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


Posts in category 'Conference'

26 November 2012

MedLove, Berlin, 23rd of November

MEDlove_Banner_220

Post by Experientia UX researcher Anna Wojnarowska:

The first MedLove conference, a UX and healthcare summit sponsored by Razorfish, took place this Friday in Berlin. MedLove gathered professionals from around the world discussing the challenges waiting for the researchers and designers approaching the healthcare environment.

Aleksander Stojanovic, representing Razorfish described how, when thinking about design solutions for the healthcare environment, it is not enough to get a perspective of a user or a patient, but of a human. The main difficulty for the researcher is to balance the individual and the social perspectives (“design against yourself”, says Stojanovic) to recognize and to unravel the network of agents entangled in the studied environment.

These arguments were nicely developed by Martje van der Linde (User Intelligence) who exemplified the ways that can help the researcher to actually resolve a studied problem without jumping straight to shallow conclusions. Only by taking into consideration and involving various stakeholders in the research process, the consultant can create concepts that satisfy not only patients but agents such as doctors and insurance providers as well. Patient-centered can oftentimes turn out too narrow.

Mark A.M. Kramer who, having gone through a cancer treatment himself, highlighted some of the important characteristics of the hospital environment that influence the patient experience while being hospitalized. The value of the participatory design process could have been easily grasped through his first hand, perceptive observations that related mainly to medical staff communication painpoints, affecting the efficiency of doctors’ work.

Rod Farmer (Visual Jazz Isobar, Melbourne) showed how throughout the years, design strategies have been moving away from the processes orienting participants on clearly defined tasks, towards collecting thick, narrative descriptions that can allow translating user perspective into an accurate business vision which, in the end, can result in products and services providing ‘phatic communication’ solutions that focus on and enhance relations between people. Farmer interestingly puts in question the meaning of “mobility”, a notion which, referred to portable devices used in various contexts, can create various connotations.

“Design more for value demand, less for failure demand.” (Peter Jones, OCAD University)

“How do we get involved in the advances of digital toward mHealth and the quantified self? Could it lead to new business models?” (Amber Brown, Digitas Health)

26 November 2012

Nearly all videos of UX Week 2012 now online

ux12-banner

Our friends of Adaptive Path have uploaded (nearly) all videos of UX Week 2012, the premier user experience design conference that took place in August in San Francisco.

KEYNOTES

Ducks, dolls, and divine robots: designing our futures with computing [46:26]
Genevieve Bell, director of User Interaction and Experience in Intel Labs
No abstract available.

The story of Windows 8 [1:06:57]
Jensen Harris, Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience Team.
No abstract available.

TALKS

Steal like an artist [25:51]
Austin Kleon, writer and artist
When somebody calls something “original,” 9 times out of 10 they just don’t know the sources or references involved. The truth is that nothing is completely original — all creative work builds on what came before. In this talk, Kleon will teach you how to embrace influence, establish a creative lineage, and think of yourself as a mashup of what you let into your life.

The power of “why?” [21:31]
Bill DeRouchey, creative director at Simple
Designers must continually learn to survive. New technologies, new philosophies, new roles and responsibilities, new tools and methods all keep designers on their toes throughout their career. But one skill persists no matter where designer find themselves, the ability to ask Why?
Asking customers why they do what they do or believe what they believe unlocks the foundation for inspired design. Asking organizations why they follow their strategies unearths good habits or dangerous ruts. Asking our most traditional institutions why things are the way they are uncovers the potential to remake our society. Constraints, myths, assumptions and perspectives can all melt with a well-timed and well-framed Why?
Let’s apply some toddler magic to our adult careers and ask Why?

Toy inventing in the 21st Century: hard plastic vs the attention economy [20:10]
Bill McIntyre, President of Atomocom
As surely as the digital era transformed work and home life, it changed the way kids play. Like their parents, kids are choosing technology, tablet computers and video games over traditional toys at younger ages than ever. So how do traditional toy inventors compete for a kid’s interest against iPad apps and 24 hour cartoon networks?

Build the future!! [31:10]
Brian David Johnson, futurist at the Intel Corporation
What kind of future do you want to live in? What futures should we avoid? What will it feel like to be a human in the year 2025. Intel’s Futurist Brian David Johnson explores his futurecasting work; using social science, technical research, statistical data and even science fiction to create pragmatic models for a future that we can start building today.

Go with it: learning by doing [26:15]
Brianna Cutts, Visitor Experience and Exhibits Director at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
The pressure is on more than ever now that “creativity” is the hot 21st century skill and American creativity is on the decline. What should we do?
Design educational experiences that don’t feel educational.
During her talk, Brianna shares insights from a career in exhibition design, which requires a delicate balance of content knowledge, design skill and rule breaking.

The future will be made of screens [21:58]
Rachel Binx, design technologist at Stamen Design
No abstract available.

