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Posts in category 'Creativity'

29 March 2007

Designing bosses get results [Financial Post, Canada]

ICOM
Last year, Lance Carlson, president of the Alberta College of Art and Design, set up the Institute for the Creative Process and, for the first time, forayed into research on how to apply the design process to things that aren’t about the look of something — things like the workplace.

“There are practical steps employers can take to use design thinking and plug it in to how they operate and develop their business models,” says Mr. Carlson, who spoke recently at a Calgary Economic Development forum about creativity and innovation in the workplace.

The British Design Council released a study in Britain that showed companies that embrace creative design thinking had a 200% greater profitability than firms that didn’t. “Traditional business thinking is about quantifiable, predictable gains. Predictable and quantifiable is reliable, but it’s not necessarily valid,” Mr. Carlson says. “It is design that makes a difference in the world. You don’t just work at a place because of how much money you’re making.” […]

Mr. Carlson talks about an ethnographic approach to workforce design whereby business leaders analyze their workforce carefully, get to know what makes them tick and develop an innovative business structure that emphasizes creativity and the opportunity to demonstrate innovation.”

Read full story

19 March 2007

MBA in Design and Innovation Management

Ferris College of Business
Europe was first in starting graduate programmes on design and management, first with the Zollverein School of Management and Design in Germany and later on with the 180º Academy in Denmark. Now also the USA is getting in on the act.

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University and Ferris’ College of Business have partnered to establish the first Master of Business Administration degree in the USA with a concentration in Design and Innovation Management.

The new MBA responds to the increased awareness of the importance of design and innovation in business. The program uniquely combines the resources of a college of business with a college of art and design.

By embracing design thinking and collaboration the Design and Innovation Management concentration focuses on training future business leaders with the mindset and skills to build and sustain innovative and creative organizations.

Read press release

(via Design Directory Monday Morning Must Read of Core77/Business Week)

18 March 2007

Business Week on the innovation workshops at the Royal College of Arts, London

Helen Hamlyn Centre
“It’s become quite common for companies to sponsor some kind of design-school course, setting the theme or challenge for a semester-long student project and then learning from the final presentations. Companies gain some novel ideas and a chance to spot upcoming talents they might want to hire, while schools are able to put “real world” problems in front of their students.”

“But the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London, the alma mater of such famous designers as Jonathan Ives of Apple and Thomas Heatherwick, offers a different approach, and puts [companies] in touch with Jeremy Myerson.”

“A former design journalist, Myerson now heads up the college’s innovation initiatives, working as the director of both InnovationRCA and the Helen Hamlyn Centre, an independently funded entity located in a mews building within the College’s hallowed South Kensington walls. With an emphasis on inclusive design, the centre’s research associate program pairs new graduates with a corporation, allowing the student to spend a full year focusing solely on a single project set by his matched corporation.”

Read full story

19 February 2007

Today is International Slow Day

Slow Day
Today is International Slow Day or Slowness Day.

I have no idea what the English version of the day is because, despite the eagerness of Italian newspapers (see here and here) to promote the initiative as “international”, no trace of “La Giornata Mondiale Della Lentezza” can be found outside of Italy.

This slow-down initiative, which has been organised by an association in Pavia, has only one scope: to “hold on a moment, slow down a bit, retake our time”.

And it has been surprisingly successful in Italy with a slow marathon in Rome, symbolic fines for the most frenetic Milanese, a slow bicycle race in Ferrara (the slowest wins!), donkey rides in Pisa, and poetry in the supermarkets of Cagliari.

Apparently something also happened in Heidelberg, Germany.

17 February 2007

Monocle interview with Lego CEO

Jørgen Vig Knudstorp
The newly launched Monocle magazine features a video interview with Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp on its home page.

In the interview, Knudstorp starts of by explaining how they became a user-centred toy company by involving their users to an extreme degree. He also states the core brand value as “the joy of building and the pride of creating things”, which is a description of an experience.

The interview, which was conducted by Monocle editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé and took place at the company’s innovation centre in Billund, Denmark, then goes in to an interesting discussion on the changing nature of play. Knudstorp describes some insights from an anthropological survey the company did recently, in particular about interactivity, community and what children expect from a brand.

