CBi’s UX Workshop with Shiz Kobara

Last week, CBi China Bridge hosted a user experience design workshop spearheaded by LUNAR’s Shiz Kobara.  The workshop focused on fundamentals of UX design, including storyboarding, case study analysis, wireframes, and defining user scenarios and applying them to effective UE.

Attendees of the training were from varied professional backgrounds, including UI design, solution architecture, developers, and solution managers.  Overall, feedback of the workshop was excellent, with attendees highlighting the participatory approach of the session and case studies as their favorite parts.  After the workshop, we retired to Shanghai’s Kaiba Tap House for drinks, relaxing, and a networking session.

For any queries or interest in this and other workshops, please contact Sara Liu at sara.liu@shcbi.com.

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Successes Versus Pitfalls in Innovation Training

Last Monday, 9 April, CBi founder and president Cathy Huang led a workshop at The American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai, the largest and fastest growing chapter in Asia Pacific.  Cathy’s talk was on successes and failures in innovation training, especially in large companies that are recognizing the increasingly strong relationship between innovation and competitive edge.

The talk touched on 10 key successes and pitfalls in companies attempting to implement innovation training.  Most successful innovation training is fostered in an environment that encourages trust, involvement, and multi-layered decision making; aka task ownership.  Companies should also embrace opportunities, and be accepting of failure and risk.

After Cathy’s talk, participants split up in groups for discussions centered around three questions:

  • How can you develop a customized approach to innovation training?
  • How do you create an environment of trust and collaboration?
  • How can you encourage the freedom of ideas and turn them into concrete solutions?

The discussions were lively, and after each group presented their conclusions with the group for further debate.  We had some participants from Deloitte, and they were able to share their company’s strategy for culturing innovation.  Some discussions were centered around differences between company’s innovation strategies, and comparing and contrasting Western and Chinese management policies.

For queries on this event or for other speaking events, please contact us at info@shcbi.com.

LUNAR Design’s Shiz Kobara in Shanghai

On Sunday, LUNAR Design’s UX director Shiz Kobara arrived in Shanghai on business and to lead CBi China Bridge’s User Experience design workshop.  Shiz has worked for over 31 years, and has backgrounds in both industrial design and user experience design.

“Worldwide, there’s an explosion of UX, an expolsion of capability and talent,” Shiz said in a discussion this afternoon with CBi.  “From my early days of doing UX on computers, we didn’t know how far it could go.  The way that software is so capable now, there’s an explosion of freedom now on how to express UI on all kinds of products.”

Shiz also discussed how China will be eventually shifting from simply manufacturing the world’s products to creating and designing products and services.  The aim of the UX workshop for him is to help the next generation think critically about the problems they’re solving.

“If you do something wrong in UI today, it’s not hugely detrimental, but in the future if you make an error, it will be damaging to the user experience,” Shiz said.  “UI has to be more mission-critical and user-centered in the future.  The user has to have a clearer picture of what their doing, and have confidence in the user interface.  One little touch of a screen or a button has all kinds of cause and effect.”

In China, especially, user interface will become more important as global competition increases and consumers expect more out of their daily products, said Shiz.  With this viewpoint, many of Shiz’s inspirations for UX design come from everyday problems and frustrations people have with design, and the creativity they espouse in solving them.

“For me, frustration is the mother of innovation,” said Shiz.  “If someone doesn’t provide a solution, it’ll probably force you to come up with some idea to solve that.  That’s problem solving.  People don’t understand problems, but they do understand frustration.”

CBi China Bridge’s UX workshop will take place April 11-13, and cover user interface, storyboards, defining use cases, developing clear user profiles, defining user needs and expectations, developing wireframes, and other topics.

If you’re in Shanghai and interested in networking with Shiz and other UX designers, CBi will be hosting an after party for the UX workshop on 13 April, 7 pm – 9 pm at Kaiba Tap House.  Get more info or RSVP with Sara Liu at sara.liu@shcbi.com.

