Design and innovation week – Day 5

We had an insights summary from the morning that synthesised our learnings as a group. I’ll do as a separate post as a wrap up, but this afternoons speakers were also very interesting.

Venturing into the future – Kevin Monserrat – marketing manager at Microsoft Accelerator

After another brisk walk, we were at Microsoft Accelerator and had a stand up boardroom table to congregate around. All industries not immune to technology. Industry agnostic..

IMG_6218 (1)

Kevin, our group and the standing boardroom table 


Assumption: new disruptions can happen anytime. For companies seeking new ideas and innovation there some key conditions:

  • Move from a legacy to agile technology strategy
  • Key elements: People, strategy and process (PSP)
  • Have or hire talent to make the company innovate..
  • Find good start ups – via VC and private equity investors who surfaces them

Companies want to understand how they can better leverage technology and an accelerator can bring in new talent, technology and agile methodology. Kevin mentioned these factors for successful integration:

  • When the CEO or CIO is technical they take more risk working with different technologies.. and can see value in the innovation solution
  • Some understanding ‘the cloud’. It can be costly; paying people to understand it, bring them in.
  • Accelerators can maintain a start up mentality when everyone still has decision making power
  • Co-creation is fostered (no walled gardens/turf claiming)
  • Attractive start ups should have a turn over 1 million and raised 2 million in capital

Seeing REA’s own Nigel Dalton‘s post on  it looks like a similar model to bring innovation in to a traditional company.

IMG_6229 (1)Example of one of the start ups at the London Microsoft Accelerator 

R/GA – ‘Future of work’

Our final stop was at R/GA a design and innovation agency.

R/GA Helps brands capitalise on emerging tech technology and human behaviours

Each evolution of the R/GA has had to recognise new technology and redefine its practice in order to grow and stay current.

We saw an amazing show reel that demonstrated the high quality of design and production they are capable of.

Business , data, m-commerce, communication, disruption

R/GA look at a diverse range of services and have gone full service agency incorporating their own digital content production facilities. Like REA they have an innovation space in their New York office and other select ones for testing new technologies to get a feel for them ahead of their clients.

R/GA tenets

Productivity – a workspace, above all else, should be an establishment that makes doing good work easy and enjoyable

Flexibility – We’re a company that’s always innovating. In an industry that never stops changing. We need a space that evolves with us.

Collaboration – Our best work happens when employees with diverse skills work together on a common vision. The Connected Space is built for teamwork.

Storytelling – As a company committed to connecting the physical world to the digital landscape, our space helps tell our story.

Inspiration – A workplace isn’t just a place to work. It should constantly spark creativity.

See the story here 

Workplace The Connected Space Documentary About RGA RGA connected by design – YouTube

Not just a digital studio, R/GA also have an accelerator program with 10 startups in IOT space for example. As a consulting practice R/GA looks deep into businesses, seeing how they work and are organised

mdel+for+growthR/GAs evolving model for growth from silo’ed to eco system of functionally integrated services and offerings

Turning thinking into making

R/GA value a mix of thinking and making, a convergence of design, technology and communications is one of R/GAs many strengths.

As a growing studio, content is created in-house (a practice REA’s growing here) .. as well as this, connected buildings; part of their architecture practice. Their first one in NYC as both a flagship and a living showcase of their capability.

Creating experiences that make individual lives better

R/GA identify technology and work that moves culture and look at data and media connections.

Working at interaction .. collaboration for different disciplines

Human,  simple , powerful – products should be:

  • Intimate – easy and quick access to tailored functionality
  • Consistent – natural, easy, and quick navigation
  • Persistent – always available, in any place at anytime
  • Flexible – text, voice, images and video
  • Scaleable – from view to many

Using data and observation to anticipate new behaviour, they design with the goal to have people interact, generate data we can analyse and give it back ; keeping the experience evolving and human.

Beats music

R/GA worked with Beats music; understanding  and analysing , the music people want to listen to.

They paired suggestion engines with human curators that know music.

