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Posts in category 'Asia'

22 December 2011

Design for the marginalised millions

reboot-china

Reboot, a service design firm working in the fields of governance and international development, recently spent time with three marginalized groups in China — the rural poor, ethnic minorities, and migrant workers — to research the impacts of three decades of disruptive change, and to design new services to improve their livelihoods.

Their task was to make sure that the coming mobile banking revolution — unlike too many other revolutions — is inclusive and accessible for everyone, and especially the disenfranchised populations who could stand to benefit the most.

As they work through their findings, they’ve found three key principles that will help make sure this happens:
1. Design for Trust
2. Design for Stability
3. Design for All

Read article

21 September 2011

Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?

Digital AlterNatives
Hivos (The Netherlands) and the Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore, India) have consolidated their three year knowledge inquiry into the field of youth, technology and change in a four book collective “Digital AlterNatives with a cause?”.

This collaboratively produced collective, edited by Nishant Shah and Fieke Jansen, asks critical and pertinent questions about theory and practice around ‘digital revolutions’ in a post MENA (Middle East – North Africa) world. It works with multiple vocabularies and frameworks and produces dialogues and conversations between digital natives, academic and research scholars, practitioners, development agencies and corporate structures to examine the nature and practice of digital natives in emerging contexts from the Global South.

The conversations, research inquiries, reflections, discussions, interviews, and art practices are consolidated in this four part book which deviates from the mainstream imagination of the young people involved in processes of change. The alternative positions, defined by geo-politics, gender, sexuality, class, education, language, etc. find articulations from people who have been engaged in the practice and discourse of technology mediated change. Each part concentrates on one particular theme that helps bring coherence to a wide spectrum of style and content.

Book 1: To Be: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?
The first part, To Be, looks at the questions of digital native identities. Are digital natives the same everywhere? What does it mean to call a certain population ‘Digital Natives”? Can we also look at people who are on the fringes – Digital Outcasts, for example? Is it possible to imagine technology-change relationships not only through questions of access and usage but also through personal investments and transformations? The contributions help chart the history, explain the contemporary and give ideas about what the future of technology mediated identities is going to be.

Book 2: To Think: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?
In the second section, To Think, the contributors engage with new frameworks of understanding the processes, logistics, politics and mechanics of digital natives and causes. Giving fresh perspectives which draw from digital aesthetics, digital natives’ everyday practices, and their own research into the design and mechanics of technology mediated change, the contributors help us re-think the concepts, processes and structures that we have taken for granted. They also nuance the ways in which new frameworks to think about youth, technology and change can be evolved and how they provide new ways of sustaining digital natives and their causes.

Book 3: To Act: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?
To Act is the third part that concentrates on stories from the ground. While it is important to conceptually engage with digital natives, it is also, necessary to connect it with the real life practices that are reshaping the world. Case-studies, reflections and experiences of people engaged in processes of change, provide a rich empirical data set which is further analysed to look at what it means to be a digital native in emerging information and technology contexts.

Book 4: To Connect: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?
The last section, To Connect, recognises the fact that digital natives do not operate in vacuum. It might be valuable to maintain the distinction between digital natives and immigrants, but this distinction does not mean that there are no relationships between them as actors of change. The section focuses on the digital native ecosystem to look at the complex assemblage of relationships that support and are amplified by these new processes of technologised change.

(via Luca De Biase)

27 May 2011

Book: The Internet of Elsewhere

The Internet of Elsewhere
The Internet of Elsewhere: The Emergent Effects of a Wired World
by Cyrus Farivar
Rutgers University Press
May 2011

Abstract

Through the lens of culture, The Internet of Elsewhere looks at the role of the Internet as a catalyst in transforming communications, politics, and economics. Cyrus Farivar explores the Internet’s history and effects in four distinct and, to some, surprising societies–Iran, Estonia, South Korea, and Senegal. He profiles Web pioneers in these countries and, at the same time, surveys the environments in which they each work. After all, contends Farivar, despite California’s great success in creating the Internet and spawning companies like Apple and Google, in some areas the United States is still years behind other nations.

