In an era when AI, IoT and machine-driven optimization increase system performance and task-based processes, the fundamental question we need to ask is: how can we design products, services and systems for humans rather than design human behaviors for machine optimization? That was the focal point of the keynote address that Dr. Federico Casalegno, Head of Samsung Design Innovation Center in San Francisco and Next Generation Product Strategy at Samsung Electronics, delivered at a recent conference hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Industrial Liaison Program.
At the 2019 MIT Research and Development Conference: Human and Technology Collaboration, which took place on November 13-14 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Casalegno delved into the imperatives of human-centered, experience-driven design and the distinctive role it plays in our contemporary society.
Technology is growing at an exponential rate, and he believes it’s critical that businesses undergo a directional change from just making products and providing services to designing products and services that help facilitate actions and experiences. “Achieving human-centered design is possible only by placing people at the very center of every aspect of design work, which must be preceded by gaining an understanding of societies, cultures and human values.”
This concept is central to Samsung’s design philosophy and latest mantra: “Be Bold. Resonate with Soul.” As such, Samsung aims to boldly challenge the status quo and connect people with new possibilities as part of its overarching mission to create delightful experiences for a connected world.
“Design thinking is anchored in meaningful experiences, and the design of such experiences is impossible without an understanding of people first,” Casalegno explained. “That’s followed by figuring out their genuine needs and then identifying ‘solutions’ for fulfilling those needs—all without any preconceived notions about providing products, services, or technologies. It’s also vital to look at all the ways in which a person interacts and makes contact with whatever is being designed, be it physical or nonphysical.”
As the MIT event program noted, “human and technology collaboration – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Underscoring the importance of human values, Casalegno offers a smartphone camera as an example. “For a company like Samsung, which creates next-generation technology innovations, we look at the human value of remembering and storytelling. Once a designer understands why memories and telling stories is important to humans, only then can they design the proper technology to enable that. At Samsung, uncovering the why, as well as the how – as in how people enjoy doing something, informs the way we design products, hardware, software and services that enable powerful human-first experiences.”
Federico Casalegno, Ph.D. is head of Samsung Design Innovation Center in San Francisco and Next Generation Products Strategy, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics in Seoul, Korea, where he leads multidisciplinary teams in creating groundbreaking user experiences, and envisioning and designing next generation products to bring to market. He taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and founded and directed the MIT Design Lab and MIT Mobile Experience Lab. As a designer and social scientist, he believes that the application of mindful design-thinking in technology can have a significant impact on human behavior and society at large.