Citizen experience: Designing a new relationship with government [26:48]
Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America
Code for America proposes what to many seems impossible: that interfaces to government could be simple, beautiful, and easy to use. Why care? Because the slow crumbling of our will to do things together as a society (what we used to call support for government) is a direct consequence of the public sector falling behind on modern technology and design. Who is fixing this? Talented, passionate designers and developers partnering with public servants in City Halls around the country.

iWitness case study [27:01]
Jesse James Garrett, co-founder and chief creative officer of Adaptive Path
From developing the concept through designing the experience to collaborating with an agile development team, Jesse will tell the story of creating Adaptive Path’s groundbreaking social media tool, iWitness.

UI for Big Data visualization [25:16]
Jonathan Stray, head of the Overview Project, a Knight News Challenge-funded semantic visualization system for very large document sets
Visualization is great way to understand data, but it breaks down when the data gets big. Simply plotting everything to the screen won’t work, because there isn’t enough screen real estate, interactions slow to a crawl, and human working memory isn’t up to the task anyway. Big data requires specific interaction techniques for visual exploration, such as filtering, summarization, and context. He goes over some basic principles, and shows examples of recent systems, including his work on the Overview Project, a system for visual exploration of huge unstructured document sets.

Testing positive for healthcare UX [18:27]
Maren Connary, Kaiser Permanente
The healthcare experience is improving even though we’ve almost all had a less-than-pleasant memory of either waiting endlessly for an appointment, forgetting when and what dose of meds to take, crying over massive and unpredictable bills, or even just locating decent care in the first place. All of these mounting complaints and expenses have finally pushed healthcare to the tipping point. As a result, a patient-centered paradigm has emerged that is forcing organizations to more closely examine and improve the experiences they provide.

Two brains, one head: analysis and intuition in design practice [23:44]
Maria Cordell, Design Director at Adaptive Path
Often connected to the unexplained or mysterious, intuition gets a bad rap. Yet intuition is at the heart of creativity, and significant advances in our understanding of the physical world are borne of intuitive leaps. While some hail its power, others advocate that what’s needed is more analysis — not intuition! What does this mean for us? What is intuition and why is it so divisive? And does it have a role in design?

Fashioning Apollo: the infinite, intimate lessons of technology, bureaucracy, and human beings in the space race [31:46]
Nicholas de Monchaux, architect and urbanist
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the lunar surface on July 21, 1969, the spacesuits they were wearing were made, not by any of the sprawling, military-industrial conglomerates who had forged the hard surfaces of their rockets or capsules, but rather by the International Latex Corporation, best known by its consumer brand, “Playtex.” The victory of Playtex over the military-industrial establishment, and the soft, 21-layer suit that trumped hard, system-designed prototypes, is only one of the many stresses and strains that characterized the rapid effort to insert soft, human beings into military-industrial machinery originally intended for warheads, and nuclear destruction. And while it may seem—at least initially—that the process of designing for human beings is a less high-stakes enterprise than the summit of the Cold War, many of the seemingly otherworldly lessons of man, and technology, on the moon, remain urgent examples for our machines, cities, and ecologies today

UX is strategy; not design [25:26]
Peter Merholz, head of user experience at Inflection
In trying to understand the challenges the UX community has had in clarifying what the “UX profession” is, it occurred to Peter that we’re thinking about this all wrong. Though UX finds its genesis in design disciplines, user experience is not a design activity. In order for user experience to deliver on its potential, we need to reframe it so that it contributes directly to strategy, and, in doing so, drives practices throughout the organization.

Cars, castles, and spas [28:09]
Rob Maigret, SVP of Global Creative at Disney Interactive, the digital entertainment and games segment of The Walt Disney Company
From the time he was in his teens, Rob had heard about the lucky few who traveled to Germany to pick up their brand new Porsche automobiles at the factory and take them for an extended drive on the autobahn at great speeds. On the journey, they enjoyed beautiful scenery and Euro-luxury before having their cars shipped to the states for a much more prosaic driving experience. This year, he finally decided to check it out for himself. Maybe someday you will, too. Maybe you won’t. But either way, in terms of UX, this might be is as serious as it gets for fully experiencing a brand at its core.

Death to curiosity: will tomorrow’s [21:25]
Toi Valentine, experience designer at Adaptive Path
If the previous generation was responsible for defining UX, what is the next generation of UX practitioners responsible for? What opportunities exist for them? What impact will they have on UX? On the world? After collecting personal experiences from designers right out of UX-related programs and those with more than ten years of experience, Toi reflects on the challenges and opportunities that come with finding your way in UX. Without clear pathways and destinations, how will the next generation find their way? How can the discipline and UX community support them in their journey to impact the future of UX?

An animating spark: mundane computing and the web of data [42:19]
Tom Coates, founder and president of Product Club
Network connectivity is reaching more and more into the physical world. This is potentially transformative – allowing every object and service in the world to talk to one other—and to their users—through any networked interface; where online services are the connective tissue of the physical world and where physical objects are avatars of online services. It’s a world where objects know who owns them and can tell the world where they are. A world where ‘things’ are services, and where their functions can be strung together in daisy chains across the planet. Now the only question is how we make it useful and comprehensible for normal people…

How and why to start sketchnoting [19:40]
Veronica Erb, user experience designer at EightShapes LLC
When you attend a presentation, what do you do? Sit quietly and listen? Scribble notes? Live tweet? Get distracted by your smartphone?
There’s yet another option: sketchnote.
Sketchnoting is like notetaking, but with more flair and more focus. Hand lettering and illustrations provide the flair; focus provides you the time to include the flair. Besides keeping you engaged during talks, visual notetaking makes it easier to retain what you’ve heard and share it later.

