Illustration: Elaine Fong

What Chicken Nuggets Taught Me About Using Data to Design

Stories from IDEO designers about the intersection of data and human-centered design.

It was dinnertime and my colleagues were staring into the freezer of a
48-year-old man named John. As IDEO designers, we were working with a client to develop a new line of healthy food products, and John was one of the people who had invited us into his kitchen for research.

What we saw surprised us: stacked boxes of frozen children’s organic meals. John was a bachelor with no kids, so why would he have kids’ meals in
his freezer?

Simple: Because he wanted to eat healthy, and he believed that no company would make unhealthy food for kids.

In data research, John represents the classic “outlier” — a person who stands out from the other members of the group. As a behavioral scientist (or as some call me, a “data scientist”), I used to spend a lot of time cleaning data, throwing out the outliers like John, and looking at measures of central tendency, or how the majority of people behaved. But in my new role as a designer, I seek these outliers.

Read more here…

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