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What if K-Mart Pharmacies had free life-saving technology?

. PeteW

Free, life-saving technology--tags for use in Healthcare. Plus: grocery store technology kicks the FDA in the arse for recalls. Looks like an interesting idea for pharmacies--do you know anyone who is implementing something like this in the US, Europe, or other? [sourec: Medical Quack...snippet below. Go here for full post: http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2010/02/tags-for-use-in-healthcare-medical.html ]

There’s a new video out on Windows Tags. Watch the video and pretend that box with Windows Vista is a stent ready to be used in surgery, get the hint here, take that phone out and scan the box!

If it has been recalled, one scan would let your know. Medical device companies can use this to ensure recalls are not missed. I wrote a post about one man who died because the doctors and hospitals missed the implant recall and it malfunctioned.

Why are we afraid of “free” life saving technology? This same tag could be placed on drug containers too, scan it and new safety information is available as well as identifying the product is authentic with an FDA supplied key to manufacturers, encrypted. It’s wild I have written on this topic several times, had a couple somewhat angry frustrated answers from others who didn’t take the time to understand how this free technology saves lives, I guess the Magpies living on the internet today. I also added how technology from a grocery store kicked the FDA in the butt and has them beat with safety hands down. In the video you will see other countries and companies using the technology for entertainment but I guess that goes to prove the focus here is more about entertainment, you think? It worked for Dodge trying to give away a Caravan. This leads me to believe that “tech denial” has a much stronger hold on people than what I might have originally thought. I like posting stories about items that are free and save lives better than I do disasters that kill people, but again it has been through several postings, email to the FDA and “tech denial” is still winning at the gate.

Read through this entire post for a summary of several of the posts I have done and you can also do a search to find other posts. By the way, this technology will also allow you to put information into your PHR too, read on below. BD

Windows Tag video:

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Important concepts from the very top

. Mark Schraad

I had an opportunity to participate in an excellent brainstorming session yesterday. What was particularly interesting was a 30-minute or so inspirational address prior to the meeting from our chair, Eddie Lampert. Eddie spoke to three extremely important concepts.

Disruptive Markets. Clayton Christensen has written about market disruption for a long time. His books, The Innovators Dilemma and What’s Next detail the theory of rising as a start up to concur the market leader by addressing over served customers. In most markets, the there is a tendency for the leader to become (at least somewhat) arrogant and complacent. Domination of the market often leads to the dumping of feature after feature onto products that raise the price, but are of little interest to consumers. The big mistake here is not including the user/customer in the innovation process and thinking we are smarter about what they want than they are.

Value chains and market ecosystems. We all know the story about the ipod/itunes delivery system. Apple reinvented how we listen to music with a simple device, but there were plenty of mp3 players. What Apple did that made a difference was tie in the entire value chain into a system that closed out competition and worked beautifully. It altered how many of us purchase and store music. They won that war by thinking beyond the product and beyond the thing. They thought about process, service, and customer’s ease of use.

Systems thinking. One off products and ideas are great, but systems are even better. From pattern libraries to appliances that talk to each other, designing systems can exponentially increase effectiveness and optimize efficiencies. This applies to our process, our products and our services as they blend to provide value to both the company and to our customers.

Most of you who work in the UX group are probably saying to yourselves, “So what, we know about this stuff.” And your right… this is not rocket science. But to most of America this is not the sort of stuff thought about regularly. We sometimes get ‘head down’ busy focused on deadlines and forget to think about the bigger picture and how we can effect things at that level. So it’s helpful to be reminded of very powerful concepts such as these. I would encourage each of you to regularly revisit these concepts, and to bring them up in our meetings and presentations. We have a large corporate culture, some of which does not think about things in the same way we do. Let’s share differing perspectives, new concepts and insights. Let’s help to move this company forward by listening to what is being said at the very top of the organization.

Some thoughts on Social Media

. Iga

The advantage and opportunity of social e-commerce is beyond a transaction. We can, and should create tools of social influence, but that influence should go both ways.

The benefit might not always be a transaction. Whether a consumer shops or not - (s)he provides feedback (about a brand, store, etc). The real opportunity here is to listen to that feedback and take it seriously. Find a way to aggregate these messages and make them surface during a business decision making. Sears has 1.9 stars on a 5-star scale (according to a resource provided by our social media product manager). Those individuals complain publicly about specific things.

Remember an MP3 player, called Zune? It was killed by social media. In this case the quality of the product or features were irrelevant. The problem is that, right or wrong, the public has voiced their opinion in such a way that it proved detrimental to the commercial failure of this product. The consumer did not want it.

