Author Archive Olle Torgny

What’s the point with concept development?

You know the feeling. The day you rode your bicycle without help. When you knew who to marry, or where to go on vacation. Everything became so easy. Your powers went in one clear direction. And you knew why. That is basically what I offer clients and collaborators. Clarity and confidence. When you see the […]

Will 3D printing inspire neo art deco?

In 2019, the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam will have a new stainless steel bridge. It has taken six months for four robots to 3D print it. With the freedom of form of 3D printing, is this the start for a new era of art deco? Rococo? Bolidismo? Read about the project here on Designboom.

When old technology meets new

Fascinating things happen when you combine old and new technology, such as putting vintage lenses on a modern camera. Or as in this extreme case, going back to the origins of photography by making a simple camera obscura, that is basically just a little hole (0,4 mm) without any lens what so ever. The modern, […]

When all the work is done

We are now in December, the weeks before Christmas that feel like a dark, cold tunnel. No one wants to go out, and with just darkness around you, you get the working focus of late night. I have always wondered how much of the year’s work that is done during these weeks, here in Sweden. […]

As expected, still very beautiful

A behind the scenes look at how the iconic Leica M10 camera is built in Wetzlar, Germany. Filmed with a leica SL and a summilux-C lens. By Leica ambassador Richard Seymour. A masterpiece in the making

Flower covered police car. This is Sweden.

After the brutal terrorist attack of 7th of April, citizens of Stockholm step out, make manifestations against violence, give hugs to policeofficers and cover police cars in flowers.  

Colour matters

Those interested in synesthesia should get more information elsewhere. But we know that children often have strong preference for a certain colour of m&m, and even claim that the taste is different. I can also agree that the feeling changes with the colour, even if not directly the taste. White wine in a blue glass […]

Emotional leverage

Futurniture is a communications firm in Stockholm which started its enterprise with four design exhibitions the summer of 1993. Looking back, it seems like these events manifested a large shift in Swedish design and architectural culture where, up to today, good taste became commonplace. I had the privilege to have my then one year old […]

Does it matter what we call things?

Words, words, words… Does it matter what we call things? When Sweden voted to join the EU, one of the pro campaigns used the slogan ”It’s more fun to say yes!”. If that had any positive – or negative (!) – effect we will never know. But we know that the UK referendum on staying […]

Truth under cover

My friend Per Grankvist recently published a new book about the reasons why people are lying, ”Lögnarna” (The Liars, at this point only in Swedish). As a suitable present to celebrate, I produced this book cover for him that fits most pocketbooks and allows you to appear as a person who is deeply involved in […]

No filter, just Denmark

A still early april evening on the coast of Denmark can take your breath, even 15 minutes from the national airport!

A diet with appetite to continue

A good diet should not only help you to break bad routines, it also should motivate you to form new and healthier habits. It should be a pleasure when you do it, it should make you want to continue, and there should be a plan for the continuation. Otherwise you probably will go right back […]

Just pressing the shutter release

A walk around Årstaviken, Stockholm in early March 2016.

Happy Holidays 2015!

A universe for a geographic consultancy

This Swedish geographic consultancy assigned me to design a logotype and soon we were all involved creating a visual universe. A hint of humour and explorer romanticism, mixed with institutional and functionalistic nostalgy created a visual theme that integrates all logical, empirical, ecological and society conscious aspects in a focused set of symbols and attributes. […]

IFIA World Innovation Conference/Congress

For two days, August 25-26th 2015, inventors from all over the world have met in Stockholm to discuss challenges and opportunities. Some examples of issues: The role of the inventor in industry and society The relationship between education, culture and creativity Misconceptions of what innovation is leading to governments investing in large amounts in research […]

Embrace the unknown!