Watch interview
(Note that the actual video file seems to be huge and the streaming is not exactly smooth. I couldn’t get beyond the first half: it simply stalled. Unfortunately a download is not possible.)

1 February 2007

In Turin, design becomes supreme [La Repubblica]

Torino World Design Capital 2008
Next year, Turin will be World Design Capital. Yesterday, the event was officially presented. Below is (my) translation of an article/interview, written by Marina Paglieri and published today in La Repubblica newspaper. If you want to find out more, you can download an English press kit (pdf, 64 kb, 5 pages).

In less than a year, Turin will be the first World Capital of Design. The countdown has started. Mayor Sergio Chiamparino said during a crowded presentation at the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo auditorium that the event will be a “precise and concrete metaphor for the future opportunities of the city.” An opportunity but also a challenge, because Torino will be the inaugural city of the event, that thereafter will be awarded every two years to cities around the world. Presenting it yesterday were Peter Zec, president of ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, the organisation which promoted the initiative and the nomination of Turin), Carlo Forcolini, president of ADI (the Italian Industrial Design Association), and the members of the Advisory Committee, who met yesterday for the first time to discuss goals and programme plans. They are the acclaimed designer Gillo Dorfles, the architect and critic Enrico Morteo, Guta Moura Guedes, founder of a Lisbon-based association that promotes design culture, and Michael Thomson, future president of BEDA (Bureau of European Design Associations). Also speaking was Giuliano Molineri, former right hand of Giorgetto Giugiaro, general manager (for nearly twenty years) of Giugiaro Design, and currently board member of ICSID and the “spiritual force” behind Turin’s year of design.

Giuliano Molineri, why is Turin World Capital of Design?
“One has to go back a bit. In 2003 our city presented its candidacy, as did 35 other cities, to host the ICSID headquarters. In the end Montreal was selected, but Turin made a big impression through its focus on design as a tool for transformation and socio-economic change. This lead to the idea of nominating the city as the first world capital of the sector: there will be other cities in the future, and they will not be selected from those that are already known design cities, such as Barcelona or Milan, but from those that are in the process of transformation.”

Precisely on that point, Gillo Dorfles said that Milan has always been seen as Italy’s design capital, even if it lost some points recently. Turin had the car, but was not able to diversify and promote other sectors. It will have to do that now, but how?
“It it true. Turin and the region of Piedmont are known worldwide for Giugiaro and Pininfarina, but less for other design excellence. This will be the opportunity to make them more known, with major international promotion. During the 2008 events, Turin will present itself as a project-oriented city, which is able to manage a productive process, thanks to its major industrial history. There is a breeding ground here, a humus, a district of companies and technologies that cannot be found anywhere else [in Italy]. There is the automotive sector, but also aeronautics, airplane design, the growing ITC sector with its focus on wireless, electronics, robotics and component design. And there is production also in many other sectors.”

Some examples?
“There are many to be sold. From home product design, with important companies such as Alessi, Girmi, Bialetti, Lagostina, to textile with Borsalino, Zegna, Piacenza, Loro Piana, Miroglio and Basicnet. From alimentary machinery to food and wine culture, with companies such as Martini, Lavazza and Ferrero. And let’s not forget boating, with the major presence of Azimut, second producer in the world of yachts longer than 28 metres. Or the cinema, from set design to the virtual. Today creativity is translated not just in products, but also in relationships and in communication. And design should be enlarged to a discourse on processes that produce design. I think of [the Turin neighbourhood of] the Quadrilatero Romano, where the original bars and restaurants lead to new connections and meetings, or of a chef like Davide Scabin of Combal.0, who had himself design the plates and the food containers. That and more will be on show next year.”

Will there be competition with Milan?
“No, there is a strong feeling of collaboration. Some people from Milan will be presenting events here. We will need to see how the two cities can best work together on this. Milan has extraordinary strengths in the design of furniture, lighting and fashion, and hosts an international reference point like the Triennale. But now Turin has also joined the design path.”

