Industry Info

Front Panel: Dash delivers disruption; design rewind; and more

Posted: June 11, 2015 by
Linda Casey

Dash Delivers Disruption, Part 1

By Linda Casey

Fuse returned to Chicago with a more intimate, collaborative show. Held April 13 to 15 at the Loews Chicago Hotel, Fuse introduced new field trips, tours and workshops, including several unconference-esque sessions, called salons,that enabled attendees to gather in small groups to discuss learnings from their sessions.

During the 11 a.m. salon, facilitated by Ronald de Vlam, CEO and global managing partner at Webb deVlam, attendees discussed several topics from the 10:15 a.m. session, Future Forces Transforming Consumer Engagement, by Bradley Kreit, a futurist from Institute for The Future. The session focused on what will happen when the tools of innovation and making are as accessible—and can be remixed—almost as easily as Lego blocks. But the slide that sparked the most conversation was about Amazon’s Dash service.

The online retailing behemoth recently introduced the Dash Button, a consumer device that enables Amazon customers to quickly replenish household items. What I find most intriguing about Dash is that it’s essentially a shelf-talker in a consumer’s home. This is one of the strongest tributes I’ve seen to the power of marketing products post-sale, and I wonder if this attention at the consumer shelf will lead to more brand marketers and package designers investing more time, effort and attention to designing for peer-to-peer marketing at the household level. I would love to hear your opinions of how technology facilitators like Dash are changing the way that brands and packaged goods are being marketed. Email me at, with “Dash Delivers Disruption” in the subject line. Your opinions could become part of an ongoing discussion about tech, design and marketing online, on social or in print.



Iconic Refreshment

By Linda Casey

Perrier has collaborated with some of the world’s most famous and distinguished modern artists, including Bernard Villemot. But Perrier’s heritage dates all the way back to 1863, with the first bottling in the south of France. Since then, the bottle holding the sparkling mineral water has undergone many innovations. As part of its social marketing campaign, Nestlé has shared several of its historic bottle designs on Here, we highlight some of those milestone bottles that originally hailed from the late 1800s in addition to the Warhol tribute bottles created in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation.



Looking Ahead with Futurist Bradly Kreit

Following FUSE 2015, Amanda Ciccatelli, social media strategist at IIR USA caught up with keynote speaker Brad Kreit, futurist at Institute for The Future to talk about the state of design, how it’s changed and where it’s going next. Here’s what Kreit had to say:


Ciccatelli: What is your “muse” or what inspires you in your work?

Kreit: At Institute for the Future, our mandate is to look out 10 years to explore and make sense of what the world could look like. To do this, I’m always looking for a couple of things: The first is to look for what we call signals—early indicators that can come be anything from a new product or startup company to something you saw a friend or family member do. What I’m looking for is something that gives me pause that causes me to take a step back and pay attention—and from there, I ask myself, why? What’s exciting about this?

The second thing I’m always looking for is combinations—one of the core ideas that we use to guide our long term forecasts is that some of the most unexpected but important disruptions will be driven by combinations of factors, including technologies, social factors and other innovations. For instance, wearable computing becomes much more interesting when we begin to think about it in relationship to the Internet of Things — and the ways that connecting our bodies to our homes or offices has the potential to change things both positively and negatively.


Ciccatelli: What is the best design you’ve seen this year? Why?

Kreit: I’m really captivated by the work of David Rose at MIT who just wrote a great book called, Enchanted Objects. His basic argument is that the technologies underpinning the Internet of Things are enabling us to, in effect, rethink the design of everyday things and give them the ability to help us navigate the world in a smarter way. He has developed products such as a smart umbrella that will light up to alert you if there’s a forecast for rain—as a reminder to take the umbrella with you to work. That’s the total of the umbrella’s “smartness,” it just does this one thing but this kind of thinking is a big opportunity for designers—to enable everyday things to help guide us through the day.


Ciccatelli: What ways can a design emotionally connect with its audience?

Kreit: As a general rule, be respectful of people’s attention and use that attention wisely, and be helpful.

Here’s an example of one of my favorite designs: When I was in college, I worked in a print shop where, among other things, I had to precisely cut inch-thick business cards and the like using an industrial paper cutter. To make the paper cutter work, you had to press two buttons that were about shoulder width apart. The reason being that the natural human instinct is to adjust the paper at the last minute to make sure you get the cut right which is, unfortunately, how you lose fingers. Putting those two buttons shoulder width apart did far more for my safety than a dozen signs about proper use of a paper cutter. It made it easy to keep my fingers.


Ciccatelli: How has design changed in the last 5 years?

Kreit: I think we’ve seen much more simplicity to designs, which is great. If there’s been one negative is that we are doing too much through touch screens. For instance, touch screens in cars may seem impressive or high tech, but they don’t make much sense. You have to look away from the road because you no longer have the feedback loop of a knob or button. My hope is that in the next few years, we’ll start to see designs that appeal to a wider variety of our senses.


Ciccatelli: Gamification is shaping our interactions with everyday experiences, from education to retail. How has gamification affected you?

Kreit: We’ve used gaming extensively in our work at Institute for The Future. In recent years, we’ve developed a method called “participatory foresight,” using a platform we’ve developed to engage thousands of people in exploring urgent futures issues that leverages game mechanics to encourage people to set aside some of their hesitations about making statements about the future and enables them feel free and open to imagine and explore.


Ciccatelli: We live in an always-on “now” society where the priorities of this moment seem to be everything. What does this emphasis on immediacy mean to marketing and design?

Kreit: One of our core arguments is that you should have great clarity on your long term goal and great flexibility on how you get there. From a marketing standpoint, this principle in relation to the move to an always-on world means a couple of things. First, you need to be able to engage with people wherever they are—because there isn’t one moment of truth, there are ubiquitous moments of truth. Any moment has the potential to be a moment of interaction, but very few brands are effectively positioned for this.

So you need to be able to engage people wherever they are. But, this is where you need both clarity and flexibility. You have to be consistent across every touch point, yet manage to engage people on their own terms in very personalized ways. What marketers need to do, and this is much easier said than done, is find ways to engage with people that are empowering and genuinely valuable for the end user. Otherwise, there are just too many other competing factors trying to get our attention.


About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, social media strategist at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the editor at large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big Design, STEAM Accelerator. Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event. This article originally appeared at IIR USA’s Next Big Design blog ( She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a web editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached on Twitter at @AmandaCicc.