Time is ripe for smart things

I am happy to see that the market is getting ready for ’smart things’, that I worked on a bit in the 1990’s. Now there is technology, context and demand! FLIC is a wonderful example. It’s simply a button that you can use to control a chosen function on your smartphone. The most simple example […]

Wheel re-invented outside box

You should always be careful with what you say. Seemingly harmless expressions can keep you from opportunities. Luckily, Gilad Wolf ”thought out of the box” and ”re-invented the wheel”! It’s a wheel primarily for wheelchairs, but it has already been tested on bicycles. And the new thing is that the suspension is in the three […]

81 Cantonese proverbs in one view

Just one example of how you can visualise so many things at the same time if you choose to be visual. Information graphics can be cultural, beautiful and inspirational, not only vessels of facts. Don’t you recognise the proverbs? Totally understandable if you, like me, are not Cantonese… All communication, including visual, depends on the […]

Offering at a glance

SAS, Scandinavian airlines, present their offering with this snapshot, based on the temporal mental model of a flight. Instead of meaningless listings of features and benefits, you can get the whole picture at a glance in a meaningful way. Probably they used this mental model in their marketing development of their services, so why not […]

How broad a brand?

Visiting the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2014, I found this stand with Canada Goose Home bedroom products; duvets, pillows, bedding and blankets. So Canada Goose has decided to extend their brand of down jackets and sportswear into the bedroom. On one point I wonder how the intensity of mountain sports activities goes together with […]

Strategic april fools-joke

Today SAS, Scandinavian Airlines, announced that they from now on will have a ”like” button above each seat in their airplanes. Of course it’s an April fools’ joke, but it’s also an interesting example of playful ways to make your brand and your strategy visible. Happy april fools’ day! (link from the photo to the […]

Where pleasure meets utility

Picture from the motorcycle fair in Stockholm last weekend. Live to Ride – Ride to Live!

Enter Makerspace

Soon Stockholm Makerspace will open. I can’t wait! I have always enjoyed building and modifying stuff and now there be a place you can go and not only build physical things in the workshop but also network with others! Stockholm Makerspace has been created through crowd funding by FundedByMe and I have also made a […]

Brilliant hack!

Swiss designer Andreas Bhend is specialised in ”hacking” IKEA furniture, for example the shelf above made from Frosta stools. Actually, since the 70’s IKEA has been encouraging people to modify their products or use them in another way than the obvious. For example a friend of mine uses a bookshelf as a coffee table, and […]

When innovation is to preserve as is

To be more creative, disruptive and innovative in as many areas as possible, except this one. For 2013, that is my little plan!

Disruptive innovation

In the middle of the 1930’s, the Czech car manufacturer Tatra launched its first drop-shaped aerodynamic model. In the picture, a Tatra T77a from 1937 in front of a T80 from 1935, at the Technical Museum in Prague. This was a leap in the development of the automobile that was only surpassed by the introduction […]

Tatra – futurism on four wheels

Will there ever be cars like this built again? In the picture, a Tatraplan from 1952 in the vehicle museum in Mlynica, Slovakia. The later Tatra 603 is not bad either. Watch a wonderful commercial from 1962 here (YouTube).

The best of two worlds

For a long time I thought it was sad that I could not use my Rotring 600 fountain pen more than I did. It would always dry out between times of use. I have simply never been a fountain pen guy. At the same time the plastic quality of my favourite writing and sketching instrument, […]

As they are before we conceptualise them

I found this interesting little film on Facebook. It’s a description of what buddhism is about, and even though I will not judge the accuracy, I like it’s straight forwardness. ”Things are real – as they are – before we conceptualise them.” Something to reflect upon! Also the text-to-movie technology (xtranormal) used for making the […]

New business cards

I just got my new business cards. They look just like the old ones, but this time I chose real offset printing instead of digital. Real stuff. Feels good. I also uppdated the professional section of my website. If I wasn’t already crew cut, I would go to the hairdressers too.

Nonverbal communication

This is a wall outside a school on the island of Formentera, in Spain. Obviously the values of the school are expressed with nonverbal graphics. Obviously the kids can get the message from the first day, long before they can read. But this form of expression has many other advantages. It’s concise, takes little space, […]

75 years of CSR

The safety match, and it’s production technology, are two of the inventions that made Sweden an industrial nation with export. When Solstickan (the sun stick) was created in 1936, safety matches had been produced in Sweden for almost 100 years. The label drawing was made by the artist Einar Nerman, and it has been said […]

The business model of a locker

I can see an increase in discussions around business models and it seems that one reason is that business models are becoming more complex, regarded as a way to competitive advantage. When this discussion starts to involve other elements than costs and revenue, I think it gets really interesting. Just to take the simple example […]

Why are most sewing machines white?


