counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


July 2010
30 July 2010

Genevieve Bell’s Digital Futures report released

Digital Futures
In 2009, Dr. Genevieve Bell, an Australian-born anthropologist and ethnographer, who is an Intel Fellow and heads Intel’s newly created Interaction and Experience Research (IXR) division, was selected as South Australia’s Thinker in Residence.

In her assignment, she focused on the ways in which South Australians use new technologies in their everyday lives. Through extensive, often ethnographic, research she helped shed light on new opportunities for broadband and associated communication technologies in the state and beyond, and, equally importantly, how to meaningfully engage all South Australians in these technologies.

A dedicated website, SAstories, provides more background on her work in South Australia.

Bell’s final report “Getting Connected Staying Connected: Exploring South Australia’s Digital Futures” has now been officially released and is available for public comment.

“The recommendations made in the report set out a possible future plan for South Australia so individuals, communities, businesses and government can take full advantage of the opportunities created by information communication and entertainment technologies.

Genevieve Bell was South Australia’s 15th Thinker in Residence and her brief was to identify a set of strategies, directions and opportunities for all South Australians with regard to the future of new information, communication and entertainment technologies.

During her time here she traveled over 14,000 kilometres and visited 45 very different communities, from Adelaide to Amata and talked with hundreds of South Australians.

Genevieve discovered South Australians using technology in a huge range of creative and innovative ways to benefits themselves and their communities.”

Download report (alternate link)

See also this Fast Company article on the report release.

28 July 2010

The tension between user-centered design and e-government services

Nalini
Nalini Kotamraju, assistant professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, gave an excellent talk yesterday at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society on the lack of user centricity in e-government services.

Individuals and institutions are slower to adopt e-government services due to a lack of user centricity in design and development. Work with PortNL, an integrated e-government service for expatriates in the Netherlands, suggests the core of governments’ difficulty in creating user-centered services lies in a fundamental tension between the needs of users and those of governments. In this talk, Nalini Kotamraju — an Assistant Professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands — explains how the purposes of e-government services can be met through a user-centered design approach, and how site builders can put the needs of users ahead of the ideas of governmental clients.

Watch video

28 July 2010

Rem Koolhaas, the Hermitage and the design of innovative experiences

Hermitage
On the way to celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2014, the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg (formerly the Winter Palace of the Russian czars) hired legendary architect Rem Koolhaas to modernize the art museum experience for visitors in a way that both respects the storied history of the Hermitage and also positions the museum as a leader of 21st century innovation. As part of the reconsideration of the museum’s structure and function, Koolhaas is operating under a very rigid ground rule: no new structure will be put up, nor will any part of the existing architecture be modified.

Read article

28 July 2010

Cory Doctorow on curated computing

Bazaar
Cory Doctorow, the Canadian blogger, journalist and science-fiction author, argues in The Guardian that curated computing is no substitute for the personal and handmade. Although bespoke computing experiences promise a pipe dream of safety and beauty, the real delight, he says, lies in making your own choices.

“The only real reason to adopt coercive curation is to attain a monopoly over a platform – to be able to shut out competitors, extract high rents on publishers whose materials are sold in your store, and sell a pipe dream of safety and beauty that you can’t deliver, at the cost of homely, handmade, personal media that define us and fill us with delight.”

Read article

28 July 2010

Time to break the cyber-utopian myth

Ethan Zuckerman
Who do you read and associate with online?

Ethan Zuckerman argues in this Guardian video that cultural and linguistic barriers stand in the way of our using the internet to tackle global issues.

23 July 2010

Taking co-production into the mainstream

Co-production
The conventional public services delivery model does not address underlying problems that lead many to rely on public services and thus carries the seeds of its own demise, argue David Boyle, Anna Coote, Chris Sherwood and Julia Slay in a new report by UK think-and-do-tank nef (the new economics foundation) and NESTA, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

These include, they argue, a tendency to disempower people who are supposed to benefit from services, to create waste by failing to recognise service users’ own strengths and assets, and to engender a culture of dependency that stimulates demand.

People’s needs are better met when they are involved in an equal and reciprocal relationship with professionals and others, working together to get things done. This is the underlying principle of co-production – a transformational approach to delivering services – whose time has now come.

