Death: Pets versus robot dogs. Who wins?

Death: Pets versus robot dogs. Who wins?

Sony’s robot dog, Aibo, is dying. But it’s achieved a surprising comparison with its canine doppleganger. 

Although Aibo has been hugely successful, selling 150,000 models between 1999 and 2006, Sony has stopped repairing them. Heart broken owners of the robot dog now rely on hackers, and home technicians to achieve the life saving operations the robot dogs require. 

"Goodbye kettle! You boiled well"

"Goodbye kettle! You boiled well"

Many of us would feel strange saying a clear “Thank you!”, “Well done” or a meaningful “Goodbye!” to products. Yet in Advertising and Branding we often tug on these emotional strings at the on-boarding stage of the relationship. Brand agencies often talk about giving the brand a “personality” or “brand promise” Advertisers talk about “having a conversation between the customer and the provider”. Are these not equally emotional triggers created to tempt us to commit to a product purchase? Isn’t it equally strange to have a conversation at the beginning of a customer relationship, as it would be to have a conversation at the end?

The difference is in the mode of thinking at the beginning and the end of the relationship. The beginning - on-boarding stage of the relationship triggers our aspirations. Telling us we will be better with this purchase. What should be in place at the end of a customer relationship is self-reflection. But this is sadly overlooked because it stops our focus for purchasing new items. 

Empathy Cards

Empathy Cards

Emily’s Empathy Cards, bring a rare confidence and warmth to this situation. They are not the whimsical, or even meaningless ‘get well soon’ cards. But portray real feelings and some frustrations that are felt by the patient when dealing with close ones at this stage. They bridge the gap of not knowing what to say, when words are so hard to find. They are a great example of dealing with fatality of life.

End of Life Room

End of Life Room

A hospital is often a very frightening place for anyone, but particularly young people. The  medicalisation of every issue often overlooks the issue of death. Instead the medical system applies its enormous arsenal to all situations. This arsenal lacks the poignance that is required when all that can be done, has been done.
The ‘End of Life Room’ at Great Ormond Street captures the need of reflection and grief well by decorating it with illustrations from Quentin Blake and removing a great deal of the technology and medical instruments common in hospitals. Well done Great Ormond Street and Jenny and Michael Walker who helped establish the room.

The most distant endings

The most distant endings

Such a tiny fraction of items on earth get to leave it. So it's refreshing that the ones who do, have a spectacular and well thought through ending.

Few products, services or digital services have there end designed, let alone in the detail that is required for any space program.

These versions of endings from @duncangeere at How We Get To Next are good inspiration for us all to think more about long term design or how to design endings.

3 ways to tell people they're dying

3 ways to tell people they're dying

Telling people about the end of their life can be one of the most difficult things for medical staff to do. Surprisingly, these skills have only really been taught to medical students during the last couple of decades. 

The 3 techniques provide interesting perspectives for designing the end of service or product relationships - setting the right environment, gauging what the user knows of the situation, providing lots of opportunity for questions - are just some examples of good practice in closure experiences. 

512,000 desperate customers seeking conclusion

512,000 desperate customers seeking conclusion

In the last few years, complaints to the UK Financial Ombudsman have increased fourfold. In 2009 they considered 127,000 cases, and in 2014 this leapt to 512,000. It’s saddening to think that we have so many un-resolved issues between consumers and the financial services industry. The sales culture they have bred emphasises the on-boarding of users over the closure experience of a service – the ultimate delivery of the service.

Questionnaire about Closure

I am aiming to get some tangible data about closure experiences at work and as consumers. I would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to do this short questionnaire.

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