Nature abhors a vacuum

I have always wondered what goes on in the minds of the people that design caravans and motor homes. Especially the graphics which form a genre of its own. Visiting a fair for these vehicles gave a lot of interesting impressions, but ended in more new questions than answers. What’s the point of the stripe […]

Practical allocation of resources

For example putting the source of heating where the people are. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; not part of the exhibition.

Straight forward

On Januari 25th, the ”un-conference” Internet Discovery Day was organised by Grädde (Cream), a Stockholm based investmet company. Anyone with a business idea could take a section of brown paper and market their idea to venture capitalists, suppliers or potential partners. It was interesting to see how the simplicity of the brown paper postings made […]

Mediocrity 2011 – irony by Subaru

My favourite of japanese car manufacturers, Subaru, is currently running a wonderful viral campaign where they present the fictive ”Mediocrity 2011”. Subaru intends to market itself as the Japanese car manufacturer with integrity, that sticks out. You may argue on the exterior expression of Subaru’s, but as a whole they are quite different with rumbling […]

Not for sale

Many times have I been defending the practice of marketing among people who think of it as tricking people into buying what they don’t need and want. Today’s form of marketing, that I represent, is rather about matching needs, demands and offerings, while taking attitudes and awareness into account. You can make people aware of […]

One hand does not know what..

Winter has struck Sweden harder than in many years and of course the railroad companies, working under SJ, Swedish Railroads, get a lot of attention. Will they cope with the upcoming weather conditions or will we face the same disastrous delays as last year? This week the state owned real estate company Jernhusen, owning the […]

Cordial Business Model Summit 2010

This year’s Business Model Summit, held by Cordial Business Advisers yesterday, was inspiring in many ways. To have a good business model has always been important but today the complexity calls for a closer attention and more creativity. The media industry and music industry are maybe the most obvious examples of industries in urgent need […]

Experiences that make sense and add value

These are barley grains, from which you make malt and in turn beer or whisky. They come from the exposition at the Guinness brewery in Dublin, ”The Guinness Storehouse”. I guess that if you were to visit the Guinness factory some 20 years ago, you would probably be led through the factory in a group. […]

What a wicked wicket!

Some time ago I checked in for a flight at one of the terminals of Arlanda airport, and I was confronted with this peculiar thing. A small piece of (maybe bullet-proof) glass separating the customer and the staff. I found two things interesting about this. Firstly I wonder what went on in the minds of […]


I never get tired of Douglas Adams’ and John Lloyd’s book The deeper meaning of Liff, a dictionary of things that there aren’t words for yet, where geographical names are given new meaning. According to them, a “botswana” is “Something which is fruitfully used for a purpose other than that for which it was designed. […]

One day this symbol will save lives

My first project when I was employed at Antrop was about how to handle and present warning information in the future electronic health records. How could medical personnel see in a glance if a patient would need special treatment? We realised that the situations of use are quite different, from ordinary visits to the doctor […]

Start-up of Start-up Stockholm

Sten Nordin, financial mayor of Stockholm, today inaugurated ”Start-up Stockholm” as Stockholms Nyföretagarcentrum (≈New business centre of Stockholm) and Innovation Stockholm start an official collaboration. One more step ahead towards a more entrepreneurial and innovative Stockholm. And no one is happier than me! Instead of cutting the ribbon Sten Nordin tied a yellow and a […]

Planning of chemical plant 2010

A few weeks ago I assisted in a workshop for the chemical company Perstorp AB, the Warrington production site. They had found that their offices and production units were too spread out and that they needed to re-arrange parts of the plant according to new needs. As you know the world has changed and today […]

Department of mystification

Some things are so complicated that you cannot understand how they could be so just through ignorance or negligence. The complexity seems to be there by design. Like bank notes, old style airline tickets, the table of contents of medicine or the back of a PC. When discussing examples of this approach, a friend of […]

