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October 2012
31 October 2012

Manuel Castells on the rise of alternative economic cultures

castells

Prof Manuel Castells is regarded as one of the most-cited sociologists in the world.

When most of us were still struggling to connect our modems in the 1990s, the Spanish academic was documenting the rise of the network society and studying the interaction between internet use, counter-culture, urban protest movements and personal identity.

BBC Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason interviewed Prof Castells in front of an audience at The London School of Economics for BBC Radio 4′s Analysis about his latest book Aftermath: The Cultures of the Economic Crisis.

Prof Castells suggests we may be about to see the emergence of a new kind of capitalism, with businesses growing out of the counter-cultures of the last 20 years. Here are some extracts from their conversation.

Interview transcript / Interview audio (30 min.)

30 October 2012

Book: Meta Products – Building the Internet of Things

metaproducts

Meta Products
Meaningful Design For Our Connected World
by Wimer Hazenberg and Menno Huisman
BIS Publishers, 160 pages
2012

Meta Products discusses the rise of the Internet of Things, a twenty-first century phenomenon in which physical consumer products (meta products) connect to the web and start communicating with each other by means of sensors and actuators.

The book is written and designed by Dutch design agency Booreiland. The book is a result from their own design practice but it is written with an academic mind. What would be a good way for creative professionals to deal with the emerging demands of our connected world? How can designers and organizations gear up to face the challenges and take advantage of the possibilities the so called ubiquitous technologies?

These questions are addressed in the book to begin a dialogue, to take a step back, and to deeply reflect on our society’s history, our accomplishments, our aspirations, the way we build knowledge and learn individually and collectively. The book offers not only reflective insights but recommendations on design and development of new interactions.

Mike Kuniavsky (author of ‘Smart Things – Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design’) wrote the foreword, and many other experts from both commercial and academic worlds contributed to the book by means of interviews (TNO, Philips Research, Umeå University, MIT, University of Oxford, Delft University of Technology etc). Next to that, many cases are provided along the way to support the theory.

30 October 2012

Designing products for value

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By encouraging more focused collaboration among multiple functional groups (notably marketing and sales, operations, engineering/R&D, and procurement), these leaders are combining deep insights about customers [particularly in developing markets], competitors, and supply bases to strip out costs and amplify what customers truly value. The results—including better products, happier customers, higher margins, and, ultimately, a stronger ability to innovate—should serve these organizations well in years to come.

In this McKinsey Quarterly article, authors Ananth Narayanan, Asutosh Padhi, and Jim Williams look at three such companies. Their experiences offer insights for any product maker hoping to improve its competitiveness.

30 October 2012

Google and the UX challenge of augmented reality

fieldtrip

The new Google FieldTrip app probes the question: What digital information do you want to see overlaid on the physical world? A challenge that Bruce Sterling describes as “‘experience design’ problems”. Alexis G. Madrigal explores it in The Atlantic:

“If you pick up a book, do you see a biography of its author, an analysis of the chemical composition of its paper, or the share price for its publisher? Do you see a list of your friends who’ve read it or a selection of its best passages or a map of its locations or its resale price or nothing? The problem for Google’s brains, as it is for all brains, is choosing where to focus attention and computational power. As a Google-structured augmented reality comes closer to becoming a product-service combination you can buy, the particulars of how it will actually merge the offline and online are starting to matter.

To me, the hardware (transparent screens, cameras, batteries, etc) and software (machine vision, language recognition) are starting to look like the difficult but predictable parts. The wildcard is going to be the content. No one publishes a city, they publish a magazine or a book or a news site. If we’ve thought about our readers reading, we’ve imagined them at the breakfast table or curled up on the couch (always curled up! always on the couch!) or in office cubicles running out the clock. No one knows how to create words and pictures that are meant to be consumed out there in the world.”

25 October 2012

Book: Configuring the Networked Self

9780300125436

Configuring the Networked Self: Law, Code, and the Play of Everyday Practice
by July E. Cohen
Yale University Press, 2012
352 pages
Free pdf version | Amazon link

The legal and technical rules governing flows of information are out of balance, argues Julie E. Cohen in this original analysis of information law and policy. Flows of cultural and technical information are overly restricted, while flows of personal information often are not restricted at all. The author investigates the institutional forces shaping the emerging information society and the contradictions between those forces and the ways that people use information and information technologies in their everyday lives. She then proposes legal principles to ensure that people have ample room for cultural and material participation as well as greater control over the boundary conditions that govern flows of information to, from, and about them.

