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Posts in category 'Participation'

17 July 2011

New RSA Journal out

RSA Journal
The Summer 2011 edition of the RSA Journal explores the relationship between business and social change.

Brand values
As the social, political and commercial spheres become more intertwined, firms are increasingly finding incentives to look beyond the bottom line. Colin Crouch explores the strong moral and commercial case for corporations to contribute to social good.

The cooperative renaissance
Values-based business models offer a viable alternative to the traditional capitalist approach, argues Peter Marks. What can the public and private sectors learn from these business models in today’s post-recession landscape?

Urban ingenuity
Too often accused of being a breeding ground for poverty and inequality, cities are actually a catalyst for innovation, entrepreneurialism and social mobility. It is no coincidence that many of the world’s most successful businesses had their genesis in cities, says Edward Glaeser

The new frontier?
While most social enterprises have yet to become household names, they are well positioned for steady growth, as they have a role to play in public-service provision, believes Geoff Mulgan.

The 21st century prison
Rachel O’Brien outlines the RSA’s plans to build a social enterprise prison that makes it easier for ex-offenders to transition into society and return to work.

The power of proximity
In an age when digital technology connects us on a global scale, entrepreneurial success still depends largely on the networks, resources and demand found in local communities, says Barry Quirk.

Self-made in China
Linda Yueh asks what we can learn from the generation of Chinese entrepreneurs who are driving the country’s rapid economic growth.

Best behaviours
Monique and Sam Sternin discuss how the Positive Deviance approach uses people’s hidden talents to tackle widespread and complex social problems.

David Hume: 300 years on
David Hume is remembered as a thinker who has influenced the way we address social, political and economic challenges. James Harris explains why, three centuries after his birth, David Hume continues to intrigue and inspire his diverse readership.

11 July 2011

Red Hat sees user collaboration as the wave of the future

Red Hat
Jim Whitehurst, chief executive and president of Red Hat Inc., the only publicly traded open-source software company, sees user collaboration as the wave of the future, not only for technology companies but for the business world at large.

Mr. Whitehurst spoke to The Wall Street Journal’s Alexandra Wexler about the challenges of changing China’s computing infrastructure, fostering innovation, and bringing cloud computing to the world.

WSJ: Do you see information sharing and collaboration as the way of the future?

Mr. Whitehurst: This is going to radically change the way institutions are managed. The Facebook generation is used to collaborating, and they’re used to a meritocracy. It will change work structures and the nature of the corporation. Most problems can be solved by massive collaboration.

Read article

7 July 2011

Web 3.0 is all about social personalisation

Social media
Forget Web 2.0. During a panel on social media at the recent Wharton Global Alumni Forum, industry experts argued that we are now in a “third wave” of disruption in the tech sector. While the post-bubble era was about user-generated content, they say the future will be centered on filtering the immense amount of data available on the web and helping users find information from the people they care about most — their friends.

“Web 2.0 was centered on user-generated content, where anyone could be a publisher. We’re now in the third wave — I call it a social wave,” said Travis Katz, [founder and CEO of travel recommendations site Gogobot and] a former MySpace executive who served on a Forum panel titled “New Directions for Social Media.” Also on the panel were Ethan Beard, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships; Wharton Digital Press executive editor Shannon Berning; entrepreneur and Lotus 1-2-3 designer Mitch Kapor; and Bryan Srabian, director of social media for the San Francisco Giants.

The web has grown to the point where “there’s too much information,” according to Katz. “Finding ways to filter out information and find what’s relevant to you is getting harder and harder. The model of Google doesn’t work at scale — especially when it comes to things where taste matters.”

Katz predicted that the future of the Internet “is one where every page is going to be personalized.

Read article

6 July 2011

How computers can cure cultural diabetes

Peter Lunenfeld
Peter Lunenfeld (wikipedia), professor in the Design | Media Arts department at UCLA, argues in a New Scientist op-ed piece for the importance of what he calls “meaningful uploading”, which is still difficult for most people since “for the past half-century, much of the world’s media culture has been defined by a single medium – television – and television is defined by downloading.”

