Branding & Visualization

October 28, 2012

At the Visual Literacy for Management course we just had a very interesting guest lecture by Sebastian Kernbach of Interbrand, the biggest brand consultancy in the world.
He gave a lecture on branding, focusing on the visulization aspect and also on the benefits of using sketching for developing a brand campaign, which is the topic of his research. In the picture below he was explaining how social media affect the relationship people have with brands. With sketches, of course!

Windows 8 on Eee tablet pc

October 25, 2012

Windows 8 will be released tomorrow, and I got the chance to have a preview, testing it on a tablet Eee PC.

The metro interface is really a surprise and a remarkable difference from the traditional Windows interface. It resembles the graphic and interaction of a tablet or smart phone, but I assume that most computers don’t have a touch screen… so I don’t really see the advantage of having such big buttons. It seems a copy of the iphone/ipad interface, but it was copied poorly… a ‘samsung strategy’?!

Now, I would think that this interface is particularly suitable for tablet PCs with touch screen, like my Asus tablet. But… no! The metro interface doesn’t work on such netbooks because the minumum screen resolution is 1024 x 768 and most tablets PC have 1024 x 600, so you can’t use it!

Anyway, there are tricks to make it work if your computer has a smaller screen resolution.

In Windows 8 there is no start button, and you can’t really close the applications you opened, which seems kind of confusing. You have to pull out the menu from the right side of the screen toward the center. A few options will appear, including “option”, under which you find the buttons for switching off the computer and “start” which will take you to the metro interface.

The list of programs doesn’t exist anymore: you’ll find them in the metro interface, and you can re-arrange them as you like. This last option seems to make some sense. If you are missing the start button too much you can get it as an application, and get your computer to show the traditional desktop when it turns on.

Yet, since Microsoft made a considerable effort to create a completely new interface and a new interaction logic, I am not convinced that this one is really worth it. It would have been more useful to have a completely new “metaphor” – neither the desktop nor the big buttons – but for instance a new logic which groups items (docs, pics, emails, links) by theme rather than by application.

Thanks Diego for all the info and set up!

From cooperation projects to markets

October 16, 2012

The symposium “Un mondo alla rovescia: quale ruolo per la cooperazione internazionale” took place last Saturday in Lugano, organized by Fosit (Federazione ONG della Svizzera italiana) and USI’s MIC program (Master of Advances Studies in intercultural Communication), among others.

During the morning a panel of experts on the topic of International Cooperation had a provocative discussion on ‘the world upside-down’. With the recent economic crisis we are witnessing profound changes in international cooperation: which countries need help and which kind of help. The moderator brought data regarding public debt, with Greece and southern European states having public debt-to GDP ratio 4 times bigger than many African states, as Uganda and Zambia for instance. Although I appreciate the innovative take on the issue, by the end of the panel I felt as the real problems have been somehow forgotten, giving to the public the impression that there are no more problems that require our attention in Africa or Asia. Thus I greatly appreciated the intervention by prof. Poglia, pointing out that problems are still real and far from being solved, since many countries still have a life expectancy of 40 years (compared to 80 for Developed countries), just to cite one parameter.

The afternoon was focused on specific themes, and I chose to attend “dalla cooperazione al mercato”. A very authentic and insightful presentation was given by Jean-Claude Luvini, founder and head of Masaba coffe Switzerland, and by Florian AnderHub, founder of AnderGroup, the branding agency which helped Masaba creating a professional brand (and follow the philosophy of “do good”). Masaba coffee is selling fair trade coffee from Uganda, rosted in Italy: “Masaba helps small farmers in Uganda produce a coffee of excellence, in respect of fair trade and organic agriculture” (source: website). We concluded the day with a taste of this premium coffee, which was indeed excellent – in addition to provide help to Ugandan farmers… a social enterprise from Ticino!

Post-Doc Researcher Position in Knowledge Visualization and Intercultural Communication

October 11, 2012

Our team has won a Swiss National Science Foundation grant for a two year research project on the role of visualization for knowledge communication in the context of experience sharing. We will particularly focus on the role of graphic restrictiveness as a key variable of visual dialogue templates. We are looking for a talented and committed Post-doctoral researcher to join our team working on this project: see the call “Post-Doc Researcher Position in Knowledge Visualization and Intercultural Communication (80%)” on the University of St. Gallen Website for more details.

Applications for the position should be sent as soon as possible but no later than Friday, November 30th 2012: the call is open until the position is filled. Please send a motivation letter, detailed CV with the complete list of publications, a list of three references and a copy of the Ph.D. diploma, by e-mail to and myself

Guest Post: Viviana Meschitti on Academic Teamwork

October 11, 2012
Guest Post by Dr. Viviana Meschitti
Academic collaboration is rarely investigated as it develops within real research groups. This study focuses on a team composed by ten people at different steps of the academic career, and it sheds light on the relationships linking hierarchy, leadership, mutual engagement among team members, participation to group activities, socialization of doctoral students. An empowering form of leadership motivates participation and facilitates the development of a community of practice where learning is maximized, with positive effects for PhD students.
The study is available online:
Meschitti V. (2012). Fostering teamwork and socialization in collaborative working environments. Insights from a situated study on a university research team. PhD thesis. Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland.

Social Media for Social Good visualized

October 3, 2012

Social Media For Social Good

More info at the University of North Carolina website MPA@UNC: Online MPA

Thanks Logan Harper for the info… a very informative infographic!

A visualization for Gandhi’s Birthday

October 2, 2012

For celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday – today October 2nd – I would like to reproduce a visual ‘summary’ of his teaching. Hopefully it will be inspirational!

Source: Anthony J. Mento, Patrick Martinelli, Raymond M. Jones, (1999) “Mind mapping in executive education: applications and outcomes“, Journal of Management Development, Vol. 18 Iss: 4, pp.390 – 416.


Visualization at IBM Research

October 1, 2012

The IT giant IBM has a Research center in Zurich, with over 3000 employees working on very exciting topics, from nanotechnology to information analytics. We just had the opportunity to visit the center and listen to a full day of presentations. We also had the opportunity to see technologies demos of augmented reality for retail, infovis for music and even Watson!

The visualizations: information visualization for searching music and movies.

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