What is the CX Report?

2021 CX Report

Presentation went live at SXSW 2021 March 16, 2021

Abridged edition made shortly after the SXSW preso — in honor of my Mom.

Marc Andreessen’s audacious “software eats the world” (2011) thesis has switched in Tech to a more down-to-earth “safety eats the world” mentality in the wake of SXSW20’s cancellation. In “2021 CX Report: Safety Eats the World” I gathered the trends for greater human safety in the workplace and at home in experience design and technology for both private and public sectors. I also shared my emerging insights from moving into the critical event management space to tackle current and future negative black swan events with technology and design.

New illustrations are now out from acclaimed designer Tony Ruth on the heels of his incredibly popular series on Equity. Also there were special guest cameos at SXSW in the main reel by Annie Jean-Baptiste, Bon Ku M.D., Wendy Johansson, Mea Cole Tefka, Alison Rand, Alexis Lloyd, Justin McElderry, Kevin Bethune, Ijeoma Azodo, Kat Holmes, Teema Kabba as “call-ins.”

The 2021 CX Report cover was crafted by Tokyo- and Berlin-based designer and art director Eriko Kawakami. And the video-version of the report includes special cameos by Ijeoma Azodo MD, Wendy Johansson, Justin McElderry, Kevin Bethune, Timah Kabba, Bon Ku MD, Annie Jean-Baptiste, Kat Holmes, Julie Finkelstein, Alison Rand, Alexis Lloyd, Mea Cole Tefka.

How To Speak Machine

I spent six years trying to figure out how to explain computation to a business-minded layperson. The net result is a book in six sections that explains the three properties of computation as a kind of “alien life form” (as David Bowie called it); the latter three sections explain why digital products are so intrinsically different than ones we knew before the Internet.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Abridged 2020 CX Report

The 2020 CX Report gathered trends on how business happens in the computational era by examining the tech stacks for marketing and products in the context of digital transformation.

Whose site is this?

👋 I’m John Maeda and I have a new book out entitled How To Speak Machine that explains what the word “computation” means to how businesses work and operate today. Emily Chang on Bloomberg Tech gave me an opportunity to talk a little about that book.

The CX Report got started as the Design in Tech Report.

Today’s most beloved technology products and services balance design and engineering in a way that perfectly blends form and function. And as a result, over the short span of a decade there’s now a few tech industry players that tower over long established non-tech industry players — specifically the ones who have not managed to compete at the speed of Moore’s law alongside their tech counterparts. Think Amazon versus Walmart. Think Uber versus the taxi companies. Think self-driving trucks versus truck drivers. The net result is a degree of unprecedented prosperity by tech companies running at exponential speeds and with no sign of tiring. Massive computational machines working alongside the technorati have left in their wake many traditional industries that are literally dying to keep up. In March 2020, John Maeda will provide a data-driven examination for how this new reality all came to be and how it can change for the better for all players. Maeda draws upon his experience working with organizations at all scales in his careers spanning the entire lifecycle of tech, business, and design ecosystems.

How does CX relate to #DesignInTech?

Design in the technology industry, or “Design in Tech” as we’ve called it, has vastly transformed how businesses translate value into experiences. Whether in the WOW of how digital marketing can synthesize interactive, customized content at the individualized level, or whether in the “after WOW” of a digital product’s post on-boarding flow where many weeks later you whisper to yourself with proud admiration, “Wow.” Tech startups have historically had an easier journey to success in crafting both the wows and the after wows because they’ve been advantaged by building mobile-first, cloud-first, and Millennial-first. And let’s not forget that startups have little to lose when they’re starting up, so they have tremendous latitude to experiment and “fail fast.”

The ability to give consumers a holistic experience is challenging, if not impossible, when you’re bigger than a startup. Bringing design into the early phases of technology startups resulted in billions of dollars of unexpected value creation for companies like Airbnb, Pinterest, and Lyft. And for the established tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook who later invested heavily in design through acquisitions and massive talent acquisitions, their continue domination was fortified. Apple will remain unmentioned because they represent the anomaly of having started with design from startup all the way through maturity, and look where that’s gotten them.

When you’re instead a non-tech “endup” company running at full scale with thousands of people bearing the pressure of serving millions of customers, making a delightful experience will naturally end up at the bottom of your list. Why? Because so many parts of an organization need to be involved in creating and maintaining these newer, realtime integrated experiences-as-services. So there’s a need for new mindsets, new skills, new dreams, and new budgets with which a few new bets can be made. And these new directives need to have the permission to fail — which is often never really given. Because the stakes are significantly higher in endups (or “grownups”), so consciously picking bets from the high-reward/low-risk quadrant are always vital for gaining momentum.

The Design in Tech Reports

Watch the 2019 Design in Tech Report on YouTube.

There are five past Design in Tech Reports. Learn more about them and designintech.report if you are curious about the history of design in the tech and investing ecosystem.

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