Skype was invented in Estonia–the same country that developed a digital ID system and e-voting;Iran was the first country in the world to arrest a blogger, in 2003; South Korea is the most wired country on the planet, with faster and less expensive broadband than anywhere in the United States; Senegal may be one of sub-Saharan Africa’s best chances for greater Internet access.

The Internet of Elsewhere brings forth a new complex and modern understanding of how the Internet spreads globally, with both good and bad effects.

Review by Curt Hopkins in ReadWriteWeb

“Instead of focusing on the capital of the Web, Silicon Valley, or even on one of the Silicon Valleys outside of the original, like Bangalore, India, Farivar has taken a look at our wired world through the lenses of South Korea, Senegal, Estonia and Iran.

There is a tendency to think of the Internet as being a priori and sui generis. This is a new world so powerful and so game-changing that it effects history and culture, no matter where one stands. Farivar’s argument, and it is a well-made one, is that like any other element of the human experience, the Internet is effected by history and culture. If we ignore that fact, if we let ourselves believe that the Internet, not history, is more of a determining factor in our future, we are liable to be surprised by it to an excessive degree.

Each of the places he covers are important to our understanding of the Internet because their histories and cultures have influenced how they have embraced it. In a way, the countries he has chosen to profile are reflections of each other, Senegal of South Korea and Estonia of Iran.”

Read review

25 March 2011

Design!publiC: design for governance in India

Design!publiC
LiveMint.com, the Indian online partner publication of the Wall Street Journal, reports on India’s first Design!publiC conclave “on design thinking and the challenge of government innovation,” which took place in New Delhi on 18 March.

The event — which was organised by the Center for Knowledge Societies, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and with support from, amongst others, the Centre for Internet and Society — brought together influential thinkers in Indian government, including Arun Maira of the National Planning Commission, R. Gopalakrishnan of the National Innovation Council and Ram Sewak Sharma of the UIDAI, as well as members of leading corporate and development sector agencies.

In the lengthy article Aparna Piramal Raje, director of BP Ergo, describes the approach advocated at the conclave:

“Design thinking denotes an approach to problem-solving, with three distinct aspects. First, users are studiously followed and analysed employing ethnographic tools. Human needs, attitudes, preferences, challenges, their context and the immediate environment are documented using multimedia technology.

These in-depth observations generate insights into the heart of a given problem. Based on these, design thinkers collaborate and brainstorm to conceive a set of possible solutions. Prototypes of these solutions are created, tested and validated to arrive at a final solution. [...]

Design thinking’s biggest strength—the last mile, or the citizen-government interface—is the biggest pain point for government service providers. User-centricity forms the foundation for all design thinking; they are typically the weakest link in any government programme. Greater sensitivity to everyday interactions between citizens and government services can result in enhanced standards of living through better housing, transportation, health, education, among other necessities of daily life, the panellists said.”

Make sure to watch the video that is embedded in the article.

Excerpt from the Design!publiC vision text

“The problem of governance is perhaps as old as society, as old as the rule of law. But it is only more recently — perhaps the last five hundred years of modernity — that human societies have been able to conceive of different models of government, different modalities of public administration, all having different effects on the configuration of society. The problem of governments, of governmentality, and of governance is always also the problem of how to change the very processes and procedures of government, so as to enhance the ends of the state and to promote the collective good.

Since the establishment of India’s republic, many kinds of changes have been made to the policies and practices of its state. We may think of, for instance, successive stages of land reforms, the privatization of large-scale and extractive industries, the subsequent abolition of the License Raj and so and so forth. We may also consider the computerization of state documents beginning in the 1980s, and more recently, the Right To Information Act (RTI). More recently there have been activist campaigns to reduce the discretionary powers of government and to thereby reduce the scope of corruption in public life.

While all these cases represent the continuous process of modification, reform, and change to government policy and even to its modes of functioning, this is not what we have in mind when we speak of ‘governance innovation.’ Rather, intend a specific process of ethnographic inquiry into the real needs of citizens, followed by an inclusive approach to reorganizing and representing that information in such a way that it may promote collaborative problem-solving and solutioneering through the application of design thinking.

