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Posts in category 'Europe'

4 November 2013

Experientia presents “BancoSmart”, the innovative ATM interface designed for UniCredit Bank

 

The user-centred approach is moving into finance, as banks increasingly connect to their customers’ needs and wants. As part of this trend, global banking and financial services company UniCredit Bank collaborated with user experience consultancy Experientia to create a user-friendly, people-centred ATM – the BancoSmart.

A customer trials the new BancoSmart interface, with personalised home page.
Click on image to view slideshow

The user-centred approach is moving into finance, as banks increasingly connect to their customers’ needs and wants. As part of this trend, global banking and financial services company UniCredit Bank collaborated with user experience consultancy Experientia to create a user-friendly, people-centred ATM – the BancoSmart.

Experientia has reinvented the ATM interface for UniCredit – making it easier to use, faster, and with more services, all offered through full touchscreen interaction. The new ATM is already in use in selected locations, and will finish its roll out across Italy in 2014.

The first reactions to the BancoSmart interface have been extremely positive, with people commenting on the increased speed, legibility, appealing graphics, and the improvement in features and functions. The highly intuitive ATM interaction allows clients to easily navigate, locate and use functions, from simple features like cash withdrawals to more complicated functions like deposits, information retrieval, bill payments and mobile phone top-ups. The interface is visually attractive and easy to read, with large fonts and clear banking function categories.

Experientia carried out in-depth user experience research as a foundation for the information architecture and service design of the ATM.  Multiple cycles of design, prototyping and user acceptance testing ensured that the final interface is strongly based on people’s banking behaviours and exceeds their expectations and needs for ATM use.

Experientia’s design is a responsive solution that runs on various ATMs including legacy terminals of different providers with various screen sizes and tech specifications. Usability and technical tests were performed across this device range.

BancoSmart offers a full touchscreen interaction, thanks to the extended network of touchscreen ATMs available in Italy (over 6,000 UniCredit touch ATMs, equal to 85% of machines).

The ATM offers several original features, conceived especially for UniCredit Bank, based on the research findings. These include:

  • Speedy withdrawal, with 3 predefined options on the Home Page based on the most frequent behaviours of the user, which the system learns over time. This cuts the time for common task completion by 30%.
  • Georeferenced payment service, which organises bill payment options and filters them based on what is available in the user’s location.
  • Adaptive interface, with a home page that offers personalised content based on the user’s banking profile.
  • Tone of voice, with the creation of a coherent language in all situations, which is more friendly and direct, and provides the correct support during operations.
  • Contextual support and feedback Contextual messages and continuous feedback keep people informed during interaction, particularly in case of data entry errors or other problems, using a clear language and coherent visual support.

UniCredit SpA is an Italian global banking and financial services company. It has approximately 40 million customers and operates in 22 countries.

Experientia® is a global experience design consultancy that practices user research-based and people-centred design. They help companies and organisations conceive and innovate products, services and processes, through a qualitative understanding of people, their mental models and their behaviours.

Experientia won the 2011 Italian National Prize for Innovation in Services, for a low carbon service platform to be implemented in an eco-friendly residential area under construction in Helsinki, “using innovative methodologies devised in Italy.” They have conducted research and design projects in every continent, for industries ranging from mobile telecommunications to sustainability, from automotive to architecture, and much more. Their portfolio includes a range of financial products, aimed at bank and customer use, developed for some of the biggest banks in Italy and Europe.

Experientia’s client roster features Italian and international clients, such as Alcatel Lucent, ASUS, Banca Fideuram, Banca Carige, Condé Nast, CVS Pharmacy, Expedia, Fidelity International, Haier, Intel, Max Mara, Microsoft, Motorola, Mozilla Corporation, Nokia, Samsung Electronics, SAP, Sky,  Trenitalia, Toncelli, UniCredit Bank, United Nations and Vodafone.

 

Contact

Mark Vanderbeeken, Experientia srl, +39 011 812 9687,
[mark dot vanderbeeken at experientia dot com]

4 November 2013

Experientia rivoluziona la user experience degli ATM con “BancoSmart”, l’innovativa interfaccia degli ATM UniCredit

 

Le banche stanno cercando sempre più di entrare in sintonia con le esigenze ed i desideri dei propri clienti, innovando i propri prodotti e servizi secondo una approccio centrato sull’utente. Per dare concretezza a questo principio, UniCredit ha deciso di collaborare con Experientia con l’obiettivo di rinnovare a fondo la user experience del proprio canale ATM.

Un cliente prova la nuova interfaccia di BancoSmart e la home page personalizzata.
Click on image to view slideshow

Le banche stanno cercando sempre più di entrare in sintonia con le esigenze ed i desideri dei propri clienti, innovando i propri prodotti e servizi secondo una approccio centrato sull’utente. Per dare concretezza a questo principio, UniCredit ha deciso di collaborare con Experientia con l’obiettivo di rinnovare a fondo la user experience del proprio canale ATM.