Designed vegetables

In the daily life you don’t think so much about the origin of things. And at least myself I usually regard vegetables as something ”real” that comes from ”nature”, not as something that has been made up or ”designed”. Last night I saw Jimmy Doherty’s tv programme about genetically modified food, about how the global […]

They started as a mining company

How much is a business idea worth? I have met a lot of people who mean that no business idea has a value in itself – it’s all about execution. (Read more here at, in Swedish) I can agree that execution is very important, but if you succeed, what have you actually accomplished if […]

Open for business

I am now officially open for business. My objective is to make companies and their offerings more competitive through innovation based on inspiring customer/consumer/user insights. Primary tools will be persona- and scenario methods, sensemaking and creative prototyping together with classic and new strategy development methods. The picture shows a traditional Swedish kiosk (newsstand/sweetstall) which has […]

This is Sweden!

Olle Westling, the father of Daniel, makes his speech of the father at the wedding of princess Victoria and his son, with the love of a proud father, with no notice of this being a royal wedding in live television but with full focus on the spouses. He gives his thanks for the dinner and […]

Ten years with personas

Last friday Rósa Guðjónsdóttir defended her doctoral thesis Personas and Scenarios in Use. The thesis is based on professional experiences and the work in a European research project, Nepomuk.and it describes how personas were used as a tool for communication and acceptance in an organisation. You can find the thesis here. So what’s ”personas”? In […]

What is customer value anyway?

There have been many attempts to explain what value is, and the difference between the seller’s and the buyers’ product. Here’s another one! For the seller the deal is about costs and revenue, for the buyer it’s about the perceived value. Only what is perceived has a value for the buyer, the customer. Again, the […]

Customer value margin

A few days ago I attended a seminar at Transformator, a Swedish service design agency. They showed a very inspiring presentation with concrete and tangible examples – very refreshing in a design area that is still under development and where still most of its stakeholders seem to have a different view of what service design […]

The sign could say anything

We would understand anyway.

Expo 2010 – big and small

When the queuing time is 2,5 hours (early May, on a weekday) or more for the larger pavilions it’s an interesting alternative to visit several small pavilions and get in touch with countries you have little access to otherwise. This is the queue to the pavilion of Saudi Arabia. To see some highlights from big […]

Expo 2010 – an expo in itself

Even if you don’t visit one single pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, only the infrastructure and constructions around them make a fantastic experience. Just the number of flags near the entrance is breathtaking. These are 189 national flags and 57 international organization flags. The whole area, with all its components is an experience in […]

Customer experience feedback

Both when entering and when leaving China you can rate your experience of the passport control officer, from sad face ”not satisfied” to happy face ”greatly satisfied”. Basically a good initiative and a nice gesture. But it also raises questions. You say that you cannot measure without affecting the result. This apparatus makes people conscious […]

Categories of world exposition pavilions

Just watching all the world expo pavilions from the outside is a great experience. When you enter, often after a long time of queuing, you will find various expositions which can vary in quality just as any expositions. You may conclude the types of pavilions like this: In some cases you get a great experience […]

Expo 2010 in Shanghai – Sweden

The theme for the Swedish pavillion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai is ”Spirit of Innovation”. The exposition relates to the overall theme of Expo 2010, ”Better city, better life”, discussing the cityscape as well as the Swedish approach to tradition. See more pictures here. Innovation seems to be on everybody’s lips right now. No one […]

Expo 2010 in Shanghai, first glimpse

The world expo of 2010 in Shanghai has only been open for a week. I thought it would be a good idea to come here while everything is fresh and while the weather is not too hot. Yesterday it was raining, today the weather was fine. Those who visit later on may have the benefit […]

Shanghai at 431 km/h

My first impression of Shanghai, and China, is friendly and efficient. Like the Maglev train from the airport which reaches 431 km/h before it has to slow down again. With buttons ranging from sad face to happy face you can rate your experience of the passport control officer. Signage is clear and evident, complemented with […]

Servings on airplanes

Flying with Turkish Airlines, Stockholm-Shanghai via Istanbul, I thought it would be a good occasion to ask for a real raki. To have some local benefit of the detour. And they gave me this: one glass with raki, one glass with mineral water and one glass of ice. As in many countries in the mediterranean […]

What’s the deal with the red dot?