26 November 2012

Another batch of NEXT Service Design videos

Next-Berlin

The NEXT Service Design videos keep on coming, but very slowly. Here are another three:

A Facebook for Things – Turning Physical Products into Digital Information Services
Andy Hobsbawm, Evrythng
There’s a revolution going on in the interaction between the physical and digital worlds. Innovations in smartphones, connected chips and physical tags are creating amazing new service design possibilities. Andy discusses how super-charging physical things with dynamic, socially-connected apps and content helps brands get closer to customers and turns physical products into a channel for personalized digital services, real-time communications and 1:1 relationships.

Service Design – Buzzword or Magic Method?
Pia Betton, Edenspiekermann
Following the rising complexity in the communication and service environment, service design has become a widely used method to solve manifold challenges.
As service providers within the areas of innovation, communication and design, we play an important role in the way we guide our clients through the wilderness of market and user exploration and ideation methods and processes. We need to ask ourselves if service design is always the right thing – or if it can be a blind path?
How do we accompany the necessary changes, avoid frustrations and ensure the ROI of service design processes? Let’s take a look at the needs and challenges of clients and discuss the roles we can (and can’t?) play.
Pia Betton is managing partner and director consulting at Edenspiekermann. With a background in design, she looks back at more than 20 years of work experience within the areas of innovation, user experience, branding and communication.

The Design in Service Design

Service Design is often, well deserved, praised for its analytical and strategic advantages. But if we forget to acknowledge the most central aspect of the discipline it will loose its true glimmering power. Because it is Design that makes Service Design happen. Design as in creating and executing. Design as the element of surprise. And Service Design is not Design just because we call it Design. We have to nourish it. Lisa Lindström, Managing Director at the design firm Doberman shares her thoughts on how Design can bring true value to the management and innovation of services.

Earlier videos are here and here.

15 November 2012

The Talking Circles conference format

ddei

The Designing Design Education for India (DDEI) Conference, which will take place in March 2013 in Pune, India, has an unusual, but engaging format:

“This will be an interactive conference. Unlike other conferences where the presenters speak from one side and the attendees are mere spectators or at the most the discussion is confined to formal Q&A sessions, this conference expects the conferees to play the role of a Moderator or a Synthesizer and interact freely in the talking circles. […]

At the end of each day of the first two days, talking circle for each of the stream is planned. The aim is to encourage an open and inclusive format for discussion and the sharing of ideas. Talking circles are meetings of minds, directed at points of discussion, difference, or difficulty. At this conference the talking circle is intended as an opportunity to interact around the key streams of the conference vis-à-vis the themes. The outcomes of the talking circles will be discussed on the third and final day of the conference.

The Talking Circle for each stream will meet for a 1-hour session. A facilitator will be designated for each of the talking circle on each day from amongst the moderators. The facilitator will record the points of convergence and divergence and will summarize them. The discussion in the talking circle will be based on three main questions viz. What is our common ground? | What key ideas are emerging? | What is to be done?

Apparently the concept is not entirely new. It was already used at UC Berkeley in 2005, where they described Talking Circles as follows:

“Talking circles are meetings of minds, often around points of difference or difficulty. They are common in indigenous cultures. The inherent tension of the meeting is balanced by protocols of listening and respect for varied viewpoints. From this, rather than criticism and confrontation, productive possibilities may emerge.”

Also the 2011 Climate Change conference in Rio used it. Yet this participatory, co-creative format doesn’t seem to be very common.

The DDEI conference is hosted by India Design Council which is an autonomous body of Government of India established under the aegis of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

At the conference design educators, design thinkers, design practitioners share their ideas, experiences and vision about various future transformations occurring in education in the light of India’s traditional and current understanding of design education. The aim is to inspire the future of design education in India and determine the nature and future of the design education framework in India for the period 2014–2019.

15 November 2012

Upcoming workshop on designing innovative toys for people with special needs

spiel_kind1

“Toy Design and Inclusive Play”
Designing Innovative Toys for People with Special Needs
Invitation to join International Creativity Workshop in Bavaria, Germany

Play is crucial for all children, helping them to develop skills and to learn patterns of behaviour. Also for adults with special needs, materials for play and activity are an important aspect of everyday accomplishment, affirmation and interaction with other people.

The 17th International Creativity Workshop of the association Fördern durch Spielmittel e. V. (“Support and Challenge through Toys”) will be held from 28th February to 15th March, 2013, in Altdorf – Rummelsberger Dienste in Bavaria, Germany. The aim of the international and interdisciplinary Creativity Workshop is to develop new toys for children and adults who are in need of special assistance. Great emphasis will also be put on the development of toys and play materials for senior citizens.