Experientia ha di fatto reinventato l’interfaccia degli ATM UniCredit, rendendola più facile da utilizzare, più veloce e più ricca di servizi, il tutto attraverso un’interazione full touch.

Il nuovo ATM (denominato “BancoSmart”) è già attivo in agenzie selezionate e terminerà il roll out sul territorio italiano nel 2014.

Le prime reazioni al lancio della nuova interfaccia sono state molto positive, in modo particolar riferite alla maggiore velocità, alla grafica più moderna e di facile lettura, al fatto di far emergere con più chiarezza la ricchezza dei servizi offerti. L’interazione intuitiva del nuovo ATM consente ai clienti di navigare, individuare e utilizzare agevolmente tutte le funzioni, da quelle più semplici come il prelievo di contanti a quelle più complesse come il versamento di assegni.

Experientia, prima di procedere con la progettazione, ha condotto una ricerca dettagliata sulla user experience, i cui risultati sono stati alla base dell’architettura dell’informazione e del service design di BancoSmart. Molteplici cicli di design, prototipazione e test con utenti, hanno permesso all’interfaccia di rispondere ai bisogni espressi dalle persone.

BancoSmart funziona su sportelli di fornitori diversi, con schermi di varie dimensioni e specifiche tecniche dissimili fra loro. I test tecnici e i test di usabilità sono stati condotti sull’intera gamma di dispositivi in modo da mantenere inalterata la user experience.

BancoSmart offre un’interazione full touchscreen grazie alla più estesa rete di ATM touch presente in Italia (oltre 6.000 ATM touch UniCredit pari all’85% dell’intero parco posseduto) e presenta funzionalità, alcune del tutto inedite, concepite appositamente per UniCredit e ispirate ai finding emersi dalla ricerca. Tra le principali novità citiamo:

  • Prelievo veloce, con 3 importi immediatamente disponibili sin dalla home page e definiti sulla base dei comportamenti d’uso del cliente, riducendo del 30% il tempo impiegato per il prelievo.
  • Servizi di pagamento georeferenziati, con le opzioni di pagamento organizzate e filtrate per aree geografiche.
  • Interfaccia adattiva, con una home page che offre contenuti personalizzati, adattandosi al profilo dell’utente.
  • Tone of voice unico, con la creazione di un linguaggio coerente in tutte le situazioni, più amichevole, diretto e in grado di fornire il corretto supporto durante le operazioni.
  • Supporto e feedback contestuali fornendo all’utente un aiuto costante durante l’interazione, con messaggi e feedback contestuali, anche in caso di errori o problemi, utilizzando un linguaggio chiaro ed elementi grafici a supporto.

UniCredit S.p.A. è tra i primi gruppi di credito europei e mondiali. Conta oltre 40 milioni di clienti e opera in 22 paesi.

Experientia® è una società internazionale di experience design, il cui obiettivo è supportare società ed organizzazioni a concepire e innovare i propri prodotti, servizi e processi, grazie a una comprensione qualitativa delle persone, dei loro modelli cognitivi e dei loro comportamenti.

Experientia ha vinto il Premio Nazionale per l’Innovazione nei servizi, nel 2011, per un progetto di change behaviour destinato a ridurre le emissioni di carbonio da parte della comunità di residenti di un nuovo complesso residenziale eco sostenibile in costruzione nella città di Helsinki,”utilizzando metodologie innovative concepite in Italia”. Experientia ha condotto ricerca e progetti di design in ogni continente, per settori che spaziano dalle telecomunicazioni mobili alla sostenibilità, dall’automotive all’architettura dall’healthcare all’entertainment e molti altri.

In ambito Finance & Banking Experientia vanta numerose collaborazioni su tutti i principali temi di innovazione, con progetti di ricerca e design sviluppati per alcune fra le maggiori banche italiane ed europee.

La lista di clienti di Experientia annovera aziende e multinazionali italiane e straniere quali:

Alcatel Lucent, ASUS, Banca Fideuram, Banca Carige, Condé Nast, CVS Pharmacy, Expedia, Fidelity International, Haier, Intel, Max Mara, Microsoft, Motorola, Mozilla Corporation, le Nazioni Unite, Nokia, Samsung Electronics, SAP, Sky,  Trenitalia, Toncelli, UniCredit Bank e Vodafone.

 

Contatto

Michele Giannasi, Experientia srl, T. 347 801 2446, [michele dot giannasi at experientia dot com]

19 October 2013

The design of Copenhagen as a bicycle friendly city

 

In a ten part video series, Copenhagenize Design Co explores the top 10 design elements that make Copenhagen a bicycle-friendly city.