The concept of design thinking has emerged only recently, and it has been used to describe approaches to problem solving that include: (i) redefining the fundamental challenges at hand, (ii) evaluating multiple possible options and solutions in parallel, and (iii) prioritizing and selecting those which are likely to achieve the greatest benefits for further consideration. This approach may also be iterative, allowing decisions to be made in general and specific ways as an organization gets closer and closer to the solution. Design thinking turns out to be not an individual but collective and social process, requiring small and large groups to be able to work together in relation to the available information about the task or challenge at hand. Design thinking can lead to innovative ideas, to new insights, and to new actionable directions for organizations.

This general approach to innovation — and the central role of design thinking — has emerged from the private sector over the last quarter century, and has enjoyed particular success in regards to the development of new technology products, services and experience. The question we would like to address in this conference is whether and how this approach can be employed for the transformation public and governmental systems. [...]

[More in particular,] in this conclave, our interest is to explore how design thinking and user-centered innovation might help [governmental and quasi-governmental] organizations better accomplish their mission and better serve their beneficiaries. We also seek to explore and establish particular modalities through which governance innovation can be achieved, as well as to identify key stakeholders and personalities gripped of the challenge of governance innovation. Our larger goal is to craft a path forward for integrating design thinking and innovation methodologies in the further re-envisioning, refashioning and improvement of public services in India and elsewhere in the world.”

The conclave seems to have been extremely well prepared, given the wealth of supporting materials that are available online:

Design!publiC blog

Press release
CKS organizes “Design Public” conclave – lays foundation for creating a national framework for governance innovation. High-level officials from Government of India work together with design and Innovation Experts at “Design Public” conclave

Conclave Note
Concise document that covers vision, case studies, programme and attendees

Case studies of governance innovation
Mainly European examples (unfortunately) from Denmark, UK and Norway

Glossary on design, innovation and governance
Glossary of terms that are often used by designers and innovation specialists. Also includes key terms related to governance and state-craft.

Bibliography on governance innovation
[Pleasantly surprised to find my own name there, as well as the one of Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels]

Design!publiC Book
A combination of all the above, including a detailed introduction to the design innovation ideas that were explored at the Design Public Conclave, the complete Design Public bibliography, the glossary of design terms, case studies of design innovation being applied to government, and bios for the guests that attended the conference.

16 March 2011

Faculty openings in design & human engineering at UNIST in Korea

UNIST
In December Experientia signed a five-year research and education collaboration agreement with the Design and Human Engineering School (DHE) of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) – Korea’s new top university – in a quest to change the way that design is seen and practiced in Korea.

As part of its commitment to have at least 20% of its faculty from outside Korea, the university is now recruiting full time tenure-track faculty in the areas of industrial design (including UX, interaction design and design strategy), human factors, and engineering systems.

Spread the word.

9 December 2010

Experientia collaborates with top Korean university

UNIST
Experientia, the international user experience design consultancy, has signed a five-year research and education collaboration agreement with the Design and Human Engineering School (DHE) of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) – Korea’s new top university – in a quest to change the way that design is seen and practiced in Korea.

UNIST was founded in 2009 in the industrial city of Ulsan, and aims to foster world-class education in science and technology, with top-notch students (top 3% of student intake), faculty (20% foreign), and facilities. All courses are conducted in English. UNIST, which already has a substantial online programme, also aims to be Korea’s first mobile campus: students can watch lectures, get their assignments and track their grades using smartphone apps whenever and wherever they need them.

Traditionally design in Korea has been art-based and offered through art schools. DHE is aiming to change this, by driving global industry collaboration and encouraging a multi-disciplinary approach in research and education. All students have two cross-discipline majors from Integrated Industrial Design, Engineering & Systems Design and Affective & Human Factors Engineering.

The main focus of the Experientia-UNIST/DHE collaboration will be on human-centred design and on applying this powerful innovation approach in the education of future designers and engineers, and in conducting effective applied research projects.

Experientia will support UNIST/DHE in the development of its educational programme, through adding a horizontal user experience driven didactic approach; defining a comprehensive research methods course; contributing specific expertise in areas such as interaction design, interface design and industrial design, amongst others; and organising projects workshops, teacher seminars and summer camps.