“What counts as meaningful uploading? My definition revolves around the concept of “stickiness” – creations and experiences to which others adhere. Tweets about celebrity gaffes are not sticky but rather little Teflon balls of meaninglessness. In contrast, applications like tumblr.com, which allow users to combine pictures, words and other media in creative ways and then share them, have the potential to add stickiness by amusing, entertaining and enlightening others – and engendering more of the same. The explosion of apps for mobile phones and tablets means that even people with limited programming skills can now create sticky things.”

Read article

20 June 2011

Individual and networked privacy

Networked privacy
Danah Boyd, researcher at Microsoft Research New England and Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society, posted the crib of her recent Personal Democracy Forum talk on networked privacy.

“Our contemporary ideas about privacy are often shaped by legal discourse that emphasizes the notion of “individual harm.” Furthermore, when we think about privacy in online contexts, the American neoliberal frame and the techno-libertarian frame once again force us to really think about the individual. In my talk at Personal Democracy Forum this year, I decided to address some of the issues of “networked privacy” precisely because I think that we need to start thinking about how privacy fits into a social context. Even with respect to the individual frame, what others say/do about us affects our privacy. And yet, more importantly, all of the issues of privacy end up having a broader set of social implications.”

Read talk

16 June 2011

Book: What’s Mine is Yours

What's Mine is Yours
What’s Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live
by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers
Collins, 2011
304 pages

In the 20th century humanity consumed products faster than ever, but this way of living is no longer sustainable. This new and important book shows how technological advances are driving forms of ‘collaborative consumption’ which will change forever the ways in which we interact both with businesses and with each other.

The average lawn mower is used for four hours a year. The average power drill is used for only twenty minutes in its entire lifespan. The average car is unused for 22 hours a day, and even when it is being used there are normally three empty seats. Surely there must be a way to get the benefit out of things like mowers, drills and even cars, without having to carry the huge up-front costs of ownership?

There is indeed. Collaborative consumption is not just a buzzword, it is a new win-win way of life. This insightful and thought-provoking new book by Rachel Rogers and Roo Botsman is an important and fast-moving survey of the dramatic changes we are seeing in the way we consume products.

Many of us are familiar with freecycle, eBay, couchsurfing and Zipcar. But these are just the beginning of a new phenomenon. Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers have interviewed business leaders and opinion formers around the world to draw together the many strands of Collaborative Consumption into a coherent and challenging argument to show that the way we did business and consumerism in the 20th century is not the way we will do it in the 21st century.

Related > The end of consumerism? [Article in The Guardian]
Collaborative consumption – the notion that we can now share or swap anything from clothes and parking spaces to free time – is an exciting idea. But is it really the answer to rampant consumerism?

16 June 2011

Open Source Architecture (OSArc)

Domus
Domus Magazine has published an op-ed advocating a different approach to designing space – to succeed the single-author model – that includes tools from disparate sources to create new paradigms for thinking and building

The contributors included Paola Antonelli (MoMA), Adam Bly (Seed Media Group), Lucas Dietrich, Joseph Grima (Domus Magazine), Dan Hill (Sitra), John Habraken, Alex Haw (Atmos Studio), John Maeda (RISD), Nicholas Negroponte, Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery), Carlo Ratti (MIT), Casey Reas (UCLA), Marco Santambrogio (MIT), Mark Shepard (Sentient City), Chiara Somajni (Il Sole 24 Ore) and Bruce Sterling.

“Open Source Architecture (OSArc) is an emerging paradigm describing new procedures for the design, construction and operation of buildings, infrastructure and spaces. Drawing from references as diverse as open-source culture, avant-garde architectural theory, science fiction, language theory, and others, it describes an inclusive approach to spatial design, a collaborative use of design software and the transparent operation throughout the course of a building and city’s life cycle.”

Read article

6 June 2011

The future of money in a webbed-up world

The future of money
Digital cash and online markets have the potential to loosen governments’ grip on the currency that makes the economy go round. In this special report the New Scientist examines how this could change money forever.