The embedded video highlights the big picture. The overall design of the bicycle infrastructure network as a key element in encouraging Citizen Cyclists to choose the bicycle as transport and that keeps them safe.

The other videos:

  1. The Green Wave
    The Green Wave is coordinated traffic lights for cyclists. Ride 20 km/h and you won’t put a foot down on your journey into the city centre in the morning and home again in the afternoon.
    On Nørrebrogade, the first street to feature the Green Wave, the number of cyclists increased by 15%. Traffic flow in the intense morning bicycle rush hour was improved, providing Citizen Cyclists with a smoother, more efficient journey.
    Now, several major arteries leading to the city centre in Copenhagen feature the Green Wave for cyclists.
     
  2. Intermodality
    Combining the bicycle on all forms of transport is vital.
     
  3. Safety details
    It’s in the details when you wish to keep cyclists safe and cycling convenient.
     
  4. Nørrebrogade
    Exploration of one of the greatest urban planning experiments in recent Copenhagen history. The retrofitting of the street Nørrebrogade, complete with Green Wave for cyclists, wide cycle tracks and restricted access for cars.
     
  5. Macro design
     
  6. Micro design
    The design details on the urban landscape – many by the people, for the people – are the beautiful polish on a bicycle-friendly city.
     
  7. Cargo bikes
     
  8. Desire lines
     
  9. Political will
21 September 2013

Financial Times on EPIC conference

epic_ft

This week, business anthropologists from all over the world descended on the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference at London’s Royal Institution, the historic site where Michael Faraday first demonstrated the power of electricity, reports Emma Jacobs in the Financial Times.

Over three days, practitioners discussed applications of anthropology in the business world, covering such issues as big data and clinical trials. Addressed by such luminaries in the field as Genevieve Bell, who has worked at Intel for the past 15 years, the event is an opportunity to meet kindred spirits.

In the US, anthropologists have been hired for more than two decades by technology groups including Intel, Apple and Xerox. Microsoft is said to be the second-largest employer of anthropologists in the world, behind the US government. Technology groups descended on anthropology in order to understand the diverse markets they operated in.

16 September 2013

Experientia and Intel present at EPIC 2013 in London

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 16.21.07

EPIC 2013, the conference on “ethnographic praxis in industry”, kicked off in London today, with experts from around the world gathering for the three-day conference exploring ethnographic investigations and principles in the study of human behavior as they are applied in business settings.

This (Monday) afternoon, Experientia will give a joint presentation with Intel, titled Mobility is More than a Device: Understanding complexity in health care with ethnography. The presentation describes a recent research project on how doctors use mobile devices in the healthcare industry, and the impact that new technologies are having on workflows and patient care.

The project was conducted by Experientia for Intel last year, with research in hospitals in China, Germany, the USA and the UK. The conference presentation focuses on how ethnography can be a vital tool in understanding complex environments such as health care facilities, and outlines key methodological insights from the project.

Experientia UX researchers Anna Wojnarowska and Gina Taha co-authored the EPIC paper with Intel’s Todd Harple and Nancy Vuckovic. The paper will be published in full in the EPIC conference proceedings. Today, Nancy and Anna will present a concise overview of the key findings, in the Faraday Theatre at London’s Royal Institution of Great Britain venue.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken will moderate the conference’s Town Hall Debate on the recent challenges in ethnography. Short statements by Natalie Hanson (ZSAssociates), Sam Ladner (Microsoft), Tricia Wang, Leisa Reichelt (GDS) and Stefana Broadbent (UCL) will introduce the public debate, that is set up to strongly involve the participants.

6 September 2013

Selected videos from “The Conference” in Sweden

Renaissance-300x300

Media Evolution The Conference is an international conference organized annually in Malmö, Sweden. The event focuses on factors that are affecting our society, with a media industry angle to it, exploring who sets the agenda, what changes the playing field and how we all can shape society from now on.

The main themes are “Human Behavior”, “New Technology” and “Make it Happen” with sessions that look into topics such as big data, learning, non visual communication, online harassment, responsive web design, boredom, change making and tactility in a digital world.

Here are some selected videos from the August 2013 edition. There are 56 in all online (just from 2013), so I invite you to explore them as well.

Suzannah Lipscomb – Opening keynote [41:19]
Suzannah Lipscomb is Senior Lecturer and Convenor for History at New College of the Humanities. She also holds a post as Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. Suzannah opened The Conference by looking back and talked about what we can and can not learn from the past.

James Bridle – Naked Lunch [43:07]
The world is shaped by new technologies, but perhaps it is shaped more by how we understand those technologies, how they impact our daily lives, and the mental models we have of them. James Bridle, who coined the term “New Aesthetic”, talks about architectural visualisation, online literatures, contemporary warfare and contemporary labour, in an attempt to articulate new ways of thinking about the world.