Other ideas currently being explored involve student and staff/faculty exchange, co-operation in joint research projects (possibly as part of wider European research initiatives), an in-depth longer-term collaboration on yachting design, and possible joint publications or presentations at international conferences.

In the following months Experientia and UNIST/DHE will work on shaping the specifics of the collaboration agreement through further discussions and project agreements.

Experientia has a long-term commitment to design education and research. Its partners and collaborators have been lecturing and teaching design at important international universities and design schools for many years, including the Academy for Art and Design in Berlin, Germany. Banff New Media Institute (Banff, Canada), Design Center Busan (Busan, South Korea), Domus Academy (Milano, Italy), IED (Torino, Italy), Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (Ivrea, Italy), Jan Van Eyck Academy (Maastricht, Netherlands), Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy), Politecnico di Torino (Torino, Italy), Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI, USA), Samsungʼs Innovative Design Laboratory (Seoul, South Korea) and Umea – Institute of Design (Umea, Sweden). Experientia has also been involved in several regional and European research projects.

Links:
- Experientia
- UNIST
- Korea Times: UNIST to foster elites in science, tech fields
- Korea Times: Universities’ English-friendly policy has pros and cons
- Joong Ang Daily: Unist aims to be Korea’s first mobile campus

30 November 2010

Understanding communities through ethnography

Tricia Wang
Digital marketing expert Dhiren Shingadia interviewed ethnographer and technology researcher Tricia Wang to learn how ethnography can provide new insights for companies seeking to understand communities.

“My primary output is analysis of how new technology users are living at the intersection of macro processes. Examples of questions that I ask are: What does the future of the internet look like? What happens when the next 300 million migrants with digital tools are able to get online? How will the state, the world, and technological infrastructures accommodate such a massive change in scale? How do we design and market to this group?

I hang out with people and spend a lot of time trying to see the world through their eyes. I make long and deep observations of how everyday life is achieved and negotiated. I then interpret my observations and contextualize my analysis in relation to past, current and future socioeconomic, technological and cultural developments.

By answering these questions I am able to provide context and explanations for why people engage or don’t engage with certain technologies, to explain how this all interfaces with historical and present day life, and how designers, engineers, and organizers can meet the daily needs of both low-income/marginalized users and the burgeoning middle class.”

Read interview

(via FutureLab)

30 November 2010

Interview with Motorola UX designer Hwang Sung-gul

Hwang Sung-gul
The Korean partner newspaper of the International Herald Tribune today published an interview with Hwang Sung-gul, the creative designer of mobile devices at Motorola Korea, about the thinking and work that goes into designing a mobile phone.

Gul, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago, is also in charge of Motorola’s Consumer eXperience Design (CXD) center in Seoul, Korea.

“It’s the only CXD that exports its design – its own intellectual property – to other countries like the U.S., China, and Europe. Our excellence in design comes from adopting the strengths of American-style design – which tends to be strategic – with those of European-style design, which tends to be more story-oriented. We engage in what we call “cyclical procedures,” which is shuttling between those two approaches.”

Read interview

29 November 2010

The experience design of a Japanese zoo

Tamio Fukuda
A couple of weeks ago the Design Center Busan (in Busan, South Korea) organised its first International Design Congress. The speakers featured not only the writer of this post (Mark Vanderbeeken – as reported here), but also the highly esteemed Professor Tamio Fukuda, of the Graduate School of Science and Technology at the Kyoto Institute of Technology, Japan.

Fukuda, whose work is focused on product design, design management and experience design, is also known for his historic collaboration with Samsung Electronics, when Samsung chairman Lee Kun Hee dispatched him in 1993 as his design adviser to assess the state of Samsung design. Fukuda has been visiting Korea many times and has made many friends in the country.

At the Busan conference, Fukuda talked about the “experiential value design” of Japan’s Asahiyama Zoo. He considers the success story of the zoo, based on experiential and emotional values, offers a best practice model to future design development.

“I myself define the term “experiential value design” as the act of offering products, services and human environments consistently in line with the concept of experiential value⎯in other words, the systematic act of offering thrilling and delightful experiences through diverse products and systems.