Editorial – Back to a networked world
The internet is changing our relationship with money for the better.

Virtual cash – Bitcoin gets real
Digital cash and online markets have the potential to loosen governments’ grip on the currency that makes the economy go round.

Macon Money – A currency that’s building community
A social game that pays people to meet one another could help overcome socioeconomic barriers and strengthen local economies.

Social networks – Crowdsourcing cash
We’re moving into a world where everyone is spending and lending multiple virtual currencies.

Mobile Apps – Commuters will be the bellwether for Google Wallet
An analysis of mobile payment systems in Japan, where the technology has been used for years, shows that commuters are the biggest users.

4 June 2011

The wisdom and foolishness of crowds

Social influence
Experiments suggest that wisdom of the crowd can be countered by too much communication within that crowd.

“The wisdom of crowds turns out to be an incredibly fragile phenomenon. It doesn’t take much for the smart group to become a dumb herd. Worse, a new study by Swiss scientists suggests that the interconnectedness of modern life might be making it even harder to benefit from our collective intelligence. [...]

This research reveals the downside of our hyperconnected lives. So many essential institutions depend on the ability of citizens to think for themselves, to resist the latest trend or bubble. That’s why it is important, as the Founding Fathers realized, to cultivate a raucous free press, full of divergent viewpoints.

And yet, while the Web has enabled new forms of collective action, it has also enabled new kinds of collective stupidity. Groupthink is now more widespread, as we cope with the excess of available information by outsourcing our beliefs to celebrities, pundits and Facebook friends. Instead of thinking for ourselves, we simply cite what’s already been cited.

We should be wary of such influences. The only way to preserve the wisdom of the crowd is to protect the independence of the individual.”

Read article

2 June 2011

Is car sharing the future of the automobile industry?

Getaround
As much as the car chieftains of Detroit try to fight it, America is slowly but surely turning away from the concept of car ownership. Instead, hundreds of thousands of Americans are choosing to share their cars by the hour and by the day – especially in densely-packed urban areas, where the total cost of car ownership is incredibly high. (Ever paid for a monthly spot in a Manhattan parking garage?)

If social car-sharing services like Zipcar, RelayRides and Getaround continue to generate momentum, millions of the nation’s automobiles will become part of one jointly-owned, collaboratively-shared fleet, available for use by anyone, at any time.

Read article

24 May 2011

Book: New Media Technologies and User Empowerment

New Media Technologies and User Empowerment
New Media Technologies and User Empowerment
Jo Pierson, Enid Mante-Meijer and Eugène Loos (eds.)
Peter Lang – International Academic Publishers
May 2011
317 pages
ISBN 978-3-631-60031-3

Synopsis

Recent developments in new media devices and applications have led to the rise of what have become known as ‘social media’, ‘Web 2.0’, ‘social computing’ or ‘participative web’. This shift in ICT, from unidirectional to conversational media of mass self-communication has lowered the technological thresholds for everyday users to cooperate for their own benefit, to participate in online environments and social network sites, to co-create business value and to become ‘produsers’ or ‘pro-ams’. At the same time, we see an evolution towards people-centred design and user-driven innovation in the design of new media technologies. This has created new opportunities and heightened expectations regarding user empowerment in different societal arenas.

However, the question remains to what extent users and communities interacting in an all-IP new media ecosystem are empowered (and not disempowered) to express their creativity and concerns in their social and cultural environment and to obtain a prominent role in the process of new media design and innovation. The book attempts to answer this question through a collection of chapters that scrutinise this issue. The different chapters focus on the way that social and economic opportunities and threats enable and/or constrain user empowerment.

This work consists of four major sections, each of which examines the (potential) empowerment/disempowerment of users in relation to new media technologies from a different angle. The chapters in the first section describe different theoretical perspectives on user roles and user involvement in the new media ecosystem, referring to interpretative, positivist and critical schools of thought. Based on these overall guiding frameworks, we then explore the leverage users have, both on content level and on technological level. This refers respectively to the second and third section of the book. In the fourth section different case studies are presented, each of which highlight how user empowerment manifests itself in different new media sectors and environments (such as publishing, the music industry and social networking sites).

