#TMRTE 2012: Who’s Your Superman?

Not the shirt worn by Dr. Pradeep
Today, The Market Research Technology Event kicked off with a keynote from Dr. A.K. Pradeep from Neurofocus Inc..  First, let me say that he caught my eye at the coffee station before the presentation not because of his super intelligence but because of his rock ‘n roll shirt.  Seriously, this shirt could be worn by John Taylor from Duran Duran and I mean that in a good way.  It was a righteous shirt.

You take a risk when you wear a shirt like that.  You better pay it off ‘ and he did.    He engaged the audience on the topic of engagement ‘ clever man.  He shared many useful observations about engagement, social media and retail.  He also mentioned Apple and Steve Jobs at least four times.  This was interesting to me because one of his tips included associating yourself and your brand with Apple, which I would say he did very, very well.

This made me think a little harder about Apple and its impact on digital design and product design overall.  Certainly the strides Apple has made in visual intuitiveness are undeniable.  And, the contributions made to the elegance of functional products are well appreciated, even by me.  But do we all want to look like Apple?  Dr. Pradeep essentially said if you don’t have ‘candy colored buttons’ and swipe finger activation you’re out of the game.   I take issue with that.  In fact I like to call it the Tyranny of Apple and it’s the death of creativity.

I think the useful role for Apple (if you are not Apple) is as a nemesis.  A nemesis is not an enemy but a worthy opponent who makes us all strive harder.  Think about Batman.   His nemesis is not the Joker.  It’s Superman.   Superman can fly, leap tall, run fast.  Batman must apply innovation to develop tools to keep up with Superman and often fights evil in his own way.  He doesn’t say, ‘I need to be like Superman.’  It’s not possible, really, so he creates his own path.

Dr.  Pradeep also said that ‘what they (Apple) do seeps into everything.’  That’s right and that’s a good thing.  We should be inspired by Apple and use it to set new standards for achieving intuitive survey designs.  We should not be limited by Apple and assume that there is only one way to achieve intuitiveness.   This point is not to be like Apple but to be visually intuitive in user interfaces and elegant in our product design solutions — to succeed in our own way.   Like Batman striving to surpass Superman, the more we think of Apple as a bar set high, the more our creative solutions will help our businesses thrive.