Co-production has the potential to transform public services so that they are better positioned to address these problems and to meet urgent challenges such as public spending cuts, an ageing society, the increasing numbers of those with long-term health conditions and rising public expectations for personalised high quality services.

For over a year, nef and NESTA have been working together to grow a network of co-production practitioners. They have built a substantial body of knowledge about co-production that offers a powerful critique of the current model of public service delivery and a key to transforming it.

The discussion paper Right here, right now – Taking co-production into the mainstream (pdf) is the last of three reports ow is the right time to move co-production out of the margins and into the mainstream. The report provides the basis for a better understanding of how to make this happen.

The first report, The Challenge of Co-production, published in December 2009, explained what co-production is and why it offers the possibility of more effective and efficient public services.

The second report, Public Services Inside Out, published in April, described a co-production framework.

Read press release

22 July 2010

Questions for Microsoft Research’s Indrani Medhi

Medhi
Indrani Medhi, associate researcher in the Technology For Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research India, was recently rated one of the “50 smartest people in technology” in 2010 by Fortune Magazine.

In an interview with Arlene Chang of the India Real Time blog of the Wall Street Journal, Medhi talks about her passion for socio-economic development through technology, how it can improve the quality of life in rural India even for illiterate people, and “why she loves her job”.

“Through an ethnographic design process that comprised interviewing 400 research subjects from low-income, low-literate communities across India, the Philippines and South Africa and more than 450 hours spent in the field observing subjects in the natural contexts in which they live and work, I discovered that there were a number of usability challenges which people experienced while interacting with traditional text-based UIs, on both mobile phones and PCs.

Based on the broad lessons learned through this ethnography, design recommendations were developed for non-textual user interfaces for low-literate users that use combinations of voice, video and graphics. These principles have been applied to designing four applications – job-search for the informal labor market, health-information dissemination, a mobile money-transfer system and an electronic map.”

Read interview

21 July 2010

The web means the end of forgetting

Forgetting
Legal scholars, technologists and cyberthinkers are wrestling with the first great existential crisis of the digital age: the impossibility of erasing your posted past, starving over, moving on. Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, reports in The New York Times Magazine.

“We’ve known for years that the Web allows for unprecedented voyeurism, exhibitionism and inadvertent indiscretion, but we are only beginning to understand the costs of an age in which so much of what we say, and of what others say about us, goes into our permanent — and public — digital files. The fact that the Internet never seems to forget is threatening, at an almost existential level, our ability to control our identities; to preserve the option of reinventing ourselves and starting anew; to overcome our checkered pasts.”

Read article

21 July 2010

The unintended consequences of Facebook

Facebook eyes
Facebook is about to celebrate its 500-millionth user, but the social media application has had wide consequences, even for those who have never signed on, writes the BBC.

Many of the problems that are identified with Facebook are symptomatic of a company which only has a couple of thousand employees to serve half a billion users.

Read article

21 July 2010

Coercing people into a brave new digital world

Race online
Design consultant Martyn Perks thinks that a UK government-backed campaign to get the entire UK adult population online “threatens to make cyber slaves of us all.”

“Is it not possible that some people simply don’t want to participate in this brave new digital world? After all, wouldn’t it be absurd to coerce people into using mobile phones, TVs or cars – these technologies, too, are beneficial, increasing mobility and interaction with the world. Why all this guilt-tripping about the internet in specific?”

Read article

21 July 2010

Happy birthday Experientia – 5 years old

Experientia
Experientia turns five years old today, 21 July! We’ve been busy in the last year. Apart from the great projects and fruitful collaborations with old and new clients, we’ve also completely redesigned our website, expanded our offices to include a new wing, and we keep on finding talented and exciting people to work with.

We’ve extended our expertise areas this year, with major new projects on sustainable development, e-learning, public transportation, business software visualisation tools, and mobility solutions for people with disabilities. Check out the description of our Low2No Living project on the Experientia website: we’re very excited to be working on this great sustainable development project in Helsinki, with a fantastic international team.

We love to spot new talent, and this year, we’re happy to welcome five new full-time staff members, who bring their in-depth knowledge and high quality work to our projects. We’re joined by Mariateresa Dell’Aquila as Project Manager, Gabriele Santinelli as Web Prototyper and Josef Bercovich as Senior Interaction Designer. In addition, two previous short-term collaborators, Adriana Rivas and Jennifer Murphy are back as full-time designers, bringing us to around 30 people in the office.

