IDEO’s Way and The World Table



IDEO is a world-renowned design firm in Palo Alto, California. It has designed a number of remarkable, memorable, and world-changing products, including the first Apple mouse. It continues to lead in the area of design, across a huge swath of industries.

What makes IDEO so special? How do they do it without deep domain expertise in all these areas?

It’s actually pretty simple, on the face of it: IDEO’s way is to make human empathy the first matter of inquiry for any product or service design. They ask constantly, how do people—especially beginners—feel before, during, and after using a service or product?

This disarmingly simple question became the basis for the success of Apple, the most valuable company in the world.

It’s a dual-focused process. Empathy for human experience allows us to imagine how a product should make someone feel. Elegant design and innovative technology are the tools applied to create that feeling.

There are also two ways of looking at a product-designer’s goal. It could be that the empathic goal of the design is to create a feeling of safety and control — say, by fulfilling functional needs for physical and emotional sustenance. Alternatively, it could be a feeling of delight and excitement, created by addressing spiritual-aesthetic desires for more life-joy.

Needs and desires interrelate of course, but it is useful to ask if we are trying to meet a need, or creating something to help scratch the itch of desire for life-joy.

The answer for The World Table designers is both. Our goal for our products and services is to enrich life while meeting a need. We have two aims: to become the most efficient platform for trustworthy social transactions (a need felt by our customers and users); AND to transform the online environment through mutual trust, so authenticity, creativity, interpersonal growth can flourish (a desire felt by our customers and users).

The desire for novelty and growth within familiar limits is the driving force for cultural and personal change. People (and cultures more generally) desire to expand their social relations, hoping for new experiences of validation, capacity, growth and wellbeing. Until the Internet technology bloomed, humans had been limited to the rather tight social environment that birth and means provided. The Internet has created the opportunity to dramatically expand everyone’s social environment and meet the positive desire for newness and growth.

But we don’t dare go for it if the risks of emotional or physical harm seem too great—or if the path for exploring and learning is too exhausting.

Experience in ordinary life tells us that emotional honesty and authentic openness provide the ground for interpersonal trust —soil in which growth and fulfillment thrives. Trust makes the way emotionally safe and reliably efficient.

However, the online environment, unlike our well-worn face to face environment, does not provide reliable social verification systems or maps that allow people to easily read each other’s trustworthiness.

So we have enormous social connection prospects now, but they remain largely unfulfilling because we don’t have the social trust map we are accustomed to in our ordinary, offline lives.

We can ‘search’ and eventually find a new social connection, but without the experienced recommendation of those we trust, the decision to engage the new ‘find’ is often a waste of time - and at times can actually be risky. This leads to a frustrating and depressing experience for millions of people who desire those new experiences of growth, validation and wellbeing from the vast world of online possibilities.

The World Table is asking the IDEO question for the Internet environment: How can we use the speedy, far-reaching Internet to enjoy more fulfilling human interactions that we crave?

And we’re responding with an innovative yet simple answer: We have developed a software platform for expeditiously developing and benefiting from trustworthy reputations that allow quick, reliable and fulfilling online interactions. The big news: your community of trust has just expanded exponentially. It is potentially vast—well beyond your local neighbors and friends. The World Table is about to provide the online social world a reliable way for authenticity and learning and fulfillment that it has not yet enjoyed.

This new trustworthy environment extends well beyond the desire for fulfillment of the social self. The current need for improving trustworthiness of existing online platforms, quickly and reliably in a given context, is beyond exaggeration. The World Table will provide not only a personal experience that is more fulfilling, it will yield the reliable community to validate trustworthy reputations of all organizational entities, professions, services, products and the entire Internet of things.

Every reputation-based Internet location — from LinkedIn to Eharmony to TripAdvisor to Yelp to Ebay to Uber to Craig’s List to The New York Times to Berkshire Hathaway to Stanford to The White House to The Catholic Church — needs a more reliable, independent way to build and sustain a trustworthy reputation; one that is not purchased by phony testimonials nor trashed by envious competitors. The World Table community is creating that reliable, publicly-vetted feedback system; one that sustains truly reliable reputations across all party lines, ethnic groups, and commercial interests.

The new world of online transparent reliability and more joyful interaction is rising. The World Table will provide a trustworthy metric so the Internet becomes a healthier place for creative experiences of life-joy as well need-fulfillment. The social ‘games’ trustworthy people play online are about to change the world.

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