With social media, there is no excuse for not having a good consumer relationship. Not listening to your consumer translates into a business loss over time. The word on the street spreads quickly, and glossy advertising, or a slew of features won’t fix the problem anymore.

Also, shopping behavior is changing. It is not a linear, straight forward process anymore. Few companies in the market understand that and cater to these needs. With online customers finding the product is one thing, and it’s just the beginning. Since everybody knows that with a few keystrokes I can virtually travel from one store to the other, and compare the prices for the chosen product. Further, I can (and I do) narrow down to two, or three retailers who offer me the best deal on shipping and fastest, most reliable delivery. More, and more consumers are interested in the reputation of the retailer (store rating) and it’s customer service just as they are interested in the quality of the product.

An European version of a Marketplace website (skapiec.pl), offers product browsing and at the same time displays a price map for a particular product, its ratings, and all the stores that sell it, with an overview of the price range and retailer ratings. The shopper can click on the store name (s)he is interested in and read the comments. A negative comment triggers an alarm to the retailer and in most cases there is a response posted. As a consumer, I understand there will always be some percentage of unhappy customers, but seeing that the company cares and responds is reassuring and wins me over.

Bottom line is – I can get the product anywhere, the online retailers have to compete on many fronts.

The Role of Collaboration

. wandereye

Wireframes should not be "interpreted" - they sould be collaborated upon with the "user experience architect" (as well as all the "stakeholders" and production people involved). Unless, of course, you prefer to the throw it over the wall approach. In other words, an example would be processes in the early stages of MML and with Iga and Rod on the DIG team and with a former creative named "[omitted]" and with some FEDs (talk to [omitted]). Whenever I am tasked with "wireframes" (we could speak about those and their relevancy to Web 2.0 and 3.0 and beyond over a drink or smoke if you want), I do my very best to work on them WITH FED and Design and other people with a "stake" in the "ground".

Why the separation? Contrary to some people's beliefs, I don't think the roles are as siloed or specialized as we tend to treat them. What helps is well-thought out strategy and a team that can develop tactics to meet this strategy. Without solid strategy, with only directives and a timeline, it makes sense that we "divide and conquer" to get the job done. However, working with FED, Design, IT all people involved with the implementation and production, should work together and support one another - especially when faced with a paucity of both strategy or objectives or resources or time.

And if you are finding design-change opportunities within a waterfall approach, I would suggest running them by the "author" of the "wires" and perhaps iterating the wires where value is clear. A "good" UX-er is concerned with the USER and will be open to ideas that promote giving users great experiences.

UX: there is so much we can continue to learn from Design, IT, FED. If you are not inquiring, IMHO, you are not doing UX. Your job is inquiry, asking questions, clarification, interpretation, understanding.

Design: one of the primary jobs of the UX professional is to understand the needs of the customer/user and the objectives of the business. If you are not getting solid input on this from your "UX" friend, something is amiss.

FED/IT: You know everything. Just answer us when we have questions. Help us understand. Lots of us do not.

Infographic w/Sears as one of top 100 largest sites on the Internet

. Dennis Schleicher

From the BBC of unique users in January 2010. See the Fast Company Article

sxsw: mapping

. Mark Schraad

One of the most dangerous things an old world company can do is to declare a business mature and rest on it's laurels. A former employer of mine did that just a few years back and watched as google brought innovative thinking to the table and blew right by. It was determined at that point that is was, "too late to chase them." These were smart business people, but they we wrong.
Cultivating innovation in a company focused upon cost reduction and lowering risk is difficult, but it is imperative in an ever changing market. After sitting through a presentation on how to make mapping dynamic, relevant, and really helpful, it is clear that this space is growing and innovating. Yahoo, Google and Bing continue to bring new data sets, capabilities and toolsets to developers. And lastly, augmented reality continues to be found in places that add value.

sxsw: per view

. Mark Schraad

It's good to see. Vision that is outside of the job title. From IA, UX, Dev and others... I have been hearing a constant voice of vision regarding all of the things that make a company and organization click. People seem to be concerned, aware, and have a vision beyond their job. That's a really good thing.

southby... on a Monday

. Mark Schraad

…this just in… the pork pie hat, or short brimmed fedora is the fashion statement of the conference. You can literally tell as you wander away from the interactive crowd into the local and tourist crowd by the headwear.

The focus here continues to be community and mobile. Those companies that are not benefiting from the social aspects of shopping are trying to. What most need to figure out is that it is not about control… it’s more about doing good and supporting information leaders. As the power of handhelds increases, more and more companies are moving desktop functionality there (whether it makes sense or not). On the trade show floor the iphone application companies were the norm.

