give me a kindle or an iPad

I am flying in an Airbus 330 of US Airways, back from Barcelona. Just like any other flights, as soon as I settled down, a flight attendance came to me offering a newspaper. Since I was reading my New York Times on my iPad, I politely declined her offer. Then, about 10 minutes later, a routine “please turn off all your electronic devices” announcement came through. I grudgingly turned off my iPad and started looking for something to read. Since I travel only with my iPad and MacBook Air nowadays, I often find myself having nothing to read during the takeoff and landing. I sometimes read airline magazines, Duty Free shopping magazines, the dreadful Sky Mall catalogue (although I must admit that it is always inspiring to read it to find out what not to do in terms of innovation), and even safety instruction cards.

So here is a suggestion. Why don’t airliners work with Apple (or Amazon) to design an iPad (or a Kindle) that does not interfere with their system and handout iPad (or Kindle) pre-loaded with newspapers, magazines, and popular books? In fact, Samsung or any other Android-based tablet device manufacturers might do it as well. This device should be pre-certified so that passengers can continue to read contents during the take-off and landing. It will save papers, keep my fingers clean and most importantly give me something to read during that takeoff and landing period (probably the most boring time during any flight).

P.S. I wrote this posting couple months ago, but never uploaded to my blog site. Recently, Wall Street Journal had this article¬†raising a question about the necessity of the routine procedure of “turning off all your electronics”.¬†

Academy of Management 2009 in Chicago

Currently I am in Chicago to attend 2009 Academy of Management Meeting. I will try to tweet using #AOM2009 while I am there. I have two panels that I am being part of. The first panel tomorrow is on digital convergence and the emergence of new firms. I will be talking about the new innovation opportunities that arise from radical digital convergence. The second panel on Saturday is on teaching design methods and skills to MBA students. I will be sharing my experiences of teaching “Designing Innovation in an iPod world”. Both sessions will be fun and interesting. I will also try to attend few research presentations before I return home on Monday.

Today, it was a beautiful day and I had a chance to walk down the Millennium Park. I took some pictures using my new iPhone 3GS. Here are some of those pictures.

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In case you were wondering why I did not post anything last two months: I was busy having too much fun with family in Korea and dealing with flooding in the basement. Well, in fact, I was completely overwhelmed by the Special Issue of Organization Science, NSF proposal and few revisions for journal articles. Now, the summer is almost gone, I should try to be more consistent in my posting.

my travel companions

I travel a lot and I enjoy it. It is important to travel with right gadgets so that I can continue to work. Recently, I started traveling with my MacBook Air and iPod touch. They are absolutely wonderful travel companions that allow me to continue to write while I am traveling no matter where I am. I can write in hotel rooms, book stores, cafes, or airplanes. And, then there is my Blackberry, which has become even more useful as I figured out how to integrate my Google calendar.


There are other stuff that I am wondering about to experiment with. For example, I wonder how Amazon's Kindle would work out for me. Also, I love taking pictures with my Nikon D80. But, it is too bulky and it does not do geotagging. I wish Nikon would come up with GPS pack for digital SLR cameras. I have other smaller digital cameras (from Sony, Olympus and Cannon — don't ask me why I have so many), but I much rather take pictures with my Nikon and pay the price of carrying its bulky body. My N95 has a built-in GPS and decent 5 mega-pixel camera. When I travel to Europe, I take it with me and occasionally take pictures with it, which automatically uploads pictures to my Flickr account, sometimes in the background without my knowledge. My main complain with D80 is not that it is integrated into my phone, but rather it is not compatible with a GPS device that I have. So, if there is DSLR from Nikon with an integrated GPS support, I will be very tempted. It will irresistible if it comes in a small body.

Based on my own experiences, the notion of all-in-one mobile personal device does not seem to work. I seem to be gravitated toward specific devices that work well for its task, yet play nicely with other devices. Of course, that means I am constantly looking for different bags that I can comfortably carry these stuffs.