Beats music after launch design MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and other features was so successful, that after 3 months apple acquired it. Case study video here

Reductive design that makes every experience effortless. R/GA people to adopt and engage in new behaviours. .

Example – NiKe ID – case study

This changed how people interact with Nike.

The shoe is the interface sending data that was used for changing the product, customising through the app through design.

Nike aimed to improve peoples lives and make people better athletes. Using data from training trainer, it can teach people and marry their knowledge and data and give it to the community

Result: habit forming solutions that use data to enable business growth

R/GA believe that multi disciplinary teams can think through different lenses; ‘thinkers’ and ‘makers’, when approaching a design problem.

Know better, connect fast – use design and technology to achieve unfair competitive advantage

  • Take a human centric approach to create connected experiences.
  • Work with people who are not afraid of taking risk’s and want to make genuine differences
  • Redefine as we go along constantly
  • Engage in idea generation

Redefining strategy – we saw examples of how R/GA had rethought

Getting children to brush their teeth  – Little brush , big brush.. 

A concept film to tell a story of making household automation seem like magic – AI Beko – connected home 

Connected spaces

R/GA also Consult, design, and have partnerships for designing ‘Connected spaces’.

“Integrating architecture, design and technology R/GA are pioneering the connection between physical space and the digital landscape.”

Physical and digital spaces, information, architecture, technology and Internet of things converging.

R/GA applied the practice to their own offices, showing us their connect3 app, they shared the possibilities of an office connected including, booking meeting rooms, finding them, locating colleagues.

Connect3 together can imagine what the possibilities are.

R/GA always on screens showcases R/GA Connect 3 office app
file-58e53e35f6c7f1ad7763acc4 (1) file-58e53e51f6c7f1ad7763aeb9 (1)

Home/Hotels/Spaces are getting smarter .

For example,

  • The Aloft hotels allow you to check in before arriving at the hotel
  • Gyms are more data driven .need to up the game. Equinox . second screen see how you are doing against others.
  • Offices, remote working and cloud services connect offices to people working remotely.
  • Theme parks – Disney leads the charge, providing access to hotel and park tickets before arrival through apps and beacons tuned to your device or wristband.

Connected spaces give us personalised stores, museums and libraries.

As the value of connected space becomes apparent, people can see the value.

Working in the office becomes the showcase opportunities, R/GA’s office is always in beta and evolving. They address data we capture and are always observing people using the space. (I’d love to set up a practice like that here –  Pete G)

Principles of R/GA’s space

Productivity .. a workplace should be an environment that makes doing good work easy and enjoyable

Rubber floor for acoustic and bouncing iPhones

Wayfinding – find places, meeting rooms, areas etc


Always innovating.. needing space that evolves with us, R/GA lets people hack it. Some of the hardware they use

Collaboration – diverse skills collaborating for a common vision . connected space build for team work

Networked offices – bumping into people; sparks something,

Employee location by beacon

storytelling (1)

Storytelling – as a company committed to connecting the physical world to the digital landscape, our space tells our story 

Unified design and experiences.

Connected LED panels show ribbon projections, journey screens

Everything tells the story of the brand and the people

Staff project – looking to bring more emotion to screens

R/GA combined the music DNA of people who work at RGA. They got the top 50 songs of people and  .. hooked slack into Spotify.

Inspiration – “a workplace should be a place to spark creativity”

  • Prototype studio
  • Game room
  • Startup accelerator space
  • Outside art collection
  • Slack office bot. to learn about people

Workshop build a Facebook bot

We used the Reply .ai platform that allows rapid prototyping of conversational bots and robust solution for conversational services. The flows are actions or rules. Actions ask questions or provide info to the users.

Rule, if-then. separate conversation out onto different branches. We made one that mimics a booking system for meeting rooms. Hmm hack day project anyone?

Next post: will be the mornings synthesis of the week we had, summarising the teams conclusions of the state of Design Thinking and Innovation .. its been an amazing week.

IMG_5832 (1)


Back to Day 4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s