Once in a while I have wondered about where that red dot, generally seen near surfaces of matte black, comes from. Richard Sapper has put the red dot on many designs like the Tizio lamp and the IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad laptop computers with their red pointing device, ”Trackpoint”. The latter has become such an icon that […]

Visualization is coming!

This Monday I attended the Visual Forum 2010 in Norrköping, co-located with the EuroGraphics 2010 conference. There seems to be a growing interest in visualization, and specifically in Norrköping they are just about to open the Norrköping Visualization Center. With visualization as a theme you might expect a lot of designers and communication people at […]

My talk at TEDxNorrmalm

The video has now been published on YouTube. To see my talk at TEDxNorrmalm, 17th of april 2010, click the image or this link. Welcome!

Focus strategy

Along with Michael Porters’ generic strategies cost leadership and differentiation, there is also the focus strategy which can actually be applied to the other two. By focusing you can be more efficient and clear on your market, but you have to take elements like relevance and risk into account. This guy seems to have a […]

The original Macintosh manual

Some time ago I came across the manual for the original Macintosh. It’s quite fascinating. When you open it, it feels almost a bit surreal. A bit like watching Teletubbies, the TV-show made for 2-3 year olds. Why? Because it explains things we all know by heart since a long time ago, as something completely […]

USP, ESP etc.

The concept of USP, ”Unique Selling Point” or sometimes ”Unique Selling Proposition”, has been widely questioned. It has been claimed that you cannot be unique these days; you have to add something else, sometimes called ESP – ”Emotional Selling Point”. Well, even if the idea is correct in some sense, I would argue that the […]

Innovation and creativity – why?

It’s easy to see innovation and creativity as pleasurable things that companies may choose or not. But what is the real reason for companies to work with innovation? Why do companies need to be creative? I would say that innovation, as it’s discussed today, is about development of (new) competitive advantages. Reasons for people to […]

Our biological fundament

A long time ago I took this picture, and I have used it many times since, discussing our biological fundament for how we perceive and consume. How humans in their natural environment spend a large part of the day chatting, thus stimulating their brains so that they can think fast when a lion shows up! […]


Yesterday I went to TEDxHumlegården, one of the TEDx events in Stockholm this week. It was very inspiring, and how could it be otherwise including such titans as the always so engaging Klas Hallberg. marketing guru Stefan Engeseth (who dared to question Apple!) and Sigge Birkenfalk, who once taught me everything about strategic communication at […]

Is this what you might think? Yes.

This picture was taken in the mens’ room in a very large restaurant in Germany. What it is? It is practically a toilet bowl at washbasin height. What it is used for? Well what do you think? In a restaurant with hundreds of seats, where people endulge in the wonderful german beer and rich foods, […]

The next thing in bicycling?

One of mans greatest inventions is the bicycle. They say that a human being on a bicycle is the most energy efficient form of transport (in relation to weight) on earth. On the other end of the scale you find some insects. When I was a kid, a bicycle with more than three gears was […]

The customer/supplier dilemma

I took this picture in Brooklyn, New York, in 1989. I have used it many times as an illustration of the frustrating inconsistency between what companies supply and what customers actually want and/or buy. The need might be there, but no supplier is available. Companies trying to sell things that people don’t really want. People […]

TEDx Norrmalm – the other talks

Even though there was not an official theme for TEDx Norrmalm, there was definitely a common sector between the speakers. Danica Kragic, professor of Robotics and Computer Vision, talked about the work with robots and how they differ from human beings. ”Sensing is easy, perception is hard”. Ulf Boman from Kairos Future talked about the […]

House red wine

One of the stories in my TEDx talk was from a vacation in Croatia. I had some ”house red wine” with my dinner one night and it was so good that I asked what kind of wine it was. ”- It’s house red wine.” ”- Yes, but I mean, what kind is it?” ”- No, […]

My TEDx Norrmalm talk in brief

My talk was basically about my experiences from several creative areas, and the pattern I have seen when putting these on top of each other. Instead of a PowerPoint I used the blue and red glove so that the audience could follow the idea and make up their own minds on the pattern I am […]

My TEDx Norrmalm PowerPoint

Those of you who missed my TEDx talk might want to see the presentation material. Well, here it is: And here’s the script: More information and movies coming soon!