An Xiao Mina – The Internetz and Civics [12:54]
An Xiao Mina is an American artist, designer, writer and technologist. She explores the disruptive power of networked, creative communities in civic life. Dubbing memes the “street art of the internet”, she looks at the growing role of meme culture and humor in addressing social and political issues in countries like China, Uganda and the United States.

Golden Krishna – The Best Interface Is No Interface [16:25]
Golden Krishna, Senior Designer at Samsung, speaks about how “The best interface is no interface”.
Many people believe that the future of design is on screens. But what if we can design communication that doesn’t involve screens.

Mike Dewar – Seeing From Above [18:25]
Mike Dewar, Data Scientist at The New York Times R&D Lab, will talk about how we can build tools to let us see behavioral phenomena from a heady new perspective with big data and data science. In an increasingly complex and networked world, tools for recording, filtering and visualising data is powering a new breed of storytelling.

Petra Sundström – Digitals [13:52]
Petra Sundström is a leading researcher within the fields of Human Computer Interaction and Interaction Systems Design. She is Lab Manager for the Crafted Technology and Experiences lab at SICS and Mobile Life.
We all know how paper feels and that we interpret things by touching them But how does digital features feel, and how can we better understand “digital materials” to design augmented digital experiences.

Tricia Wang – The Elastic Self [17:23]
Tricia Wang is a global tech ethnographer who researches how technology makes us human. She advises organizations, corporations, and students on utilizing Digital Age ethnographic research methods to improve strategy, policy, services, and products.

6 June 2013

Experientia presentation at EPIC London

epic2013

EPIC, the premier international gathering on the current and future practice of ethnography in the business world, just announced the program of its upcoming conference in London (15-18 September) and Experientia is proud to announce that it will be presenting a paper on Monday 16 September.

The paper is entitled “The changing face of healthcare. Using ethnographic methods in dynamic, complex environments” and will be presented by Experientia researchers Anna Wojnarowska and Gina Taha. Together they will discuss an international ethnographic research project that explored the role and impact of mobile devices, particularly tablet computers within healthcare environments in China, England, Germany and the USA.

“The healthcare industry is undergoing significant transition through new technology, rapidly evolving patient and medical practitioner expectations and new challenges and opportunities related to privacy and security. Within this context, the holistic understandings delivered by ethnographic insights are vital for any project seeking to understand the complex intermingled systems of business, service, practice, and technology, and to develop solutions for environments such as hospitals and healthcare centres. This paper will discuss an international ethnographic research project that explored the role and impact of mobile devices, particularly tablet computers within healthcare environments in China, England, Germany and the USA. In addition to the outcomes regarding tablet use, the project also identified important considerations for using ethnographic methods in healthcare environments, and highlighted why a thorough understanding of the organisational and cultural contexts of use and behaviours is particularly vital when designing for this industry. Moreover, strong collaboration between internal company divisions and, more broadly, between the client and the user experience research consultancy enabled a multidisciplinary approach towards the research and the analysis and provided actionable results, understandable by the broad audience of stakeholders and internal employees involved in the implementation process.”

Keynote speakers at EPIC 2013 are Genevieve Bell (anthropologist and Intel Fellow), David Howers (anthropologist, Concordia University, Montreal), Daniel Miller (Professor of Material Culture at the Department of Anthropology, University College London) and Tricia Wang (global tech ethnographer).

2 May 2013

Design for Public Good, a new report for the European Commission

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 13.09.54

The UK Design Council and three other members of the SEE Platform (Sharing Experience Europe) – the Danish Design Centre, Design Wales and Aalto University, Finland – on Tuesday published a new report, Design for Public Good, encouraging the European Union and its member states to adopt design-led innovation to create the next generation of public services and policy that can meet the pressing demands of the future.

The report follows the publication in March of the Design Commission report, Restarting Britain 2, which calls for design thinking to be used to improve UK public services. Design for Public Good now brings this message to the EU, but also extends it to look at the potentially huge gains design methodology can bring to policymaking as well as services.

The report describes the key benefits of design thinking for government as follows:

  • Design-led innovation is a joined-up process, with no inefficient handover from analysis to solution to implementation
  • Rather than jumping straight to expensive and risky pilots, design process tests iteratively, starting with low-cost, simple models (prototypes) and designing out risk with each new version
  • Rather than disjointedly patching together incremental solutions as problems arise, design thinking looks at the entire system to redefine the problem from the ground up
  • Design thinking starts by understanding user needs in order to ensure solutions are appropriate, waste is avoided and end users buy into them
  • While the factors that cause silo structures in government may be stubborn, design methods offer uniquely effective ways of understanding which teams and departments are relevant to a problem and engaging them in collaborations.