The book is based on interdisciplinary research. It offers innovative insights based on state-of-the-art academic and industry-driven ICT user research in various European countries. This work will appeal to post-graduate students and researchers in the field of media and communication studies, social studies of technology, digital media marketing and other domains that investigate the mutual relationship between new media technologies and society.

Contents

  • Yves Punie: Introduction: New Media Technologies and User Empowerment. Is there a Happy Ending?
  • Enid Mante-Meijer/Eugène Loos: Innovation and the Role of Push and Pull
  • Valerie Frissen/Mijke Slot: The Return of the Bricoleur: Redefining Media Business
  • Serge Proulx/Lorna Heaton: Forms of User Contribution in Online Communities: Mechanisms of Mutual Recognition between Contributors
  • Aphra Kerr/Stefano De Paoli/Cristiano Storni: Rethinking the Role of Users in ICT Design: Reflections for the Internet
  • James Stewart/Laurence Claeys: Problems and Opportunities of Interdisciplinary Work Involving Users in Speculative Research for Innovation of Novel ICT Applications
  • Marinka Vangenck/Jo Pierson/Wendy Van den Broeck/Bram Lievens: User-Driven Innovation in the Case of Three-Dimensional Urban Environments
  • Mijke Slot: Web Roles Re-examined: Exploring User Roles in the Media Environment
  • Philip Ely/David Frohlich/Nicola Green: Uncertainty, Upheavals and Upgrades: Digital-DIY during Life-change
  • Eva K. Törnquist: In Search of Elks and Birds: Two Case Studies on the Creative Use of ICT in Sweden
  • Levente Szekely/Agnes Urban: Over the Innovators and Early Adopters: Incentives and Obstacles of Internet Usage
  • James Stewart/Richard Coyne/Penny Travlou/Mark Wright/Henrik Ekeus: The Memory Space and the Conference: Exploring Future Uses of Web2.0 and Mobile Internet through Design Interventions
  • Sanna Martilla/Kati Hyyppä/Kari-Hans Kommonen: Co-Design of a Software Toolkit for Media Practices: P2P-Fusion Case Study
  • Ike Picone: Mapping Users’ Motivations and Thresholds for Casually «Produsing» News
  • Stijn Bannier: The Musical Network 2.0 & 3.0
  • Enid Mante-Meijer/Jo Pierson/Eugène Loos: Conclusion: Substantiating User Empowerment

Authors

  • Jo Pierson is Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel – Department of Communication Studies / SMIT (Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication)
  • Enid Mante-Meijer is emeritus Professor at Utrecht University – Utrecht School of Governance
  • Eugène Loos is Professor at the University of Amsterdam – Department of Communication Science / ASCoR (Amsterdam School of Communication Research).
21 May 2011

Create Your Own 2011

CYO2011
Create Your Own 2011 (CYO2011) is a highly recommended event taking place in Berlin on 30-31 May where participants can explore the reality and future behind individualisation, co-creation, and personalisation — mega trends that are shaping the European consumption landscape. The event is co-organized by a consortium of European companies and research institutes in the field of mass customisation (MC).

UX designer Nadia El-Iman, who is CYO2011’s creative director and project manager, will also be running the MC For Makers 1-day Incubator workshop during the conference.

She has posted a few highly interesting background interviews:

  • Why mass customisation, why now?
    An interview with Prof. Frank Piller (blog), founding faculty member of MIT’s Smart Customisation Lab, and the “go to authority on Mass Customisation”
     
  • Customising China
    An interview wit Oliver Hickfang, partner of Taiwan-based 3digital on his experiences doing mass customisation in China

Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels is planning to attend the conference and workshop.

19 May 2011

Power Lines

Power Lines
Power Lines, the latest paper by the UK’s Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), follows on from the RSA’s Connected Communities report, deepening the analysis to look at networks of power and influence, and in particular those who are isolated in the community.

