Research Publications Newsletters Above the Fold Above the Fold - 7 November 2014


How Millennials Think Differently about Brands

Knowledge@Wharton • 6 October 2014

You can have a brand preference at what age? According to Professor Americus Reed, the millennial generation (which runs roughly from the early 1980s to the early 2000s) thinks differently about brands than its Generation X predecessors (people born between the 1960s and the 1980s) and the Baby Boomers before them.

"Millennials tend to be very socially aware, are prone to be more public about it, and they are simply more thoughtful and forward looking . . . "

This summary article of the featured podcast squares with my personal experience. I think Millennials do have an "identity loyalty" where the brand becomes part of who a person is, no matter what the product. And all of us with children in this cohort will affirm his observation about the very early age at which they expressed a brand preference. My daughter rejected the generic plastic building blocks that could be bought cheaply by the bagful asserting they were "definitely not Legos." According to the company Lego is an adjective and the phrase "Lego brick(s)" is preferred. Good luck with that. Furthermore the bloody things only get more expensive. See this disturbingly thorough analysis by an MBA Lego enthusiast. (Michalko)



A Pattern for User-Centric Organizational Change

UXMatters • 6 October 2014

It shouldn't always be you in the mirror. In this article Dunwoody on her research on how to help non-user experience employees develop a deeper understanding of user needs. She makes the case that a three-step framework—Listen, Learn, Act—can support more systematic user connectedness. She argues that it can be the basis for broader organizational change.

Anybody who has run planning, design or organizational strategy sessions is familiar with the syndrome that opens this article. Staff members assert that they are the voice of the customer when in fact they are representing their own needs and preferences. I was surprised that Dunwoody dismissed the video evidence of users asserting their own needs as inadequate to change these incorrect staff perceptions. Some years ago when we had librarians sitting behind the one-way mirror watching users struggle with designs they had insisted on I found they took it as an occasion for profound self-reflection. Although some of them took it as evidence that their users were dolts. (Michalko)



Mechanical Turk: The New Face of Behavioral Science?

Pricenomics • 15 October 2014

You are probably WEIRD like me. Cognitive and behavioral sciences have a big problem with sampling bias. An extraordinary number of experiment participants are drawn from the US undergraduate population. This essay outlines the problem and says why Amazon's Mechanical Turk Service (online labor market with mini-tasks and micro-rewards) might be an effective and economic way to get a more representative sample of humanity at large.

This was fascinating. Why didn't it ever occur to me that all those undergrads who need beer money are distorting experimental results? Because I'm not a behavioral scientist and did not know the acronym WEIRD. That stands for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. An article about this group—"The weirdest people in the world?" (pdf)—concludes " . . . that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans." The extent to which the Mechanical Turk workforce has been analyzed was remarkable to me. (Michalko)



How Much of Your Data Would You Trade for a Free Cookie?

ProPublica • 1 October 2014

Fingerprints for (not on) a cookie. In a highly unscientific but delicious experiment not long ago, 380 New Yorkers gave up sensitive personal information—from fingerprints to partial Social Security numbers—for a cookie.

OMG. "Cookies decorated with the Instagram logo were so popular among photographers that Puno required 'purchasers' to give their fingerprints, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and their driver's license information. Many still agreed." (Michalko)



Poets, Products and Porn

Billy Collins on Life, Death and Poetry
The Washington Post On Leadership • 3 October 2014

Announcing The Winners Of The 2014 Innovation By Design Awards
Co.Design | business + design • 15 October 2014

Google and Combinatorial Innovation
Farnam Street • 13 October 2014

The first because he's a charming man. Here inexplicably chosen to be part of a leadership series.

The second because they delight particularly the winner of the "Spaces" award.

The last because it's a good anecdote and a powerful illustration of the concept. (Michalko)



Above the Fold Quiz

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