Our international vibe is stronger than ever at the moment, giving us the diversity we value, as well as fresh ideas and new perspectives. Right now, we have people from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, and the USA.

Experientia has a philosophy of investing in internships, and we’ve traditionally always hired interns from acclaimed design schools to spend time with us over the summer. This year we’re joined by people from Domus Academy, Milan; Aalto University, Helsinki; Strate Collège, Paris; IUAV, Venice; University of Madeiras, Funchal; and Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.

Five years in business is a milestone by any standard, and we’re proud that for Experientia, they’ve been five years of success. We’ve got lots of plans for the next five years, and we look forward to continued growth and many more anniversaries.

20 July 2010

Social networking and public service provision

Lee Bryant
I very much enjoyed the reflection of Lee Bryant (Headshift), following the launch of the UK Government’s Big Society initiative.

In it, he argues that in the past, UK politics [and not just UK, I’d say] were dominated by two competing visions of the role of the state:

“One, on the left, saw state provision as the best way to ensure fairness and protect people form the vagaries of the market, and argued for increasing spending on public services. The other, on the right, saw state intervention as contrary to the liberty of its citizens and a poor substitute for market or community provision of services, arguing for a reduction in public spending and a rolling back of the state.”

“We badly need new ideas and new approaches,” he says, “especially since the gulf between rising demands on public services and available funding to meet them is growing ever wider.”

“More than anything, we need approaches that go with the grain of human behaviour and motivation, and which understand that society is comprised of inter-related complex systems, rather than reductionist management control methods.”

He then continues an in-depth discussion about the value of co-design and participation (supported by the PwC / IPPR paper ‘Capable Communities‘), social networks as tools, social networks as contexts, and the future new, socially-networked public services.

Read article

20 July 2010

Why traditional intranets fail today’s knowledge workers

Crossroad
Oscar Berg reflects on the changing role of intranets in knowledge-intensive businesses.

“These intranets need to provide flexible access to both information and people by employing pull models for serving as many knowledge worker information needs as possible, including unanticipated information needs. Information supply needs to be maximized by supporting the creation and access to user-generated content as well as by allowing for easy integration of external information sources. The intranet needs to be turned into an “information broker platform” where information is freely and easily created, aggregated, shared, found and discovered at minimal effort. Such an intranet gives everybody access to all information which is available and make room for virtually infinite amounts of information.

However, most of today’s intranets primarily consist of pre-produced information resources which are intended to serve information needs which can be anticipated in advance. They aim to serve people who perform predefined and repeatable tasks. These intranets are push platforms. As such they might work well for repeatable routine work where the information needs can be defined in advanced, but they are quite dysfunctional for knowledge work. It’s not a coincidence that many knowledge workers find it much easier to find information on the web than in their internal systems and that the intranet plays a marginal role in their daily work.”

Read article

(via InfoDesign)

19 July 2010

On the design process, consistency and product development

UX Matters
Three new articles have been published on the UX Matters site:

Design Is a Process, Not a Methodology
By Pabini Gabriel-Petit
In this installment of On Good Behavior, I’ll provide an overview of a product design process, then discuss some indispensable activities that are part of an effective design process, with a particular focus on those activities that are essential for good interaction design. Although this column focuses primarily on activities that are typically the responsibility of interaction designers, this discussion of the product design process applies to all aspects of UX design.

Achieving and Balancing Consistency in User Interface Design
By Michael Zuschlag
It is not necessary for a product to be perfectly consistent. Indeed, considering all of the possible references users bring to a product, perfect external consistency is probably impossible. However, we owe it to our users to both eliminate any unwarranted inconsistency and ensure any deliberate inconsistency offers some net benefit to users. That’s the least users should expect from us.

Supporting User Experience Throughout the Product Development Process
By Peter Hornsby
This month, let’s look at how we might design a tool that could help us in overcoming obstacles by supporting user-centered design (UCD)—a tool that’s not just for UX professionals, but supports multiple project stakeholders in various roles throughout the entire product lifecycle. This UCD tool would support stakeholders by making requirements more clearly visible and enabling team members to work effectively across far-flung geographical boundaries.

