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How Technology and Robots Shaped Our Japan Trend Trip.

This spring, we embarked on an international trend trip to Japan, where we set out to find innovative trends applicable to our clients across industries. Visiting Tokyo and Osaka, as well as a number of other areas, we were able to revisit our anthropological roots, touring museums and showrooms, exploring neighborhoods, and observing as well as participating in everyday life.

Key Trends:

AI and digital assistance are on the rise throughout the world, and Japan – long hailed as a leader in tech innovation – is no exception. A key differentiator in Japan, however, is that many new AI features have faces or human elements – making the environment feel much more friendly and approachable.

  • Rather than speaking to a Siri or an Alexa – which have human names and voices, though no figures – we would interact with a friendly robot at the train station, who would help us find our destination or greet us as we walked into a shop.
  • Actual humans were often standing in the wings to help with the navigation of tech.

We saw various examples of what appeared to be cutting-edge technology integrated with older traditions and systems.

  • For example, tapping digital cards to board trains or buses – but being able to load the card only with cash, not a credit or debit card

Beyond the digital realm, we saw an abundance of innovation in technological advances.

  • Pushing a button to call waitstaff to our table at a restaurant and taxi doors that automatically opened and closed are just a few nondigital innovations we saw in action

As the world continues to push toward tech, trends we saw in Japan encourage us to think about how to make the digital and AI realms more approachable and how to make life as efficient and smooth as possible using both digital and using innovative new technology methods.

After visiting Japan, our team produced a video to commemorate their trip! Click to view. 


| Research

Live Your Dreams: Wherever You Find Yourself.

When we launched our Quote to Self project, we weren’t just interested in what our friends and colleagues here in Minneapolis thought. We wanted insights from around the world, and we’ve been fortunate to receive answers from six continents. (If you know anyone living in Antarctica, we’d sure love to hear from them!)

Our team recently took our question to three major central European cities: Budapest, Prague and Vienna. Throughout the week in Europe, we encountered travelers and locals who were intrigued by our question – and sometimes a bit stumped.

On the streets of Budapest, Hungary, we crossed paths with a woman named Carola. When prompted with the question “What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?” she answered with no hesitation:

“Live your dreams, because when you look back when you’re older, you [may have] missed opportunities.”

Carola turned 15 in the Holland region of the Netherlands, just as the “love and rock-and-roll” decade was coming to an end. The ’60s were known for changing political and cultural mindsets, even in Europe. It was common to find Europeans riding around on Vespa scooters or cruising in their British Mini Coopers. In 1962, the premiere of “Dr. No” launched the longest continually running film series in history, the James Bond movies. London transformed to become the fashion capital of the world. And British pop music took over, leading to the true glory of the 1960s: The Beatles.

Wondering what other advice we’ve received? Follow our Quote to Self Instagram and Facebook pages. Have a nugget of wisdom you’d like to share? Visit our Quote to Self website to participate. We want to hear from you!

 


| Creative, Culture, Quote to Self Project, Research

Forever Young.

As we enter the halfway point of our Quote to Self project, our inboxes have overflowed with inspirational advice from across the nation and the world. Of course, in true Fusion Hill style, we’ve also had some fun remembering songs – like Alphaville’s “Forever Young” – that embrace being a teen (with a touch of rebellion, perhaps).

While we’re certainly finding some themes emerge as we sort through all the submissions, we’re also finding joy in the variety of ideas and respondents. We’ve received submissions from all ages including one from Laosue, who is currently attending college and was 15 just four years ago.

Laosue turned 15 in Owasso, Oklahoma, during a time when Drake’s “Hotline Bling” was on the radio, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” were on the big screen, and Taylor Swift was embarking on her 1989 World Tour. 2015 was also the year Lin-Manuel Miranda premiered his groundbreaking musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton.

His advice to his 15-year-old self is personable, authentic and also inspiring:

“Trust in the process and stay true to who you are. Things will always get better, so speak your truth.”

Wondering what other advice we’ve received? Follow our Quote to Self Instagram and Facebook pages. Have a nugget of wisdom you’d like to share? Visit our Quote to Self website to participate. We want to hear from you!

 


| Creative, Culture, Quote to Self Project, Research

Nina Gazel Named a Minneapolis 32 Under 32 New Original.

Here at Fusion Hill, our team comprises intuitively smart, curious, passionate individuals who give back to their community. Ad Fed recognizes 32 up-and-coming professionals in the Twin Cities each year. These influential leaders are driving their companies forward and helping define the future of the industry. This past month, our very own Nina Gazel, director of research and strategy, was recognized and honored with this prestigious award.

Nina has been with Fusion Hill for the last five years, and she quickly went from being an intern to reaching one of our most senior-level positions. Nina puts others first and truly creates long-lasting partnerships with both clients and Fusion Hill colleagues. Nina is innovative and strategic – having led the work of numerous clients to pivotal breakthroughs. She also invests in recruiting the best talent for Fusion Hill and nurturing team members to reach their fullest potential.

Nina’s investment in others goes far beyond Fusion Hill as well. For the last three years, she has served as a board member and now vice president of the Ted Mullin Fund Minneapolis Chapter, a nonprofit dedicated to sarcoma cancer research and awareness, where she leads new fundraising events including such varied activities as kickball, pub trivia and yoga. Her true passion lies in “nonprofit matchmaking,” or connecting other Millennials with local causes and organizations that align with their interests.

32 Under 32 recognizes influential leaders across Minneapolis’ agencies. Hundreds of people are nominated for this prestigious award, and we couldn’t be more proud of Nina’s accomplishment.


| Culture, Research

Three Challenges in Health Care.

THOUGHTS FROM THE HEALTH EXPERIENCE DESIGN CONFERENCE.

This month we headed to the Health Experience Design Conference in Boston to learn more about how human-centered design is sparking improved patient experience and systemic innovation in health care. It got us thinking about three challenges that we, our clients, and other research and design practitioners are tackling across the health care world and beyond:

How might we strike the balance of authentic but appropriate communication?

Patients respond positively to seeing their own language reflected in health care communications, rather than intimidating clinical jargon. At the same time, they expect their health institutions to be the experts—to earn the trust placed in them. We see this challenge in the financial sector as well. It takes thoughtful user research to find a warm, authentic tone that does not cross too far into informality.

How might we prompt long-lasting engagement?

Patient engagement is a priority across the health care industry. But increasingly, research is showing that trendy engagement techniques like gamification do not often lead to lasting change. Behavior change models tell us that the most successful interventions are those that help people connect to personally meaningful goals and that satisfy deeper psychological needs: patients’ sense of autonomy, competence, and belonging.

How might we reverse the course of the river?

As Steve Downs of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation noted, the health care system often asks patients to essentially swim upstream—to practice healthier behaviors in an environment that makes all of the unhealthy behaviors more convenient and more affordable. Rather than telling them to swim harder, our job as researchers and designers is to help “reverse the course of the river”: to find ways to alter the environment and building blocks of daily life to make healthy choices the easier option.

Do these challenges resonate with your organization? Connect with us to continue the conversation.


| Culture, Research
 
 

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