Here’s the toughest question to deal with in any relationship, whether it’s with your partner, your kids or your friends: How do you keep the love alive? If you’re not prepared to give constant care and attention, every relationship will drift. To me that doesn’t require dramatic gestures like tickets to Paris or diamonds, but the intimate thoughtfulness of everyday life. Empathy is central and so is reciprocity. Reciprocity is a fantastic emotional connector. It’s based on empathy but you don’t simply feel for someone else, you do something for them. What’s so wonderful about human beings is that when we are given something, it seems to spark some kind of deep response and we want to return the gesture. This is my idea of a true virtuous cycle.

The principle of reciprocity meets design in this inspired coin lamp. What a great idea. Feed in a coin and you get light. For some of you who are old enough to remember feeding coins into hungry gas metres in the UK, this might not strike such a welcome chord, but for anyone under forty I think this lamp will be a total charmer. It doesn’t simply remind you of the reality of the cost of resources with a touch of humor, it introduces a whole social dimension. After a meal at a friend’s home, who will be the one to show appreciation by putting a coin in the slot? At a birthday party without a gift? There you go. To me this coin lamp is True Blue through emotional design.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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