Abstract

In 2010, the RSA published Connected Communities: How social networks power and sustain the Big Society, which explored a new approach to community regeneration based on an understanding of the importance of social networks. It argued that such an approach has the potential to bring about significant improvements in efforts to combat isolation and to support the development of resilient and empowered communities.

This paper follows on from that report, deepening the analysis to look at networks of power and influence, and in particular those who are isolated in the community. The paper argues that the government’s efforts to build the Big Society are too focused on citizen-led service delivery. An approach based on utilising and building people’s social networks, which largely determine our ability to create change and influence decisions that affect us, may prove more effective.

23 April 2011

Behaviour more significant than opinion when it comes to service design

Changing Behaviours
Behaviour change techniques should be used to develop public services with citizens’ motivations at the heart of their design, says a leading [UK] thinktank.

A report produced by the New Local Government Network argues that using citizen’s to design services using so-called nudge techniques can save councils money and the report sets out tools for councils to better understand what motivates their citizens.

The Changing Behaviours report also emphasises the need for a radical change to [UK] central government thinking in order for the reco/ammendations to achieve maximum effect.

The thinktank urges [local and regional] councils to allocate more resources towards improved engagement and communications methods with its citizens in order to understand their needs.

Read article

19 April 2011

The sharing economy

The sharing economy
Thanks to the social web, you can now share anything with anyone anywhere in the world.

Fast Company profiles Neal Gorenflo who, after quitting his job as strategist for a division of shipping giant DHL, started Shareable, a not-for-profit web hub that provides individuals and groups with a playbook for how to build systems for sharing everything from baby food and housing to skills and solar panels.

“Gorenflo is a leading proselytizer of a global trend to make sharing something far more economically significant than a primitive behavior taught in preschool. Spawned by a confluence of the economic crisis, environmental concerns, and the maturation of the social web, an entirely new generation of businesses is popping up. They enable the sharing of cars, clothes, couches, apartments, tools, meals, and even skills. The basic characteristic of these you-name-it sharing marketplaces is that they extract value out of the stuff we already have. Many of these sites depend on millennials disenchanted by the housing bubble and the banking crisis, or uninterested in traditional icons of success such as house or auto ownership. But the number of people who have quietly begun tapping in is impressive: Already, more than 3 million people from 235 countries have couch-surfed, while 2.2 million bike-sharing trips are taken each month. “

Read article

5 February 2011

Rentalship is the new ownership in the networked age

For rent
Wired UK has published an article by David Rowan, that was published last month in his tech column in the UK’s CondéNast magazine,

“Now that collaborative spirit is spreading to all sorts of other industries as ubiquitous internet connections bring us together in creative new ways. The peer-to-peer model has lately moved from auction houses and online classifieds to car-sharing, jewellery lending, even online banking — and each time it’s cutting out a traditional incumbent. In an era when environmental concerns are making conspicuous consumption harder to justify, start-ups are targeting customers keener to pay for access to goods and services rather than actual physical ownership – and new web-based networks are letting all of us be both lenders and borrowers.”

Read article

13 December 2010

Designing for collaborative consumption

Michelle Thorne
Michelle Thorne, international project manager at Creative Commons, spoke at TEDxKreuzberg on Designing for Collaborative Consumption. She posted her slides and speaking notes online.

Important characteristics of Collaborative Consumption:

Critical Mass
Firstly, you need enough goods or services on offer to make the platform attractive enough for users. Supply draws more demand. Couchsurfing isn’t going to work with two couches on offer.

Idling Capacity
This is about spare cycles. All the unused, material surplus that bolsters collaborative consumption. And it not just about products that sit unused on storage shelves, but also untapped skills, times, spaces. These resources have to be available, like in the drill example, and sharable.

Commons Governance
For these platforms to work, you need appropriate mechanisms for collaboration within legal, social and technical frameworks. There are great tools for this, and definitely the potential to develop more. Conflict resolution has to be cheap and easy, and resource providers need ways to participate in the decision-making process.