For two weeks, participants will be in close contact with people with disabilities, learning directly and practically from their skills and needs, and in addition becoming inspired by this process so as to view the users as equal partners in future development processes. In close contact and communication with the children and adults it will be possible to develop wholly new toys, which bring pleasure, are adapted to various different needs and in addition assist in the development of sensory, motor and communication skills.

Designers, therapists, toy experts, teachers working with disabled children, architects, people with special needs and students are invited to apply to participate in the Creativity workshops. The workshops are co-located with live/work spaces of people with special needs engaging participants in direct observation and engagement, to then develop toys for these observed.

Participation is free, some travel grants are available. Deadline for application is 17.12.2012.

Application materials: in Englishin German

Disclosure: The conference organiser is Siegfried Zoels who is the father of Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels.

10 November 2012

More NEXT Service Design videos

Next-Berlin

Last week I posted links to a few videos from NEXT Service Design, the European conference for designing digital services, which took place on 8 October in Berlin.

In addition to the presentations by Alexander Baumgart and Pedro Custódio, two more videos have now been uploaded:

Service Design – Are we still talking about this?
Chris Downs, Method
In its early days, service design had a clear and compelling purpose – to shift our addition from owning products in favour of services. Products were bad, the thinking went – they encourage greed, envy and waste. Services on the other hand, were good – they led to community, sustainability and fulfilment.
Ten years on, the technological landscape has fundamentally changed and today it is almost impossible to distinguish between a digital product and a service. Where does that leave service design? Most importantly, why are we still having this conversation?
In this talk, Chris explores design in a world where the old notions of product, service and brand are blurring. He argues how services of the future will be more like the services of the past and explains why you should never ever refer to him as ‘a consumer’.

How lean and service design methods can create innovative, digital products
Magnus Christensson, Socialsquare
Drawing upon the design, development and launch of a client project for Denmark’s largest online bookstore, Magnus will share some of his experiences and insights from applying lean startup & service design methodologies to build a client product and business that challenge the market.

4 November 2012

Philips Design: From data to meaning for people

philips

On October 22nd, 2012, Philips Design organized a special seminar and workshop to explore how businesses can innovate by translating ‘Big Data’ into value for people.

The internet is becoming ever more intertwined with our daily lives, even more so now that mobile platforms are blurring the dividing line between the online and physical worlds. Data now touches so many parts of our lives that our world is becoming a composite of digital and real. Data is pervasive, abundant and constantly changing how the world operates. Tapping into this wealth of Big Data has huge potential for data-enhanced businesses that are creative and capable of making data meaningful and relevant for people.

The global economic environment is uncertain. The business environment is undergoing massive changes wrought by the advent of digitization, and there is an urgent need for a faster, more responsive relationship between the enterprise and its consumers and partners. In a data-driven world, action and feedback between an enterprise, customers and consumers is fast and creates many choices in potential propositions. This ‘Virtuous Circle of Data‘ will enable enduring propositions that deliver personalized, meaningful value – more individually tailored and adapted to the ever-changing context of the consumer than has been possible before.

Philips Design has developed an understanding approach and models to working with data in the 21st century. These models are contemporary, actionable, informative and communicated using a workshop process fit for use now and tomorrow. This can help you to make the next step and innovate with big-data management and visualization – the investment call here is in creativity coupled with some understanding of the technology.

Participating speakers at the seminar were Pieter Hermans, CEO Jakajima; Sean Carney, Chief Design Officer, Royal Philips Electronics; Maarten den Braber, Quantified Self; Professor Yi-Ke Guo, Digital City Exchange (Imperial college London); Joris Maltha and Daniel Gross, Catalogtree; and Jeroen Tas, Chief Information Officer, Royal Philips Electronics.

Video 1 [59:27] / Video 2 [1:36:38]

(via InfoDesign)

4 November 2012

NEXT Service Design videos

Next-Berlin

NEXT Service Design is the European conference for designing digital services, which took place on 8 October in Berlin. It focuses on design methods including design thinking, user-centric design and interaction design.

Two videos are currently online.

Strategy is a Service! What business leadership can learn from service design
Alexander Baumgart, Systemic Partners
An exploration (and provocation) on how service design does create new perspectives on (and for) strategy and planning practices – at helping leadership harness the in- and out-bound powers of a holistic human-centered design approach to leverage lasting competitive advantage.

The Experience is the Product
Pedro Custódio, Experience Designers
We’ve been riding on a wave of consumerism since the best part of last century, product of the industrial and services revolutions, the amount of products and services outpaced even the most wild thinkers. There’s just to much of everything! Choices are good, but hard to make! Product features first, product design next used to be central to developing new products and attached services, but clearly we’ve passed those days, so if it’s not about features, nor it’s design how do we create meaningful and attractive differentiation for our future products and services propositions? This is the question that Custódio works to solve and this presentation gives a bit more insights on how we can tailor amazing experiences in order to create valuable futures.

