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Posts in category 'Innovation'

28 June 2011

Toyota and CIID open a Window to the World

Window to the World
Imagine when a journey from A to B is no longer routine, as your car in the near-future encourages a sense of play, exploration and learning.

This is the image engineers and designers from Toyota Motor Europe (TME) and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) had for Toyota’s “Window to the World” vehicle concept, which was recently exhibited at the ACEA exhibition: “Our Future Mobility Now”.

The concept re-defines the relationship between passengers in a vehicle and the world around it, by transforming the vehicle’s windows into an interactive interface. Using augmented reality, what used to be a pane of glass, begins to provide passengers with information about landmarks and other objects as they go past. The window can also be used as a canvas for drawings, which then interacts with the passing environment.

Engineers and designers from TME’s Kansei Design Division teamed up with CIID to develop this concept in the context of near-future mobility. Instead of creating a concept simply with strong visual aesthetics, they aimed to create beautiful and intangible experiences to address specific needs and desires, to bring genuine value to the vehicle’s passengers.

Through the latest advances in augmented technology, TME Kansei Division and CIID developed five concepts for Toyota’s “Window to the World”.

Read press release and watch video

26 June 2011

What is your influence score?

Influencers
Imagine a world in which we are assigned a number that indicates how influential we are. This number would help determine whether you receive a job, a hotel-room upgrade or free samples at the supermarket. If your influence score is low, you don’t get the promotion, the suite or the complimentary cookies. This is not science fiction. It’s happening to millions of social network users. Stephanie Rosenbloom reports on it in The New York Times.

“Companies with names like Klout, PeerIndex and Twitter Grader are in the process of scoring millions, eventually billions, of people on their level of influence — or in the lingo, rating “influencers.” Yet the companies are not simply looking at the number of followers or friends you’ve amassed. Rather, they are beginning to measure influence in more nuanced ways, and posting their judgments — in the form of a score — online.

To some, it’s an inspiring tool — one that’s encouraging the democratization of influence. No longer must you be a celebrity, a politician or a media personality to be considered influential. Social scoring can also help build a personal brand. To critics, social scoring is a brave new technoworld, where your rating could help determine how well you are treated by everyone with whom you interact.”

Read article

23 June 2011

Achieving long-term sustainability at a Belgian expo centre

Event project
A road(map) to sustainability: How an Expo centre can become low-impact

The Event project, funded by Flanders In Shape, a Flemish design promotion agency, created a framework for the Kortrijk Xpo centre to become the most environmentally sustainable trade fair and congress complex in Belgium by 2020 and a top five player in Europe. Experientia and Futureproofed created an environmental roadmap to guide Kortrijk Xpo in achieving its ambitious objective.

The roadmap detailed steps to take over a ten-year time-frame, and included a benchmark of sustainable expo centres from around the world, a calculation of the carbon footprint resulting from expo activities, tailored reduction targets, a behavioural change framework, and over 100 carbon reduction concepts.

These focused on reducing travel and providing alternative transport means, harnessing the potential of social networking and building conference communities, and motivating and encouraging all stakeholders, including conference attendees, to participate in the change to more sustainable practices.

As Europe approaches the 2020 deadline for the EU’s European Energy Policy, the roadmap will help position Kortrijk Xpo as a far-sighted leader in sustainable practices for temporary events.

Read article
Download illustrated pdf

16 June 2011

SEE Conference report by Mark Vanderbeeken

SEE Bulletin Issue 6
On 29 March, Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken chaired the European SEE Conference on integrating design into regional and national policies.

The high-level conference, which also featured Peter Dröll, the European Commission’s Head of Innovation Policy, was organised by the SEE project, a network of eleven European partners engaging with national and regional governments to integrate design into innovation policy.

The summary of the event is now available on pages 10 to 12 of the latest SEE Bulletin, the only publication entirely dedicated to exploring matters related to design policies and programmes for design support.

