Challenge? – don’t go there

August 23, 2007

I have an announcement to make:
– Jesper W. of CPH fully intends to drop dead, or at the very least comatose, rather than participate in Bang & Olufsen’s so-called Creative Challenge.

Why, you wonder? – why would any industrial designer, and even one with a particular interest in household electronics and the ilk, balk at the opportunity to squeeze his foot in the door of one of Denmark’s most famous companies, design-wise?

Because of this:
“Vigtigt: Creative Challenge – Beovision 8 er ikke en bureau-pitch på Bang & Olufsen, men en kreativ konkurrence, hvor man deltager som privatperson(er). Konkurrencen er lavet for at fremme kreativiten og de indkomne bidrag vil ikke blive brugt til at
markedsføre Beovision 8. Alle rettigheder til indsendt materiale tilfalder dog B&O.
( – for my non-Danish readers, the bold part says all rights to any of the submissions will belong to Bang & Olufsen)

In other words, B&O presumes to harness the collective, creative power of some 200 (at this time) design teams, subsequently taking possesion of every scrap of work done by them – without paying so much as a nickle for it.
Oh sure, they’re prizing out all of 3 (yeeesh, three) Beovision 8 TV sets – come on, they loose more than that due to breakage in a single month…!

I can’t stress enough to all my hopeful colleagues – if you have thought about entering this competition, please reconsider.

Let’s not work for nothing, huh? – especially for a company that sets the tone, teaching everyone else that designers will work for free.

Update: – this topic came to my attention thanks to Line Rix’ post about it at her blog, and now Claus Buhl has also chimed in on the subject with his words of wisdom – anyone else, hop on board, won’t ya…

Update #2: – for how one might do this in a better way, take a look at Bolia’s “Design Award”. The conditions state that Bolia will hold the optional rights to start a production (not the actual IP rights for the design) and that, in this case, a separate contract between the designer and Bolia will be drafted.
Yes, B&O, it’s really that easy…

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Second whatnow…?

August 21, 2007

I’d be surprised if anyone remembers but waaaay back in the end of ’06 and the early part of this year, there was a buzz goin’ on about something called “Second Life”. Everybody who thought they were anybody had to be there and pretend to take it seriously.

JWcph was there too, actually I had opened an account a few months before the full hype wave hit (because JWcph is always in front, of course) – only, we never created a presence, nor did we when .noia. was born (it’s still a baby though, and as such the other partners and I hold it close – don’t worry, you’ll know more about it soon…). We paid attention, and certainly yours truly spent unhealthy amounts of time there but we never built anything for ourselves, because we didn’t care to rush for the buzz.
As with everything else, we want to deal in knowledge, not know-it-all’ledge.

Now everyone else is getting out again, after (excuse me) half-assed attempts that never really took the concept seriously – .noia. and JWcph, well, we’re still there, and now we even have our first wee location, courtesy of arcspace:
“under the clock” – meet .noia. (this is a so-called “slurl”, you need SL to use it)

Second Life is not great – not even close.
But it is a very serious attempt at pointing towards a possbile future for online interaction, and so far the only such thing in the world, as all the others simply are not created by or for the users to the same degree.
(this is subject to fierce discussion but this is my statement, and I’m sticking to it)

That’s why I still hang out there from time to time, and why I still wonder where it might go…

– that’s me, resting my black wings under the clock, waiting for my date: The future…
of course, everything in the cube was built and scripted by us, from wind sensitive trees to the custom sitting pose

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Speak of the…. iPhone

July 9, 2007

It’s out.
The iPhone.

– but not here in Denmark…

However, being unable to get one for myself and get first hand knowledge doesn’t keep me from having formed an opinion, if not about the iPhone himself, then at least of the idea of it and the hype surrounding it.