Press release

23 April 2013

Report: Survey of European schools on ICT in education

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 11.47.12

This study collected and benchmarked information from 31 European countries (EU27, HR, ICE, NO and TR) on the access, use, competence and attitudes of students and teachers regarding ICT in schools.

ICT provision and use in European schools is improving but several obstacles remain. First, teachers still believe that insufficient ICT equipment is the biggest obstacle to ICT use in many countries. Second, whilst teachers are using ICT for preparing classes, ICT use in the classroom for learning is infrequent. Teacher training in ICT is rarely compulsory and most teachers devote spare time to private study. Third, students and teachers have the highest use of ICT and ICT learning-based activities when schools combine policies on ICT integration in teaching and learning. However, most schools don’t have such an overarching policy. Therefore it is not surprising that teachers generally believe that there is a need for radical change to take place for ICT to be fully exploited in teaching and learning.

The study was carried out for the European Commission by European Schoolnet and the University of Liège in Belgium. The report was published on 18 April 2013.

- Press release
- Project site

29 March 2013

Debate in Milan: The Long View of Interaction Design

ixd14

The people behind the upcoming Interaction14 conference invite you to attend a panel discussion in Milan on the “Long View of Interaction Design”.

On Monday 8 April at 6pm (on the eve of the Salone del Mobile), Claudio Moderini, Fabio Sergio, Jan-Christoph Zoels and Todd S. Harple will debate with Alok Nandi on how to design for those interaction design challenges that go beyond the immediate consumer product/service launch cycle.

What if your interaction design has to be integrated in a hospital or a building or a city? How do you design if your creation has to last 10, 20 or even more years into the future? What tools can you use as an interaction designer? How do you make it adaptive and resilient? How to avoid obsolescence?

Speakers

Attendance: free and open to the public

Location: Domus Academy, via Carlo Darwin 20, Milan (Navigli area)

Live streaming: Yes! The event will be available in streaming live (and recorded for viewing afterwards). Join us on Monday at 6pm Italy time by clicking here.

Hashtag: #ixda

Sponsor in kind: Domus Academy (thank you!)

Disclosure: I am the behind the scenes organizer of it all.

25 March 2013

Human-centred systems innovation

hcsi

How do we help or support people that live in situations that do not fit into a system’s categories, e.g. by transforming perceptions of what a system can be? This question is constantly reoccurring in the development of our public service systems, writes Jesper Christiansen, anthropologist at MindLab, a Danish cross-ministerial innovation unit, on the NESTA site.

“A very obvious example where this matter is persistent is the area of social care for vulnerable families. This area is increasingly becoming a nightmare scenario for Western nation states across the world. These are often at-risk families, which access many different services and are involved in several case plans at the same time. The challenge is to coordinate and integrate services that are addressing such different issues like child behaviour and education, domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, unemployment or work injury, financial crisis, unstable housing, physical or mental illness or other more or less common hardships of everyday life.

Working with Australian design agency ThinkPlace, MindLab took part in a project that set out to address these issues and transform the service system dealing with vulnerable families in the ACT region of Australia. The purpose was to develop new capabilities and processes to co-design and co-produce services with current service users as part of introducing a new human-centred, systemic approach to improve outcomes for vulnerable families.”

Other recent readings by MindLab:

Co-production (pdf)
How do we ensure collaboration with all the actors who can potentially make a contribution to the challenges we face? Can juvenile first time offenders be sentenced by youths with a criminal record? To see the citizens’ resources and design welfare with them rather than to them – that is what we call co-production. Read cases and useful principles on the subject in this pamphlet. [Video]

Design-Led Innovation in Government
Christian Bason’s reflections on design-led innovation in the public sector and the three challenges it raises.
(Published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review)

20 February 2013

Experientia partner joins Interaction14 organizing team

interaction14

Interaction, the annual interaction design conference organized by IxDA (the global Interaction Design Association), will head to Amsterdam in in February 2014.

Conference chair Alok Nandi asked Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken to be the Interaction14 Lead of Marketing and Communications (Marcomm Lead). Mark (and Experientia) are extremely honored by this request.

Interaction14 will be the second IxDA conference to be held in Europe, following from the successful staging of Interaction12 in Dublin.

IxDA currently has 78,754 members, and about 1000 of them attended Interaction13, which took place a few weeks ago in Toronto.

The Amsterdam conference will offer four days of presentations and workshops from 5-8 February 2014.

