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Thoughtless Acts: For a Rainy Day

Dec 14 2016

Human-centered design requires us to observe human behavior with beginner's eyes, so that we can spot the innate ways people interact with the world around them. We call these intuitive and unconscious reactions thoughtless acts, and IDEO designers collect photos of them to inspire the invention of new products, services, and experiences.

Thoughtless Acts Costa

Image by Nathan Waterhouse

I took this picture during my morning ferry commute along the Thames. As you can see, it's raining. (It rains in London a lot.)

I'm standing where the passengers get off the boat. The ferry was designed with a drainpipe to funnel rainwater off of the boat, but the water lands on passengers as they disembark. I guess the designers were thinking more about the boat than the people on it.

Conveniently, there is also a Costa coffee shop on the boat. So someone removed the base of a paper coffee cup, and stuck the cup on the pipe. This small fix extended the drainpipe, keeping the passengers dry. Brilliant.

Read more from our Thoughtless Acts series here.

  • Nathan Waterhouse

    IDEO Alum
    Nathan Waterhouse is co-founder of OIEngine.com, an open innovation platform that helps organisations engage their communities to solve problems together.