Julie E. Cohen teaches and writes about intellectual property law and privacy law, with particular focus on copyright and on the intersection of copyright and privacy rights in the networked information society. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

(Recommended by Paul Dourish)

25 October 2012

How the Kenyan Base of the Pyramid uses their mobile phone

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In order to understand mobile phone usage at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) in Kenya, iHub Research and Research Solutions Africa conducted a 6-month study, funded by infoDev (World Bank).

A total of 796 face-to-face interviews were conducted along with 178 diaries, 9 interviews with Kenyan developers, 12 focus group discussions (FGDs), and 10 interviews with key stakeholders in the industry. The full report will be released to the public in November 2012.

The following were key findings from the study:
- 16% of Kenyans at the BoP use Internet on their mobile phone
- Low awareness of other existing mobile applications
- Health and education Information most desired
- 1 in 5 forgo an expenditure to buy credit
- Calling, SMS, Mobile Money Transfer are the major uses
- No difference in mobile phone usage between men and women other than mobile Internet usage, which is dominated by educated male youth
- Higher likelihood of technology usage by those educated past primary level

25 October 2012

Want proof that market fit is everything? Test your app in the slums of Sao Paulo

emprego

For the Stanford-educated founders of Emprego Ligado, creating a successful app in Brazil required dismantling every assumption about the target audience.

Emprego Ligado, which translates to “connected job,” launched in Sao Paulo this summer with the aim of connecting unskilled laborers to jobs close to home via SMS: Workers text the system when they need a job, and they system texts back with jobs in the area that match their preferences. It sounds simple enough, but arriving at a working model required dismantling every assumption the founders had about their target market.

He and his two cofounders, Rosenbloom and Nathan Dee, decided to tackle the problem with good old-fashioned sociological research, which they used as a basis for a simple working prototype.

Read article

24 October 2012

Core77 report on the Design Research Conference

DRC2012

A few days before the EPIC conference in Savannah, Chicago’s IIT Institute of Design organised and hosted its yearly Design Research conference.

Although no videos seem to be available yet, Ciara Taylor provides a concise report on two of the interactive sessions at the event on the design blog Core77: Elliott Hedman on Understanding Data, and George and Sara Aye on Human Behavior.

22 October 2012

How Xerox uses analytics, big data and ethnography to help government solve “big problems”

XEROX-Logo-copy-300x81

Through the application of analytics to Big Data, as well as ethnography — the design and implementation of qualitative field studies to observe cultural patterns — Xerox is answering important questions about traffic congestion, our reaction to it, and how city governments most effectively can provide services to address this and related needs.

To explore these issues, Ben Kerschberg of Forbes interviewed together Ken Mihalyov, Xerox Chief Innovation Officer for Transportation Central and Local Government; and David Cummins, SVP, Parking and Justice Solutions.

Here are the ethnography questions:

Q: At what point do you think technology reaches its limits and thus requires ethnography to make the program as efficient as possible?

Ken Mihalyov: I think we’ve found that we like to get ethnography involved as early in the process as possible. There are things that we can certainly accomplish with our algorithms and Big Data alone. We can look at the data and see trends that we would not otherwise see. Ethnography is a strong counterpart to looking at the data a certain way and drawing conclusions from it. We can confirm that we’re working on the right problem, that we haven’t missed something and that our interpretations are correct. Ethnography helps us confirm those factors and that we’re seeing the bigger picture that includes human interaction.

Q: I can imagine that ethnography could be as important to observing a manufacturing line as it is to dynamic parking. Do you think there is an over-reliance on Big Data without looking at important human elements such as expertise gained by years on the line or on the streets?

David Cummins: I’m not sure that it’s Big Data versus ethnography, but rather we’ve found that they complement one another in indispensable ways.

Ken Mihalyov: Data can take you a long way, but when people are involved it’s not always the whole story. You need to understand and document the way things really work, especially the interactions between different processes. There’s very often a difference between what you expect to have happen and what’s actually happening when people are involved, and that’s very enlightening.

22 October 2012

Smartphone ethnography apps

 

The Qualitative Report website contains a very hard to find but highly recommended page on smartphone ethnography apps (or, as they call it, “Mobile and Cloud Qualitative Research Apps”).

