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Every once in a while, a new technology takes the world by storm and it’s all anyone can ever talk about. Some re-engineer how we interact with each other. Some re-architect how we transact with each other. And some…well, some re-define how we understand the entire universe. At IDEO CoLab, we use design to see how technology can change human lives, but quantum gives us a whole new lens for looking at our universe.

For this, we need to change our design approach and make our own research tools. We landed on a card deck that helps designers look at quantum computing on an interactive timeline…and surprisingly ended up helping quantum researchers as well. …

A guide to acing the online application

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Applications for the 2020 CoLab fellowship are now open! Since we often get a lot of questions about what we’re looking for in a CoLab fellow, we’ve put together a short guide to help you submit your best application possible.

To start, what makes our process unique is that it’s a two-parter, with an initial online application and then an in-person makeathon. The online application works as a sort of screener, and the makeathon is a chance to get to know each other face-to-face and do a test run of co-creating together. You can think of it as first round and second round interviews, but also some of the most fun you’ll ever have. …

Shuya Gong is the co-founder and CTO of unsize. Recently, she and co-founder Katie Wilhoit wrapped up a semester long design project on unsize as clients of Scout, Northeastern’s student run design and development studio. Shuya continues to head up creative direction and product design at unsize. These are some learnings and takeaways from our project together.

This past academic semester, Katie and I had the great privilege of working with Scout, Northeastern’s student led design and development studio. …

Dissecting the IDEO CoLab prototyping process

CoLab’s collaborative innovation model helps us rapidly explore and understand the implications of emerging tech. We’ve written in the past about the business benefits of this model, and about our approach to building prototypes, but what’s it really like to experience one of CoLab’s sprints? Our own Shuya Gong takes you on a first-hand tour inside a CoLab R&D sprint from a fellow’s perspective. Interested in joining one? Fellowship makeathon applications are now open here.

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So, you’re wondering exactly what goes on inside of IDEO CoLab during a sprint.

Maybe you’ve walked by the office and peeked into the madness of Post-its thrown on every flat surface, maybe you’ve seen the magic of floating heads and interesting prototypes. Or maybe you heard about this mysterious process from school, or a friend, or a professor, or perhaps you read about the makeathon and want to know more. …

There’s no shortage of commentary on Apple’s new iPhone 7. The peanut gallery chimes in, eager to jump on this new bandwagon of criticizing Apple’s design choices — which is well deserved. From their strange decision not to put in a 90 degree bend to charge the iPencil (which to be fair just sounds like an idealistic designer’s laziness in not trying to figure out a beautiful way to incorporate a not quite straight line) to the weird look of the new AirBuds, it does seem that Apple is failing to live up the the high standards of Steve Jobs.

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This just looks dumb. Come on, Apple. This was your low point.

I’ve never actually been a fan of Apple, never jumping on the bandwagon of owning iStuff but have always respectfully admired their work from afar…until recently. …

And if you make a portmanteau of make+marathon, you get…makeathon. How fitting. And so begins the first week of not working frantically at Food+Future coLab and I miss the bright Post-its already.

So to respond to some interest in becoming (holistically and technically) better prototypers and designers, here’s a mental (and I suppose a little bit physical) workout to become a bitchin’ maker. I’ve always had a design philosophy that anyone can get the technical know how to make awesome stuff, no matter how sparse your tools, it’s more how talented at applying those tools and how inspired you are that counts. If you were this good with a pencil you could get away with not having a camera, it’d just be a lot more time intensive.

Since 12th century France, the world has been captivated by this phenomenon of making money out of speculative gambles and putting down their own money in the hopes of it growing into something more. The same could be said about farming, sowing seeds and putting in work and money to see if anything bigger comes out of it.

The marriage of agriculture and the stock market is nothing new, as we’ve seen it before in the context of futures and commodities, but as we explored the topic of Trust this week in the Food+Future coLab, we realized that there was something untapped in the profitization of the food industry: quality. …

Imagine your house plant could grow the very nutrients that your body needed to feel its optimum. Imagine your own plant knew when you were iron deficient and it grew the right amount of iron for you to take/eat each day in the form of its leaves. Project that even further and fathom the potential to grow all of your nutrients.

This is Sprout.

A regenerating, personal plant system tailored to your nutritional needs. …

Big-box grocery shopping is often an uninspired and unappealing experience. First, there are hundreds of options filled with misleading health claims, hidden ingredients, and confusing labels. Then, there is a disconnect between how groceries are presented to shoppers and how they are consumed in wholesome meals. To address these problems, our team has designed a new brand and grocery experience for the modern-day big box store: GATHER.

We’ve designed a “back to basics” approach to food. We believe food has become too complicated and needs to be demystified. …

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I’m back at IDEO this blustery Boston winter, working with something more…palatable for the average Joe. It’s absolutely thrilling to be back and after a day 1, in true IDEO style, we’ve seriously done a deep dive into our topic for the next three weeks: food.

What’s IDEO doing in this space? True, food is something we’ve dealt with since the beginning of human time, fighting mother nature to coax it out of the earth until it evolved into an art form that we now have a love-hate relationship with. But just because we’re familiar with something does not mean we understand it and at this point in human history, we probably know less about the food we eat than we ever did. …


Shuya Gong

Designer @ IDEO CoLab. Harvard 2017. Percussionist, mechanical engineering, design. @ohmygong

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