TEDx Norrmalm

TEDx Norrmalm, Stockholm 2010 04 17. More info soon!


In 1987 a friend of mine and I went on an Interrail trip across Europe. One of the places that we visited was Budapest. It was the summer before starting my industrial design studies at Konstfack. This is one of the pictures I took on this trip, one of the first of my today rather […]

The golden circle – a new approach

It seems like in today’s media world, many companies, organisations and individuals are struggling to improve their communication skills. They are trying to clarify their message, formulate information goals, developing ways to show the difference in how they do things differently than others. Which is fine! But not so often do you hear about a […]

And then the senses on top of that…

Twenty years ago there was a tea and coffee store in the block where I was living, and what always struck me when visiting it was that there was no particular smell of coffee in the shop. Today this would of course be impossible; a well dosed smell of coffee is expected in a coffee […]

Understanding complexity

A friend of mine once said ”reality can by cut in many angles”, which in its simplicity is so true! Every object, situation and aspects can be perceived and judged in so many ways, depending on your background experience, context etc. Once I made this drawing as a metaphor for how companies work. Just as […]

When the customs got customers

A few years ago I assisted at a workshop for the Swedish Customs authority, where we were detailing some of their future visions and strategies. They told me that a couple of years earlier they have had another workshop when they suddenly had a eureka moment: ”we have customers!” They realised that by tradition, customs […]

Two bites, two eras

Food is both survival and experience, depending on situation. It also reflects our attitudes in general. The hotdog is definitely a child of its era, industrialism and modernism. Easy to grab and eat on the go, rational, practical and functional. Perfect for its context, where people would no more gather in families for the daily […]

Clear and obvious – or effective?

In the old industrial world you would look for the linear connections. If I do this, I will have that result. You would set a goal and then set up a linear process and work with determination towards that goal. Same thing in communication. You would define what you do and then formulate how you […]

Three brands I love, and three I use

Here you can see three of my personal favourite brands. I love Apple. I watch Steve Jobs talks and on a bad day I can even find courage from a commercial like this. Everything Apple does comes from a vision that is so much larger than the company. I used to be a fanatic user […]

The Shift – in a marketing perspective

The good old product lifecycle model has been questioned, but I can’t help thinking that it is a good illustration to the shift of focus that we can see. The model in brief: when a new offering is launched your first customers will be enthusiasts and after a while the so called ”early adopters” will […]

This is just a very small part of it

Around the 80’s a new style emerged in product design, furniture and architecture. One of the leaders was the Memphis group, with Ettore Sottsass. Simple things like a piece of furniture having several colours were quite new at the time. The objects and buildings clearly broke with the modernistic tradition and started to mix style […]

The Shift – in society

By now I think that the idea of how the western world has moved from an industrial state into a post-industrial state, is rather accepted. There are plenty of interesting readings to be found on and off line. I will only refer to this briefly. What actually interests me is how this model, this shift […]

The Shift – in literature

Literature is not really my area, but as some people I have talked to have mentioned this, I did a little research and came up with the rough sketch below. Of course literature is already from the beginning ”experience” and there is not the same shift of practice from physical to mental, but still you […]

How could they be so sure?

In the old world things would not change so quickly. Change was predictable. You could extrapolate the current conditions and get an idea of the future. To some extent you can today also, but in some areas that kind of linear predictions can be quite risky! Apart from all the physical uncertainties you also find […]

Collaboration for success

Someone said that the success of any company, organisation or even country depends on the degree of collaboration. I can only agree.

