Thursday brings another Four Design Links, a look at some of the articles and sites we've been reading this week.
1. Philosophy is Back in Business
Are we ahead of the curve or what? First business needs design. Now it needs philosophy.
According to a recent article from BusinessWeek, organizations have lost sight of the big picture. Philosophy, which considers problems of values, character, and ethics, can put businesses on the right track, serving human needs and interests.
[C]orporations are promoting the notion that their mission extends beyond profit and provides new frameworks—transportation, fuel, manufacturing, and so forth—for improving existence. These assertions require supporting actions over the long term if they are to have merit. In our connected and transparent world, where so many can easily see deeply into our operations, it has become clear that companies and even nations have character—and that their character is their destiny. For institutions to ensure that their characters, or cultures, are consistent with their behavior, they need more humans within their organizations who can appropriately manifest the desired culture through leadership, business practices, and individual behaviors.
Looks like there's a future for philosophers in the boardroom as well as the classroom. We've been saying it all along. ;)
2. Zen Humidifier
Love this humidifier from Masuza. Made of Japanese Cypress, it uses no electricity. Water is naturally drawn through the wood and evaporated into the air. Minimal, beautiful, and natural -- this is a great little piece of design. Via.
How much of popular culture is simply people following the crowd? Can advertisers get you to buy something by falsely telling you that that other people like it? Clive Thompson writes about a research study that attempted to find out.
In the study, a music store was set up with a ratings system and purchasing habits were tracked in a variety of scenarios. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found evidence that social pressure is real -- that popular music (as rated by other listeners) tended to sell better. Most interesting, though, was that when the researchers purposefully rigged the system to promote bad music, in at least one instance people lost faith in the system and bought less music overall. Another data point for honest advertising.