Also in the publication:
– A discussion on design supply and demand and the policy repercussions by Dr Qian Sun of the University of Salford;
– A policy map with interviews from Italy, Finland, Estonia and South Korea;
– Background on Dublin’s bid For World Design Capital 2014;
– Case study on Argentina’s seminar programme ‘Design and Business, Concepts that Merge’;
– Case study on Wales’ Service Design Programme;
– A short concluding reflection on the SEE project legacy.

Download SEE Bulletin Issue 6

(Conference presentation and audio recordings are also available for download)

14 June 2011

Experientia wins Italian National Prize for Innovation in Services

Stemma Italia
Experientia wins Italian National Prize for Innovation in Services, sponsored by the Italian government and Confcommercio.
The President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, awards the prize.
 

Rome, Tuesday 14 June 2011

Today, the president of the Italian republic, Giorgio Napolitano, awarded Experientia srl with the prestigious National Prize for Innovation in Services, for their project Low2No, for having “planned a residential area in Finland with low CO2 emissions, using innovative methodologies devised in Italy.”

Experientia is an international experience design consultancy based in Turin, Italy, which helps international companies and organizations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

The winning project, Low2No (also known as C-Life), details Experientia’s role in the development and implementation of service offers for a low-to-no carbon emissions building development in Helsinki, involving user-centred service and participatory design methods. The entire construction project will be completed in 2013.

At the award ceremony at the Quirinale (the Italian presidential palace), Michele Visciola, the president of Experientia, accompanied by the CEO Pierpaolo Perotto, received the prize from President Napolitano.

“It is an honour for us to receive this prize from the hands of the President of the Republic,” Visciola declared, “It demonstrates that in Italy, we have young, quality businesses that can compete on an international level in terms of excellence.”

Jan-Christoph Zoels, the director of the service design project, highlighted the importance of the project by stating, “Beautiful and well-engineered, sustainable houses are not enough. Half of the contribution to a community’s carbon footprint is based on people’s lifestyles. We aim to support sustainable lifestyles and services during a building’s entire lifetime.”

Experientia has worked on the planning and design of services, to create, within the Low2No project, a “Food Hub” (offering services related to the purchase, consumption and sharing of regional, organic food, an ethical and sustainable alternative to the products commonly offered in the Finnish market); an “Eco-laundry” (using highly efficient practices and detergents with a low environmental impact); and a communal, wood-fuelled sauna (an eco-friendly response to the presence of a private electric sauna in most Finnish homes).

During the day, at a separate event organised by the ConfCommercio and hosted by ConfCommerico president Carlo Sangalli, the representatives from Experientia, including senior partners Jan-Christoph Zoels and Mark Vanderbeeken, and project team member Camilla Masala, met with the press and public.
 

WHO IS EXPERIENTIA?

Experientia is an international experience design consultancy based in Turin, Italy, which helps international companies and organizations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first. Experientia puts people and their experiences, past and future, at the centre of strategic innovation, guiding the company’s processes of research, strategy development, solution creation, prototype design and testing.
 

THE PRIZE

The National Prize for Innovation was founded by the Italian government as a key initiative of the National Day of Innovation, an annual event to raise citizens’ awareness of the theme of innovation. It is also an opportunity for the principle public and private actors to take stock of the state of innovation in the country and share identified strategic objectives within the European framework and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Through this prize, the government honours the best examples of creativity and innovation in the sectors of industry, design, university and public research, public administration and services, including financial services.

ConfCommercio, the Italian “Confederation of business, professional activities and autonomous work”, was responsible for the selection for the design section of the National Prize for Innovation in Services, which included “Innovation in Business”; “Innovation in Tourism”, “ICT and Service Design”. Experientia has won the prize for the ICT and Service Design category.

This year, the National Day of Innovation holds particular significance, not only because of the presence of the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, and the Minister for public administration and innovation Renato Brunetta, but because it coincides with the celebrations of 150 years of Italian Unity.
 

THE PROJECT

The winning project, Low2No (also known as C-Life), aims to facilitate behavioural change for more sustainable lifestyles. Experientia has designed a service platform for the low-to-no carbon emissions building development in Helsinki, involving user-centred service and participatory design methods.