The increasing complexity of symbols

Once upon a time, the signs around us referred to known things like natural phenomena. And symbols were given specific things. Today it has become much more complicated, but also more interesting. When we dress in the morning we choose attributes, statements and stories for ourselves and others to see. Symbols and other signs not […]

When experience and physics merge

Holistic, integrated product development – what does that mean? Well, if you want to be successful today and tomorrow, if you want to be innovative and competitive, then it will be too slow, inefficient and irrelevant to first develop a physical functionality and then try to powder on some experience values. You will need to […]

The creative team

In the old industrial context, there was less need for collaboration. You could develop a structural platform first, than have some ”creatives” powder on some elements of beauty, experience and understanding. Today, and tomorrow, those components are hard to separate, and competencies need to work together. You can more rarely separate one dimension from the […]

Experience innovation, existing components

In the 80’s, the largest milk producer in Sweden – Arla – was facing a decline in milk drinking. From being a standard drink at all meals, milk had started to be considered fattening and was now losing market share to mineral waters etc. Especially in restaurants this was evident – people were drinking other […]

Orange button enabled radical innovation

The first Sony Walkman, introduced in 1979, was a completely new and different product even though all its components had already existed in other products. There had been stereo heads before, but never in a pocket tape recorder. And so on. The innovation was based on ideas of human behaviour, and re-arrangement of technologies, rather […]

The holy pub institution

Last autumn I went on a train trip through Great Britain, from north to south. On this beautiful trip I saw several times, across the country, pubs being left when their surroundings had changed. The whole block may have been torn down to the ground, but the pub stays. If not large industrial or office […]

Private camera rebranding

Some time ago I decided to buy a new camera, and suddenly I found myself in a private badge engineering project. And of course it turned out that changing the logo had a good effect in itself, but only after adding a couple of other elements the experience was complete. The feeling you have for […]

From badge to brand

Branding is not just about the logotype. Not even the logotype is just about the logotype. That’s what every branding expert will tell you. And they’re right! But still, once you have managed to build a certain image and confidence, it is striking how strong the effect can be in changing both expectations and experience. […]

Maybe it’s all about choice (preliminary)

I am trying to find the connection between all these aspects. Which are the drivers in this transition that so many products and services go through? I can see so clearly the ”before and after”, in so many areas. But how can I explain it? I think a part of it is about choice. Let’s […]

Added value or holistic value development?

I have always thought there is something strange about the concept of ”adding value”. Which is frustrating as that is basically what I try to do in my work. I think the problem is that ”adding value” has a linear touch to it, like if some part of somethings value was already there by itself. […]

What really works

I once saw a lecture by Nitin Nohria at Harvard on the subject of this headline. It was about research that he with colleagues had done on successful companies and their strategies. It cooked down to a few very simple rules, and if I were to condense them again, into one sentence, that would be […]

The shift in big and small

The shift from modernistic to post-modern, physical to mental, basic to added value can be seen in big and small. What’s interesting is how this shift of focus is scattered around all possible areas, taking place at different times. Many areas are still in the modernistic, physical, basic stage, and will still be for some […]

Warfare from physical to symbolic focus

Even in the major world conflicts you can see how focus has shifted from physical to mental. If you simplify this vast and complex subject into four images you may see this pattern: World War 1: Basically traditional warfare man-to-man in the fields. World War 2: Modernistic, industrialistic warfare added the use of not only […]

Beautiful in itself?

Can something just be ”beautiful” in itself? Looking for examples I find my turntable below. But then I realise that the consequences of this product design were more interesting than that. The beauty is not only in its minimalistic brushed metal shapes, but also in its statement towards the ordinary. Basically, the traditional modernistic approach […]

When there was just one phone

Once there was basically just one model of telephone in Sweden, as in many other countries. One single model should fit all environments. They were owned by the telecom authorities. Old phones were recycled. Telephones were infrastructure, like electricity, running water and heating. A fascinating design task, quite different from todays context. In all a […]

Attraction and interest

Design often deals with two parallel aspects: making things more obvious and making things more attractive and interesting. For a true modernist the choice is simple: always aim for maximum clarity and remove everything else. And there are so many areas which still have a long way to go before reaching basic acceptable level of […]

The Shift – first draft continued

This shift in focus is also compatible with the idea of our brains being split in two parts. Even though the brain physically is much more complicated than that, it’s a handy model for discussing different ways of thinking. Maybe also for discussing the competencies needed in this new context. Again, I think it is […]