The ultimate goal of experiential value design is to induce emotions⎯experiences that appeal to all five senses⎯through the power of design. If we succeed in deeply impressing people with our design, we will be able to succeed not only in business, but also in creating a new culture. In the advanced information-oriented and knowledge-based society, designers are expected to fulfill greater roles than ever before. In this context, the concept of experiential value design will be key to future design development.”

He granted me the permission to post his notes on this site.

Download Fukuda presentation

27 November 2010

Korea’s smartphone era

Koreana
The autumn issue of Koreana, the quarterly devoted to Korean art and culture, contains a special feature on Korea’s smartphone era.

The articles come in a range of other languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish.

Mobile phones in Korea: between dynamism and anxiety
by Kim Chanho, Professor, Sungkonghoe University
Statistics indicate that Koreans spend the most amount of time on their mobile phones, as compared to the people in other countries, which includes double the time of users in Germany. What are the factors behind this zealous passion for mobile phones in Korea, where the ubiquity of wireless communication contributes to a unique dynamism of Korean society?

Korea’s mobile phone industry
by Cho Hyung Rae, Assistant Editor, The Chosun Ilbo
Early on, the mobile phone industry in Korea basically imported parts from foreign suppliers, and assembled them into finished products. But, over the past 20 years, the mobile phone has become the face of Korean industry, with cutting-edge technology. The industry is now preparing for a new leap into the popular smartphone market.

Korea’s innovative mobile phone technology
by Kim Dong-suk, Mobile Division Chief, Electronic Times
Innovation and technology resources, as well as the tech-savvy nature of Korean consumers who are eager to be at the forefront of market trends, have combined to fuel the remarkable development of Korea’s mobile phone industry. Indeed, this favorable environment has enabled Korean mobile phone makers to vault into the upper echelon of the global telecom market.

26 November 2010

The iPhone experience in Samsung’s and LG’s backyard

iPhone in Korea
Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of Apple’s iPhone debut in Korea. Prolonged regulatory bickering had been long delayed its release, coming more than a year after its release in the U.S. and other countries. But late as it was, the iPhone’s impact was bigger than most market observers ever expected.

In fact, according to this Korean newspapers article, it changed people’s lives.

“The iPhone has influenced how people live, work, as well as socialize and entertain. [...] Seventy-seven percent of [Korea's] iPhone users are in their 20s and 30s, while 16 percent are in their 40s and 4 percent are teenagers, KT says. Sixty-one percent of iPhone users are men, and 69 percent live in a metropolitan area.” [...]

“Changes in the market and society can either occur from within or outside,” said Kang Jeong-su, a researcher at Yonsei University’s communications lab. “The iPhone is a humongous shock that came externally.”

Recent personal experience can confirm the impression of iPhone pervasiveness in South Korea. Many observations on Seoul streets, in restaurants and public transport seem to indicate that every other resident of Seoul carries the device. Public service announcements in the Seoul metro about new mobile transportation services are shown on an iPhone, rather than a locally made smartphone. Even Samsung designers and Buddhist monks cannot resist.

The article also discusses the impact on Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics:

“Samsung Electronics put up a fierce fight by releasing the Galaxy S – its latest smartphone powered by Google’s Android operating system – in the summer, while LG Electronics rolled out Optimus – also Android-based – in late May.

Samsung managed to get fairly good reviews for its smartphone, but LG’s story hasn’t been a happy one. LG ended up posting a record quarterly operating loss in the third quarter because of its late entry into the smartphone party. Nam Yong, LG Electronics’ chief executive, resigned in September to take responsibility.”

Read article

22 November 2010

Video message by Experientia’s Michele Visciola at World Usability Day 2010 in Japan

WUD Japan
Experientia president Michele Visciola was invited to send a video message to the World Usability Day 2010 event in Tokyo, Japan.

Michele, who is also European Regional Coordinator for the Usability Professional’s Association, spoke on the event’s theme of communication, and the relationship between communication and usability in research and design activities.

In this short video (with Japanese subtitles), Michele explains how both communication and usability practices boil down to gaining the trust of the customer.

21 November 2010

Singapore needs to place anthropology before technology

Design Singapore
“We need to place anthropology before technology,” said Richard Seymour, Co-founder, Seymourpowell, at the sixth annual meeting of the International Advisory Panel (IAP) of the DesignSingapore Council, that came together to recommended ways to use design to boost productivity in Singapore.