Although very much at the beginning of his (volunteer) mandate, Mark – who is not a designer himself – is pushing for the event to aim beyond its confines and reach out to the city and the local design fabric, which seems to be very dynamic, to the global UX and IxDA community (irrespective of whether they can make it to Amsterdam or not), but also to many others who wouldn’t necessarily call themselves designers, but can still be intruiged by the issues many interaction designers face. An event during the Milan Furniture Fair is also in the works.

The planning committee is currently in a very open phase and good ideas are highly welcome. Interaction14 is also looking for sponsors (so pass the word).

9 February 2013

UK Report: Notions of identity will be transformed in the next decade

changingidentities

Hyper-connectivity – where people are constantly connected to social networks and streams of information – will have a transforming effect on how we see ourselves and others in the next decade, according to a new report published by the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir John Beddington.

The Foresight study Changing Identities in the UK – the Next Ten Years looks at a range of areas affected by identity including social inclusion and mobility, education and skills, crime and mental health. It shows that traditional ideas of identity will become less meaningful as boundaries between people’s public and private identities disappear, with wide ramifications for policy-makers.

Reading the (long) executive summary, it all seems rather optimistic to me, as the grinding impact of a slow-growth economy in the UK as well as the increasing “under-the-rader” control systems of corporations and governments through the unleashing of algorithms on big data sets, don’t seem to be valued enough in this report.

Key findings (summary)
Rather than having a single identity, people have several overlapping identities, which shift in emphasis in different life stages and environments. These are changing in three important ways:

  • Hyper-connectivity: Sixty per cent of internet users in the UK are now members of a social network site, increasing from only 17% in 2007. The UK is now a virtual environment as well as a real place, and increasingly UK citizens are globally networked individuals. Events which occur elsewhere in the world can have a real and immediate impact in the UK. People have become accustomed to switching seamlessly between the internet and the physical world, and use social media to conduct their lives in a way which dissolves the divide between online and offline identities. The internet has not produced a new kind of identity. Rather, it has been instrumental in raising awareness that identities are more multiple, culturally contingent and contextual than had previously been understood.
     
  • Increasing social plurality: As the large UK post-war cohort reach old-age, the number of over-75 year olds will increase by over a million, from 5.1 million in 2012 to 6.6 million in 2022, a rise of more than 20%. The Report identifies a shift in attitudes, with the emergence of new transitional life stages being defined by attitudes and roles, rather than age. Traditional life stages, for example between adolescence and adulthood, or middle-age and old-age, are being delayed or blurred together.
     
  • Blurring of public and private identities: People are now more willing to place personal information into public domains, such as on the internet, and attitudes towards privacy are changing, especially among younger people. These changes are blurring the boundaries between social and work identities. The widespread use of mobile technology could, in time, allow social media to be linked with spatial tracking and even facial recognition technologies. This would allow people to draw on personal information about a stranger in a public place, changing the nature of what it means to be anonymous in public spaces.

The Report goes on to question what identity means today. It finds that:

  • Identities are controlled both by individuals and by others: People can choose to present certain aspects of their identities, or to disclose particular personal information. Identities can also be imposed by others. Even if a person does not create their own online accounts, their families and friends may discuss them or post photographs online.
     
  • People have many overlapping identities: Understanding which of a person’s identities are most relevant in a given situation depends on the context. Identities are, therefore, culturally contingent and highly contextual, but can also be strongly linked to behaviours.
     
  • People express their identities in different ways: One of the most significant observations of the impact of online identities is the way that some people can feel that they have achieved their ‘true’ identity for first time online. For example, some people may socialise more successfully and express themselves more freely online.
     
  • Identities have value: People’s identities have personal, psychological, social, and commercial value. The growth in the collection and use of personal data can have benefits for individuals, organisations and government, by offering greater insights through data analysis, and the development of more targeted and more effective services. Identities can unify people and can be regarded as a valuable resource for promoting positive social interaction. However, this growth in the amount of available data also has the potential for criminal exploitation or misuse. Trust is fundamental to achieving positive relationships between people and commercial organisations, and between citizens and the state, but surveys show that people are less willing to trust in authority than in the past.

Finally, the Report provides some recommendations for policy makers, particularly in six key areas:

  • Crime prevention and criminal justice: The growing quantity of personal and financial data online, as facial recognition technology, ‘big data’ and social media together begin to connect information about individuals, means that there will be more opportunities for criminal exploitation and cybercrime. However, there are also opportunities for enhanced crime prevention, intelligence gathering, and crime detection. The foundation of English law is a liberal society where social identity is, as far as possible, a personally defined and freely chosen individual possession, and so the legal system will need to continue to ensure that people’s online and offline identities are protected.
     
  • Health, environment and wellbeing: The implications of changing identities for the built environment, transport, infrastructure, and mitigating the effects of climate change will need to be considered by policy makers. The development and application of biomedical technologies, such as drugs to improve memory and cognition, and developments in reproductive technologies, could have the potential to transform the way that people relate to themselves, each other, and their environment. However, there are complex ethical and practical implications for government in regulating and responding to these technologies.
     