(via InfoDesign)

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.

19 October 2012

EPIC conference videos online

header-bg

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.

2 October 2012

Experientia at EPIC 2012

header-bg

Experientia will be at EPIC Conference, on October 14-17 2012, hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design [SCAD], Savannah, USA.

This year, Experientia president Michele Visciòla will be chairing the first (of two) Pecha Kucha session Renewals of Place.

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 is 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.

26 September 2012

Alok Nandi to chair Interaction14 – February 2014 in Amsterdam

Ixda_logo

The IxDA Board of Directors just announced that Alok Nandi will be Chair of Interaction14, to be held February, 2014 in Amsterdam in conjunction with Utrecht School of the Arts and Delft University of Technology.

Alok, an independent media writer/director and designer exploring narrative spaces in cross-media project, was selected from a short list of candidates following an open call that resulted in more than 30 qualified submissions.

Interaction14 will be the second IxDA conference to be held in Europe, following from the successful staging of Interaction12 in Dublin, Ireland earlier this year. It will take place in Amsterdam in February 2014.

Interaction13 will be in Toronto in January 2013.

Alok has named Yohan Creemers, Chair of IxDA Netherlands and a member of the Dutch bid team, as his Co-Chair for Interaction14.

Congratulations, Alok!

18 September 2012

A report on the Medicine 2.0 conference in Boston

prog-cover2012

Report by Experientia researcher Anna Wojnarowska

Harvard Medical School hosted this weekend the Medicine 2.0 conference in Boston.

The fifth edition of the event invited academics, practitioners and clinicians for two days of lectures, discussions and presentations, analyzing the changes taking place in the healthcare sector around the world.

A major topic recurring throughout the presentations was how decision makers can respond and finally fulfill patients’ needs to engage more consciously in their treatment, personal data management and the diagnosis process, areas that had been hidden from them beforehand.

Dave Debronkart, the closing speaker of the conference highlighted how the dynamics between the medical institutions and their patients reshape in the Web 2.0 reality and how they will further develop.

While we are used to a one directed top down relation between the authorities and the patients this is changing now into a growing interaction between the two and will further evolve into a dynamic environment where all of the parties involved will be able to freely share content, exchange opinions and expertise and look for advice.

The area of user experience research in healthcare seems to be still only developing, but with visible progress. An interesting presentation by Cassie Mcdaniel from the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation (Toronto) showed how the designers struggle to survive among the healthcare providers, trying to deliver user friendly solutions.

Two obstacles – complexity of the issues to address and the difficulty in cooperating with all the parties involved – render the implementation of changes slow and rarely effective. Nevertheless the reality is changing and more and more stakeholders see the value of users research methods when researching future opportunities for development.

As one of the presentation in the “Consumer empowerment, patient-physician relationship and sociotechnical issues” panel, I presented a project I conducted at University College London in 2011, under the supervision of Stefana Broadbent.

It was an ethnographic study of a cardiology institute in Warsaw with a focus on the way the digital technologies influence the dynamics between the doctors and patients. The audience admitted that approaching such a fragile context as hospitalization in an ethnographic, direct way is highly valuable and allows to formulate context relevant insights that would not be attainable through other methodologies.

I am looking forward to hearing about the progress in various research initiatives signaled this year during Medicine 2.0 2013 next fall in London!

18 September 2012

Experientia researcher speaking at Harvard’s Medicine 2.0 conference

prog-cover2012

Experientia researcher Anna Wojnarowska spoke this Sunday at the Medicine 2.0 conference in Boston on her research on the influence of the hospital environment, communication devices – laptops, mobile phones – and the technologies involved in the curing process such as drips and cardiac devices – on patients’ experiences of hospitalization.

The yearly conference, which had over 500 attendees, focuses on social media, mobile apps, and internet/web 2.0 in health, medicine and biomedical research.

Anna’s talk, entitled Body Wholeness and Technological Struggles: How Patients and Staff Cope with the Reality of the Hospital, presented an ethnographic study of a cardiology institute in Warsaw with a focus on the way the digital technologies influence the dynamics between the doctors and patients

Background:
What interested me the most in the specificity of the hospital environment was the potential influence of digital technologies – such as mobile phones and laptops – on the dynamics between patients and doctors, mediated through medical treatment. I wanted to find out what role digital communication devices play in the balance of authority between doctors and patients and how using these tools expresses the personal needs of patients.

Objective:
My research examines the influence of the hospital environment, communication devices – laptops, mobile phones – and the technologies involved in the curing process such as drips and cardiac devices – on patients’ experiences of hospitalization.

Methods:
I conducted ethnographic research in a cardiological institute in Poland. Having negotiated access as an “ethnographic intern” to one of the clinics, I participated in the life of the hospital to the extent available to an outside observer, for a period of three weeks. I conducted interviews with eleven patients, two family members, seven members of the medical staff – doctors and nurses – and three members of the hospital’s administrative staff. Further, I engaged in extensive observation of the hospital environment.