Design Study Tour – Day 2

Today, we visited SAP Design Services Team. We start the day by me giving a talk on my work on organization designing. The talk was a bit rough as I had to deal with audience in Germany and the session started about 30 minutes later than scheduled. At any rate, I hope I conveyed the gist of what I wanted to say. My talk focused on how the radical digitization and emergence of knowledge economy creates the demand for continuing innovations in organizations and how this creates an identity problem in organizations. I further talked about how seeing organization design as a verb, as opposed a noun, helps organizations address this challenge. The presentation slides are here.


After my talk, student made presentations at SAP design center, in front of the Design Services Team. The first team focused on people's lunch behaviors. They studied professionals and students in terms of how they choose they lunch selections everyday.


The second team focused on the students use of money. They interviewed several students, which are available on their blog. They identified sources, modes of payment, control methods, spending, and experiences. Then they grouped people based on the level of involvements in money management and the spending (overspending vs. no-overspending). This led to many interesting questions and discussions about financial matters for the students.


The last team focused on the daily decisions on the mode transportation. They also have their own blog which is used to document the stories from the interviews. The interviews were based on daily everyday life experiences. They also have a Flickr site with the pictures that they took. They actually reconstructed their analysis process live in front of the audience.


The members of SAP Design Service Team reacted to the presentations. They provided extremely valuable comments and feedback.


The last item on our morning agenda was the talk by Matthew Holloway, VP of Design Service Team at SAP. He talked about how Design Service Team was set up and what it is doing within SAP applying design thinking principles. It was such a great presentation. He talked about how their team is trying to treat many of their problems through prototypes and visualization to change the way the company approach to the problems. He calls it "tangible strategy", which he defines as the articulation of strategy with prototypes. One of the idea that he mentioned was the important role that design plays in organization is to bring predictability.


Below is a video clip of his talk at IIT's Design Conference in 2007.
We had a wonderful lunch at their cafeteria. The ice cream was very nice. Before we left the building, we also had a brief tour of their working environments.

In the afternoon, we visited Neutron — a brand design and strategy firm. They are known for their books — Brand Gap and ZaG.

They emphasize the notion that the brand needs to be built from inside-out. So, they argue that brand building is culture change. They emphasize the importance of destabilizing the established business vocabularies. Design thinking is, according to them, a gut level reactions, which triggered a long conversation about the nature of design thinking and the meaning of rigor. Overall, it was a good visit.



One week in Gothenburg

I was in Goteborg, Sweden for a week last week. It was a time well spent as I was working with my colleagues at Viktoria Institute. I always enjoy working with them. It was particularly nice to be there with Jeeyoun. I did not charge my camera battery, so the camera died on me only after two days. This is a picture that I took at a local cafe where Jeeyoun and I had cappuccino.

absent-minded professor — almost there

I was in San Francisco earlier this week for the NSF project on distributed innovation that I am working on. My flight arrived late on Sunday night. I arrived at the Club Quarters almost around midnight. The following is what happened.

Me: Hi, I have a reservation.
CQ: Sure. What’s your last name?
Me: Yoo. Y-o-o.
CQ: Well, you have TWO reservations. Do you need both rooms?
Me: (Surprised) Are you sure? I only made one reservation.
CQ: Well, let’s see. You made one on August 15th and another one on the 24th. Both through Orbitz.

(At that point, I realized that I remember checking the price of hotel twice on Orbitz, but I really did not remember reserving it when I went there first. That was why I went there in the second place.)

CQ: Don’t worry. The Orbitz people have become very flexible. I am sure they understand.

(Understand what?)

The problem is that Orbitz wants you to pre-pay the hotel fee ahead of time. So, I actually paid for two rooms. So, I had to call Orbitz customer service and had to explain my situation. Fortunately, I was able to work with very understanding person who was more than willing to take it with a sense of humor.

Next morning I shared this story with Dick Boland, who then responded by saying, “well, once you find yourself spending more than half of your time solving this type problem that you created (big laugh), you are ready to become a full professor.” So I guess I am not that far off from it.