Category Archives: design

From Zappos: 4 Simple Hacks To Foster Office Collaboration | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

The most innovative companies in the world emphasize both place and space – proving that innovation is not a solitary pursuit…

From Zappos: 4 Simple Hacks To Foster Office Collaboration | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

Improving the edgefighter experience

Mav6: At the intersection of design and national security

Too often in the defense industry, we build for an abstracted version of the end-user. We design solutions for edgefighters as viewed through the lens of contractual language written by acquisition professionals who are well removed from the situation-dependent tactical details that can mean the difference between life and death in the field. We develop products for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines instead of a soldier, a sailor, an airman, and a marine.

Industrial age warfare is over. Modern, information-age warfare is a competition of individuals, not institutions, where technology is relegated to a supporting role – albeit an important one. Within this context the question is not “How can technology ‘leverage’ achieve the desired tactical, operational, or strategic outcomes?” but rather “How can technology help edgefighters to achieve the desired outcomes?”

Today’s operational environments are a chaotic mess by historical standards. And operational diversity demands functional specialization, which in turn demands tools that can be optimized at the lowest common denominator: the individual edgefighter.

As a private citizen, I can customize the technologies in my daily life in a near infinite variety of ways to enhance my productivity and performance, yet edgefighters are seldom afforded the same luxury in the execution of their duties.

I marvel at how poorly designed most military systems are from a pure usability perspective. Even today, there seems to be little recognition in the defense industry that usability impacts performance. The extra split second that it takes to find actionable threat information using a poorly design user interface can make all the difference in the field. And anyone who’s ever tried to squeeze into a HMMWV understands how poor design can effect mission performance.

Thoughtful design with an eye towards end-user specialization doesn’t just win in the commercial marketplace, it’s a strategic imperative in contemporary conflict environments. When the enemy is regularly innovating new threats in a development cycle that measures in weeks, it’s impossible to go back to the well and create new purpose-built countermeasures in time to effect the tactical fight.

This is where good design comes in. Military systems must transcend the idea of application-specific engineering and migrate to the technology-as-ecosystem model, where platforms are designed to co-evolve with the operational environment and the changing needs of users.

Mav6 is committed to the idea of improving the edgefighter experience through great product and solution design that helps the men and women engaged on the front lines of conflict and public safety do their jobs better, safer, and faster. This means building flexible, easy to use solutions that can be customized in the field to accommodate emerging operational needs. There’s nothing revolutionary about this. It’s something the commercial world learned long ago. And if you ask us, it’s well past time for the defense industry to take note.

Pinterest’s Founding Designer Shares His Dead-Simple Design Philosophy | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

People (Mav6 employees included) often get confused when we describe Mav6 as a design company. The linked blog from Pinterest plank-holder, Sahil Lavingia, gives one of the best treatments that I have seen as to what it means to be a design company. It’s not just about designing beautiful products anymore – it’s about cultivating a sensibility that emphasizes the integration of all aspects of a business to address the motivations and needs of customers.

Pinterest’s Founding Designer Shares His Dead-Simple Design Philosophy | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

5 Ways That Your Crappy Co-Worker Is Like A Crappy UI | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

Better design means better efficiency and more utility. There needs to be broader recognition in the defense industry that design is not just the icing on the cake – it is the cake.

5 Ways That Your Crappy Co-Worker Is Like A Crappy UI | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

Beware Of Following The Gospel Of Minimalism, Preached By Apple | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

Beware Of Following The Gospel Of Minimalism, Preached By Apple | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

Are there any defense companies that express a coherent design language in their products? I can’t think of any…

Tribute to Steve Jobs: The DOD Industry could learn a few things from him and Apple | Kit Up!

Tribute to Steve Jobs: The DOD Industry could learn a few things from him and Apple | Kit Up!.

Great design = better capability

Usability Is King For Your Product. Here’s How We Can Finally Measure It | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

Usability Is King For Your Product. Here’s How We Can Finally Measure It | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

Is “usability” a key consideration in the design of defense systems? Well, it should be…