“The EU is the test case for the effects of the Internet on government. No other multi-national region of the world has gone so far to dismantle national broders. Within the EU there are no passport checks, no customs checks at internal broders, and no barriers to work – any citizen of any of the 12 EU countries can work in any other EU country without needing a visa. Things that Americans take for granted, like being able to move 3000 miles for a job, are available to the citizens of the EU for the first time. In other words, the EU has most of the trappings of a country except the citizens, and the citizens are being produced at places like easyEverything. The people sending their email there are Europe’s first post-national generation, its first Internet generation, the first group of people who can move from one country to another if they hear that life is better elsewhere. The willingness of this generation to ignore national identity is going to confound their elders, the people who have grown up convinced that sentiments like ‘The Germans are efficient and humorless, while the Italians are undisciplined and fun-loving’ have an almost genetic component. Nationality matters less than economics – the Internet generation is going to behave more like customers than citizens.”
Posts in category 'Identity'
It is part of their strategy to publicise their forthcoming Trend Day, which has the theme: “Identity Management – Recognition replaces attention”.
So I am pleased to see some debate on the issue. NESTA, the UK’s National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, has just published a “provocation” written by Charles Leadbeater (author of We-Think) on why immigration is vital to innovation.
Entitled “The Difference Dividend“, the essay starts of with an outline of the three critical connections between immigration, innovation and creativity, argues (rightfully) that the debate about immigration is conducted in a thick fog of prejudice, anecdote and rumour, and describes in detail the critical contributions immigration makes to our capacity to innovate.
Leadbeater warns that diversity is not enough for innovation to take place (“The costs of diversity need to be well managed to make sure the benefits come through.”), highlights how people need to trust one another to share ideas and build upon one another’s contributions for innovation to emerge, and ends with four main implications for policymakers keen to maximise the impact of immigration on innovation.
But I had never written about in those terms. Mea culpa. I was reminded of this gap only when I read the Guinness Storehouse case study on the Design Council website.
“Eataly is an irresistible realization of every food-lover’s gluttonous fantasy, paired with guilt-cleansing social conscience—a new combination of grand food hall, farm stand, continuing- education university, and throbbing urban market. Much like Boqueria, in Barcelona, and Vucciria, in Palermo, two of the few thriving center-city markets left in Europe, Eataly draws all classes and ages at all times of day. The emphasis on local and artisanal producers, education, affordable prices, a lightened environmental footprint, and sheer fun makes Eataly a persuasive model for the supermarket of the future—one that is sure to be widely copied around the world. The question is whether Eataly will bite the hands of the people feeding it, the people it says it wants to help: Slow Food, which is the arbiter and moral center of today’s food culture, and the artisans themselves. “
Monocle carries an excellent video report:
“Housed in a former vermouth factory, Eataly offers the finest artisanal produce from Italian suppliers, all selected with the assistance of Slow Food Italia and accompanied by lovingly compiled details of its provenance and production.”
And also The New York Times featured it, using the opportunity to announce that a smaller version (one tenth the size of the Torino market) will open this spring in a two-level, 10,000-square-foot space in the new Centria building at 18 West 48th Street in New York:
“In January, in what had been a defunct vermouth factory in Turin, [Oscar Farinetti] opened a 30,000-square-foot megastore called Eataly that combines elements of a bustling European open market, a Whole-Foods-style supermarket, a high-end food court and a New Age learning center. [...]“
“Artisanal products from some 900 Italian producers fill the store’s shelves, and 12 suppliers (some of which Mr. Farinetti invested in or bought outright) were enlisted as partners. Many of the food items are accompanied by explanatory placards and nearly half of the three-level store is dedicated to educational activities: a computer center, a library, a vermouth museum and rooms for cooking classes and tasting seminars. [...]“
“According to management, more than 1.5 million people visited the store in its first six months and sales have exceeded projections.”
In short, for the real experience of fresh products from the Piedmont countryside you need to come to Torino.
“People create their own identities interacting with products and services. The notion of a consumer experience is a more passive way of thinking. It’s so 20th century. Identity gets the buzz in ’08.”
Defining The New Singularity
Exploring the next level of convergence: between hardware and software, information and object, human and technology.