Some highlights:

myServiceFellow
Mobile ethnography for (tourism-specific) service design via customer structured research based on perceived service sequence and service components importance through journey mapping and touchpoints sequences
(More info also here)

Ethos – Ethnographic observation system
Both a mobile device application for conducting fieldwork and a link to a web-based project management system

Revelation
Mobile device app seamlessly integrates with Revelation Project, making it simple to add mobile projects into larger studies

Ethnocorder
Multimedia enabled field research with over 20 types of multimedia elements that can be used in either questions or responses

myResearch
Field market research application for capturing live point-in-time feedback from respondents using video, audio, image recording and quantitative data

Over The Shoulder
Allows users to answer questions and provide opinions for research purposes with in-the-moment ideas, photos, videos and innovation inspiration

MyInsights
Conduct qualitative research connected to a closed web environment, where projects can be created, participants and observers can be invited and where you can view and download the results

19 October 2012

EPIC conference videos online

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Most of the videos of this week’s EPIC Conference, hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design [SCAD], are now online.

EPIC, which stands for Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, promotes the use of ethnographic investigations and principles in the study of human behavior as they are applied in business settings.

The theme of the 2012 conference was renewal, focusing on the current turmoil in our world, and encouraging attendees to reflect on their own contribution to the field of applied ethnography and the role of EPIC in pushing communities forward.

Here are the videos in chronological order:

Opening keynote
Speaker: Emily Pilloton
Tell them I built this: A story of community transformation through design, youth, and education [51:15]
Emily Pilloton is the founder and executive director of Project H Design, a non-profit design agency founded in 2008 to use design and hands-on building for community and educational benefit. Trained in architecture and product design, Emily now spends most days teaching her high school Studio H design/build curriculum, in which students design and build full-scale architectural projects for their hometown. She is the author of the book Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People a compendium and call-to-action for design for social impact, and has appeared on the TED Stage as well as The Colbert Report.

Paper Session 1: Renewing ethnographic theory (curated by Stokes Jones)
Speaker: Tony Salvador, Intel Corporation
Epic Endings: The Key Is Renewal [20:59]
Innovation is about new ways to do old things and new ways to do new things. Yet, products, services, systems and even countries do end. As markets become increasingly volatile, we introduce the necessity of the concept of designing intentionally for things to end by purposefully designing the rituals to go with it generating renewal experiences and providing an emic potential for creative destruction.

Paper Session 1: Renewing ethnographic theory (curated by Stokes Jones)
Speaker: Sam Ladner, Copernicus Consulting Group
Ethnographic Temporality: Using Time-Based Data in Product Renewal [14:54]
Breathing new life into a flagging product requires a deep understanding of the rhythm of everyday life. When do customers begin to use this product? When do they stop? It is tempting to rely on the automatically collected time-data from “big data” to answer this question. But ethnography offers a unique cultural lens to understanding the temporal aspects of the product lifecycle. In this paper, I analyze several technological products using the concept of the “timescape” and its three dimensions of time to show how products succeed or fail. I then suggest how to integrate this with digital time-data.

Paper Session 1: Renewing ethnographic theory (curated by Stokes Jones)
Speakers: Min Lieskovsky, Charlie Hill and Morgan Ramsey-Elliot, ReD Associates
Function and change in China: Reviving Mauss’ “total social fact” to gain knowledge of changing markets [21:32]
This paper attempts to revive Mauss’ concept of the total social fact as a method to establish understanding of new markets. Our case study of alcohol in China illuminates the spirit baijiu’s connections to the total social facts of guanxi and hierarchy. We outline a methodology based on using total social facts as a heuristic device, removed from the problematic assumptions of classical functionalism.

Paper Session 1: Renewing ethnographic theory (curated by Stokes Jones)
Speakers: Fabian Segelström and Stefan Holmlid, Linköping University
One Case, Three Ethnographic Styles: Exploring different ethnographic approaches to the same design brief [17:51]
To inform the redesign of a Christmas market we employed three styles of ethnographic approaches. The three approaches were based on (social) anthropology, interaction design and mobile ethnography. We present the methodology chosen by each team and discuss the nature of the insights gathered by each team.

Pecha Kucha 1 (chaired by Michele Visciola, Experientia)
Renewals of Place [01:05:52] starts at 01:55
Presentations (in order):

  • Anthony Leonard (SCAD): The Resilience and Adaptation of OccupyDC
  • Jessica Grenoble (SCAD): Fading Into the Horizon: the disappearance of Appalachian hollow communities and culture
  • Arvind Venkataramani (SonicRim): Middle Perspectives: a walk through the High Line
  • Shubhangi Athalye, Stuart Henshall, Dina Mehta (Convo): Rebuilding Mumbai – Dreams and Reality
  • Chelsea Mauldin (Public Policy Lab): Public & Collaborative: Designing Services for Housing
  • Simon Roberts (ReD Associates): Peckham, Poundland, Post its and the Peace Wall: Staging a Post-Riot Renewal

> Presentation abstracts

Paper Session 2: Emerging Practices for Renewal (curated by Eric Arnould)
Speakers: Thomas Madsen and Laura Hammershoy, ReD Associates
Ethical dilemmas in business anthropology revisited: How a phenomenological approach to the practice of ethnography can shed new light on the topic of ethics [19:12]
Business anthropologists are caught between two ethical worlds: the ethics of the academy, and the ethics of the business community. While traditional discourses on ethical behavior are founded on universalistic ideas of morality, the paper presents an alternative ethics for our field that is contingent on the specifics of context.