16 July 2010

Google knows your desires before you do

Google
Google attempts to return relevant search results in the blink of an eye. But in future it could go one better, delivering search results to its users even before they know that they want the information, writes Paul Marks in the New Scientist.

“In future, your Google account may be allowed, under some as-yet-unidentified privacy policy, to know a whole lot about your life and the lives of those close to you. It will know birthdays and anniversaries, consumer gadget preferences, preferred hobbies and pastimes, even favourite foods. It will also know where you are, and be able to get in touch with your local stores via their websites.”

Read article

16 July 2010

Content Strategy questions and answers

Content strategy
Content strategy is becoming a hot topic (and one I am greatly interested in).

Last year, Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic published the book Content Strategy. In her own words, it “offers a pretty straightforward approach to planning for content in your web initiatives.”

“Content Strategy for the Web explains how to create and deliver useful, usable content for your online audiences, when and where they need it most. It also shares content best practices so you can get your next website redesign right, on time and on budget.”

Now some people who have read the book are launching the idea of a joined question time, the UIE Book Club, starting with this book on 17 August. All can join in.

Nick Finck of Blue Flavor recently gave a talk to the Content Strategy Seattle group on how content strategy fits into the user experience. He has posted the slides and a videocast for the talk.

(via InfoDesign)

15 July 2010

University and Cyberspace conference videos online

Communia
A few weeks ago the Communia conference University and Cyberspace took place here in Torino, Italy, with a focus on “reshaping knowledge institutions for the networked age”. Speakers included Massimo Banzi, Joy Ito, David Orban, Bruce Sterling, and many others.

The international conference, which is the conclusion and culmination of the Communia Thematic Network project (the European Thematic Network on the Digital Public Domain), was organised by the Politecnico of Torino’s NEXA Research Center for Internet and Society (that also coordinated the network) and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and aimed at defining a shared vision of the future of universities as knowledge institutions and identifying the main steps leading from vision to reality.

The event addressed questions such as: How is the role of universities as knowledge creating, sharing, and applying institutions going to change due to the Internet? How should universities use cyberspace to best implement their mission with respect to society? Taking into account the characteristics of the new generations of students, faculty and staff, how should the informational and the spatial (both physical and virtual) infrastructures of universities be shaped to improve learning, discovery, and engagement? What about the new opportunities to enhance the civic role of universities – who prepare people for citizenship and contribute to the public sphere – in our democratic societies?

Videos of all sessions are now online, although in a still somewhat rough format (they are now working at processing the videos further):

Monday 28 June
The first day of the conference covered the relevant history and traditions of universities, moved through the current state of play, and focused on the emerging landscape of universities, articulating both their changing role in society, the significant challenges these institutions are facing for the future and, more specifically, their role vis a vis the increasing commons of knowledge facilitated by the Internet.

Morning session (video link)

  • Kick-off [00:12:56]: Juan Carlos de Martin, NEXA Center for Internet & Society, in conversation with Charles Nesson, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
  • Keynote [00:53:20]: “Universities in the Age of the Internet” by Stefano Rodotà, University of Rome
  • High Order Bit [01:46:00]: “Arduino, Open Source Hardware and Learning by Doing” by Massimo Banzi, tinker.it, arduino.cc
  • Plenary [02:03:45]: “Digital Natives” with John Palfrey, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Marco de Rossi, Oilproject.org, and Urs Gasser, Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Afternoon session (video link)

  • Plenary [00:01:19]: “Information Infrastructure” with Alma Swan, Key Perspectives Ltd., Stuart Shieber, Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Office of Scholarly Communication at Harvard University, and Martin Hall, Salford University, UK
  • High Order Bit [01:27:13]: “African Universities as Knowledge Centers: Challenges and Opportunities” by Boubakar Barry, African Association of Universities
  • Plenary [01:41:45]: Physical/Virtual Spatial Infrastructure” with Antoine Picon, Harvard University and Jef Huang, EPFL

Tuesday 29 June
The second day attempted cross-sectional reorientation, by examining universities’ emerging responsibilities as ‘horizontal’ themes, especially as they intersect with future challenges described in the first day’s ‘vertical’ tracks.