The Low2No service platform represents one of the principle points of contact with the soul and mission of the zone. It will contribute to making sustainability an integral part of the daily activities and lives of the residents and workers of the area. It will support locals in adopting the change and transformation of their usual habits, and give them the possibility to communicate and compare themselves with their peers, through the project’s elements of participation and socialisation.

The project is a collaborative effort between international engineering and planning firm Arup (London), architectural firm Sauerbruch Hutton (Berlin), and user experience design consultancy Experientia, on behalf of Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the developer SRV and the housing agency VVO. Experientia’s dual role on the team involves the design of an advanced smart metering system (a digital energy-consumption metre) for residential households, and the design and implementation of a service platform for the entire zone.

Low2No is a mixed-use block. It comprises 14,000 square metres of mixed residential space (both rental and privately owned) with 6,500 square metres of office space and a business incubator and 1,800 square metres of commercial space.

The involvement of future residents and entrepreneurs in identifying their needs and generating shared ideas and solutions has a created a user-centric service platform, within which the client represents more than a simple final element of the chain, but becomes a key actor in the implementation and supply of the services themselves.
 

CONTACT
Mark Vanderbeeken, Experientia srl, +39 011 812 9687, info at experientia dot com
 

14 June 2011

Experientia vince il Premio Nazionale per l’Innovazione nei Servizi

Stemma Italia
Experientia vince la terza edizione del Premio Nazionale per l’Innovazione nei Servizi, istituito dal Governo Italiano e Confcommercio-Imprese per l’Italia.
Il Presidente della Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano consegna il premio.
 

Roma, martedì 14 giugno 2011

Oggi il Presidente della Repubblica Italiana Giorgio Napolitano ha insignito Experientia Srl del prestigioso Premio Nazionale per l’Innovazione nei Servizi per il suo progetto C-Life/Low2No, “per aver progettato in Finlandia un quartiere cittadino a bassa emissione di CO2 con metodologie innovative elaborate in Italia.

Experientia Srl è una società di consulenza internazionale con sede a Torino, fondata per aiutare aziende e organizzazioni ad innovare i propri prodotti, servizi e processi attraverso una piena valorizzazione dell’esperienza degli utenti.

Low2No è un progetto che mira alla realizzazione entro il 2013 di un quartiere a impatto zero in un’area della città di Helsinki. Il nome Low2No fa riferimento alla caratteristica del progetto di ridurre progressivamente le emissioni di anidride carbonica generate, partendo da un basso (“low”) impatto delle stesse fino a (‘‘to’’ oppure “2”) raggiungere zero emissioni (“no”).

Alla cerimonia di premiazione al Quirinale era presente Michele Visciòla, Presidente di Experientia Srl, che accompagnato dall’Amministratore Delegato Pierpaolo Perotto, ha ricevuto il premio dal Presidente Napolitano.

“Per noi è un onore ricevere questo premio dalle mani del Presidente della Repubblica – ha dichiarato Visciòla – ed è la dimostrazione che in Italia esistono qualità ed imprese giovani in grado di competere nello scenario internazionale su piani di eccellenza”.

Per Jan-Christoph Zoels, direttore del progetto, “Case belle e ben progettate con i criteri della sostenibilità non bastano. Un buon 50% del contributo all’impatto di CO2 di una comunità dipende dai comportamenti di consumo di energia e dallo stile di vita delle persone. Dobbiamo progettare le condizioni affinché si affermino stili di vita sostenibili e servizi adeguati per tutto il ciclo di vita degli edifici.”

Experientia sta progettando alcuni servizi che permetteranno di creare, all’interno del quartiere, nuove imprese: ci sarà un centro denominato Food Hub (una complessa offerta di servizi legati all’acquisto, consumo e condivisione del cibo, un’alternativa etica e sostenibile ai prodotti abitualmente reperibili sul mercato finlandese); un centro “Eco-laundry” (un servizio di lavanderia altamente efficiente, basato sull’utilizzo di prodotti detergenti a basso impatto ambientale), e un centro di Sauna tradizionale comune (alimentata a legna e all’interno del quale saranno a disposizione differenti servizi).