Paper Session 2: Emerging Practices for Renewal (curated by Eric Arnould)
Speaker: Neal Patel, Google
If These Walls Could Talk: the Mental Life of the Built Environment [24:36]
This paper introduces a theory explaining why physical spaces become meaningful. Diverse modes of existence—exchange, retail experiences, lifestyles, identity—all occur in physical or virtual space. Yet ethnographers often divorce feeling at home or out of place from physical reality, as purely subjective mental forms. This paper argues the opposite, that there is a mental process which endows physical spaces with meaning. Renewing Lefebvre’s forgotten discussion of “rhythmanalysis,” I describe life in terms of overlapping, conflicting biological, cultural, and economic rhythms. I suggest human affinity with place depends on the extent that it provides refuge from such conflict, and increases relative to its restorative function.

Paper Session 2: Emerging Practices for Renewal (curated by Eric Arnould)
Speaker: Nicole Conand and Alicia Dornadic
The Ethnographer Unbounded: Considering Open Source in Corporate Environments [25:24]
Technological advances that enable seemingly endless information sharing, as well as various counter efforts that attempt to limit and control access to information, have prompted us to reexamine how industry-based practitioners of ethnography promulgate their research. A comparison of two distinct professional experiences reveals how varying degrees of information “openness” impact ethnographic work. One is an open source project supported by a Knight Foundation grant, and the second occurs within a large corporation in which research is proprietary and confidential. In doing so, we aim to discern which elements of open source ethnography have beneficial applications in corporate environments.

Invited Panel (curated by John Payne)
The Interaction of Ethnography and Design [01:00:44]
In keeping with the theme, EPIC has organized a panel of practitioners to reflect on how they use the combination of ethnographic and design practices to contribute to renewal in a variety of disparate areas of application, some established and some emerging. The panelists’ work sits at the intersection of ethnography and design in areas like technology, interaction design, service design, social entrepreneurship, and design of public services. They share some lessons learned and discuss the benefits and challenges they’ve encountered in bringing these two disciplines together.
The panelists are:
- Chelsea Mauldin, Executive Director, Public Policy Lab
- Shelley Evenson, Executive Director of Organisational Evolution at Fjord
- Dr. John Sherry, Director of Business Innovation Research, Intel Labs

Paper Session 3 (curated by Makiko Taniguchi)
Renewing Workplaces/ Organizations (video not yet online)

Paper Session 4 (curated by Dawn Nafus)
Visions of Renewal [01:02:47]
The works in this session all participate acts of envisioning the future. These visions, however, are not mere ocularcentric handwaving. No TED-style broad proclamations here. Each piece is grounded in specific evocative materials. One takes concrete—literally, concrete–as a site of envisioning what constitutes sustainability. Another investigates paper, space and embodied action as ephemeral materials that enact collective healing after a disaster. A third resituates “the digital” in relation to populations, social fields and city space to renew notions of civic participation. Through careful attention to materials, social processes and above all context, these papers all get beyond notions of vision as brash proclamation, and render new social dynamic conceivable in contextually-sensitive ways.
Presentations (in order):

  • Stokes Jones and Christine Miller (SCAD): STAND Where You Live: Activating Civic Renewal by Engaging Social Fields
  • Aki Ishida (Virginia Tech): Role of the Ephemeral in Recovery and Renewal
  • Laura Resendez de Lozano (Rice University): Concreting Sustainability: Renewing the Cement Industry through Sustainability Implementation

> Presentation abstracts

Paper Session 5: Renewing Places (curated by Ken Anderson)
Speaker: Fumiko Ichikawa, Hakuhodo, and Hiroshi Tamura, The University of Tokyo
Scaling-Out: An Ethnographic Approach to Revive Local Communities [19:35]
Between the 20th and the 21st century, what is considered innovations have changed from technologically-centered to human-centered. Taking Japan’s visions and potential recovery strategy as an example, we describe how Japan is to renew oneself and propose the power of ‘scaling-out’, where ethnography would play a central role in its success.