The panel, chaired by Mr. Edmund Cheng, is comprised of renowned international design-related and business leaders from the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.

The Panel identified key imperatives that foster a stronger link between design and outcomes. The fundamental concept revolves around the need to broaden the definition of productivity to consider behavioural economics such as the value of culture, community and diverse experiences that are unique to Singapore.

“We need to place anthropology before technology. We need to understand how people are and make sure that the products and services are compelling to the end-user. To do so, we need to expose decision-makers to creative processes outside of their usual environments, injecting a broader bandwidth of knowledge and creativity,” said Richard Seymour, Co-founder, Seymourpowell. “Mediocre ideas become commoditised rapidly. This exposure will create an environment that could bring the brilliant idea back.”

Interesting also the recommendations at the end, with the IAP proposing a national innovation programme with the overall goal of championing new value creation through design.

Read article

20 November 2010

Two Experientia presentations in Busan, South Korea

Design Week 2010 Busan
Last week, Experientia was in Busan, South Korea, at the invitation of the Busan Design Center.

As part of its first Design Week, the Center organised two international conferences: one – the Busan International Design Congress – had “Digital Energy” as its main theme and was strongly inspired by the user experience discourse; the other one dealt more specifically with marine design (Busan hosts the world’s fifth largest port and is in the process of turning its seaside into an important lifestyle asset).

Discussions were moderated – in both cases – by Ken Nah, professor in Design Management at Hongik University‘s International Design School for Advanced Studies (IDAS), and Director-General of Seoul World Design Capital 2010.

Mark Vanderbeeken, a senior partner of Experientia and editor of its Putting People First blog, was a speaker at both conferences: a keynote speaker at the first one, and a special speaker at the other.

Both of Mark’s presentations sought to connect with the Korean context and aspirations, so you might find some of its content very Korea-specific. But they are also, we think, meaningful for a wider international audience. When viewing the presentations on SlideShare we encourage the readers to select the Speaker Notes tab next to Comments, so you can read the text that was used to accompany the slides.

Digital design for behavioral change – Engaging people in reducing energy consumption

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the human race in our era. We cannot continue in our reliance on depleting and non-renewable fossil fuels to power our world. We all know we need to change our behaviours – yet very little seems to happen. Why? Research shows that people are confused about what actions will really have the most impact on reducing energy, and do not have all the necessary information, right tools, and appropriate feedback on the impact of their actions. To be effective, campaigns and technologies to encourage behavioural change must make an impact on our physical environment, and our personal, social and cultural beliefs and norms. But do they? Smart meters, one of the tools hailed as the digital answer to energy reduction, have come under a barrage of criticism for being badly designed, counter-intuitive, and failing to offer enough encouragement, feedback and motivation for real change.

Experientia is currently part of an international team, building a low-to-no carbon emissions block in Helsinki. We are working with the people of Helsinki to design people-centred smart metres, to envisage sustainable services, and to build a realistic, effective framework for behavioural change. Sustainability requires a different lifestyle, but we believe that it is not a lifestyle that requires sacrifices for people – instead it can actually increase human satisfaction, sense of community and neighbourly collaboration and trust. We believe that changing behaviours to achieve a more sustainable future, also implies changing our world to a more enjoyable quality of life.

User experience in yachting design

The yachting market is, on the whole, still product oriented, rather than customer oriented. The focus of the way the industry presents itself centres on the product, rather than on the experience. As the yachting industry has seen its double-digit growth of the past decades diminish in the wake of the economic crisis, it now needs to look inwards, to renew and refresh its own design approach and methodology, and outward, to explore new markets, and to concentrate on how to enter them successfully. This requires a people-centred approach, which considers yachts not as mere physical products, but as facilitators of an experience.

User-experience design is built upon an understanding of and dialogue with the potential consumer, in order to create a more “user-centred” product and thereby drastically enhance the ‘total’ experience of the brand. Yachts are luxury products; their major selling point goes beyond their form or function, but also covers the use of the boat, its rarity and what it expresses about the owner. This fits well with the idea of an experience-driven product: experience is invisible, permeating and memorable. It does not contrast with the production volume. Its very uniqueness and individuality means that it can be offered to many, without reducing the perception of rarity.