“As the writer Bruce Sterling puts it, borrowing a bit from Baudrillard and applying it to design, we are now approaching an age of technological advancement when ‘there is more stored in the map than there is in the territory’. Put more simply, the story surrounding a given ‘thing’, a product or service we buy and use, is rapidly exceeding the value of the thing itself. The identity of a product can no longer be easily defined through its form factor, but rather by the information that encases it, passes through it, and is accumulated by it over the course of its lifetime.”
Change Agency and Transformologies
Understanding the power of design to facilitate positive change in the end-user.
“Can personal development be better shaped by the technologies we, as designers, create? What if products and environments were designed to acknowledge individual aspirations and facilitate the realization of users’ potential? Could our products not only change users’ behavior, but actually foster within them the qualities that they seek?”
Key principles for the creation and curation of your child’s online identity.
“The purpose of this article is to provide you, the parent, with some basic principles for navigating the wonderful world of social networking and Web 2.0 with your children – all while keeping them safe, socialized, and engaged. They are not rules, or guidelines, or a philosophy of parenting. They are just basic principles that remind you, and your kids, to think before you press that Enter key.”
Is Your Hard Drive Worth More Than Your Life?
The influence of technology on the collective experience of today’s families.
“Before the presence of cameras and the like, humans passed on knowledge through storytelling, intertwining personal experience with a sense of place and time. They created visual landscapes through words, art, and the objects around them. This storytelling codified a shared sense of experience, bringing the audience into a collective understanding of their culture and environment. As the stories were passed on, every teller became a part of the tale – rendering history subjective, reality shared. In our frenzy to safeguard our memories in the online world, we have removed the intimacy of storytelling. We have made the web, not each other, the major source of shared experiences, knowledge, and opinions (often not even our own).”
HBR: Melding Design and Strategy
In the September 2007 issue of Harvard Business Review, frog Strategy Director Ravi Chhatpar published the following article, outlining the benefits of an iterative design process, in which design and business strategy impact one another directly.
“From concept through development, designers should function in parallel with corporate decision makers, creating prototypes for a number of variations on a product and then testing them with users and, if appropriate, partners. Tracking how customers’ ways of using a product evolve over time also makes it possible for designers to identify desirable new features and, in some cases, create new functionality in conjunction with users.”
Last night he presented the Italian translation of his book “Shaping Things” in a public lecture and discussion.
He also showed the audience a highly entertaining video of what he images the world of “spimes” to be like.
Discussants were Andrea Bairati (Regione Piemonte Councillor), Luca De Biase (Chief editor Nòva 24 /Il Sole 24Ore) and Claudio Germak (Politecnico di Torino – Word Design Capital Torino 2008) . The conference was moderated by Simona Lodi and Chiara Garibaldi (Share Festival).
Though many topics were addressed, I think the most relevant one is a challenge — for us, for this region and for Bruce too: if Bruce is right in his thinking about spimes and the entire change of thinking and doing it will entail, then what could be a typical Italian positioning in this new social, economic and cultural paradigm?
I hope that in the next six months, the people here in Torino, with the input and ideas of Bruce, can start outlining some initial answers to that question.
To be continued.
I may want to add that the article focuses very strongly on a highly personal use of Facebook, and doesn’t touch upon the professional social networking system is now increasingly facilitating. I also have a Facebook profile, which I use for professional reasons only, but I have to admit that I am still not entirely convinced of its value.
“Started in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, a student at Harvard, Facebook is now the 13th most used search engine in the world, with two million members in the UK and 150,000 new people signing up every day. Eclipsing Friends Reunited in popularity and media buzz, barely a day goes by without a story in the press about the site (see panel facing page), from privacy concerns over its plans to make profiles accessible through search engines such as Google, to reports that more than 70 per cent of British businesses have moved to restrict or ban Facebook, including British Gas and Lloyds TSB.
Considered more popular with slightly older and more middle-class users than other networking sites, such as MySpace and Bebo, it has recently made the transition from niche concept to something with mass appeal. So why are people deciding to put a virtual noose around their online necks?”