Paper Session 5: Renewing Places (curated by Ken Anderson)
Speaker: Colleen Heine, SCAD
Scene and Unscene: Revealing the Value of a Local Music Scene in Savannah, Georgia [20:48]
Throughout history, music has been central to the social fabric of communities, yet it is often perceived as an extraneous element in a city. “Scene and Unscene” is an ethnographic study of the local music scene in Savannah, Georgia. Interviews with key players and participant observation in local music events and venues, coupled with personal experience as a member of a Savannah-based band, provide an insider perspective on the local music scene—its current state and the collective vision for its desired future. The paper demonstrates the key roles a music scene plays in place-making, community building, and city life.

Paper Session 5: Renewing Places (curated by Ken Anderson)
Speaker: Siobhan Gregory, Wayne State University
“Detroit is a Blank Slate.” Metaphors in the Journalistic Discourse of Art and Entrepreneurship in the City of Detroit [18:28]
This paper is an investigation of metaphoric language in the contemporary discourse of Detroit’s “renewal.” News articles from local and national news sources from 2009-2011 provide evidence of critical and provocative metaphoric constructions found in the gentrification discourse of Detroit. As harbingers of gentrification, the discourse communities of artists and business entrepreneurs are the focus of this review. The author argues that metaphoric language in journalism must be critically evaluated and challenged to help ensure sustainable, equitable, and historically sensitive “renewal” of the city of Detroit and similar inner-city urban communities experiencing gentrification.

Paper Session 6 (curated by Shelley Evenson)
Renewing Services (video not yet online)

Pecha Kucha 2 (chaired by Suzanne Thomas)
Renewals of Culture [01:06:49]
Presentations (in order):

  • Daniel Goddemeyer (Unitedsituation): Exploring the analogue – digital legibility of our behaviors
  • Elisa Oreglia (UC Berkeley School of Information): 5 facts, 3 lessons, and 2 rules
  • Melissa Cefkin (IBM Research): Work and the Future
  • Richard Anderson: A Call to Action Regarding The Patient Experience
  • Robin Beers (Biz is Human) and Jan Yeager (Added Value Cheskin): Open Source Family | Implications for remaking and renewing notions of family
  • Carrie Yury: Don’t clean up and lie down: Ethnography and conceptual art

> Presentation abstracts

Artifacts Session (curated by Alicia Dornadic & Heinrich Schwarz)
Artifacts Introductions [34:49]
Features:
- Report by Heinrich Schwartz on EPIC Europe in Barcelona
- Introduction on the Artifacts by Alicia Dornadic

Paper Session 7 (curated by Nimmi Rangaswamy)
Renewing Our Discipline [01:25:13]
There always comes a time to reflect, explore and renew ethnographic praxis in industry. We face a felt need to cast a new light on praxis, be it broadening its coda, certifying its practioners or pushing boundaries of what are considered contexts of consumption. This panel will focus on three aspects of renewal: revitalizing practitioner ingenuity and expertise; pushing the limits of knowing consumers by enclosing broader discourses on context laden values; finally, incorporating an accreditation process to professionalize and certify a shared body of skills, methods and knowledge.
Presentations (in order):

  • Patricia Ensworth (Harborlight Management Services): Badges, Branding, and Business Growth: The ROI of an Ethographic Praxis Professional Certification
  • Arvind Venkataramani and Christopher Avery (SonicRim): Framed by ‘Experience’: Moving from User-Centeredness to Strategic Incitement
  • Susan Squires (University of N. Texas) and Alexandra Mack (Pitney Bowes): Renewing Our Practice: Preparing the next generation of practitioners

> Presentation abstracts

Closing keynote
Speaker: Philip Delves Broughton
Cracking The Marketplace Of Ideas (video not yet online)
Philip Delves Broughton is a journalist, management writer, and best selling author of two books. Philip was a journalist with The Daily Telegraph for ten years, latterly as Paris Bureau Chief (2002-04) before he took an MBA at Harvard, which became the subject of his first book, the best selling What They Teach you at Harvard Business School. Philip writes regularly for The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Spectator. From 2009-2010, he spent several months at Apple writing case studies for Apple University, its internal management program, and now works with The Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Education. His most recent book The Art of the Sale: Learning from the Masters About the Business of Life is an ‘insightful scholarly treatise on sales’ with a global perspective on this critical business function.

19 October 2012

Lugano conference on digital experiences in smart cities

uxconference_2012_logo_small

On Saturday 27 October, the Italian-speaking Swiss city of Lugano will host the 4th edition of the UXconference.

The 2012 edition of the conference, which is organised by the Sketchin team, will focus on the relationship between digital services and people’s lives, with particular attention on the home and the city.