Is there already a programme of events?
“We will present it in April in Milan, during the Furniture Fair. I can tell you that the event will start around mid-December this year. There will be an exhibition, at a location to be determined, of the objects that have received a Compasso d’oro award, an international competition for young creative people, and a series of activities aimed at the broad population, with a particular focus on students. The events will revolve around some key milestones, such as the opening of the new Automobile Museum and the inauguration at the end of 2008 of the Design Center of Mirafiori.”

1 February 2007

Study on use of tagging released

Tagging
A December 2006 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project (a US-based foundation) has found that 28% of internet users have tagged or categorized content online such as photos, news stories or blog posts. On a typical day online, 7% of internet users say they tag or categorise online content.

These people said “yes” to the following question: “Please tell me if you ever use the internet to categorise or tag online content like a photo, news story, or a blog post.”

This is the first time Pew has asked about tagging, so it is not clear exactly how fast the trend is growing. To add to the complexity of the issue, there are probably people who have created a tag who would use a different term for the activity. For example, some sites invite users to apply “labels” to content and don’t use the word “tag.” Google’s tagging feature is actually called “bookmark,” though applies the principles of tagging. Other sites enable tagging so effortlessly that people might not be conscious they are doing it.

The report also includes an interview with David Weinberger, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and a prominent blogger, who describes how people are putting ideas, information and knowledge together now that the digital age has encouraged alternatives to organizing information from hierarchical systems like the Dewey Decimal method.

- Read more
Download report (pdf, 82 kb, 9 pages)
Related BBC article

(via SmartMobs)

30 January 2007

Nickelodeon begins a web site focusing on interactive play [The New York Times]

Nicktropolis
“Nickelodeon, the popular children’s cable network, is pushing hard into the online world with Nicktropolis.com, a new Web site that will let its young users enter their own world of Internet activities,” writes Geraldine Fabrikant in The New York Times.

“The web site, which is to be activated today, is aimed at children ages 6 to 14, and plays heavily to their appetite for games, the company said yesterday.

Nickelodeon was prompted to join the surging world of online activities for children in part by research that showed that 86 percent of 8- to 14-year-olds were playing games online, more than 51 percent were watching TV shows and videos online and 37 percent were sending instant messages, the company said.

In virtual worlds like Nicktropolis, visitors create alter egos — termed avatars — which then interact with other avatars and the web site environment, like people do in the physical world.”

Read full story

27 January 2007

World Economic Forum on Web 2.0 and emerging social network models

World Economic Forum on Web 2.0
Today the World Economic Forum hosted a session on Web 2.0 and emerging social network models. Others call it user-generated content or participatory media.

A video broadcast is available.

The one-hour session, hosted by Peter Schwartz, chairman of the Global Business Network, addressed two core questions:
1. What is driving the emergence of virtual communities? Is the rapid rise in their valuations justified?
2. How are companies beginning to use social networking strategies for product and market development, as well as for communication?

Participants were:

  • Caterina Fake, Founder, Flickr, USA
  • William H. Gates III, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation, USA
  • Chad Hurley, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, YouTube, USA
  • Mark G. Parker, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nike, USA
  • Viviane Reding, Commissioner, Information Society and Media, European Commission, Brussels

Dennis Kneale, managing editor of Forbes Magazine acted as the session challenger. He took his job seriously, pointing most of his fire at the one non-US panel member: EU commissioner Viviane Reding.

Reding held herself grandly and made according to me an interesting and thoughtful point about the protection of individual rights in this new world. Not present was Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. But you can read some of his ideas on a blog post by Bruce Nussbaum.

At the end of the session, Chad Hurley made headline news by announcing that his team is working on a revenue-sharing mechanism with YouTube users that will “foster creativity”. [See AP | BBC]

27 January 2007

Tadam: reinventing the puppet theatre experience

Tadam
Puppet theatre is a triple craft. It is about the crafting of the puppets and the set. It is about the skill of operating the string-suspended marionettes in a convincing and lifelike way. And it is about theatre, which means storytelling and continuous engaging interaction with the audience. It is, in short, about the making of magic.

A few months back I was a jury member of the EUROPRIX Top Talent Award, a contest for the best in European multimedia from young producers, and was delighted to see the puppet theatre reinvented in Tadam, an entry by students of Gobelins, a Paris school of visual communication.