  • Skills, employment and education: A critical issue for the future will be to ensure that individuals have the knowledge, understanding, and technological literacy to enable them to take control of their own online identities, and to be aware of their online presence and how it could be used by others.
     
  • Radicalisation and extremism: The trends towards greater social plurality, declining trust in authority, and increasing take-up of new technologies may all pose challenges for policy makers seeking to manage radicalisation and extremism.
     
  • Social mobility: Perceptions of unfairness in access to opportunities, rather than actual inequality, may in turn reinforce certain kinds of social identities and increase the potential for collective action. However, as access to the internet and hyper-connectivity increase, information and education may become more freely available and shared, enhancing life opportunities for many individuals.
     
  • Social integration: Greater social plurality, demographic trends, and the gradual reduction in importance of some traditional aspects of identity, suggest that communities in the UK are likely to become less cohesive over the next 10 years. However, hyper-connectivity can also create or strengthen new group identities. Policy makers will need to consider indirect as well as direct implications of policy for communities and people’s sense of belonging. There are opportunities for policy to support social integration and acknowledge new forms of community as they develop.

(via @urukwavu)

29 January 2013

New MA at UC London combining anthropology, materials and design

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“The material world is a world of social potential. Social scientists should be better equipped to engage with materials and objects through ethnographic, critical, analytical, presentational and collaborative skills. Designers, artists, engineers, architects and curators should be better equipped to work with people using similar skills.

The MA in Culture, Materials and Design is for people who are interested in developing their people-skills, and ways of thinking about culture and society, to work alongside, and with, designers, engineers, heritage professionals, environmentalists, materials scientists, and others with a pragmatic interest in materials and design.

The course is about anthropological analytical skills and ethnographic methods, with some presentational and studio group-work skills. We mainly apply these skills to exploring the cultural and social implications of materials and design. We do social science in ways which have an affinity with design and related fields.”

16 January 2013

Helsinki Design Lab closing in June 2013

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Marco Steinberg, who directs the strategic design efforts of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, announced last week that Sitra’s Helsinki Design Lab will close in June 2013.

Helsinki Design Lab is an initiative by Sitra to advance strategic design as a way to re-examine, re-think, and re-design the systems we’ve inherited from the past.

According to Steinberg, “design at Sitra is shifting from a strategic to a service role. The current members of the design team (Bryan Boyer, Justin Cook, and myself*) are committed to strategic design and will therefore pursue this interest beyond Sitra. In the spring Sitra will hire for a new role to grow service design within the organization.”

[* The fourth member of the team, Dan Hill, left earlier, and is now the CEO of Fabrica in Treviso, Italy.]

During the next five months Brian, Justin and Marco will be converting the site into an archive of the most recent phase of HDL. The archive will be legible, free, and open, they write, so that the “work and experience of Helsinki Design Lab be useful not just for the next phase of design at Sitra, but for the community as well.”

The team is now compiling the case study research from Helsinki Design Lab 2012 into a forthcoming publication on stewardship, with a tentative publication date of May 2013. This completes the existing publication “Recipes for Systemic Change,” which you can download for free.

We can also expect a public event in Helsinki on June 10th, 2013.

Over the last years, Experientia has worked intensively – and to our great satisfaction – with Sitra and with the team of the Helsinki Design Lab in particular, through our involvement on the Low2No project. We wish Sitra and the HDL team the very best in the coming months and afterwards, and we are sure that we will find many ways to collaborate in the future.

(For more reflection on the closing, check also this post by Bryan Boyer).

14 December 2012

McKinsey’s iConsumer Global Research Initiative

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Recent reports from McKinsey’s iConsumer Global Research Initiative:

Moving from “mobile first” to “touch first”
December 2012 (published on the EconomistGroup site)
Already, more than a third of the time people spend web browsing, using social networking sites, and using e-mail/messaging software is on mobile devices. In a couple of years, we expect it to be more than half. This is creating a ‘touch first’ computing paradigm, which means overhauling how information is delivered to and accessed by the consumer.

The rise of the African consumer
October 2012
The single-largest business opportunity in Africa will be its rising consumer market. A McKinsey report, one of the first of its kind, offers a detailed profile of African consumers, including their demographics, behavior, and needs.

The complex path to purchase taken by Europe’s iConsumers
June 2012
What are Europe’s iConsumers thinking? To find out, McKinsey & Company studied the digitally-based purchasing behavior of 40,000 Europeans in eight countries for the second year in a row. This study sheds light on future threats and opportunities by comparing European consumers and examining the resulting business implications.

