Design Lessons, Home Health, and Killing the RFP

by Jon Follett

Here’s what we’re reading online, this week at Involution, on design, tech, and the digital life, in our links round up.

Death to RFPs
A List Apart has a great article on why RFPs are no way to hire a creative firm. While I've heard from some that there's plenty of great work to be had by responding to RFPs, my personal experience is that the process is often arduous and by definition, a one size fits all approach to evaluating proposals. If you can get past the poorly articulated boilerplate language and foam and froth of legalese, you might be able to figure out what the client is actually asking for and craft a proper response. Of course, since most RFPs are a shotgun blast from an organization looking to receive as many proposals as possible, if you play the game, your chances at winning the work are dubious at best.

In RFPs: The Least Creative Way to Hire People, author Greg Hoy, President of Happy Cog has this to say:

"My point is this: trying to make creative people fit some mold established as conventional wisdom or best practice may not always yield the best results. Lay the groundwork, but put the onus on the creative person to do what they do best—problem solve. Light the fuse and get away."

Old Internet Dog Learns New Design Tricks
Ebay may be a bastion of the old guard Internet, but the company truly wants to be more innovative and nimble with its products. Their solution? An internal design group that acts as a consultancy to the mammoth company's product groups, to inspire them to take risks and forge new paths. Early successes include eBay Fashion and eBay Local.

The Fast Company Co.Design blog has a post on six lessons in innovation that the design group has evangelized throughout the organization.

So Long, Blogger
OK, so the Blogger service itself is not really going anywhere, but the name sure is. Photo sharing service Picasa is no longer going to have its artsy, brand anymore either. According to an article on Mashable, the plan is to re-brand Blogger as Google Blogs and Picassa as Google Photos.

Is it really necessary for Google to rename everything Google SomethingOrOther? Isn't that the worst kind of generic brand extension? I'm no branding expert, but certainly the hive mind of the Googleplex can come up with something better than Google Blogs? Or maybe that's the point, that everything that belongs to Google is functional and fast, but bland and lacking human spirit. Might as well rename Chrome as Google Browser and Android as Google Mobile while you're at it.

That's a Lot of Tweet
The Twitter Blog recently posted this celebratory and interesting stat: users are now sending 200 million tweets per day, the equivalent of 8,163 copies of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, built 140 characters at a time. From current events to useless musings, Twitter is quickly becoming the communication medium that connects us all together in real time. A year ago, the Tweet count per day was a mere 60 million. What can we expect from Twitter growth next year? Can the 1 billion Tweet mark be closer than we think?

Health at Home
Personal health and health care is an increasingly important topic to many of us. Knowing your health stats, learning about your own body and the complex system that it is, and becoming your own best medical advocate are all critical pieces of the puzzle. If you're really engaged in this health trend, you may be tracking yourself and leading a measured life.

Of course, it's the proliferation of inexpensive monitoring, tracking, and home health devices that has made this all possible. Two blood pressure monitors for the iPhone and iPad, the iHealth BP3 and the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor are reviewed in Mashable this week.

The downside is that once we have all this information, we have to do something about it, like exercise more. Time to finish this blog post and go running!

Topics: Design, Analysis, Blog, twitter, the quantified self