Speakers this year come from Switzerland, Italy, US and UK, and include Carlo Ratti from MIT’s Senseable Cities Lab, Stefan Klocek and Chris Noessel from Cooper, and Experientia senior partner Jan-Christoph Zoels.

Jan-Christoph will discuss supporting sustainable lifestyles.

19 October 2012

Slow HCI

interfaces92

The latest issue of Interfaces, the quarterly magazine of the Interaction Specialist Group of the BCS, the British chartered institute for IT, is devoted to Slow HCI, or how to design to promote well-being for individuals, society and nature.

Here are the key articles:

Invisible stable interfaces
Kai A. Olsen, University of Bergen and Molde University College, and alessio Malizia, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, explore the importance of maintaining stable interfaces for efficient workflow and ask companies to consider how to minimise disruption to experienced users when bringing out new versions.

Design for happiness
Anna Pohlmeyer, Delft University of Technology, translates positive psychology into positive design and outlines 20 opportunities to design for happiness.

Birds of a feather
Email is recognised as a major productivity disabler. Karen renaud, Glasgow University, and Judith ramsay, University of the West of Scotland, present a flighty perspective on emailers’ behaviours.

Future HCI
Daniel Gooch and Ryan Kelly from Bath University reflect on a future for HCI where interactions are slow and reflective, more intimate, creatively and innovatively combining aspects of the physical and digital world to promote fulfilling experiences.

The ITT Group
Professor Lynne Baillie provides an overview of her team, the Interactive and Trustworthy Technologies research Group at Glasgow Caledonian University, and some of their current projects.

New centre, new challenge
Lorna McKnight, University of oxford, introduces a new research centre exploring assistive learning technologies and reflects on the difficulties and value of researching this area.

My PhD
Andrea Bellucci: Prototyping Natural Interaction

Massive Open Online HCI
Alan Dix, Talis and University of Birmingham, describes some of the inspirations and challenges he faces as he prepares to run a massive open online HCI course.

Other recent issues of Interfaces:

Interfaces 91 – Summer 2012 – Reviewing HCI (pdf)
HCI research in the UK: funding, reflection and the future

Interfaces 90 – Spring 2012 – Work, Rest and Play (pdf)
HCI crosses physical and digital boundaries

Interfaces 89 – Winter 2011 – What’s Hot in HCI? (pdf)
It’s difficult to get consensus from our multidimensional discipline

18 October 2012

Spacebrew, an open source toolkit for creating interactive spaces

spacebrew

Spacebrew is a new software – currently in beta release – for prototyping and producing interactive spaces.

It was developed by the Interaction Lab at the Rockwell Group, led by the (very bearded) Co-Chiefs James Tichenor (who studied at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea) and Joshua Walton.

When looking at the various options that can enable Internet of Things environments, the team realized that they were mostly closed solutions that didn’t play well with others. In response, Spacebrew is an MIT licensed open software toolkit free for use in commercial and non-commercial projects. Their hope is that it becomes something that can bridge groups together to allow them to focus on creating new and meaningful experiences.

The downloads page contains examples for Processing, Javascript, and connecting Arduino as well as links to github and social media. Mre examples with Openframeworks, Python, Electric Imp, and Cosm will be published soon.

Although not yet publicly launched, the team is now sharing it early in order get feedback and involvement from the larger community of people interested in interactive spaces.

This video gives a sense of the kinds of projects people are able to connect together with Spacebrew.

18 October 2012

Daniel Bor: ‘It’s just a gut instinct, but Blink got it wrong’

thinkingwithyourgutAMENDED

Daniel Bor is a cognitive neuro-scientist at the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, and author of The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning.

He disagrees with the thesis put forward in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink:

“Aren’t you meant to trust your gut in these instances, and keep the conscious mind firmly distanced from such important decisions? And isn’t the mind almost entirely made up of a vast, wise unconscious side, with our consciousness a minuscule simpleton in comparison?

This, at least, seems to be the fashionable way to view decision-making right now (see Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink). Much of the science behind this position came from a series of prominently published studies, which showed that if there were a large number of facts to assimilate, trusting your gut was dramatically superior to conscious deliberation. All well and good… except that even more papers have reported the opposite result. In other words, your conscious mind is always better at making these complex decisions. And many tasks, such as logical operations or understanding social nuances, simply cannot be carried out by the unconscious mind.”