The Shift – first draft

Here is a first rough illustration of the shift in various areas. Of course this model is very simplified and I want to point out the aspects which are increasingly in focus, not an absolute truth! Obviously the later aspects don’t replace the earlier. But for me the change of focus is quite evident. You […]

The meaning of service

Service design is a rapidly growing area that today gets a lot of the attention concerning value creation and cross collaboration. And design. Which is good. In area after area, the potential in developing things and expressions that people actually want, as well as the need of collaboration between competencies in order to create that […]

Surprising candleholders

A few years ago I made these candleholders by cutting off a pair of boat horns. When I started using them I was surprised by the strong formal effect of the candle holders being flush with the candles themselves. I think it’s a good example of how the effect of a certain feature often doesn’t […]

The white stone and the sleeping one

During my time as a guest researcher at KTH/CID* I led a project where we imagined future use of IT in a social context. Will interactive television affect future sitting room design, was one of our research questions. To visualise one of our conclusions, that new communication channels seldom replace but rather complement others, we […]

Cut costs, not meaning

Today is the second day of ”The redesigning business summit” in London, with many fresh thoughts in the field between design and business. The major theme is how design and business development will act after this recession. People will not consume as they did before. They will be more conscious about their spending but they […]

Styling is human

When I was a design student in the 80’s, ”styling” was a bad word. Any element of a design that was not motivated by technical or practical functionality, or perhaps support to practically understanding the product, was dismissed as ”styling”. The expressions should be based on these aspects, clad in harmonious shapes. But if these […]

Observation for innovation

If I were to choose one favourite TED talk, it would not be easy but finally I think it would have be this one: Jan Chipchase (March 2007). Jan Chipchase is hired by Nokia to travel around the world with his team, observe and document behaviour and cultural expressions as a basis for Nokias future […]


I have been invited to talk at a TEDx event here in Stockholm, on the 17th of April. TEDx is a format for local TED events. Visit TED here. Info about TEDx Norrmalm here.

Experience based architecture

Architecture is one of the areas where ”postmodern” is referred to as a special style in the 1980’s, which makes the postmodern discussion a bit tricky. Sweden was one of the leading countries in early modernistic architecture. Functionalism was introduced at the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930. It went very well together with the upcoming creation […]

From compensation to motivation

Motivational theories like those of Maslow and Hertzberg also follow the pattern from practical needs to experience. What they have in common is the idea that if you don’t have enough of the basics you will do what you can to fulfil these needs – shelter, food, enough salary to pay the rent. When the […]

Functionalism searching ”truth”

Functionalism emerged in the 1930 as a reaction to the large number of low quality, often cheap copy products that had been pumped out by the growing industry since the late 19th century. Organisations like Swedish Slöjdföreningen and the Art and Crafts movement had promoted good examples and with the social and economic change, time […]

From commodity to experience

Market strategy generally deals with so called differentiation. That is changing your product from being a commodity, like sugar, wheat or crude oil, to becoming a distinguished product with certain properties so that customers will prefer your product from others and thereby also pay more. The first thing you do is to, for example, to […]

A fruit plate by Jacob Jensen, in a way

Jacob Jensen, creator of the design language that made Bang&Olufsen world famous in the 60’s, also designed this fruit plate. Well, in a way. Jensen developed his linear and modernistic design language during the 60’s. The design was based on great attention to choice of materials, surfaces and graphic design, and it did not look […]

The product life cycle

Let’s start with four examples, from left to right: The last edition of the Olympus XA camera (XA4). At its launch in 1979 the XA was the first quality camera made of plastic, which was a sensation. Shape, choice of plastics and surface treatments, and graphics made this a not at all ”cheap” product with […]

The future of medicines

Since a long time, science knows that placebo is over 50% of the effect of medicines and drugs, including coffee. Still most products in this area rely on chemical performance. This is my first example of how many product areas develop: initially focus on physical performance, then presentation and handling and after that experience and […]

Suddenly it struck me

Suddenly it struck me that while many of us have been amazed by the creative and innovative opportunities provided by Internet and the web, our world has changed in so many other ways. Internet is an important part in this change, an accelerator even, but not the only one. Everything is different, or will be. […]