Posts tagged “gm”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Don Norman on Ethnography and Innovation – Some great commentary on Norman's piece (discussed here as well) including the very exciting revelation that Edison did something very much like ethnography!
  • General Motors – The Lab – It’s a pilot program for GM, an interactive design research community in the making. Here you can get to know the designers, check out some of their projects, and help them get to know you. Like a consumer feedback event without the one-way glass.

    We work on ideas that will influence our future vehicles. We want to share our ideas, inventions and pre-production vehicle designs. We want to build the right cars and trucks for your future. We want your opinion.

  • Iceberg Digital Book Reader for the iPhone – Digital books as content, as hardware, as a platform, as an OS, as an app? Interesting to see a range of approaches appearing. Iceberg use the iTunes store to sell the books, which seems like a brilliant strategy, leveraging a storefront/distribution platform that already exists.
  • Steal These Books – From Wikipedia page about book theft, a set of articles that describe what books get stolen from bookstores (independent, chain, and campus) and libraries.
  • Archaeology’s Hoaxes, Fakes, and Strange Sites – A large set of links to articles about fake archeological-type stuff (discoveries, artifacts, and the like). How and why.

The World Without Them

Rob Walker writes about Fiji bottled water claiming to be a green company, without using the word greenwashing anywhere in the piece. Fiji is certainly not alone in trying to brand itself as the opposite of what many believe it really is. Personally, I’ve been appalled at the TV ads for Arrowhead’s Eco-Shape Bottle and Scott’s Water Smart grass seed.

If you’re going to drink bottled water and if you’re going to have a lawn, definitely choose an option that consumes fewer resources, but as a consumer I find it manipulative to position those products as being eco-anything, when the core behavior they are asking us to perform is probably something we should stop doing entirely. As a strategy consultant, they have my sympathy, and my respect for not simply ignoring a big cultural story that challenges their key offering.

Consider this week the news that GM may sell or close the Hummer brand. If they sell it, there will be someone else trying to sell a product that (at least in term of meaning, if not actual impact) tends to be horrifyingly un-green.

Should Arrowhead, Fiji, Scotts, and Hummer simply go away? Obviously the leaders of those businesses have a fiscal responsibility to keep making money, but how much can they redefine or reframe their brands and their offerings?


About Steve