It’s interesting, first off, to note the “campaign” for this gadget (more on that term later) – the Mac circles have been murmuring about an Apple phone for years, yet Apple themselves never said anything about it before the stunning presentation of a fully functional iPhone by mr. Jobs himself at one of his famous turtleneck stage performances.
Having a sort-of cult following as Apple does pays off; such attetion as was built by the rumors (neither started nor supported by Apple in any, least of all economical, way) is hard to create with even the best commercial campaign…

When the product finally hit the streets it was, of course, impressive – wether you want to love or hate it, noone with any interest in tech stuff, devices, computers or design is unaffected.
What is funny, though, is that the most innovative features (in my opinion anyhow) are hardly the topic of any of the numerous reviews, so I’ll try and point at some of them:

– the multi-touch display. This is the first time ever that any device with a touch screen as its primary interface is available to the general public, let alone at a price that is reasonable (if indeed on the heavier side of reason), and the ability to interface with it using multiple touch points is nothing short of brilliant. All the same, most reviewers seem to take this interface for granted…
edit: – it has been brought to my attention that certain camcorders do have touch screens at consumer levels, and PDAs and smartphones have been pointed at. I admit I didn’t think of the camcorder angle (one might argue that it’s not a camcorder’s primary input device, though), but I intentionally left out PDAs and smartphones; the former is pretty much useless without a stylus and hence not a true touch screen from the consumer’s point of view (even though technically it is), and the latter have a numeric keypad as its primary input device…

– The iPhone is not really a gadget. I mean, let’s be honest, when we talk about a gadget we mean an implement which does all manner of technically advanced, yet mostly useless, stuff, but really none of the iPhone’s features can be called truly useless, leading me to the next point:

– It’s not a cell phone. This machine is a dedicated communication device; pretty much only the on-board iPod is not directly targeted at modern, web-based communication – sporting several applications needed for this, such as email, bluetooth, text messaging (with a graphic interface for keeping track of “sms conversations” – cannot believe nobody thought of this before), voicemail browsing (ditto), picture sharing, full blown web browser, and an API solution that will allow for additional functionality to be added user-side. Not to mention it’s really a computer, running an actual system (OS X), making it the first “cell phone” which will truly be updateable and upgradeable…

– And, of course, the user experience. Another first: breaking with the common numeric keypad as the primary input device – let’s face it, how often do we actually use the key pad for punching in a phone number the old school way? Most of the time, the limited number of keys are subject to advanced finger acrobatics to force them to fill tasks not even remotely connected with their nature.
The iPhone vision also shows a great understanding of how a hand-held communication device is used – for example, integrating maps with address & phone number search and info, and that with the telephone function, et cetera.

Even though it’s obvious I’ll put the disclaimer in words: I haven’t tried it myself, the above is based on Apple’s own info and user feedback online.
Even if this device eventually fails however, it has already pointed to one thing: We need to think about how we use technology to communicate in a whole new way.

Oh, and before anyone writes it off because it doesn’t have a video camera or MMS capabilities or because the feature list is shorter than your average Blackberry, let’s remember that many people laughed when Apple launched a desktop computer without a floppy drive, or when we first saw a portable mp3 player – the two products that turned Apple around and pointed the way for everyone else in the business today.

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Eulogy for a stranger…

June 25, 2007

Strictly speaking I have no business talking about this but I feel the need to:

Yesterday, june 24th, the world became a little bit smaller and a little bit uglier – in Jamaica, the Powers That Be reached out and took away the lovely and talented Natasja Saad.

† Natasja Saad, june 24th 2007

I won’t climb on the pityful bandwaggon of claiming fan-ship now she is no longer here – Natasja’s thick, sweet, powerful voice melted through my ears (and any low moods I might have felt at the time) when, by chance, I heard her music, that’s all.

But she had something about her, something that made me feel like someone was gently and playfully slapping my face in time with the Jamaican beats, while wearing an ironic yet absolutely friendly smile – something that, as naive as this may sound, felt Bona Fide and true.

Maybe that is why I feel so profoundly saddened by the death of someone I’ve never met, because she just isn’t out there, in the world somewhere, anymore.