The next stage: Six ways the digital consumer is changing
April 2012
The Internet, not yet 20 years on from its emergence into the consumer mainstream, is evolving as fast as ever.

29 November 2012

Nestor’s World, a Belgian social design tool

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The full service design agency Pars Pro Toto in Ghent, Belgium built the “Wereld van Nestor” [Nestor's World], a social design tool meant to help local governments in Flanders create a better world for their elderly citizens.

The tool is built on 10 personas and their experience with eight different topics. These eight topics – housing, mobility, public spaces and the built environment, social participation, respect and social engagement, active participation and employment, communication and information, public and health services – are areas where local government can make a real difference for their elderly citizens. They are based on the WHO report Global age-friendly cities.

Local governments can now construe their senior citizen plans based on the relevance and impact of their planned services on one or more of these personas.

The project came about through a collaboration with the Social Welfare Agency of the City of Ghent, and with the support of Design Flanders. The research that it was based on is not very clearly described, but the site mentions interviews and workshops.

For now the tool only exists in Dutch (and the socio-cultural context is also distinctively Flemish), but if you have any special questions, please contact Johan Bonner (info@parsprototo.be) on +32 (0)9/244.62.20.

15 November 2012

Service design publications from Finland and Estonia

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As part of ServiceD, a three-year service design project, which researched future educational needs and piloted service design education, Lahti University of Applied Sciences from Finland and The Estonian Institute for Futures Studies from Tallinn University have published two remarkable service design publications:

Service Design: On the Evolution of Design Expertise (pdf) is a 196-page book that describes the developments and changes in Estonian and Finnish design competences since the 1960s and analyses how service design has emerged as a field of its own. The book also discusses how design has taken a turn towards the immaterial and provides insights to design education; how should education be developed amidst changing needs and environments.

Service design magazine (pdf, 84 pages) highlights fresh, global phenomena related to the outcomes of service design, city planning, drama and interaction studies, and futures research.

11 November 2012

Finally a serious research study on tablet use in schools

 

Although there are many tablet deployments in schools worldwide, there is a glaring lack of serious research on what actually happens in the classrooms with these devices. In fact, there is so far no aggregated evidence that tablet technology significantly aids learning. Obviously, official endorsement for the widespread use of tablets in schools cannot really happen without substantiated, independent evidence to convincingly prove the case for tablet technology.

Carphone Warehouse (corporate site), a UK mobile phone retailer, recently commissioned the Family Kids and Youth research agency to conduct a qualitative study of schools situated in Belfast, Kent and Essex where children are already benefiting from tablet use. The aim of the research, which ran from April to July 2012, was to find out more about how tablets are actually being used in education.

Family Kids and Youth carried out focus groups and ethnography at one of the schools (Honywood Community Science School, Coggeshall, Essex), interviewing pupils, staff and teachers, and observing the way in which different subjects and age groups used tablets in learning. Research was also undertaken with teachers, pupils and parents in one control school and two primary schools. In addition, an online quantitative research study was carried out between 22 June – 2 July with a UK nationally representative sample of 1,120 parents of children aged 3-16, 933 children aged 7-16, and 202 teachers.

The research findings (pdf) are generally rather positive (assuming that Family Kids and Youth has done its research properly, given the obvious interest of Carphone Warehouse in tablet sales): tablets enhance learning, improve communication, engage and motivate pupils, and stimulate proactive querying, initiative taking and creativity. Interestingly, the study points out that particularly less engaged pupils, those who had previously struggled with their homework, and pupils with special educational needs appear to be benefiting most from tablet use in schools (read the short report for more details).

Often cited fears – about distraction, misuse such as gaming and texting, time spent, theft, loss of writing skills, challenges in terms of classroom management – were clearly not confirmed by reality.

Yet, it is worthwhile underlining what Carphone Warehouse considered to be three primary issues regarding the use of tablet technology in schools (as summarised in the introduction of a follow-up project that is running during the school year 2012-2013):
1. A lack of specialised training for teachers around the use of tablet technology
2. Concerns for students when faced with sitting traditional paper-based examinations
3. The growing mass of unregulated content in the app world and the lack of appropriate interactive content
(“Teachers have the impression that educational publishers are merely publishing text books in the form of an app without fully appreciating the possibilities that tablets can offer.”)

If you read French, you may also be interested in the dossier “Tablette tactile et enseignement (école, collège, lycée)” – on the website of the French Ministry of Education. The (very long) web page provides an overview of what is currently going on in France, contains many links, but does unfortunately not include a deeper analysis (unless you delve deeper into the linked reports, such as this one from Paris and this one from Fribourg, Switzerland).

19 October 2012

Lugano conference on digital experiences in smart cities

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

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

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

Jan-Christoph will discuss supporting sustainable lifestyles.