The young team responsible for Tadam (a French onomatopoeia used to express an excited announcement) have deeply understood the fascination of this magic and the three essential aspects it implies, and created an interactive and computer-supported experience that brings delightful freshness to the old art.

The joy of crafting is present in just about everything the project contains: from the soldering of the theatre frame out of metal tubes, to the knitting of the red and gold theatre curtains, from the careful computer rendering of the puppet faces (based on the actual faces of the project members) to the hand-sown clothes of the digital marionettes, from the intricacies of computer coding to the hand-drawn storyboards, and from the electronics-in-a-wooden-box prototypes to the sweet toy instrument music.

The marionettes are digital and only exist on a projected screen. Yet, they are operated like any other marionette: a skilled puppeteer holds a wooden cross that manipulates their arm, leg and head movements, and brings thrilling life to the inanimate forms.

Finally, the direct interaction between the puppeteer and the digital marionette allows for a direct dynamic with the audience, which is essential to this type of storytelling.

As a bonus, the making-off video is a splendid presentation of the project, conveying very well the pleasure the young team felt while working on their challenge.

Technical description

Tadam is a multimedia puppet show which brings computer animations to life and stages the animation film in a traditional theatre. Users initially build up a plot scene by scene through the director module and can select different well-designed graphic environments and themes. The show can be pre-cut in several parts. Using software similar to moviemaker, static sequences (e.g. transition, fade or text) or sound effects can be added, edited and saved. The puppeteers are free to manipulate 3D marionettes in real time by interacting with a wooden cross lever which is equipped with movement sensors. The puppet’s mouth can even be animated by speaking through a microphone. Once the show is performed, it can be burned on DVD. Tadam is hand-crafted and fully customisable for beginners or professionals.

Tadam, which was rightfully selected as a Europrix Top Talent Award 2006 winner in the category “Digital Video & Animations”, has a project website in French only. The Medias section also contains a shorter presentation video (which is however not as good as the “making-of” one, due to poor music and voice choices).

23 January 2007

Innovation and the prosperity of nations [Core77]

Competitiveness Summit '06
“At the recent Competitiveness Summit, the connections between business and innovation were made starkly clear,” writes Nico Macdonald in a Core77 article.

In November 2005 the UK Treasury published the Cox Review of Creativity in Business, addressing “a question that is vital to the UK’s long-term economic success—namely, how to exploit the nation’s creative skills more fully” where the “emphasis is on the use made of creative skills by smaller businesses, with particular concern for manufacturing.”

This December the UK Design Council, of which report author Sir George Cox is Chairman, convened the Competitiveness Summit ’06 in London to brief people on progress with implementation of the report’s recommendations and ‘build momentum’ around it. Specifically the Summit was intended to showcase the role of creativity and design in UK competitiveness, discuss how they may be further embedded, and examine future trends; consider threats and opportunities from abroad; and examine the role of education and its relationship to industry.

The Competitiveness Summit was probably the most serious and eminent design event in the UK in the last five years, though the balance of the audience was from the design and consultancy industries, government policy and funding, and education, rather than the ‘client side’ of the equation.

Some conference participants:

  • Sir Terence Conran
  • Rt. Hon Alistair Darling MP, UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
  • Professor David Gann, Principal of Imperial College London’s Tanaka Business School
  • David Godber, Director of Nissan Design Europe
  • Graham Hitchen, Project Director of the Cox-proposed International Centre for Design and Innovation
  • David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council
  • Geoff Kirk, Rolls-Royce Chief Design Engineer for Civil Aerospace
  • Professor Stuart MacDonald, Head of the Aberdeen-based Gray’s School of Art
  • Bill Moggridge, co-founder of IDEO
  • Professor Jeremy Myerson, Director of Innovation RCA at the Royal College of Art
  • Bill Sermon, Vice President, Design at Nokia Multimedia
  • John Thackara, Director of Doors of Perception
  • Malcolm Wicks MP, UK Minister of State for Science and Innovation

Macdonald ends with serious critical reflections on the event that are worth a read and a thought.