Nel corso della giornata, in un evento congiunto organizzato da Confcommercio e presieduto dal Presidente Carlo Sangalli, i soci fondatori di Experientia, Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciòla, Jan-Christoph Zoels e una delle collaboratrici al progetto Low2No Camilla Masala hanno preso parte agli incontri con la stampa ed il pubblico.
 

CHI E’ EXPERIENTIA

Experientia Srl è una società di consulenza internazionale con sede a Torino, fondata per aiutare aziende e organizzazioni ad innovare i propri prodotti, servizi e processi attraverso una piena valorizzazione dell’esperienza degli utenti. L’obiettivo di Experientia è mettere le persone e le loro esperienze, future e passate, al centro delle strategie di innovazione realizzando ricerche, creando soluzioni, progettando prototipi e testandone i risultati.

Experientia, oltre che dai 4 soci fondatori, è partecipata con una quota del 20% da Finsa Consulting Srl technology for people, che si occupa di consulenza, sviluppo ed integrazione di soluzioni ICT e di Business Intelligence, con headquarter a Genova e uffici a Roma, Torino e Milano.
 

IL PREMIO

Il Premio Nazionale per l’innovazione è stato istituito nel 2008 dal Governo italiano (presieduto da Romano Prodi) come iniziativa chiave della Giornata Nazionale dell’Innovazione, un’occasione annuale di sensibilizzazione dei cittadini sui temi dell’innovazione e di coordinamento tra tutti i principali attori pubblici e privati per fare il punto sullo stato dell’innovazione nel Paese e condividere gli obiettivi strategici da raggiungere, anche nel quadro europeo e OCSE.

Attraverso questo premio il Governo vuole valorizzare le migliori esperienze d’innovazione nei settori dell’industria, del design, dell’università e della ricerca pubblica, della pubblica amministrazione e dei servizi, inclusi quelli bancari.

Confcommercio, la “Confederazione Generale Italiana delle Imprese, delle Attività Professionali e del Lavoro Autonomo”, è stata responsabile per la selezione della sezione del design dei servizi del Premio Nazionale dell’Innovazione, che comprende le seguenti categorie: “Innovazione nel Commercio”; “Innovazione nel Turismo”; “ICT & Service Design nei Servizi”. Experientia ha ricevuto il premio appartenente a quest’ultima categoria, che è relativa ai due migliori progetti di innovazione tecnologica o di applicazione di metodologie di Service Design o di Service Science Management and Engineering (SSME).

Quest’anno la Giornata Nazionale dell’Innovazione riveste particolare importanza non solo per la presenza del Presidente della Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano e del Ministro per la pubblica amministrazione e l’innovazione Renato Brunetta, ma anche per la coincidenza con i festeggiamenti dei 150 anni dell’Unità d’Italia.
 

IL PROGETTO

Il progetto vincitore, denominato originariamente “C-life” ma attualmente conosciuto al pubblico con il nome “Low2No”, rafforza l’impegno di Experientia nello sviluppo ed implementazione di offerte di design dei servizi e della progettazione partecipata e utente-centrica, in grado di facilitare il cambiamento di comportamenti del singolo nell’ottica della sostenibilità.

I servizi Low2No contribuiscono a rendere la sostenibilità parte integrante delle attività quotidiane e della vita di tutti i giorni. Incoraggia le persone a prendere parte e sentirsi parte all’interno del progetto di cambiamento e trasformazione delle abitudini consolidate, dando altresì la possibilità, attraverso elementi di partecipazione e socializzazione, di dialogare e confrontarsi con propri pari.

Il progetto è frutto della collaborazione tra Experientia, lo studio di architettura Sauerbruch Hutton di Berlino e la società di ingegneria ARUP di Londra. Il progetto è stato realizzato per conto del fondo governativo finlandese per l’innovazione SITRA, in collaborazione con l’agenzia per l’edilizia residenziale pubblica VVO e la società di sviluppo immobiliare SRV. Experientia è responsabile sia della progettazione di sistemi evoluti di smart metering (contatori digitali) per ambienti domestici sia della pianificazione e implementazione dell’offerta di servizi per l’intero quartiere.

