Predictable Magic: Designing Emotional Interactions and Business Results


Harnish Jani, Deepa Prahalad, Ko Nakatsu


Interaction designers and businesses today have to respond to the rising aspirations of people. The diversity of users has made the design of interaction strategy far more complex. Most corporations are now pursuing customers characterized by vastly different economic conditions, requiring them to look beyond traditional strategic frameworks.

It is now widely understood that users engage interactively for emotional reasons and adopt designs based on rich and fulfilling experiences, yet few companies look at emotion explicitly as a starting point for strategy and design. The Psycho-Aesthetics℠ framework makes it possible to systematically understand the emotional reactions of consumers to products, services, and interactive experiences. Furthermore, looking at the emotional can lend clarity to many of the difficult business decisions that need to be made, while it creates actionable insight and more effective collaboration.

The workshop will cover the Psycho-Aesthetics℠ philosophy of forging emotional interactions with internal and external stakeholders. Participants who seek to learn better ways to communicate your interaction design proposals with executives and non-designers are especially encouraged to attend. Case studies, frameworks from the upcoming book, and a hands-on use of the tools from Psycho-Aesthetics℠ will be used at the workshop to show how to create the magic that turns interaction strategy into business success. Attendees will:

  • Understand how to use Psycho-Aesthetics℠ Mapping to identify design features that will allow them to emotionally connect with their stakeholders
  • Mitigate risk by understanding their users and setting appropriate design priorities
  • Learn, with fresh cases, how companies from Fortune 500 to start-ups have used design to create sustained organic growth
  • Learn to frame the user experience through the Hero’s Journey for different interactions

About Psycho-Aesthetics℠
As we say, “It’s not how you feel about the design, it’s how the design makes you feel about yourself”. This philosophy and mantra are at the core of our ability to deliver designs that produce proven business results through alignment of all stakeholders. Psycho-Aesthetics℠ is now a Harvard Business School case study, taught at leading EMBA programs globally, including USC, UCLA, Harvard, Stanford, and INSEAD. The Psycho-Aesthetics℠ philosophy is explored in detail in the upcoming book, Predictable Magic, to be released in 2010 by the Wharton Business School Press.


Harnish Jani

Jani brings to RKS extensive experience in research and strategy. He has a Masters in Industrial Design from North Carolina State University and two undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mumbai. He has an eclectic mix of experience from working at Dell, Ignition, Larsen & Toubro, NCSU College of Management, SymbientPD, and Gamil. Jani passionately leverages his multifaceted background in strategy, design, technology and culture to create compelling strategic solutions for user experience and brand enhancement.

Deepa Prahalad

Deepa Prahalad is co-author of Predictable Magic. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from the University of Michigan as well as an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Passionate about emerging markets and innovation, her career has included roles as a commodities trader (based in Asia) and as a management consultant. She also authored the first business plan and raised capital for Safe-Med, now an analytic engine used by Google Health.

Ko Nakatsu

Ko Nakatsu is a senior design researcher and strategist at RKS Design. He works on product and service strategies for international clients. His excitement for design led him to work as an interaction and search designer at McMaster-Carr, a site that ranked third (behind Amazon and Barnes and Noble) in trust and credibility by Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab. Ko continued his design passion in the Advanced Planning and Strategy department at Nissan North America where he developed future 2013 to 2023 human transportation concepts for global production and cultural inspiration. He received a BFA in industrial design from Carnegie Mellon University.