Read more here

18 October 2012

The Club of Helsinki – co-creation of urban development projects

Student_rafael_club-of-helsinki

The Club of Helsinki is a non-profit organization that offer possibilities to co-create urban development projects that prototype new integrated and sustainable business and management models. The organization is founded by designer Ilkka Suppanen and strategist Tanya Kim Grassley, in close collaboration with innovator Karina Vissonova and ambassador Brent Richards.

In 2013 The Club of Helsinki will launch its pilot project, Angels of Sao Paulo, together with research partners University Sao Paulo (USP) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – in close collaboration with a recyclable materials collecting cooperative in Sao Paulo, Brazil, called Coopamare. The project’s corporate ‘pathfinder’ partnership model offers companies an opportunity to combine social responsibility with business and brand development.

The pilot project focuses on four areas:

  • The first, in cooperation with MIT SENSEable Cities Lab, will create a GPS platform and digital services to help make the collection, processing and delivery of recyclable materials more effective.
  • The second focus area, together with Umbilical Design from Sweden, will develop tooling for a new material product.
  • The third area developed in cooperation with the University of Sao Paulo focuses on business development and new business models for the activities.
  • The fourth area focuses on community development and needs such as healthcare, housing and education.

More info on David Report

18 October 2012

Transforming Bodies & Lifestyles: Insights into Inspiring Behavior Change

iftf_bodies

Transforming Bodies & Lifestyles: Insights into Inspiring Behavior Change
Institute For The Future
2012

Inspiring people to change their behaviors in order to become healthier remains one of the most intractable challenges. But it also remains one of the most significant. Fifty-percent of all deaths each year are the result of potentially preventable chronic diseases such as heart disease—costing hundreds of billions of dollars annually. To address these and other challenges, behavior change efforts will be central to shaping the future of health and health care.

This environmental scan, Transforming Bodies and Lifestyles: Insights into Inspiring Behavior Change, identifies key strategies that stakeholders throughout the global health economy can use to help people make lasting changes that promote long-term health. It takes a broad look at emerging theories of motivation to identify key insights in the form of opportunities to intervene to change unhealthy behaviors and enable people to build capacities to create health and well-being in their own lives. It also identifies critical emerging technologies that will shape our everyday health experiences. Combining insights from the social sciences and technology creates new opportunities to deliver more persuasive, personalized, and meaningful messages to promote healthier behaviors.

Expert interviewees:
- Mary Jane Osmick, MD, Medical Director, American Specialty Health Network
- Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, Health Economist, THINK-Health
- Chris Bettinger, Sociologist
- Derek Newell, Managing Director, HT3
- William Polonsky, CEO, Behavioral Diabetes Institute
- Steph Habif, Behavior Designer
- Jeremy Bailenson, Founding Director, Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab and an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, Stanford University
- Kevin Clark, President and Founder, Content Evolution LLC
- Mathias Crawford, Natron Baxter
- Andy Donner, Director, Physic Ventures
- Esther Dyson, EDventure Holdings
- James Fowler, Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science at the University of California, San Diego
- Judy Hibbard, Health Policy Professor, University of Oregon
- Michael Kim, CEO/Founder, Kairos Labs
- Brad Kimler, Executive Vice President, Benefits Consulting Fidelity Employer Services
- Kelly McGonigal, Health Psychologist, Stanford University
- Paul Sas, Senior Manager, Director of Research, E*TRADE FINANCIAL
- Sue Siegel, Partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures
- Lisa Suennen, Co-founder and Managing Member, Psilos Group

18 October 2012

Wearable tech pioneers aim to track and augment our lives

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Wearable technology is still in its infancy but as it increasingly taps into a desire to have the functionality of technology without the intrusiveness.

A BBC article covers some of the recent products on the market: the GoPro camera, the Nike Fuel Band, Sony’s SmartWatch, the Pebble e-paper watch, Google’s Project Glass, and the Autographer wearable camera.

17 October 2012

UX articles and dissertations from Denmark

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Mind Design, the Design Research Webzine of the Danish Centre for Design Research, contains a wealth of information, all available in English.

Here are some highlights:

Article
Companies: Design Research Works in Practice
Design researchers are developing new, applicable knowledge together with organisations in the private and public sector. That was the clear conclusion at the mini-conference on the impact of design research that the Danish Centre for Design Research held at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen on 17 September 2012. Here, Rambøll, Bang & Olufsen and other companies shared case stories about how collaboration with researchers is creating value for their organisations.

Article
Using Experience Design to Reach a Broader Audience for Classical Music
How can we use new, digital technologies to make classical music more appealing and accessible – especially for a younger audience? A group of symphony orchestras and educational institutions in Denmark and Sweden have set out to address that question in a large-scale research collaboration that has received funding from the EU’s interregional development fund.