Low2No rappresenta un’area ad insediamento misto, all’interno della quale ad una componente di edilizia residenziale mista (edilizia agevolata – vendita – affitto) di 14.000 mq si affiancano attività lavorative (6.500 mq di uffici e un incubatore d’impresa) e una complessa offerta di servizi (1.800 mq di spazi commerciali).

Il coinvolgimento degli utenti nell’identificazione dei bisogni e nella generazione di idee e soluzioni condivise creerà una piattaforma di servizi utente-centrici, all’interno della quale il cliente non rappresenta semplicemente un elemento finale della filiera, ma diventa un attore chiave nell’implementazione ed erogazione dei servizi stessi.
 

CONTATTO
Mark Vanderbeeken, Experientia srl, +39 011 812 9687, info at experientia dot com
 

26 May 2011

City as a platform

PSFK
Two talks from the 2011 PSFK conference caught my attention:

City as a platform (video)
In her role as Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York, Rachel Sterne is tasked with strengthening the City’s digital media presence and streamlining internal digital communications.
In her talk Sterne demonstrated recent innovations that are shaping the city’s future. Mentioning how city resident participation is crucial with a real-time approach, attendees were shown “The Daily Pothole,” a Tumblr that tracks the D.O.T.’s progress in filling potholes in the five boroughs and its companion app, the roll-out of QR code technology on building permits, the NYC 311 app, as well as fielding service requests via Twitter.

Industrial Design: ID For The City (alternate) (video)
Duncan Jackson and Eoin Billings (interview), are both partners at Billings Jackson, a design firm specializing in public spaces. They spoke about their work, history and how they bridge the gap between architecture and manufacturing. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, they appreciate and embrace the the urban landscape for what it is. Crafting solutions that interpret design vision in city environments is their forté and the duo explained the value in understanding the intricacies of each place, culture, and its residents before beginning a new project. Their approach is exemplified through their architectural work, with city life exuding from each structure rather then being blurred by it.

> Check also the video and PSFK report on the Microsoft Home of the Future.

26 May 2011

Ford Motor Co moving into mobile healthcare

Health well
With the help of medical technology companies WellDoc, Medtronic and SDI, the motor giant last Wednesday set out to prove that it’s concerned not only with the number of drivers it boasts, but with the health of those drivers, as well (announcement).

In a follow-up phone interview with FierceMobileHealthcare, WellDoc President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Anand Iyer, whose company showed off its DiabetesManager service–which would work in correlation with the automaker’s voice-activated in-care connectivity system SYNC via the cloud–said he believes that the demonstration is the beginning of a new trend.

Read interview

24 May 2011

Designing Connectivity notebook available

Designing Connectivity
On 15 March 2011 the DeST Research Unit of the INDACO Department of the Milan Politechnic together with the British Consulate General organised Designing Connectivity (pdf), a seminar on building and activating collaborative networks towards sustainability.

The seminar discussed projects that work with a variety of social and economical actors, including companies, territories and individuals, and the facilitating role that service design can play in this context.

“Connectivity is a key element in the current behavioural change approach, that started through the development of ICT technologies, and is nowadays branching out to underpin new ways to work, produce, socialise, be creative and live. Behavioural change for sustainability is the output of novel social mechanisms that are interesting to be looked at on many levels: people, companies, organisations, institutions. They are all coming together to exchange knowledge, to share experiences, to find solutions, to discuss and confront. Collaboration and connectivity are keywords that feed visions and scenarios of sustainable and collaborative futures.This theme has been explored during the seminar in relation to Creative Industries and Sustainability in order to learn by discussing, by debating, by sharing experiences and insights, and by identifying hot-spots and synergies.”

Two of Experientia’s key staff members – Irene Cassarino and Camilla Massala – presented and discussed our experience in creating a behavioural change for sustainability strategy at the Low2No project in Helsinki, Finland.