Trust
This is one of the most important pillars of collaborative consumption. Without trust, you don’t have continued and meaningful participation and growth. Trust has to be cultivated and facilitated. It’s not just available instantly, but grows organically through the service and positive experiences. Clearly defined boundaries of who’s participating and a way to key at bay trolls, spammers, and frauds, and other elements that harm the community. This requires effective monitoring and reputation management, plus graduated sanctions for people who violate community rules.

Read full story

(via Bruce Sterling)

30 November 2010

The Absent Peer – non-users in social interaction design

The Absent Peer
Sebastian Greger, social interaction designer, internet sociologist and post-graduate student at the Media Lab of the Aalto University School of Art and Design in Helsinki, has published his Master’s research that aims to provide a framework for the consideration of non-users in the context of social interaction design, in particular for the design of social network sites.

Abstract

This thesis aims to provide a framework for the consideration of non-users in the context of social interaction design (SxD), in particular for the design of social network sites (SNSs). It is based on the sociological perspective of symbolic interactionism.

Positioning social interaction design as a practice within the discipline of interaction design, its goals are defined through a discussion on user value and worth-centred design. Existing research on the non-use of technologies is being reviewed and contextualised with SxD, coming to the conclusion that non-use is not a pathological state that needs to be corrected but a form of use that has to be accommodated by an SNS.

The empirical research, presented as a diagnosis of the times, employs auto- ethnographic observations that are analysed applying an inductive Grounded Theory process. The emergent theory of “The Absent Peer” consists of two core concepts, presenting the network aspect and the sociality aspect that influence SNS concepts. Herein, the focus of the work is on the discovery of the impact of non-use rather than on its reasons.

The theory is then set into relation with the practice of interaction design and a worth-centred model of value in HCI. Building on the insights from the study, this discussion presents the conceptual considerations required in order to create valuable SNS concepts that acknowledge non-use as a permanent and complex phenomenon of social reality.

Read research summary
Download master’s thesis

26 November 2010

The public square goes mobile

The public square goes mobile
Allison Arieff writes in the New York Times Opinionator blog extensively on how citizens harness technology to offer up solutions to problems in their communities.

“What if there were a way to transform complaints into something positive and productive? What if we reframed the exchange to be less about adversity and more about cooperation and action? What if citizens were encouraged to offer their thoughts on how things from transit systems to city parks might be improved — as opposed to simply airing their grievances about all that was wrong with them?”

The article highlights the Give a Minute! initiative, created by Jake Barton’s media design firm Local Projects and launched recently in Chicago. Interestingly, it is quite different from conventional crowdsourcing:

At first glance, the endeavor does feel like just another version of the often-overrated concept of crowd-sourcing, which aspires to gather together the collective brilliance of those most qualified to solve complex problems but rarely does. Give a Minute did spring from an open exploration into existing open-source and crowd-sourcing platforms, but realized the general emphasis on finding the most revolutionary idea amidst the multitudes wasn’t quite right. Says Barton, “At meetings, Carol would say, ‘What are the experts not figuring out? What are these new silver bullets that trained professionals aren’t coming up with?’ It’s not about inventing new ideas but having those ideas phrased and framed by the public so it doesn’t feel like [the solution] is being dropped down from above.”

“It’s about people in a specific neighborhood saying let’s put in a garden here,” Barton continues. “I’d say it’s a more nuanced approach to crowd-sourcing, less the winner-takes-all model but rather getting a group to rally around something specific. The entire process is designed for maximum participation to some kind of constructive end. The basic idea was to reinvent public participation for the 21st century.”

Read article

24 November 2010

Governments benefit from embracing new technologies to engage with citizens

Kelly Dempski
Governments around the world must continue to embrace social media and other new technologies because besides empowering citizens new technologies bring in a “myriad of benefits” for the public sector as well, argues Kelly Dempski of Accenture Technology Labs on eGov Monitor.

For the government, he claims, this new paradigm offers a myriad benefits. For example:
– Reduced cost per engagement
– More opportunities for people to help each other
– More directed mouthpiece to the citizens
– More direct connection with the community and their interests
– More knowledge about who they’re talking to
– Multimedia sharing
– Opportunity for citizens to develop mashups and other applications to support the government’s efforts

Read article