An interview with Dan Ariely

This interview was originally published in Hungarian in FintechZone.

Every day, we do make hundreds, maybe thousands of decisions — some are really small, while some change the course of our lives. Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University has been one of the go-to experts on the irrationality of human decision-making for decades, author of best-selling books Predictably Irrational, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, and The Upside of Irrationality. …

If you see it, just don’t buy it. It won’t cure your disease.

Okay, so customer experience is about delighting your customers, right? Just map the journey, and find opportunities to delight your customers, to exceed expectations. Ideally at the end of the journey, because that’s great for loyalty. Extra points if you do a quick NPS measurement right after the “delighting moment”, so it’s measurable, right? Smell the obvious bullshit?

Some of you may have travelled with Air Berlin. I mean, back when they actually existed. Those of you who have, probably recall the same “memorable moment” about their customer experience:

Validating design concepts with Problem-Solution-Fit

Quite often, clients ask us to validate ideas, concepts, or design solutions of any size from business models through service and product concepts to UX ideas. So I have set up a simple framework for concept validation. We call it the Problem-Solution-Fit framework.

It’s not only the solution we test

First of all, we never really test an idea on its own, because we believe that in design, ideas don’t have an inherent value. The value we are looking for is a fit between a problem and a solution (I have written a longer story about that here: …

Implementing customer-centricity when there’s a shortage of resources

A couple of days ago I had a really inspiring meeting with the service design director of a national telecommunication company. In the past couple of years, in an industry where everyone is struggling to make even the smallest changes, she was able to change the everyday operation of a hundred-strong division to embrace customer values and work by them — quite an achievement. Over a coffee, we discussed a lot of hardships one can face when trying to make a shift towards a customer-centric operation in an enterprise (which we all agree is a key to innovation, RIGHT?). …

Introducing the Innovation Pressure Mad Libs

Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me over an article from Bloomberg about Dyson (the vacuum cleaner company) planning to develop and release an electric car by 2020. As I read it, I had two thoughts:

  1. I totally see it as a viable idea to by an electric car from Dyson. These people have been making electric engines for 30 years now, I’m pretty sure they are good at it. …

Photo from MOME IxD Camp 2016 —

Some exercises to get the team going

Let’s say you have everything set for a great Design Thinking workshop. You have great methods for all the modes, a great diverse team, a good workshop room, 30.000 pieces of Post-it. What could possibly go wrong?

One thing novice facilitators often forget about is stokes. These are little activities or games used for starting up workshops, getting familiar and comfortable with the team, transitioning from one mode to the next. …

What a stage improv course can teach about design

In the past couple of weeks, I took a stage improvisation course at Grund Theater. I did that for two reasons.

First, I spend a lot of time in “speak in front of a lot of people, say smart stuff” situations. Conference talks, university classes, working as a design professional. The problem is, I’m really bad at it. I have the worst stage fright — the really paralysing kind, I’m totally not okay with people watching me, and even less okay with them hearing my voice. A presentation trainer of mine suggested improv as the proper challenge.

Also, I wanted…

For a while now, I have been starting my university courses by asking students: “What is your favourite product and why?”. What I just found out is that I’m not really able to answer that question because there are just so many great products out there. The list would be too long. And the criteria? What is more important: great use of a technology or historical relevance? Concept or implementation?

So I decided to take some time and think about it, and after removing the trivial ones that everyone loves for the same reason, I came up with a list…

Human-centered companies do

UX, product design, service design — they are everywhere in the past couple of years. Really, every company wants good design for their products, websites, apps, services, systems. Still, very few of them actually succeeds in it. And I strongly believe that this doesn’t have much to do with the design talent they are able to hire, but more with the way the company incorporates design in their strategy and daily operations. I have seen companies getting it right, and creating great design output, while others struggling, in spite of having extremely talented and seasoned designers on their team.


They will just slow you down

A couple of weeks ago, with some fellow teachers we hosted our very first product design camp for our MOME IxD students. We got together almost 20 of our most talented alumni, who mostly spend their time creating websites, mobile apps, and all kinds of digital products, and gave them some real world, local design problems. There was a little twist, though: we banned the use of screens during the whole design process. So no Google, no digital notes, no Photoshop or Sketch, and no digital prototyping and testing tools. And the great takeaway from this was:

Going physical in…

Ákos Csertán

Design strategist and co-founder at Frontìra (, lecturer and researcher at MOME. Psychologist, product geek, serial volunteer.

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