In the article The Times provides a number of answers:
It’s easy to be misinterpreted: There are a limited set of cues available on sites like this. You don’t get the subtleties of voice tone, facial expressions or body language you usually have when interacting with others and that can make interpreting the meaning of messages difficult. You can write something flippantly, which others take seriously, or come across as aggressive when that’s not your intention at all.
Online profiles are not very significant: Building a Facebook profile is one way that individuals can identify themselves, making them feel important and accepted. But this can lead to disappointment once people realise how insignificant their online existence really is. Not only are online friends not necessarily real friends, they can turn out to be people you don’t wish to know at all.
“I’d rather spend time with people in person”: Generally people have just a handful of really close friends. If you feel the need to get in touch with someone from the past, you have to ask yourself why you do. It could be indicative of a problem or unhappiness in your current self and, therefore, a desire to reconnect with a younger one. But once people realise this is not a solution, they’ll leave and try to solve them another way.
Getting a real life: Other users say they’ve ended their lives in the virtual world for far more prosaic reasons – so that they can resume life in the real one.
When things get personal, you’re vulnerable: The fact that you can’t see or hear other people makes it easier to reveal yourself in a way you might not be comfortable with.
The article ends with a beginner’s guide to using Facebook.
“In my opinion, the answer to this question is two-fold. First of all, people share basic emotional reactions and basic human needs. This makes us all part of the same species, so to speak. However, different culturally specific contexts can make a person from Asia evaluate the same stimulus differently from a European person. But, does this count for all products and designs?”
In this well-referenced article, he tries to explain how he think differences in emotional experience between cultures occur. He looks in particular at the importance of context, and the impact context has on people’s needs, on meaning, and on information processing
He concludes with the statement that “in spite of the globalising market, it is almost impossible to talk about a ‘global experience’. This only occurs when context is shared, which is an ongoing process on the Internet, but not as much in the ‘real’ world yet. Therefore, it still makes sense for designers to study cultural differences.”
Marco van Hout (The Netherlands) is a founding partner of Monito Design & Internet, a company that specializes in innovative solutions for Internet applications; an active member of the Design & Emotion Society where he supports the board as a Public Relations Officer; and editor of the internationally renowned website “design & emotion” where he publishes interviews with leading design professionals from some of the most respected brands and writes about the emotional impact of design, brands and services.
Founded by 3 leading Internet associations, including the Internet Society, FING is a collective and open research and development project which focuses on tomorrow’s Internet’s uses, applications and services.
FING views the future Internet as not only more reliable, mobile, fast, user-friendly – but as a different Internet: the disappearing Internet, in which broadband, mobile, pervasive, intelligent technologies make it possible to focus on the user’s needs, lifestyles and desires. We believe this technological change will unleash a new innovation cycle in applications and services. We also believe that the Internet’s decentralised design should and can scale to the next generation and is innovation’s and competition’s best chance for the future.
FING intends to help corporations, public agencies, education and research organizations be at the forefront of this new cycle. Through collective and networked intelligence, creativity and experimentation, Fing seeks to improve the efficiency of the innovation process, as well as reduce risks for all involved parties.
- publishes Internet Actu, a weblog and media which is read by 70,000 professionals;
- supports several workgroups and communities;
- organises visits to research labs and innovative companies throughout the world;
- publishes papers, books and reports;
- moderates or takes part in foresight exercises such as Ci’Num, the Digital Civilizations Forum;
- organises international conferences and industry events such as Mobile Monday France, or the “Crossroads of Possibilities” which showcases very early-stage innovative projects.
FING is networked with other, similar initiatives throughout Europe and the world. FING’s CEO, Daniel Kaplan, is a member of the European Commission’s eEurope Advisory Group.
FING currently has more than 165 members, including: BNP Paribas, EDF, Ericsson, Eutelsat, France Telecom/Orange, Galeries Lafayette, HP, INRIA, Microsoft, the Ministries of Education and Research, Toshiba, etc.
Some browsing around led me to interesting initiatives such as:
- Villes 2.0 (Cities 2.0), which is aimed at helping traditional urban stakeholders (companies, institutions, social entities) and “digital actors” foresee urban and mobile transformations and work together on them. There are four focus areas: the augmented city (related to ubiquitous computing); my own city (which is about personalisation and user-centredness); service innovation (and co-creation); and social sustainability.