Read full story [Mirrored in Business Week]

17 January 2007

2-year course on design for retail experience at India’s National Institute of Design

NID Design for Retail Experience
“With new malls and retail outlets mushrooming all across [India], thanks to the retail boom, it’s no wonder then that the National Institute of Design (NID) has come up with a unique course called Design for Retail Experience“, writes Kumar Anand in the Ahmedabad section of expressindia.com.

“While the four-semester course, beginning at the institute’s Bangalore campus, is yet to be framed the institute has already conducted an entrance test for the same.”

“The course focuses on retail environment and trends in design of retail spaces including props merchandising and visual merchandising, but a curriculum is yet to be framed. For this specialised course, the institute has consulted various industries and foreign universities. “We are constantly in touch with institutes abroad and are taking their help to understand the trends in retail experiences. With retail being the most common experience, design experience is first tested in retail. Therefore this course will be one of its kind,’’ said Darlie Koshy, director, NID. The institute is also working hard to create a faculty pool to teach close to 15 students in the first batch beginning mid-June.”

“The likes of Grottini Shopsystems, an Italian agency that works towards creating retail brand experiences and developing retail environment, have been approached for framing curriculum. “We are also in touch with the Ontario College of Art and Design, Canada and a few other concerned institutes,’’ Koshy informed.”

Read full story

(thanks, Bob Jacobson)

16 January 2007

Massive Change and the City

Massive Change
In conjunction with the Massive Change exhibit that recently ended in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the City of Chicago Department of the Environment organised a one-day symposium that brought together experts in urbanization, energy, evolution, information, wealth and politics.

The symposium explored the impact of urban life around the world, and laid out visions for a sustainable urban future. Sustainable cities will be built from a mix of the disciplines these changemakers are armed with.

David Zaks and Chad Monfreda of WorldChanging asked each of them the same question: What tool, model or idea do you see as being the key to bright green cities?

The experts included Bruce Mau, creative director of Bruce Mau Design, Inc. and a founder of the Institute without Boundaries; Jimmy Wales, founder and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation; John Todd, founder of John Todd Ecological Design and president of Ocean Arks International; Sadhu Johnston, Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Environment; Hazel Henderson, an evolutionary economist, futurist, syndicated columnist and consultant on sustainable development; Dayna Baumeister, a biologist in the field of biomimicry, an educator and design consultant; Gunter Pauli, a sustainability educator and entrepreneur who founded and directs Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives (ZERI); Mary Czerwinski, an expert in interruption science and human-computer interaction, who leads the Visualization and Interaction (VIBE) Research Group at Microsoft; and Gregg Easterbrook, a contributing editor of the Atlantic Monthly and the New Republic and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute.

I recommend you to read all answers but in the context of this blog, the reply by Microsoft’s Mary Czerwinski is quite relevant, yet also a bit puzzling. In her answer, Czerwinski only scratches the surface, doesn’t go as deep as the other experts, and does not refer to Bill Gates’ huge commitment to sustainable change.

“There is a group at Microsoft that is trying to work on this problem, going into cities like Bogota, Colombia and seeing what kind of technological solutions can be used there. What Microsoft has done on the product side has been to do a ton of ethnography where they go down and live with families in developing countries and really try to learn how they use technology and where the holes and gaps are in the technology. Then they come back to the product team. They share these stories with them. In fact, they blog them as they go, which is really nice. Then they try to develop solutions based on the user problems that they actually identified. There have been some product solutions that have been released. Really cheap computers running really simple versions of Windows have already been released and have been very successful. We have prototypes now in India where illiterate women living in shanties can hook up with employers as maids, so the user interface is completely text free. The tool behind all of this is the ethnography, and figuring out what people really need.”

Read full post

12 January 2007

Nokia research on street charging services in Uganda

Nokia research on street charging services in Uganda
Uganda is a country coping with a severe energy crisis resulting in frequent power cuts. In addition, access to mains electricity in rural locations is limited. Given that mobile phones require power, and access to power can be unpredictable – how do people keep their mobile phones and other electrical devices charged? How does people’s behaviour change when there is intermittent or limited access to power? How can we better support users with limited and intermittent access to power?