Results:
All of the patients whom I met during the research period were extensive users of mobile phones, but they were rarely equipped with their own laptops. Patients treated technology as an important conveyor of their private realities, lives that they did not necessarily want to include in their hospital routine. Patients approached hospitalization as a temporary period, which they did not want to integrate with their everyday lives. They protected their bodily integrity by negating their dependence on medical and communicational devices, not wishing to be perceived as ‘cyborgs’ (Haraway 1985) or ‘techno-social beings’ (Latour 1993). In order to separate themselves from their roles as ‘patients’, they exerted their agency on those technological aspects of the hospital reality, which were within their reach, such as medical screens and drips. Even though the doctors were very eager to share stories of how patients undermined their medical authority by browsing the internet, the patients themselves claimed that they do it only for their own sake, without wanting to disobey their doctors. The complexity of the treatments conducted in the clinic increased patients’ trust in the medical profession and decreased their motivation to look for alternative information online. Nonetheless, online sources do play an important role during the curing process, as an effective source of emotional support and personal comfort.

Conclusions:
The hospital is an area where patients construct their personhoods in reference to the surrounding environment and where they foster their identities. Digital technologies became deeply embedded in the process of maintaining bodily integrity and tackling a new – and yet temporary – hospitalized reality. What requires attention is the potential of technology in creating bonds among the patients themselves as well as supporting their daily routine in the hospital, far different from the ‘ordinary’ one. The influence of technology on the balance of authority seems a secondary issue, as patients who come equipped with an extensive knowledge of their condition seem able to effectively distinguish trustworthy online sources (such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, online medical journals) from the unreliable ones (online forums) and have no intention to carelessly undermine doctors’ diagnoses and opinions.

In the next post, Anna writes about her experience of the conference.

6 September 2012

Ubicomp’s colonial impulse

header-logo

Paul Dourish and Scott Mainwaring, the founders of the Intel funded Social Computing Research Center at UC Irvine, presented yesterday a paper at Ubicomp 2012 with the short but bombshell title “Ubicomp’s Colonial Impulse” (pdf).

The abstract remains quite vague, and doesn’t much insight on what this colonial impulse is all about:

Ubiquitous computing has a grand vision. Even the name of the area identifies its universalizing scope. In this, it follows in a long tradition of projects that attempt to create new models and paradigms that unite disparate, distributed elements into a large conceptual whole. We link concerns in ubiquitous computing into a colonial intellectual tradition and identify the problems that arise in consequence, explore the locatedness of innovation, and discuss strategies for decolonizing ubicomp’s research methodology.

In essence the argument in the paper is centred around the idea of colonialism as a knowledge enterprise, or as I would word it, a global knowledge empire (Dourish is Scottish and has some affinity with one particularly powerful colonial empire).

Then they point out – and here we get to the more explosive subject matter that the title hints at – a series of considerations that undergird both systems of thought [i.e. colonialism and ubiquitous computing):

  • They share the notion that knowledge and the bases of innovation are unevenly distributed in the world, and that their goal is to assist the migration of knowledge from centers of power (be they colonial hubs or research laboratories) to places where it is lacking.
  • They share the related notion that progress in places where information, knowledge, or technology is lacking is something that should be undertaken by the knowledgeable or powerful on behalf of those others who are to be affected or changed by it.
  • They share a belief in universality: that knowledge and representations applied to any particular place or situation can just as easily apply to any other, and that knowledge schemes developed anywhere will work just as well anywhere else. So, for instance, the universal taxonomy of botanical life created at Kew, or the universal accounts of human needs and human activities common to modeling exercises in technology design, are both thought and intended to have power to speak to the details of settings anywhere.
  • They share a commitment to reductive representation and hence to quantification and statistical accounts of the world as a tool for comparison, evaluation, understanding, and prediction.
  • They share the idea that the present in centers of power models in embryo the future of other regions, such that the “developed” world is understood as the destiny of and model for the “developing”, or that the world at large is destined to become “like” the

In what follows, the authors examine these ideas in more depth. They “want to show how ubicomp’s research program, envisioned and portrayed since its founding as a program “for the twenty-first century” [i.e. “future-making”], nonetheless draws on a considerably older legacy. [They] then draw out some consequences of this approach, suggest some strategies for escaping it, and sketch the contours of an alternative approach to ubiquitous computing.”

The article is well argued, a delight to read, and was rightfully selected as one of Ubicomp 2012’s “Best Paper Nominees”. Most interestingly, the criticism is not limited to Ubicomp, but can be – as the authors point out – applied to all knowledge institutions and all tech companies active in Silicon Valley – and they point to Google as a good case in point (even adding also the IMF and the World Bank in their critical drag net).

Therefore their “contours of an alternative approach to ubiquitous computing” provide the outset of an alternative approach to the “Silicon Valley Empire”.

21 August 2012

The first Informal Economy Symposium in Barcelona – October 12, 2012

THEIEECONOMY7

HOW WILL the informal economy impact the global business landscape?