- Active Identities, which is focused on identifying and stimulating the necessary actions to make the active management of digital identities into a resource, a tool that allows users to control their lives and realise their projects, a factor of confidence, and a source of innovation and value creation.
- Innovative Interfaces, a new project which ponders the question how the fact that our direct and indirect interactions with machines and digital services, which keeps on getting better, simpler and easier, can help remove certain barriers for people with “difficulties” (e.g. non-users).
- Active and autonomous living until 90
Also of interest are a series of videos including this presentation by Fing CEO Daniel Kaplan at LIFT07, as well as a huge amount of rather unorganised project videos from the Crossroads of Possibilities project.
The findings come in a report called The Secret Life of Cars and What They Reveal About Us – an “anthropological study into human behaviour and motoring”, which was commissioned to help BMW understand drivers’ current and future needs.
The report explores issues such as the way sign language (image) has evolved so drivers can communicate with each other – but notes that no satisfactory signal for “sorry” has emerged. It also finds that, with the rise of eating and drinking in cars, inadequate cupholders is one of the biggest sources of driver discontent.
Among other issues explored in the report – which involved research, focus groups, driver interviews and in-car observations over a four-month period – are attitudes to vehicle emissions and climate change, talking and even singing in cars and the relationships people have with their vehicles.
The report explores the rituals of getting into and out of cars (men take an average of 8 seconds to get out, women 10 and families up to 10 minutes) and identifies new trends among car owners such as personalisation, regional colour preferences and “green-upmanship” – “a tendency to worry about whether their car looks ‘un-green’.
It suggests that families are now likely to spend more time together in the car than anywhere else and that car journeys have replaced the “semi-mythical family mealtime” as the main point of communal experience.
The report, called BCN_LDN 2020, explores how London and Barcelona can reflect on their past decades of urban policy-making and the challenges ahead.
Over the last fifteen years London and Barcelona have epitomised the story of the ‘resurgent city’. They now face a set of challenges without easy answers – such as on public behaviour and public space, on migration and identity, on governance and collective imagination. The collection BCN_LDN 2020 brings together a range of provocative essays exploring current policy discourses and alternative stories.
The collaboration between Demos and Fundació Ramon Trias started with a Work Party in the Summer of 2006, which explored how London and Barcelona can reflect on their past decades of urban policy-making and the challenges ahead.
The publication, which acknowledges the achievements of recent policy-making, but provides a critical reflection on the success stories that we hear from both cities, includes essays by Antoni Vives (Fundació Ramon Trias Fargas), Dr Fran Tonkiss (London School of Economics), Indy Johar (Zero Zero Architects), Anwar Akhtar (Cultural Industries Development Agency), Chris Murray (Core Cities Group), and Lise Autogena (independent artist / NESTA fellow).
Download publication (pdf, 1.7 mb, 102 pages)
They include the Geodesign and Flexibility exhibitions, respectively curated by Stefano Boeri (Italy) and Guta Moura Guedes (Portugal) in the Spring; an international Summer School and a conceptual Olivetti exhibition in the summer; and an week full of events organised by International Houses of Design as well as an exhibition on creativity in car design in the autumn.
The Icograda Design Week will also take place in Turin – after Havana, Seattle and Istanbul – with several exhibitions, conferences and workshops. The year will start off with a spectacular New Year’s Eve event.
The study, which was done in conjunction with the London School of Economics (LSE) and Lord Philip Gould, also includes the results of a unique ethnographic experiment depriving 24 people of their phones for a week to better understand how they shape our behaviour.
- One in three people would not give up their mobile phone for a million pounds or more, with women leading the way on those most likely to refuse.
- 76% of people believe it is now a social requirement to have a mobile phone.
- 85% of people think having a mobile phone is vital to maintaining their quality of life.
- One in five 16-24 year olds think having a mobile phone decreases their quality of life.
- Most young adults who took part in the ethnographic experiment felt mobile phones were not just a tool, but a critical social lifeline for feeling part of a friendship group.
- Most of 16-24 year olds would rather give up alcohol, chocolate, sex, tea or coffee than live without their mobile phone for a month.