Jan Chipchase and Indri Tulusan of Nokia Research set out to explore this topic during a July 2006 field study in Uganda as part of a more in-depth study into shared phone use.

There are two forms of mobile phone battery charging services in Kampala – either offered as an additional service by phone kiosk operators or as a stand alone service. It costs 500 Ugandan Shillings (0.2 Euro) to have a battery recharged similar to the price of 2 or 3 phone calls. Whist both services appear to thrive there are a number of barriers to use: customers cannot use their phone whilst the battery is being charged; the customer risks, or perceives the risk that their battery being swapped for an inferior one; a perceived risk of phone theft – signs that suggest service providers are not responsible for loss or theft are evident.

For many Ugandan rural communities with no access to mains power car batteries are the primary means of providing electricity to the home. Businesses such as bars also run off car batteries but they are more likely to have their own power generator. A used car battery costs 30 to 40 dollars and can keep a household powered for a month, though in a bar the same battery might last a week. The homes we visited ran electrical items included radios, CD players, television and domestic lighting.

It can take 3 to 5+ days to have a car battery recharged at the process involves delivering the car-battery to a charging service often tens of kilometers away the nearest town that has mains electricity access. The battery is taken and returned by a trusted and friendly taxi driver or trader. It takes 3 days to charge a battery, longer if the town where the service is based itself experiences power cuts. The cost of charging a battery is around 1,000 Ugandan shillings (0.4 Euro), not including delivery. (As a comparison a mobile phone battery costs half as much to be recharged using one of the mobile phone street charging services mentioned above).

Two short presentations co-authored by Jan Chipchase and Indri Tulusan are available for download from research.nokia.com:
Power Up: Street Charging Service in KampalaPowerPoint or PDF (3 mb)

- Rural Charging Service, UgandaPowerPoint or PDF (2 mb)

11 January 2007

UK think tank Demos on education for a digital generation

Education for a Digital Generation
The report “Their Space: Education for a digital generation” draws on qualitative research with children and polling of parents to counter the myths obscuring the true value of digital media. Approaching technology from the perspective of children, it tells positive stories about how they use online space to build relationships and create original content. It argues that the skills children are developing through these activities, such as creativity, communication and collaboration, are those that will enable them to succeed in a globally networked, knowledge-driven economy.

In a report launched today (Thursday) the influential think tank Demos calls on schools to get past fears about children’s internet use and harness its learning potential.

The report Their Space: Education for a digital generation draws on research showing that a generation of children have made online activity a part of everyday life, with parents and schools still far behind.

The report argues that children are developing a sophisticated understanding of new technologies outside of formal schooling, gaining creative and entrepreneurial skills demanded by the global knowledge economy.

Schools are failing to develop these skills, with many attempting to limit children’s online activity to ICT ‘ghettos’ while banning the use of social networking sites like MySpace and YouTube.

The research, based on nine months of interviews, focus groups and recording children’s online activity, found that:

  • A majority of children use new media tools to make their lives easier and strengthen existing friendship networks
  • Almost all children are involved in creative production – e.g. uploading/editing photos and building websites
  • A smaller group of ‘digital pioneers’ are engaged in more groundbreaking activities
  • Children are well aware of potential risks, with many able to self regulate – contrary to popular assumptions about safety
  • Many children have their own ‘hierarchy of digital activity’ and are much more conscious of the relative values of online activity than their parents and teachers

The report goes on to make a number of proposals on how formal education in the UK can adapt to the growing dominance of online culture in children’s lives, including the recommendation that children should be given the opportunity to build up a ‘creative portfolio’ alongside traditional forms of assessment, access to which would be determined by the children themselves

- Read press release
Download report (pdf, 302 kb, 81 pages)
‘In class, I have to power down’ [The Guardian]

14 December 2006

Design 21, a social design network, in partnership with UNESCO

Design21
Design 21: Social Design Network is an online community, created in partnership with UNESCO, where members of the design community, socially conscious individuals, local governments, businesses and non-profit organizations (NPOs) can address social concerns and create smart solutions through design.

It’s a place where like-minded people can connect to share resources, inspire each other and take action.

