At the start of this year, we launched an initiative to push forward Smart’s collective expertise in four areas: Designing for Wellbeing, Sustainability in Practice, Creating Value through Ecosystems, and Scaling Creative Research Methods.

In March, the world changed in a way no one could have imagined. We have been working to ensure project continuity, and to support each other and our extended community. As we all adjust to a new normal, we’re taking a moment to examine how the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted realities as we plot our course in a changed societal and business landscape.

Some of the…


By John Anderson

66-year old Susan has been living with multiple sclerosis for twenty years. BBC Two’s Big Life Fix challenged Smart Design to create a voice solution for Susan that would let her continue to live her life independently. After researching different platforms and voice assistants, the team chose Amazon Echo and created a layer around the product — an ‘accessibility jacket’ — that helps her complete tasks on her own.

The Smart Design team went through rounds of iterative experimentation, prototyping and designing to figure out how Susan might navigate voice technology to suit her needs. In just…


In his book “Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web”, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of WWW and the HTTP protocol, states that the web is a more of a social creation than a technical one. Today, many feel the same about blockchain, the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and one of the most hyped, controversial and misunderstood inventions of the last decade.

As an ideology, the decentralized nature of the invention is thought provoking. As a technology, it is powerful, yet immature, and resource expensive. As a financial asset, it is risky…


Louise Astley

The term “career path” is an interesting one. Think of the last path you were on. Were you walking, strolling, or even ambling, perhaps? You were unlikely to be striding or sprinting. Not along a path, anyway.

For most of us in the creative industries that I come from, careers don’t typically amble along. We do our best to push forward, elbows out, rising upwards as fast and furiously as we can. So that part is a little confusing.

It’s the career’s capacity to meander that gives the metaphor its meaning. The ability to take the odd step…


by Tucker Fort

Chloe Kim. Shaun White. These are just two of the United States’ gold medalist snowboarders representing their country right now at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. This year, snowboarding celebrates its 20th anniversary with the Olympics, having officially made its debut in 1998. The sport has come a long way since then, and nothing is perhaps more synonymous with the US’ snowboarding elite than Burton, the official team outfitter since 2002, and a company who has worked hand-in-hand with their athletes to develop cutting-edge equipment and gear since the 70’s.

As pivotal instruments to their success…


by John Anderson

I have always had issues with cleaning my apartment. As an eternally messy person, only the guilt of roommates being disappointed in me would induce me to put in more of an effort. Moving into a one bedroom in Brooklyn did not help my situation, and once my life partner moved in, all bets were off.

Keeping myself focused is an issue — those who know me well would say I don’t have a great attention span for things I’m not excited about. Typically, I would do these large scale cleans that would last an entire day…


by John Anderson

I have always had issues with cleaning my apartment. As an eternally messy person, only the guilt of roommates being disappointed in me would induce me to put in more of an effort. Moving into a one bedroom in Brooklyn did not help my situation, and once my life partner moved in, all bets were off.

Keeping myself focused is an issue — those who know me well would say I don’t have a great attention span for things I’m not excited about. Typically, I would do these large scale cleans that would last an entire day…


Anthony Di Bitonto with Tucker Fort

We often hear that the products we love are designed for us, but today that could mean very different things. You may have used an OXO peeler when preparing a meal and noticed how good it felt in your tired hands. Or perhaps you smiled as Spotify recommended new music to explore, generated from your individual preferences and listening behaviors. Both these experiences connect with you, and improve your life in small but impactful ways.

Yet they are very different. The comfortable peeler is an inclusive design that results in a universal experience for…


More so than ever before, Fortune 500 corporations are building design capabilities. As traditional competitive advantages are eroded, and emerging technologies unlock new levers of value, leaders in every industry have recognized the need to improve their customer experience and create better digital products.

Yet with these new foundations comes a myriad of new challenges. Now that designers have a seat at the table, how should design scale across the organization? What are the implications of non-designers learning design thinking? And how should companies balance customer experience, user experience, and data analytics?

To answer these questions and more, we recently…


It’s a cold winter’s day, and you just took a shower. Although the house temperature previously felt fine, you now feel a chill. Understandably, you crank up your thermostat setting. Of course, an hour later you begin sweating, because you forgot to turn the heat back down. The memory of this common scenario is what inspired the creation of the Comfort Boost feature in Schneider’s Wiser Air thermostat — allowing you to instantly put the system into full-on heating or cooling mode, while reverting back to your usual temperature setting after a designated time.

When Schneider initially conceived Wiser, their…

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