I had a chance to reconnect with a couple of folks. Robert Hoekman Jr. and Jarod Sppol have combined efforts to write a new book, “Web Anatomy: Interaction Design Frameworks that Work”. They were on hand to talk about and sign copies of the new book. They document styles and interactions that have become the standard and the best in class. It looks to be an excellent reference point and I could see it becoming a reoccurring release.

As in previous years… I arrived to a nice day of sunshine only to be followed by the rain. It promised to be a wet day… another update to come.

Can a cultural model be the business model?

. PeteW

interesting question and thread: Can a cultural model be the business model? http://bit.ly/beblQz (Twitter conversation via Wenovski blog)

Taxonomy World Champions

. Dennis Schleicher

1st Place - GOLD
Jerry Schweighart
1st - Jerry Schweighart

2nd Place - SILVER
Linda Bills
2nd - Linda Bills

3rd Place - BRONZE
Laxmisurekha Kokirala
3rd - Laxmisurekha Kokirala

As could be seen from the fun taxonomy exercise presented at stand-up this morning, classifying and labeling groups of items is no simple task. First, the item itself has to be identified, then it has to be placed into an appropriate grouping of like objects (or a new grouping formed), and finally an easily recognizable and descriptive label needs to be created for the group.

At Sears we’re dealing with a universe of over 12 million items, nearly 4,500 product categories and subcategories, and over 43,000 attributes that describe specific product characteristics.

We have an ongoing review schedule for taxonomy and right now we’re working with Maggie Huckeba, Sharon Davis, Tammy Baars, and Julie Goetsch-Jackson on Apparel.

Clint Elmore, Taxonomist (clint.elmore@searshc.com)
Jenny Benevento, Taxonomist (jenny.benevento@searshc.com)
Fred Leise, Taxonomy Manager (fred.leise@searshc.com)

Drop the Megaphone

. Rod Rakic

drop the megaphone

"Do you want to talk about strategy or tactics?"

This is how I opened my recent guest lecture to IMC 454 at the Medill at Northwestern University.

This is Robert Mark's graduate school class on "Communication Skills & Persuasive Messages" a course, "designed to improve students’ skills in developing and delivering marketing communications conversations using both traditional and 21st Century social media technologies."

The overwhelming response was these students wanted to talk about strategy. When talking about technology, or marketing, and especially social media, people tend to confuse strategy and tactics all the time. My talk titled, "Drop the Megaphone," didn't give the highlights of the power of Twitter, or 6 steps to building a great Facebook page, we didn't step through process of how to make a viral video. (gack!)

Instead, I focused on what seemed to motivate this audience... so I went right for the wallet. I offered this bit of advice:

Buying attention is expensive. Earning attention is hard.

I asked them, "Which solution do you want to offer employers? Which makes you more valuable? Would you rather be good at something that is expensive to do, or would you like to be good at something that is hard to do? Choose now."

The thesis of my presentation was knowing how to communicate to an audience is important, but it is the ability of a communicator to engage with an audience that really makes for a standout value proposition to an potential employer.

Rod talking

Let's face it, buying the attention of an audience by investing in advertising doesn't prove that you have something to say, it proves that you are capable of writing a check.

I just feel smarter anytime I get to talk about Metcalfe's Law, the work of Shiv Singh (@shivsingh), and Michael Leis (@mleise) all in the same talk.

As is often the case with being in the room with a bunch of smart people, the questions and conversation during and after the lecture were the best part of the experience.

The best part of teaching, is that you often learn something about the subject matter in the process. I love that.

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The Real Roots of the Recovery

. PeteW

Umair Haque's latest post in the Harvard Business Review gives us some things to think about--especially for Local Marketplace. Could MP/LMP help enable the roots of the real recovery to grow and flourish?

Read the article and let me know what you think:


types of digital user cultures (UK study)

. PeteW

billed as the first digital anthropology report (really?) examining types of digital user cultures--UK study: http://bit.ly/dirFA1

The 8 Signs of Executive Commitment to Customer Experience

. PeteW

Are you an executive leading customer experience initiatives for your company?

You may want to check out Forrester's e-book (free download) on the 8 signs of executive commitment to customer experience. http://bit.ly/47LRgp

Includes a self-test that can facilitate discussions. What’s your exec team’s score on the 8 signs?

Games, learning, and behavior change--

. PeteW

Over the years, there's been many attempts at using video games for learning and behavioral change. Jay Parkinson (of Hello Health) found this example from the 70's for "Tooth Protectors", sponsored by Johnson & Johnson for Atari 2600.

What do you think? After 30 years, why hasn't anyone been able to make things like protecting teeth or treating diabetes cool? ...or have they? What do you think?