Dissertation
Inviting the Materials Into Co-Design Processes
Materials are important actors in co-design processes. Therefore they should be invited in and assigned roles when co-designers organise projects, workshops or events, for example in the field of service design. That is one of the key conclusions in a PhD dissertation on the role of materials in co-design which Mette Agger Eriksen defended at Malmö University on 13 June 2012.
> Download dissertation (pdf)

Dissertation
Realising the Full Potential of Drawing
Drawing is a language in its own right that holds a large potential for idea development, says Anette Højlund, who defended her PhD dissertation on drawing and creation on 13 April 2012. In the dissertation she examines what she calls the dialogue between the drawing and the person drawing. In this conversation with Mind Design she concludes that the potential of drawing could be utilised far better, for example in visualising issues that reach across disciplinary boundaries.
> Download dissertation summary (pdf)

Dissertation
Hierarchies and Humour in the Design Process
Humour plays an important role in the design process, argues Mette Volf, who recently defended her PhD dissertation Når nogen ler, er der noget på spil (When someone laughs there is something at stake). In her dissertation she explores the design process as social construct. Humour is used, for example, to turn the formal hierarchies on their head.

Dissertation
PhD Dissertation Challenges Traditional Interaction Design
Interaction design can easily incorporate both a body element and an empathy element. This was demonstrated by Maiken Hillerup Fogtmann, who as part of her PhD project developed interactive exercise equipment for team handball players and computer-based play equipment for children. She defended her dissertation, Designing with the Body in Mind, on 23 January 2012 at the Aarhus School of Architecture.
> Download dissertation summary (pdf)

Article
Making Active and Innovative Use of Your Customer Base
Companies are keen to get in touch with their customers and users in order to gain new ideas for products and business potentials. A project headed by the Danish Technological Institute focuses on user types that are potentially valuable for business. The conclusion is that the key lies in getting involved, identifying the company’s needs and involving the right users at the right time in the strategic processes.

Article
Design as Innovation Facilitator
Design-driven innovation in companies can result in both actual product development and the development of processes and business strategies. That was one of the points made at the workshop Design Driven Innovation – Organizing for Growth held at the Kolding School of Design in December 2011. Furthermore, the role of the position of design in relation to the individual company or organisation was emphasised.

16 October 2012

Book: Innovating for People

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Innovating for People
Handbook of Human-Centered Design Methods
by LUMA Institute
2012, 86 pages

Abstract
Innovation is an economic imperative that calls for more people to be innovating, more often. This handbook equips people in various lines of work to become more innovative. It provides specific guidance for bringing new and lasting value into the world.
The key ingredient to successful innovation is the everyday practice of Human-Centered Design: the discipline of developing solutions in the service of people. Every story of a good innovation–whether it’s a new product, a new service, a new business model or a new form of governance– begins and ends with people. It starts with careful discernment of human needs, and concludes with solutions that meet or exceed personal expectations.

This handbook is your essential resource for innovation. It’s a compact reference book describing thirty-six methods of Human-Centered Design, organized by way of three key design skills:
- Looking: Methods for observing human experience
- Understanding: Methods for analyzing challenges and opportunities
- Making: Methods for envisioning future possibilities

Each featured method includes a brief description; a pictorial example; a listing of benefits; a sampling of method combinations; and a quick guide with helpful hints for initial application. The full collection of methods is small enough to digest quickly, yet large enough to address myriad challenges. This book does not prescribe a formulaic innovation process. Rather, it introduces a versatile set of methods for practicing Human-Centered Design as a daily discipline in order to be more innovative and drive sustainable growth.

LUMA Institute
LUMA Institute is a Pittsburgh-based education company that teaches people how to be more innovative. Through a hands-on curriculum, LUMA helps organizations learn and apply the discipline of Human-Centered Design to create new value and drive sustainable growth.

A personal comment
Chris Pacione and Justine Knecht sent me the booklet about a month ago, and my partner Jan-Christoph Zoels took it home immediately to read it from cover to cover. I only got it back today, and wanted to make sure that I plug it to the community before another Experientia team member runs away with it.

In short, it is an excellent and very practical resource for the UX community. Highly recommended.

LUMA has also published a deck of cards. Although I haven’t seen it yet, I am sure it must be on the same level of quality.

Chris Pacione is an old friend, whom we got to know at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, when he worked for BodyMedia. After consulting with Maya Design, he is now the Director and CEO of the LUMA Institute. Also Justin Knecht is an old Experientia friend: he used to be the driving force at the Siglo, Ireland based Centre for Design Innovation.