My heart goes out to the people to whom Natasja meant so much more than she ever could to her audience – her family, her friends.

Rest in peace Natasja.

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The first date

June 10, 2007

As those who subscribe to the new DesignMatters may (or may not) have noticed, yours truly got to make a small thumb print on this edition – I am refering to the article about the workshop arranged by Sapa & RIAS in march, at which I was one of the happy campers.
(The repeat took place just this thursday and I understand the second iteration was just as good as the first)


That’s nice indeed – makes me feel listened to, certainly, but more importantly, the subject matter is cruicial: Creatives and industry need to get to know each other. That’s why I address it yet again (besides commenting to the reporter from DesignMatters I wrote about it in my PM blog as well), and I’ll probably bring it up at the get-together in Designbrancheforeningen on wednesday if I get half a chance (stay tuned for my comments on that after the event…).

The designers of the future will be the ones who grasp the reality they’re creating for – not just the advertising campaign or the end user, but the entire process, where it begins, where it is going and how it’s supposed to get there.
True innovation will be happening in the crossfield between creativity and engineering, during the process of making something new.

I’ll just underscore that point: – During the process of making something new…

You tell me – why am I emphasizing this?

Jesper W.
sunny day

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What’s in a title?

May 29, 2007

I am not formally educated in the field of professional creativity, my skills in this field are self taught (in so far as I have any).
Or, as I put it in my description at LinkedIn, I have attended the notorious “School of Hard Knocks”, an education which never ends an nobody passes alive.

So what am I?

Professionally, I mean – what is my title?

Designer, right, but that’s like saying you’re a musician, the next question is bound to be “what kind of music do you play”, “which instrument” or whatever – it’s just too general.

So here is my actual work title:
– Design/User Experience Creative Playmaker

got my number
the playmaker’s number is usually 10 so why should I be different?

To understand why that is, you must read the definition of a Playmaker, courtesy of Wikipedia:

“… a playmaker is an attacking player who controls the flow of the team’s offensive play, and is often involved in passing moves which lead to goals. [….] – creativity is the only true requirement, and good passing ability and tactical awareness help.”

– and the qualities of a good playmaker:

“Perhaps the most important quality of a playmaker is the ability to read the game, and get into good positions making for effective receipt and distribution of the ball. Intuition is another key element of a playmakers’ game, as they need to know where different players are at different times, without taking too long to dwell on the ball. A good playmaker will often hold possession, allowing other team members to make attacking runs. The ostensible role of the playmaker is to then provide or facilitate the final pass which leads to a goal.”

Notice for example that the playmaker reads the game and is an offensive player, and also notice that the playmaker is a team player par excellence.

The term is, of course, ripped off from the game of football, but I think it’s such an on-the-nose description of what I want to do as a creative professional – namely use my creative toolset to facilitate for those who use other toolsets, be it in the creation of physical objects or the field of user experience (which basically covers everything as we all use stuff, and we all experience stuff – it’s just a fancy way of saying that we see it, feel it and form an opinion about it).

So there you are – the next time we meet you’ll know what to call me.

Jesper W.
wearer of the shirt

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Hello world!

April 2, 2007

– the opening comment that comes with such a blog as this is simply too sweet, so I am leaving the “Hello world!”…
(this has the funny side-effect of backdating my first post – it’s like a time warp)

Welcome to Jesper W. of Copenhagen’s commentary track, I should say right away that even though I am (no really, I am) of Copenhagen and very Danish, I will be authoring this blog in english. This is because I find it easier to share across the scope of my Danish and not-so-Danish friends, colleagues and connections this way around.

Not being snobb’ish about the lingo, promise.

Anyway, this being the first post on my new channel I shall keep it brief – in the news: This.
Oh, and my webshop, do go ahead and check it out, it’s nice: Jesper W. of Cph Webshop
I will be adding more custom designs soon…

If, on the off chance, you like my musings, have a wee browse at my other blog, – this will, however, require that you read Danish.

Thanks for stopping by – see you soon.

Jesper W.

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