Design fairs make big promises to participants and visitors alike: creative rejuvenation, intelligent debate, matchmaking for employees and partners, convenience for major buyers, a boon to design education, and for tourists, fun. Design fairs represent a new wave in how designers promote themselves. In the past three years, Europe has gone from the twin hegemony of London’s 100% Design and Milan’s Saloni Internazionale del Mobile—both furniture fairs—to a calendar thick with inclusive design events, many in the EU’s emerging member states. As governments, sponsors, universities, and designers pour funds into these events, it’s worth asking: Do they really work? What are they even aiming for?
Sign up and gain access to a range of services including valuation, recovery after theft and insurance. Retailers are also signing up to MyThings so each new purchase is automatically added to your MyThings portfolio.
MyThings has a community feel, even though possessions constitute the main trigger point of social interaction. Members are able to swap stories, compare shared interests and offer tips – “did you know your 1966 Chateau Lafite should be drunk before autumn?”, and the inclusion of an email-style message system encourages direct person-to-person conversation.
Items can be tagged in the conventional web manner, creating a tag cloud for browsing. Before long, however, the expectation is that items will be tagged before they’re bought. The increasing use of barcodes and RFID will become a primary means of entering new purchases into a portfolio. These ‘physical hyperlinks’ enable objects to become aware of one another, with, for example, scanners able to authenticate valuable items through their tag. Physical tagging would allow a member to read the specification of an item (perhaps even download details to a mobile phone), even if they couldn’t touch the item itself. If it later appeared on eBay, it would be easy to authenticate.
“Each portfolio is a powerful expression of a person’s status and personality,” says Benny Arbel, CEO of MyThings. “Our usability challenge is simplifying the product ownership lifecycle for our members by connecting them with each other, and with services that they value. We see it as social networking with a purpose.”
As a social network, MyThings provides an online community for materialists. Add physical tags and you have an early example of a connection between the intangibility of online communities and the increasingly tangible ‘internet of things’. By itself, MyThings is straightforward. But viewed as a pivotal point between online communities, emerging technologies and tag-based access to information, it might well prove to be something more.
Let’s hope everyone is smart enough to do this anonymously, in order not to provide shopping lists to your local burglars.
Of course, this is delightful news. I have featured Carlo and Régine and their work several times on this blog and I know them both quite well. Each of them has a connection with Torino: Carlo who is originally from the city divides his life between Torino and Boston. Régine has lived in Torino for many years, and moved only recently to Berlin.
The article, with gorgeous photos, is really a double self-portrait featured in a section called “New lifestyles”. They each write about how they live their rather unique lives: Régine as a full-time blogger, and Carlo with a professional architecture studio in Torino and a research group and lecturing activities at MIT in Boston.
Download scan of article (pdf, 1.1 mb, 6 pages)
“Our lives are becoming increasingly digitised—from the ways we communicate, to our entertainment media, to our e-commerce transactions, to our online research. As storage becomes cheaper and data pipes become faster, we are doing more and more online—and in the process, saving a record of our digital lives, whether we like it or not.
As a human society, we’re quite possibly looking at the largest surge of recorded information that has ever taken place, and at this point, we have only the most rudimentary tools for managing all this information—in part because we cannot predict what standards will be in place in 10, 50, or 100 years. [...]
As designers of user experiences for digital products and services, we can make people’s digital lives more meaningful and less confusing. It is our responsibility to envision not only techniques for sorting, ordering and navigating these digital information spaces, but also to devise methods of helping people feel comfortable with such interactions. To better understand and ultimately solve this information management problem, we should take a holistic view of the digital person. While our data might be scattered, people need to feel whole.”
“A while back, I posted an item on “identity” as a new paradigm that could replace “experience” in our business culture. Academia, especially linguistics, has been talking about the shift from experience to identity for some time. The idea is that the concept of “experience” is passive. Currently we say you experience something, as in having a great consumer experience or a great hospital experience or a great gambling experience.
But life really isn’t like that. People are not passive–they make their own lives. People interract with their environments to create their distinct identities. Let me repeat that–people interract with their environments to create their own identities. This amounts to co-creating your own products and services.”
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.”
“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.”