The landscape of the Informal Economy is vast – from street vending to P2P networks, from piracy to ad-hoc businesses – it is the fastest growing sector of both emerging and developed markets. In fact, the global informal sector has been growing even in the face of economic recession.

  • If the global informal economy were a country, its GDP would be on the order of $10 trillion a year, which would make it the second largest economy on earth after the United States.
  • In Europe the informal sector amounts for 20% of the annual GDP. In developing countries in Asia and Africa this can go up to between 25 to 40%.
  • 1.8 billion of the total working force of the world – that means half of it – works in informal economy. This ratio is predicted to be 2/3 by 2020.
  • In countries like India, the ratio of informal workers can go up to 85% of the total working force.

This means that now is a critical moment for businesses to investigate the scope of the informal economy, and the challenges and opportunities it poses for them.

THE FIRST Informal Economy Symposium in Barcelona: October 12, 2012

A group of thinkers and doers, engaged in a variety of projects that challenge conventional views of the informal economy, are gathering for a day of keynotes and panels in Barcelona. Drawing inspiration from street-level ingenuity, alternative currencies, P2P networks, copy-cat innovation, crowdsourcing and other drivers in the informal economy, the symposium seeks to better understand the relationship between informal commercial practices and formal economic structures. A better understanding of this relationship is the first step towards new business models, innovation approaches, and collaborations within, across, and between the formal and informal.

Visit the Informal Economy website.

Confirmed speakers include

10 June 2012

Manifesto for design upholding human talents and innovation

bigpotatoes

This morning I got an invite in the mail to attend a London design symposium at Brunel University next week (16 June) that will debate the core themes of a new design manifesto, strangely called “Big Potatoes”

Although I cannot attend the debates at such short notice, the manifesto itself and the themes of the debate are intriguing enough to merit this blog post.

The manifesto is written by six authors – Nico Macdonald, Alan Patrick, Martyn Perks, Mitchell Sava, James Woudhuysen and Norman Lewis. Unfortunately it is not so clear what the manifesto actually says – it will be officially presented at the London Symposium – but you get some background by looking at the fourteen principles who are explored in depth on the Big Potatoes website:

01: Think big
02: The post-war legacy
03: Principles not models
04: For useless research
05: Hard work
06: Expect failures
07: Chance and surprise
08: Take risks
09: Leadership
10: Whose responsibility?
11: Trust the people
12: Think/Act Global
13: We know no limits
14: For humanity

The debate on 16 June is quite provocative as well:

DEBATE#1: UPHOLDING HUMANISM – OR CENTERING ON USERS?
Design is intimately bound up with understanding people. Every designer extols the virtues of getting to know customers, users, people. However, can being too close to your subject stifle creativity? Today this question has added relevance and is at the heart of our manifesto. As at no other time, the collective and individual will of human beings is felt to be little rival to the capricious actions of Fate.

The human ability to take a conscious risk, in the pursuit of innovation, used to be the fundamental premise of design. But now designers join with other cynics in agreeing that people are for the most part driven by nature, neurology, ostentation and irrationality. That can only degrade the processes and the products of design.

The old discussion was about people as market segments with latent needs – people who were held to be in a ‘relationship’ with product or service providers. More and more, however, the rhetoric today consists of how design can work to minimise demand, redirect consumption, and even improve patterns of human behaviour.

Is it the role of design to understand and change people’s behaviour, or is design about producing ideas that allow people to make their own minds up on how they choose to use it? Likewise, should design strive to exceed expectations by going beyond people’s immediate needs, or must it be mindful of how people might use stuff, encouraging greater responsibility and awareness to ourselves and even the planet? And even where people do adapt existing things to better suit their needs – should we celebrate such amateurism, or instead prefer the expertise designers can bring, expertise that can raise people’s horizons further still?

DEBATE#2: DOES DESIGN DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH?
What is design’s contribution to economic growth? This question has for a long time been intimately bound up with discussions about design’s purpose — even more so since New Labour sought to trumpet the contribution made by the so-called ‘creative industries’ to UK plc. Because of the credit crunch, the precise effects that design has on wealth creation have become more pertinent than ever. Both the state and many design industry professionals feel that design needs to justify its contribution.

Economic growth is a key issue for our manifesto, not least because designers have been poor at theorising their relationship with innovation. In our view, design could do more to promote and implement scientific and technological advance. At the moment design often fails to grasp the opportunity presented by innovation – by being too focused on surface, incremental improvements. That can mean it ends up being marginalised as a result.

The problem with design and growth runs much deeper than rates of remuneration, royalties, intellectual property and all the rest. It is impossible to put a value on design without clarifying and improving the role designers play with regard to innovation. Can designers, by themselves, stimulate economic growth by creating new demand through the design of new products and services? Or are such products and services best realised when designers link up closely with scientific and technological innovation? Conversely, is design’s real role less about creating new growth per se, and more about persuading people to consume more through marketing and branding existing products and services?

So you get the gist: this event has a very strong political and pro-growth agenda, while some of the debate descriptions are laced with value judgments (“capricious actions of Fate”, “designers join with other cynics”, “degrade the process and products of design”, “amateurism”, etc.)

