When we named Steve McCallion as a Master of Design in 2006, we called him "The Mind Reader "--a title you don't just toss around haphazardly. But in his role as executive creative director at Ziba Design , in the burgeoning creative Mecca that is Portland, Oregon, McCallion has shouldered our accolades with ease and often exceeded them: He has continued to give consumers what we want before we even know we want it. From providing "iPod-fatigued" Sirius radio fans with simple, streamlined accessories, to transforming local Umpqua Bank's branches into comfy, human-centered storefronts, to building better neighborhoods with developer Gerding Edlen, McCallion has been able to bridge the elusive gaps in the design world between spaces and actions, objects and emotions. And somehow, he makes it all look so effortless.
Which is not all that surprising when you learn his background: McCallion is also an architect who worked in Richard Meier's office as well as for Hak Sik Son Architects, and has also started his own furniture company, Office K/Amerika Furniture. He brings his experiences as both a place-maker and an product-maker into his role as head of Ziba's Design Research & Planning group, where McCallion transformed Ziba's practice from your typical industrial design firm into one of the most highly respected research and planning institutions in the field.
As an expert in making the shift towards strategic thinking, this week Steve addresses some of the challenges companies face when trying to radically innovate their own consumer experience. "Over the last several years the innovation discussion has shifted from a focus on product and business innovation to consumer experience," he says, naming by way of example something akin to Apple's real-life help desk, the Genius Bar. While delivering such an experience sounds easy, in practice it's exceedingly difficult. "Companies are increasingly interested in creating value by delivering better consumer experiences, but many are not quite sure how to get there," says Steve. This week, he's going to show us how to get there.
And as a sidenote, Ziba is also the proud owner of a snazzy new headquarters designed in collaboration with the architecture firm Holst, which they occupied at the beginning of August. Later this week I just so happen to be headed up north where I'll be touring the new facilities--when guest blogger and editor collide!--and I'll be sure to report back, with lots and lots of photos, of course. In the meantime, feast your eyes upon a few of Steve's latest and greatest:
VholdrR Twenty20 Action Cam
Cyan Interactive Storefront and Retail Experience with Experiential Marketing campaign
Bellevue Towers Interactive Wall and Retail Experience
Sirius Satellite Radio
Read Steve McCallion's Beyond the Widget blog