Morning session (video link)

  • High Order Bit [00:01:12]: “Individual and social evolution: through digital gaming, out of the box” by Carlo Fabricatore, Initium Studios & University of Worcester
  • Plenary [00:14:52]: “Universities as Civic Actors or Institutions” with Marco Santambrogio, University of Parma, Italy, Colin Maclay, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Maarten Simons, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Jan Masschelein, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and Juan Carlos De Martin, NEXA Center for Internet & Society

Afternoon session (video link)

  • Plenary [00:01:00]: “Universities as Platforms for Learning” with Catharina Maracke, Keio University, Japan, Marco De Rossi, Oilproject.org, Carlo Fabricatore, Initium Studios & University of Worcester, Delia Browne, Peer-2-Peer University, Stephan Vincent-Lancrin, OECD, and Jean Claude Guedon, University of Montreal
  • High Order Bit [01:15:46] by Joy Ito, Creative Commons
  • Plenary [01:33:11]: “Universities as Knowledge Creators” with Carlo Olmo, Politecnico di Torino, Phillippe Aigrain, Sopinspace, Janneke Adema, Coventry University, Mary Lee Kennedy, Harvard Business School, and Terry Fisher, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
  • Plenary [02:49:56]: “In Search of the Public Domain” with Lucie Guibault, Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam, Patrick Peiffer, Luxcommons, Jonathan Gray, Open Knowledge Foundation, Sirin Tekinay, Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey, Ignasi Labastida, University of Barcelona, Philippe Aigrain, Sopinspace, and Paolo Lanteri, WIPO

Wednesday 30 June
The third day combined the three tracks and the cross-sectional issues with an orientation towards solutions and next steps.

Morning session (video link)

  • High Order Bit [00:01:08]: “Why Academia Needs to Rediscover the Commons” by Jean Claude Guedon, University of Montreal
  • High Level Keynote [00:28:00]: “Digital Culture, Network Culture, and What Comes Afterward” by Bruce Sterling
  • High Order Bit [01:35:44]: “From Elites, To Masses: Drivers of Excellence in Communication, And Participation” by David Orban, Humanity+ & Singularity University
  • Student session [01:49:58]: “Public universities, public education: From the Bologna Process to Cyberspace”, chaired by Chiara Basile, Politecnico di Torino

Afternoon session (video link)

  • Final Session: “Synthesis and Proposals” with Stephan Vincent-Lancrin, OECD, Francesco Profumo, Rector Politecnico di Torino, Mario Calabresi, La Stampa, Herbert Burkert, University of St. Gallen, Jafar Javan, UN Staff College, Charles Nesson, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Chiara Basile, Politecnico di Torino, Sirin Tekinay, Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey, Juan Carlos De Martin, NEXA Center for Internet & Society, and Urs Gasser, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
15 July 2010

Internet’s vision ‘not realised’

Ethan Zuckerman
“The internet has not become the great leveller that it was once thought it could be,” according to Harvard academic Ethan Zuckerman at the TED Global (Technology Entertainment and Design) conference in Oxford. The BBC reports.

He said that the web was now contrary to the original utopian vision and users focused on information from a handful of wealthy countries.

“It’s making us ‘imaginary cosmopolitans’,” he told delegates.

Social networks, he said, made the problem worse with the majority of people sharing information with folk who share their world-view.

“We think we’re getting a broad view of the world, because it’s possible that our television, newspapers and internet could be giving us a vastly wider picture than was available for our parents or grandparents,” he said.

“When we look at what’s actually happening, our world-view might actually be narrowing.”

Read article
– Ethan Zuckerman’s speaking notes | slides

14 July 2010

Ethnography in industry

PARC
PARC, the legendary California-based research centre owned by the Xerox Corporation, is hosting a series of talks on ethnography in industry. The three talks that took place are already available online in video. More talks are scheduled tomorrow and next week.