A little searching online confirms this first impression, but also adds complexity to it all:

Powerbase, the online wiki-style “guide to networks of power, lobbying, public relations and the communications activities of governments and other interests”, says that the manifesto is associated with the “libertarian anti-environmental LM network” (with LM standing for “Living Marxism”), which itself is an offspring of the RCP (the UK’s Revolutionary Communist Party, disbanded in 1996).

Steven Rose has been exploring the LM Network and writes briefly about it on Spinwatch, “an independent non-profit making UK organisation which monitors the role of public relations and spin in contemporary society”:

“Spinwatch has monitored the groups that have flowed from the RCP, groups we collectively term the ‘LM network’. Moving from an ultra-left position through to a libertarian pro-corporate line of argument, they have been, as Rose notes, strong defenders of what they call ‘scientific progress’, meaning that they have been strongly in favour of GM technology and other scientific advances favoured by transnational corporations. However, they have also taken a strong line against scientific progress in the area of risk. So they are opposed to the scientific consensus on climate change, on harms caused by tobacco and by the food and advertising industries.

The common denominator there is that this kind of scientific progress is against the interests of key corporate sectors. Spinwatch has also recently reported on how their traditional ‘anti-Imperialist’ position on colonial struggles has degenerated into a position that attacks those offering solidarity to the Palestinian people. Overall, what we see from the very earliest days of the RCT to the antics of the various tentacles of the LM network now, is consistent in the sense that it involves attacking the left and progressive movements. However, the increasingly close relationship between the LM network and corporate lobby groups and neoliberal and neoconservative think tanks, suggests that it might be more accurate to see them not as libertarian iconoclasts, but simply as another faction of the British conservative movement.”

I am not convinced that the above politicising of the design debate is the best way forward. It just makes our discipline another battleground of a wider culture clash, whereas I see design more as a problem solving tool. I also disagree with their deep faith in the power of economic growth, but leave it to brighter minds – like John Thackara and others – to develop this criticism.

UPDATE: John commented here and here.

15 May 2012

Short report on EPIC Europe, a conference on ethnography research in industry

cropped-epiceuropebanner2

Short report on the first European EPIC meeting by Anna Wojnarowska, UX researcher at Experientia:

Last Friday, 11th of May, around 100 members of the ethnographic research community in Europe gathered in Barcelona for the 1st European EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference) meeting, to discuss the conditions of ethnographic practice in Europe.

The meeting concentrated on the specifics of European cultures and traditions from the point of view of the research industry. It was developed as a younger sister of the annual EPIC conference, which this year will be held in Savannah, USA, in October.

The meeting included lectures and workshops organized into three panels. The first one, “Mapping Ethnographic Practice in Europe” gave an overview on how the UX industry is evolving in Europe, including the presentation of changes taking place in the Italian market, by Experientia’s partner in charge of user research, Michele Visciola. Emerging innovative ethnographic methods, such as “netnography” and self-ethnography, were indicated as important developing trends.

The second panel, “Evolving Industry-Academia Collaboration”, focused on what can be done to combine the expertise of academics and professionals so that the two parties can effectively support each other’s’ practices and supplement peer knowledge. All the panelists agreed that creating a cooperative platform between the two parties would significantly contribute to research outcomes.

The last panel, “The Corporate Perspective” gave an insight into how the work of an anthropologist can be effectively communicated and implemented in corporations. The discussion ended with a vivid debate on how anthropologists could profit from the increasing amount of data on humans, which is constantly collected through various technologies. How could it be useful during research? Can it positively influence the quality of our work?

3 May 2012

Experientia at EPIC Europe meeting

cropped-epiceuropebanner2

Experientia® partner in charge of user research, Michele Visciola, will be one of the speakers at the EPIC Europe one-day meeting at the Elisava Design School in Barcelona next week, on 11 May 2012.

The European meeting is the first of its kind for EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference), and is designed to provide a space for anyone involved in the use of ethnographic research in industry to meet, and explore ethnographic practice from a European perspective. About 100 members of the ethnographic research community in Europe are expected to attend the event.

Michele will be talking on the ethnographic research arena in Europe and especially Italy, and current trends in methodology.

Experientia’s senior partner for user experience design Jan-Christoph Zoels will also be attending, together with Laura Polazzi and Anna Wojnarowska, respectively Experientia’s senior UX researcher and UX researcher.

1 May 2012

A retrospective of talks given by ethnographers at Lift Conference since 2006

eh_s90_037211

Of all the conferences that are dedicated to discussions on technology and society, there’s one that has continued to consistently curate an amazing line of up speakers while maintaining an intimate environment for meaningful exchanges without any elitist barriers to participation – Lift, writes Tricia Wang.

After her talk at Lift 2012, Wang had a chance to chat with one of the people she has been “virtually brain-lusting” for years, Nicolas Nova, ethnographer, co-founder of Lift, and Lift program curator.

Nicolas found time to sit down with her to give a retrospective of past ethnographers who have given talks at Lift.

Read article