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5 Things Biology Can
Teach Us About
Breakthrough Design
How do we design for
an ambiguous future?
“…the things I’m going to be
working on haven’t been
invented yet.”
Rhys Banfield, age 10
Is there anything we
do know about the
future?
Source: Alpha Designer
Source: Alpha Designer
Biology is an
exquisite designer
Constraints
Constraints
Beauty
Constraints
Beauty
Adaptability
Constraints
Beauty
Adaptability
Empathy
Constraints
Beauty
Adaptability
Empathy
Loves a good user test
Cycles of near wins that
lead to more attempts
In biology, big changes
happen when big stress
occurs.
Rule #1:
Innovation happens when
environmental pressures
are significant
Why do we need
brains?
“Movement is the only
thing you have to affect
the world around you”
Daniel Wolpert
Mobile is a state,
not a technology
Beware the tech that
forces you out of your
natural state
#convCon @freshtilledsoil
Rule #2:
Mobile is our default state
Source: The Telegraph
Source: The Telegraph
Product design trends
towards fitting our
senses…
…but also making
those senses a little
better
Rule #3:
The best products extend
our biological powers
What about content?
If tech conforms to us,
then content should
follow us too
Always on, but not
always on the same
device
brains
“We are not seeing a substitutional
effect. People reading across
multiple devices increase their
consumption…”
Tom Betts, ...
Rule #4:
Experiences, and thus
products, become
specialized over time
Let’s talk about drugs
We need dope
We need dopamine
We are emotional first
and logical second
Emotions are required
for decisions
Brain chemistry drives
engagement
People use your
product because it
makes them feel good
“What’s in it for me?”
Make someone feel
good and you win
Make someone feel
good in front of others
and you win big time
Car safety and soccer
moms
Source: Kelly Blue Book
What does safety look
like to your customer?
Rule #5:
The best products make
humans feel more human
What has biology taught us
about creating breakthrough
products?
#1 Environmental pressure
leads to innovations
Prototype, then test with real
people, in the real world.
#2 Mobile state is our default
It’s not ‘mobile first’, its mobile
always. Build for the human
state not the tech state.
#3 Extend biological power
Tech should enhance who we
already are. It’s not a new you -
it’s you with superpowers.
#4 Specializations are good
Context is everything. Get out
of the building and build the
most relevant UX possible.
#5 Make us feel good
Build products that make
humans feel smart, safe,
recognized, and loved, and
they’ll return the favor.
Thank you!
Q&A
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
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5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design

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5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design

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5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design

  1. 1. 5 Things Biology Can Teach Us About Breakthrough Design
  2. 2. How do we design for an ambiguous future?
  3. 3. “…the things I’m going to be working on haven’t been invented yet.” Rhys Banfield, age 10
  4. 4. Is there anything we do know about the future?
  5. 5. Source: Alpha Designer
  6. 6. Source: Alpha Designer
  7. 7. Biology is an exquisite designer
  8. 8. Constraints
  9. 9. Constraints Beauty
  10. 10. Constraints Beauty Adaptability
  11. 11. Constraints Beauty Adaptability Empathy
  12. 12. Constraints Beauty Adaptability Empathy Loves a good user test
  13. 13. Cycles of near wins that lead to more attempts
  14. 14. In biology, big changes happen when big stress occurs.
  15. 15. Rule #1: Innovation happens when environmental pressures are significant
  16. 16. Why do we need brains?
  17. 17. “Movement is the only thing you have to affect the world around you” Daniel Wolpert
  18. 18. Mobile is a state, not a technology
  19. 19. Beware the tech that forces you out of your natural state
  20. 20. #convCon @freshtilledsoil
  21. 21. Rule #2: Mobile is our default state
  22. 22. Source: The Telegraph
  23. 23. Source: The Telegraph
  24. 24. Product design trends towards fitting our senses…
  25. 25. …but also making those senses a little better
  26. 26. Rule #3: The best products extend our biological powers
  27. 27. What about content?
  28. 28. If tech conforms to us, then content should follow us too
  29. 29. Always on, but not always on the same device
  30. 30. brains
  31. 31. “We are not seeing a substitutional effect. People reading across multiple devices increase their consumption…” Tom Betts, FT head of data
  32. 32. Rule #4: Experiences, and thus products, become specialized over time
  33. 33. Let’s talk about drugs
  34. 34. We need dope
  35. 35. We need dopamine
  36. 36. We are emotional first and logical second
  37. 37. Emotions are required for decisions
  38. 38. Brain chemistry drives engagement
  39. 39. People use your product because it makes them feel good
  40. 40. “What’s in it for me?”
  41. 41. Make someone feel good and you win
  42. 42. Make someone feel good in front of others and you win big time
  43. 43. Car safety and soccer moms
  44. 44. Source: Kelly Blue Book
  45. 45. What does safety look like to your customer?
  46. 46. Rule #5: The best products make humans feel more human
  47. 47. What has biology taught us about creating breakthrough products?
  48. 48. #1 Environmental pressure leads to innovations Prototype, then test with real people, in the real world.
  49. 49. #2 Mobile state is our default It’s not ‘mobile first’, its mobile always. Build for the human state not the tech state.
  50. 50. #3 Extend biological power Tech should enhance who we already are. It’s not a new you - it’s you with superpowers.
  51. 51. #4 Specializations are good Context is everything. Get out of the building and build the most relevant UX possible.
  52. 52. #5 Make us feel good Build products that make humans feel smart, safe, recognized, and loved, and they’ll return the favor.
  53. 53. Thank you!
  54. 54. Q&A

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