Other participants included Alessandro Belgiojoso (Project Leader, 100 cascine); Clare Brass (Director, SEED Foundation); Emily Campbell (Director of Design, RSA); Alberto Cottica (Project Leader, Kublai): Jeremy Davenport (Co-founder and Deputy Director of the Creative Industries KTN); Rosie Farrer (Development Manager, Public Services Lab, NESTA); Cristina Favini (Strategist & Manager of Design, Logotel; Project & Content Manager, Weconomy); Mark Leaver (Global Markets Advisor, Creative Industries KTN); Katie Mills (Knowledge Transfer Consultant at the University of the Arts London); Alison Prendiville (Deputy Director of C4D (Centre for Competitive Creative Design) and Course Director MDes Innovation and Creativity in Industry at London College of Communication, University of the Arts); Ben Reason (Director and Founder, Live|Work); Roberto Santolamazza (Director, Treviso Tecnologia); Adam Thorpe (Reader, Design Against Crime Research Centre (DAC), Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design); in addition to the INDACO Department team (Venanzio Arquilla, Stefano Maffei, Anna Meroni, Marzia Mortati, Giuliano Simonelli, and Beatrice Villari).

The seminar notebook is now available. A seminar blog provides even more inspiration.

15 May 2011

The kitchen-table industrialists

littleBits
My favourite New York Times writer Anand Giridharadas delved into the topic of “making stuff” in this week’s Magazine.

“The American romance with making actual things is going through a resurgence. In recent years, a nationwide movement of do-it-yourself aficionados has embraced the self-made object. Within this group is a quixotic band of soldering, laser-cutting, software-programming types who, defying all economic logic, contend that they can reverse America’s manufacturing slump. America will make things again, they say, because Americans will make things — not just in factories but also in their own homes, and not because it’s artisinal or faddish, but because it’s easier, better for the environment, and more fun.”

Read article

8 May 2011

Natural user interfaces are all about alignment

August de los Reyes
August de los Reyes, design director of Artefact Group (formerly of Microsoft Surface), was one of the speakers at MIX11, a Microsoft organised gathering of developers, designers, UX experts and business professionals “creating the most innovative and profitable consumer sites on the web”.

In his excellent talk August wowed the audience with his talk on 21st Century Design and how the future thinking of design is changing.

He advocates that natural user interfaces are all about alignment (rather than usability), and argues that we rethink the design process annd focus on motivation, needs, positive emotion, learnability, adaptability, and revolutionary changes. This is in contrast to a [more conventional] user-centric design which puts faith in the users (who often don’t know what, why, and how they like something), and incremental design evolution.

Watch video

(via UX Strategy)

4 May 2011

The user experience of Augmented Reality apps

AR app
Mark Schatzker of Condé Nast Traveler tested the latest—and supposedly, greatest—of Augmented Reality apps in Rome, Italy, and was anything but impressed.

“Can a $5 or $10 app really make visiting cities like Paris, Tokyo, or Moscow a breeze? To find out, I flew to Rome carrying an iPhone 4 and a Samsung Captivate, which runs Google’s Android operating system. After three days of rigorous testing—during which I walked more than 25 miles, weaved past several thousand tourists, consumed two excellent bowls of pasta and molti cones of gelato, and downloaded over 100 megabytes of data—I had the answer. So, does AR deliver all that it promises? Not so much.”

Read article

22 April 2011

Where innovation belongs in user-centered design

Flying car
User Experience designers have a unique opportunity to become the facilitators of holistic design and the advocates of innovation, argues Jake Truemper. By combining traditional user-centered activities with a greater emphasis on creating engaging designs we can bring usability into alignment with innovation in the design process.

“Ethnographic studies (such as contextual inquiry) and user personas are well suited to embolden innovative design. By watching users interact with interfaces in the context of their own home or workplace we learn a tremendous amount about them. These ethnographic techniques also help us to understand process flows comprehensively. By understanding these flows at a high level, user experience practitioners can identify opportunities to break down and rebuild a new process flow that forsakes the vestigial practices that have compounded over time, and brings in those missing elements that users find ways to incorporate on their own.”

Read article

19 April 2011

The Interaction Design ‘Bauhaus’

IxD Bauhaus
Rahul Sen believes that the interaction design community is witnessing an important revolution — an ‘IxD Bauhaus’ of sorts.