Feral Technologies: An ethnographic account of the future [ video | alternate link ]
Genevieve Bell, Intel
3 June 2010

What do rabbits, camels and cane toads all have in common? And why might this be relevant to the future of new technologies. In this talk, I want to explore the ways in which new technologies are following the path of feral Australian pests – in particular, I am interested in the unexpected and unscheduled transformations that have occurred in the last decade. In 1998, an estimated 68% of the world’s internet users were Americans. A decade later that number had shrunk to less than 20%. The complexion of the web – its users, their desires, their languages, points of entry and experiences – has subtly and not so subtly changed over that period. All these new online participants bring with them potentially different conceptual models of information, knowledge and knowledge systems with profound consequences for the ideological basis of the net. These new participants also operate within different regulatory and legislative regimes which will bring markedly different ideas about how to shape what happens online. And in this same time period, the number and kind of digital devices in peoples’ lives has grown and changed. Devices have proliferated with ensembles and debris collecting in the bottom of backpacks, on the dashboards of dusty trucks and in drawers, cabinets, and baskets. Bell explores these feral technology proliferations, in the ways in which they have defied conventional wisdom and acceptable boundaries, and, most importantly, the ways in which they have transformed themselves into new objects and experiences.

Postcolonial Computing: Technology and Cultural Encounter [ video | alternate link ]
Paul Dourish, University of California, Irvine
17 June 2010

“Culture” has become a hot topic in computing research as information technologies become enmeshed in global flows of people, products, capital, ideas, and information. However, while much attention has been focused on the problems of “cross-cultural collaboration” and “cultural difference,” a useful alternative is opened up by thinking about culture from a generative, rather than a taxonomic, perspective — that is, as a framework for understanding and interpreting the world around us, rather than a framework for classifying people. In this talk, Dourish outlines and illustrates an approach that he and his colleagues have been developing, which draws on anthropology, cultural studies, and postcolonial studies to help them examine the contexts of encounter between people, information technology, and culture.

Beyond Ethnography: How the design of social software obscures observation and intervention [ video ]
Gentry Underwood, IDEO
8 July 2010

Human-centered design, i.e., the design of products and services with the needs of the end-user or recipient in mind, has long been lauded as an essential skill in developing relevant and usable software. As software tools move from being about human-computer interaction to human-human interaction (as mediated through some sort of networked device), the focus must shift from extreme-user profiling to something more akin to ethnography, only with an intervention-heavy twist.
Gentry shares learnings from his work in the social software field, offering examples of how his training in ethnography helps him do his job, as well as insight as to where the work must move beyond traditional ethnographic methods in order to be successful.

Ethnography: Discovering the obvious that everyone else overlooks
Stephen R. Barley, Center for Work, Technology and Organization, Stanford School of Engineering
15 July 2010

In this talk, Barley focuses on what he has learned over 30 years about doing ethnography, and illustrate what he sees as ethnography’s central payoff for designers of technology and organizations by drawing on a recent comparative study of automobile dealers.

Ethnography as a cultural practice
Steve Portigal, Portigal Consulting
22 July 2010

Culture is everywhere we look, and (perhaps more importantly) everywhere we don’t look. It informs our work, our purchases, our usage, our expectations, our comfort, and our communications. In this presentation, Steve discusses the use of ethnographic research in the product development process and suggest how an understanding of culture is a crucial component in innovation.

Together with these talks, the PARC blog hosts a number of features on the use of ethnography in industry, highlighting the objectives and the methods.

14 July 2010

People-focused innovation in healthcare

People-focused innovation in healthcare
Philips Design has published a downloadable paper on how it uses qualitative research and design thinking to support development of solutions for the ever-changing healthcare landscape.

“Our lifestyles are increasingly out of balance and we are placing our health at risk through unhealthy habits. We are ageing as a population and more likely to suffer from chronic diseases as we get older. As a result, our healthcare systems are under increasing demand for costly and complicated care. Yet, with their limited resources and traditional models, they are already struggling to meet existing demand. In short, the healthcare industry is in crisis and facing paradigm change. However, there are plenty of opportunities for innovation within this crisis.

Philips Design supports Philips in delivering healthcare end-user value through innovation. Over the past two decades, Philips Design has developed a people-focused innovation approach that has generated tangible proof-points of the Philips Healthcare promise of ‘People- focused, Healthcare simplified’ across the home and hospital healthcare domain. It is an approach that is driven by qualitative research, applies design thinking to identify innovation opportunities, and leverages design skills to propose solutions with measurable end-user value. It has proved relevant in business processes ranging from strategy to product development, and has successfully supported both short and longer-term innovation.

This paper describes the mindset, methods and tools used in this approach, citing examples from Philips Design to illustrate the strategic contribution and value that design can offer in healthcare innovation.”

Download paper