Kaiba Tap House Address:

169 Jianguo Zhong Lu

Huangpu, Shanghai

CBi Founder Cathy Huang Receives “Female Hero” Award

Last week, CBi China Bridge founder Cathy Huang was awarded the “Female Hero” award by the Shanghai City Government for her contributions to the creative industry in Shanghai.  Cathy founded CBi China Bridge after working at GE/Fitch China and Haier Design Centre in various marketing and product management roles.  She’s been featured in numerous publications for her views on design, and has judged numerous design awards.  Cathy has published two books: “Mobile Inspiration” and “Managing Design for Business Success: Readings & Case Studies on Design Management”.  Congratulations, Cathy!

A Successful Day of KAI Creative Thinking

Today we held our public KAI workshop for Chinese speakers at the CBi China Bridge office.  These workshops have been immensely popular in the past, and we were very excited to host it again.

The KAI workshop teaches individuals to recognize their own style of creative thinking, and leverage that into finding innovative solutions and better their problem solving skills.  For more information on the KAI workshop, please click here.

Belgian Industrial Design Students Visit CBi

On 6th March CBi China Bridge had a visit from a group of masters engineering students from the Howest School in Kortrijk and Brugge, Belgium.  It’s always exciting to make international connections, give university students a tour of the office, and share our experiences in China’s design industry.  These students are enrolled in industrial design engineering masters coursework.

Belgian design students listen to a presentation at CBi China Bridge

Howest’s masters program has been visiting China for a number of years, doing tours through Shanghai, Beijing,  Xi’an, and Hangzhou.  Medy, one of our senior consultants, gave a presentation on CBi’s design research methodology and Cathy Huang, founder of CBi, shared her thoughts on the design industry in China.  The students were especially interested to hear our perspective on how a Chinese innovation and design strategy firm can distinguish itself from international firms, and the advantages of working with a local firm.  After our presentation and discussion, the group moved downstairs to Kaiba, a Belgian beer bar and cafe below CBi’s offices, to get a taste of home.

Jammin’ With CBi China Bridge

This weekend, 36 design gurus from a wide spectrum of backgrounds met at CBi China Bridge’s offices for a 48 service design marathon known as the 2012 Global Service Design Jam.

Designers converged on CBi’s offices Friday afternoon, where we kicked off the weekend with informal presentations and team building exercises.  Then at 6:30 pm, the mystery theme of the jam was revealed – Hidden Treasure.  After brainstorming sessions and idea pitches, five teams were formed and our designers were ready to get down to some seriously fun creativity.

The Global Service Jam is an annual event hosted simultaneously at locations around the world, aimed at bringing together design and service professionals and anyone else with a keen interest in service design. Participants are given just two days to bring into being a completely new service design proposal, which will then be shared online under a creative commons license.  This year, 2,061 registered jammers from almost 40 countries participated in the event, creating nearly 350 brand new service designs.

Our five teams for this session were “Knot”, “Artisano”, “Dream Makers”, “Tufang”, and “The Cookie Pirates.”  We had 11 different nationalities participating in the jam – appropriately reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of Shanghai, where CBi is headquartered.    On Sunday after a long marathon of design, we gathered at Belgian beer bar Kaiba to unveil final designs.

This weekend was an amazing experience for all involved – jammers formed intense bonds, and said it was inspirational working with new people in a free flowing creative environment.  Cathy Huang, founder of CBi, said:

“This weekend has been more successful than we could have imagined, not least due to the openness and the enthusiasm of those who took part, plus all the people who offered their time and expertise to support this event. By far the most rewarding thing has been seeing the jammers, most of whom had never met before, bond so quickly and work so hard together to brainstorm ideas and then follow them through to a final deliverable design. It’s been an honor hosting the event, and we are all looking forward to next year’s jam.”

You can view the teams and results of the Global Service Design Jam here.