Design21 seeks to explore the relationship between design and society. They believe that design should be more than an aesthetic exercise; that the real beauty lies in its potential to improve the way that we live and interact in our communities and our environment.

(via David Report)

2 December 2006

LEGO Serious Play: a tool to enhance innovation and business performance

LEGO Serious Play
Playful learning is going to be a very important people-centred design theme in the near future, and LEGO seems to have understood:

“LEGO Serious Play is an innovative, experiential process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. Based on research that shows that this kind of hands-on, minds-on learning produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities, LEGO Serious Play is an efficient, practical and effective process that works for everyone within an organization.”

“LEGO Serious Play uses LEGO bricks and elements and a unique method where people are empowered to “think through their fingers” – unleashing insight, inspiration and imagination.”

Visit the LEGO Serious Play website

30 November 2006

Philips enters Second Life to co-create with end users

Philips in Second Life
Philips Design is entering Second Life, the imaginary, on-line community, “to gain feedback on innovation concepts, engage residents in co-creation and obtain a deeper understanding of potential opportunities in this virtual environment”.

From the press release:

“Philips Design will have a space on Second Life where virtual concepts can be tested and residents can participate in co-design projects. In this way, Second Life users can have a greater say in the kind of colors, ergonomics, functionality and other features of products they may wish to buy in this virtual world. This will allow Philips Design to find new ways of relating to end users. Having such direct feedback can significantly enrich the design process and lead to innovative and surprising end results. This fits with the Philips Design philosophy that design should be based around people and grounded in research. It also corresponds to Philips Design’s firm belief that the future of design lies in the co-creation of products.”

Philips Design has just signed a collaboration agreement with Rivers Run Read, the leading virtual world design agency in Europe, to establish a Philips Design presence within Second Life conceived as “a collaborative working space for the real and virtual worlds”.

Read full press release

25 November 2006

U.S. cities compete in hipness to attract the young [The New York Times]

Young adults
“By 2012, the work force will be losing more than two workers for every one it gains.”

“Cities have long competed over job growth, struggling to revive their downtowns and improve their image. But the latest population trends have forced them to fight for college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds, a demographic group increasingly viewed as the key to an economic future.”

“Mobile but not flighty, fresh but technologically savvy, ‘the young and restless’, as demographers call them, are at their most desirable age, particularly because their chances of relocating drop precipitously when they turn 35. Cities that do not attract them now will be hurting in a decade.”

“The problem for cities, says Richard Florida, a public policy professor at George Mason University who has written about what he calls ‘the creative class’, is that those cities that already have a significant share of the young and restless are in the best position to attract more.”

Read full story

17 November 2006

Interview with IDEO chief creative officer Jane Fulton Suri

i-mag
Steve Hardy has published an interview with IDEO chief creative officer Jane Fulton Suri on his popular Creative Generalist blog.

Jane Fulton Suri is chief creative officer at IDEO, with special emphasis on the contribution of human insight, creative practice and design thinking to client companies. She came to design from human factors psychology to pioneer the integration of social science-based approaches with design, grow a flexible community of practitioners, and evolve human-centred design methods, including empathic observation and experience prototyping, across the company’s client projects worldwide. In addition, Jane published a book last year about intuitive design titled Thoughtless Acts?

The interview starts off right away with a future vision for an empathic economy:

“In an empathic economy the provider/supplier of goods and services would be keen to reach an empathic understanding not just of consumers, but also of many other people within the business network upon whom business success depends: the farmer who grows/gathers the raw material, the processor who creates the basic technology, the distributor who ships it around, the sales-person, the trash collector (think “life-cycle” and interdependent human network).”

“By calling it the “empathic economy” I’m emphasizing that part of the inspiration and motivation for innovation that comes from creativity sparked by emotional, human, empathic resonance with other people’s conditions, not only the more traditional functional analyses of interdependencies that might be more common. As our networks and supporting technology become more sophisticated the interdependence between many different kinds of individuals across the globe becomes more apparent, more accessible and more visible. It seems natural that companies will/can soon have a much broader view of sources and opportunities for innovation in their business than simply around the offer that they make to a consumer.”

Read full interview

(via the Idea Festival blog)