Many of the yachting industry’s customers now come from emerging markets, and from a younger demographic base. These new customers often bring with them totally new paradigms, needs and desires. Creating yachts for these markets requires not just product design, graphic design, computer science and engineering skills, but also ethnography, cognitive psychology and sociology, as well as an understanding of interaction design, interface design and service design. Tools and techniques that offer insights into these consumers and how they differ from traditional yacht markets will be vital if the yacht industry is going to go beyond the self-referential designs created for the Western luxury market, and new design disciplines will allow the industry to create experiences that endure across individual, social and cultural contexts. To do so, it will have to address considerations such as the democratization of luxury, the desire for bespoke goods, two-way engagement with consumers, differentiation through service, responsible and sustainable luxury and the integration of web and other developing technologies.

Experientia wishes to express its sincere gratitude to the President and the staff of the Busan Design Center, who have been exceptional, generous and warm hosts and have succeeded in launching a meticulously well organised Design Week, to Prof. Ken Nah for the great hospitality and commitment shown during Mark’s two-day visit to Seoul, and to the staff and students of Inje University where Mark presented some of Experientia’s project and methodology.

Check also Core77 where Mark posted a broader reflection on Korean design.

Finally, the Korean audience might be interested in this short two minute Experientia presentation video with Korean language subtitles.

16 November 2010

The newest web users are changing the culture of the internet

Cybercafe in Brazil
The newest billion people to venture online are doing so in developing countries rather than North America or Europe, writes Erik German in Globalpost, and they are changing the culture of the internet itself.

“Researchers say the web as it was originally, if idealistically, conceived — a largely free, monolingual space where a shared digital culture prevailed — may soon be a distant memory. And it’s happening remarkably fast.”

Read article

4 November 2010

Four year ethnographic study of Global Voices

Lokman Tsui
How would a newsroom look if we could build it from scratch, current technologies in hand?

A 4 year ethnograhic study of Global Voices brought Lokman Tsui, an Assistant Professor in Media and Communication at the City University of Hong Kong to the concept of the transformative newsroom. The research results are published in his doctoral dissertation “A Journalism of Hospitality“.

“My project answers this question through a comparative study of legacy mainstream professional newsrooms that have migrated online, what I call “adaptive newsrooms”, and two “transformative” newsrooms, Indymedia and Global Voices. In particular, it takes up the challenge of rethinking journalism in the face of new technologies, by analyzing the cultures, practices and people of a new kind of news production environment: Global Voices, an international project that collects and translates blogs and citizen media from around the world in order to “aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversation online – to shine light on places and people other media often ignore.”

An ethnographic study of Global Voices spanning four years reveals that the internet enables a radical shift in several key facets of news production: its political economy, its sociology and its culture. The Global Voices newsroom, for example, demonstrates how the internet allows for different kinds of newsroom routines that are designed to bring attention to underrepresented voices, whereas it was previously thought routines determined the news to be biased towards institutional and authoritative voices. I argue that these changes in news production challenge us to judge journalistic excellence not only in terms of objectivity or intersubjectivity, but increasingly also in terms of hospitality. Roger Silverstone defined hospitality as the “ethical obligation to listen.” Understanding journalism through the lens of hospitality, the internet presents a unique opportunity as well as poses a radical challenge: in a world where everybody can speak, who will listen? I suggest that in a globally networked world, there continues to be a need for journalism to occupy an important position, but that it will require a process of rethinking and renewal, one where journalism transforms itself to an institution for democracy where listening, conversation and hospitality are central values.”

Download dissertation

(via Dina Mehta)

2 November 2010

India: Land of many cell phones, fewer toilets

 
Ravi Nessman reports from Mumbai, India.

“The Mumbai slum of Rafiq Nagar has no clean water for its shacks made of ripped tarp and bamboo. No garbage pickup along the rocky, pocked earth that serves as a road. No power except from haphazard cables strung overhead illegally.

And not a single toilet or latrine for its 10,000 people.