Provokingly, he compares Apple and its skeuomorphic design guidelines to the pre-Bauhaus period, when the built environment had bloated in stimuli, caused by an excess of decor and ‘pastry-work’, whereas the new clean Bauhaus style is exemplified by the Windows Phone’s new design language [and some iPad apps such as Flipboard, Flud and Wired).

What can visual interaction designers learn from the Bauhaus (and where it failed)?

Read article

14 April 2011

Book: Brave NUI World

Brave NUI World
Brave NUI World: Designing natural user interfaces for touch and gesture
by Daniel Wigdor and Dennis Wixon
Paperback, 264 pages
Morgan Kaufmann, 2011
(Amazon link)

Natural user interfaces (NUIs) have been hailed as next evolutionary step in human-computer interaction. As software companies struggle to catch up with one another in terms of developing the next great touch-based interface, designers are charged with the daunting task of keeping up with the advances in NUI technology and this new aspect to user experience design.

Product and interaction designers, developers and managers are already well versed in UI design, but touch-based interfaces have added a new level of complexity. They need quick references and real world examples in order to make informed decisions when designing for these particular interfaces.

Brave NUI World is the first practical book for product and interaction developers and designing touch and gesture interfaces.

Written by the team from Microsoft that developed the multi-touch, multi-user Surface® tabletop product, this book gives you the necessary tools and information to integrate touch and gesture practices into your daily work, presenting scenarios, problem solving, metaphors, and techniques intended to avoid making mistakes.

Daniel Wigdor is UX Architect and Platform Architect at Microsoft and an Assistant Professor of computer science at the University of Toronto. Before joining U of T, he worked at Microsoft in nearly a dozen different roles, among them serving as the User Experience Architect of the Microsoft Surface product, and as a cross company expert in the creation of Natural User Interfaces. Dennis Wixon is currently Discipline Lead for Microsoft US BPD. Prior to this role he was the head of research for Microsoft Surface, and has also managed research teams at Microsoft Game Studies, and MSN/Home Products.

Sample chapter

10 April 2011

Book: A new culture of learning

A New Culture of Learning
A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change
by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown
Publisher: CreateSpace – January, 2011)
Paperback, 140 pages
(Amazon link)

The 21st century is a world in constant change. In A New Culture of Learning, Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown pursue an understanding of how the forces of change, and emerging waves of interest associated with these forces, inspire and invite us to imagine a future of learning that is as powerful as it is optimistic. Their understanding of what constitutes “a new culture of learning” is based on several basic assumptions about the world and how learning occurs:

  • The world is changing faster than ever and our skill sets have a shorter life
  • Understanding play is critical to understanding learning
  • The world is getting more connected that ever before – can that be a resource?
  • In this connected world, mentorship takes on new importance and meaning
  • Challenges we face are multi-faceted requiring systems thinking & socio-technical sensibilities
  • Skills are important but so are mind sets and dispositions
  • Innovation is more important than ever – but turns on our ability to cultivate imagination
  • A new culture of learning needs to leverage social & technical infrastructures in new ways
  • Play is the basis for cultivating imagination and innovation

By exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning, the authors create a vision of learning for the future that is achievable, scalable and one that grows along with the technology that fosters it and the people who engage with it. The result is a new form of culture in which knowledge is seen as fluid and evolving, the personal is both enhanced and refined in relation to the collective, and the ability to manage, negotiate and participate in the world is governed by the play of the imagination.

Typically, when we think of culture, we think of an existing, stable entity that changes and evolves over long periods of time. In A New Culture of Learning, Thomas and Brown explore a second sense of culture, one that responds to its surroundings organically. It not only adapts, it integrates change into its process as one of its environmental variables.

The book website contains some of the authors’ talks, including one by John Seely Brown on “Tinkering as a Mode of Knowledge Production”.

7 April 2011

Experientia presentation at Fuorisalone, Milan

Designing Innovation
Irene Cassarino, Experientia’s senior open innovation expert, will be speaking on Designing for Sustainable Change at the Hub Milan on Friday, as part of the Hub’s Inspirational Conversations series at this year’s Fuorisalone in Milan.

