Small and furry innovation


…not necessarily simultaneously

I just saw this new-style safety pin and was fascinated by the idea that someone felt it was worthwhile, and a sensible business proposition, to improve on the old classic. I think, in many contexts, it would be an improvement. Smaller, lighter, less material, fewer production processes. All good things. And very elegant design. Undoubtedly, there are instances where the old, larger and more robust version would be more appropriate.

I would imagine it is inspired by shower curtain clips, and I saw one reference to knitting stitch holders. Nice re-appropriation of design.

After a quick search, I only found one other design geek interested enough to mention it.

The other instance is something that Franco P brought to my attention: the newly released book, Canine Ergonomics. I haven’t read it (yet) but as I am intrigued by working dogs and their relationship to their human colleagues, I find it interesting to see user experience research moving across species. I am, however a little concerned by the part of the blurb that says:

“Traditionally, information concerning working dogs is mostly hearsay, with the exchange of information informal at best and non-existent at worst. Most books available are too general in coverage or conversely, too specific. They explain how to train a service dog or train a dog to track, based on training lore rather than empirical methods verified with rigorous scientific standards. This book, drawing on cutting edge research, unifies different perspectives into one global science: Canine Ergonomics.”

It sounds like it aims to isolate accrued user-generated knowledge from science, which is a divide that user-centred design, design ethnography and co-design have been bridging in the human sphere. And increasing interest in areas like pursuasive technology, are bringing science closer to user experience.

(I know this seems earnest, but I am honestly interested in it, and trying not to make cheap ironic points at working dogs’ expense.)

Originally posted 22 August 2009.


  1. ooh yes…variation on the thousand year-old fibula… i saw them in the clothing store aubin & wills..they use them in brass to affix labels…

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