportunities for change and improvement. Call us optimists, but we feel we have the collective mindshare to do something and make a difference. In terms of the GOOD issue, we wanted to highlight the importance of finding opportunities before they become a problem. Having a human-centered approach allows for that kind of anticipatory thinking.

Why are we still surrounded by this many potential design improvements?

RG: Products and environments tend to have lasting power, but they don't necessarily align with current expectations around interactions-thoughtful ones anyway. It's also in all of our natures to reflect and make better anything that can anticipate and support our next move.

Were there some other compelling ideas for the project that you toyed with?

IG: Absolutely, whenever you have a smart group of people, there's going to be a lot of ideas on the table. One idea I really liked was a spin on the "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs." ad campaign. Spread #1 would have shown the problem and spread #2, the solution. The text was going to read something like "This is a design problem" and "This is a design solution." Another favorite idea was to supply your readers with a stencil that read "opportunity area" that they could use to signal to others that there is potential for design to make a difference in a particular spot. (Think guerilla marketing).

What was your last home-improvement or DIY project?

RG: I'm on the brink of upgrading all the windows in my place. Aside from the saving energy part, the additional peace alone will be sublime!

IG: I co-planned…organized…designed my wedding. My wife and I are both graphic designers, so you could imagine how detailed and well, detailed, we were. That was quite a project. It was all worth it though. So far…the best day of my life!
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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