The conversations are part of a wider event, entitled Designing Innovation: Ideas, works and story tales, that involves workshops, exhibitions, and inspirational conversations with the protagonists of Italian social innovation.

Irene will speak together with Eva Teruzzi, director of business R&D at Fiera Milano. Together they will address how to develop awareness of sustainability and conduct business regarding our future technologies.

“When we plan a new urban environment, we need to think of a 100-year-plus horizon,” says Irene Cassarino. “The main challenge is to create an environment that responds to the needs and ambitions of different communities of inhabitants (different also across time), in terms of long-term sustainability objectives, which are themselves uncertain and constantly evolving. This, in our experience in Helsinki (Low2No) and Denmark (FredericiaC), means ‘planning for sustainable change’. When planning technology applications that are people’s future, how can we work with companies and public administrations to develop sustainable change solutions?”

The Hub Milan is the Italian node in an international network of social, creative and professional entrepreneurs. It provides space and resources for people to be inspired, get innovative, develop networks and identify market opportunities, while building up an arsenal of experiences that will help them to truly change Milan and the world. The Hub Milan focuses exclusively on social and innovation and the people that promote it.

The Hub is located in via Paolo Sarpi 8, Milan. Irene will speak at midday on Friday April 15th and (free) registration is required.

1 April 2011

Free Experientia backgrounder on EU’s new, more holistic innovation policy

EU Innovation Union
Major emphasis on user-centred design, open innovation and social innovation in new EU innovation strategy

On 6 October 2010, the European Commission adopted the “Innovation Union“, a strategic approach to innovation, which is to become a main tool to reach the Europe 2020 targets that will underpin the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth the Europe 2020 strategy is aiming for:

  • Employment: 75% of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed
  • 3% of the EU’s GDP (public and private combined) to be invested in R&D/innovation
  • Climate change / energy: greenhouse gas emissions 20% lower than 1990, 20% of energy from renewables, and 20% increase in energy efficiency
  • Education: Reducing school drop-out rates below 10%, and at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education
  • At least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion

The Innovation Union will focus Europe’s efforts on tackling major societal challenges, such as climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population.

Design and creativity have major prominence in the new EU innovation strategy, with a particular emphasis on (user-centred) design, open and co-creative innovation, and social/public sector innovation, as described in detail in the European Commission Communication and Rationale for Action, published on 6 October last year.

In other words, European innovation policy is moving beyond a technology-only approach and becoming more holistic, by embracing design, openness and broad social issues.

It will take some time for this new focus to spread to local, regional and national governmental institutions across Europe, who still often identify innovation with technological innovation.

To help speed up this process, Experientia, the international user-experience design consultancy based in Torino, Italy, has gone through the European Commission documents in detail, and a 5-page backgrounder highlights those sections that are of major relevance for design companies, design support organisations and therefore also industry organisations.

The text in the backgrounder is mainly excerpted from the Communication, and sometimes expanded with text from the Rationale for Action or from the Innovation Union website.

Please feel free to use this backgrounder to lobby for a more holistic innovation approach also in your own regional context.

Download backgrounder

25 March 2011

Design!publiC: design for governance in India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from the Design!publiC vision text

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Design!publiC blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

18 March 2011

User-led does not equal user-centered

ustwo
“Companies should lead their users, not the other way around.”

So say Jens Skibsted and Rasmus Hansen in their recent post, User-Led Innovation Can’t Create Breakthroughs, on Fast Company’s Co.Design blog.

“They’re exactly right, but for all the wrong reasons,” reacts Lawrence Kitson of ustwo in UX Magazine and this he says “highlights a wider problem of the misunderstanding of interaction design and the field of UX.”

“Being user-centered requires the involvement of experts who focus on the user as a person. Interaction designers listen and observe, and apply their knowledge about the behavior of people and their psychology, especially when they interact with digital products and services. Being user-centered means understanding a problem and the users, analyzing user behavior and listening to their wants, then translating this into needs that drive a creative solution to the problem. Being user-led or user-driven, on the other hand, means responding to user feedback without applying the filters of analysis and translation.”

Read article