Yet nearly every destitute family in the slum has a cell phone. Some have three.”

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26 October 2010

Seeing the world from the East

Green Seoul
Last week I was in Seoul, South Korea. My third visit. And it struck me again how fast Asia, and South Korea in particular, is moving economically, and hence also in the design field.

Being in Seoul, you don’t notice any crisis. Construction is everywhere. Growth is tangible. And change is fast. While last year, the city was grey and full of concrete, now the City Government, headed by a self-proclaimed “design obsessed” Mayor, has moved to fill every available space with trees and green. On a massive scale – Seoul’s metropolitan area has 25 million inhabitants – it makes quite an impact and boosts the city’s quality of life. Even bicycles and bike paths are starting to show up in this car-crazy city.

This rapid change will continue and as UX-designers we need to be aware of it. As Keoun “Ken” Nah (interview here), Director-General of Seoul World Design Capital and design management professor at Hongik University, told me over a glass of wine: “We have been giving design thinking courses to CEO’s here and it has been very successful. We have a very smart class of CEO’s . You tell them to read a book, and when you meet them again, they have read five.” Ken by the way moved back to South Korea after a thirteen year stay in Boston, because he “missed Korea’s more dynamic environment.”

Koreans are learning fast and will add their own distinct approach to the design field. The problem they have is language. Not much of what goes on there in the design field is reported on in English language media, which tend to focus on the Western world, and the few other places where we understand the language: India, English and French speaking Africa.

Donald Norman is one of the user experience thought leaders who senses the power of this 50 million person nation and now spends quite some time teaching at KAIST, South Korea’s top science and technology institute, where he is a visiting professor. Also the intenational acclaimed LIFT conference has been hosting a South Korean edition for a few years now.

Much can be expected still from this nation of Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Kia and Daewoo. More thoughts soon about Korea’s design developments when I come back from the Busan Design Week in mid-November.

1 October 2010

Nokia building loyalty among the bankless

Nokia Money
The Register reports at length on Nokia’s move into Mobile Money.

“For a technology company, Mobile Money is remarkably low-tech. Only the tiniest amount of bandwidth is necessary for a financial transaction, and it doesn’t need to be instant – the store and forward of SMS is perfectly good enough. There are a number of technologies used in Mobile Money, including USSD, SIM toolkit, Java and plain old voice through IVR – which is great for places with an illiterate population. None of these technologies are new. The barriers to Mobile Money are business models and logistics.

So while it might seem that Mobile Money is just another ecosystem in Nokia’s service strategy, look closer and you find that Mobile Money is a peculiarly good fit.”

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29 September 2010

PhD: Mobile phone use by young adults in India: a case study

Mobile India
“Mobile phone use by young adults in India: a case study”, the PhD thesis of Priyanka Matanhelia at the University of Maryland, is available online.

Abstract

This study explored the use of mobile phones among young adults in India. The study used the theoretical frameworks of uses and gratifications approach from media studies, social-cognitive domain theory from human development literature and social construction of technology (SCOT) from Science and Technology studies. The main objective of the study was to examine the use of mobile phones to fulfill communication, media and age-related needs by young people in India and to investigate regional and gender differences.

The study was conducted in two phases using a mixed-methods approach. In the first phase, in-depth interviews were conducted with 30 college-going young adults (18 – 24 years) in Mumbai and Kanpur in December 2007 and January 2008. In the second phase, a survey was conducted with 400 college-going young adults (18 – 24 years) in Mumbai and Kanpur.

The qualitative analysis of the data showed that young people in both the cities used cell phones for a variety of communication, news and entertainment needs. Additionally, they considered cell phones as personal items and used them to store private content, maintain privacy and have private conversations. Further, the analysis showed that they used cell phones to negotiate independence from parents and to maintain friendships and create friendships with members of opposite sex.

The quantitative analysis of the data revealed that young people in the two cities used cell phones differently due to the differences in their lifestyles and socio-cultural factors. Additionally, the study found there were only a few gender differences in the use of cell phones by young people, mainly in the use of cell phones for entertainment purposes, negotiation of independence from parents and in forming friendships with members of opposite sex. Finally, the study concluded that young people in India mainly use cell phones for private communication and needs.

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