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Putting People First

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Posts in category 'Public services'

31 May 2013

Smart cities and smart citizens

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For future smart cities to thrive, it must be centred around people, not just infrastructure. This was the overwhelming message from a group of influential thinkers speaking at this year’s FutureEverything Summit. sustain’ went along to find out what smart-city planners can learn from bottom-up approaches.

“It seems global corporations and the large-scale technology platforms they offer and promote seem to be at odds with many of the localised, small-scale technology projects showcased at the Summit and, indeed, the interests of citizens themselves. And if there was one stark warning that emerged from the Summit for city leaders thinking about investing in smart-city technology, it was ignore your citizens at your peril. [...]”

The city is what it is because of the people. [...]

In many ways, social media has created a new interface for the city and how its citizens interact with it. Citizens have the opportunity to try something out, such as a pop-up café – and multiply it through social media and feedback via bespoke apps: physical activity and digital activity in harmony. Yet this appears to be contrary to the thinking behind many current smart systems which merely deliver information in order to change attitudes and behaviour. [...]

Citizens are quite obviously embracing new technologies – but it isn’t always for reasons of efficiency: it’s about sociability; it’s about transparency; it’s about culture; and it’s also about fun – gaming and entertainment. Furthermore, a one-size-fits-all approach to smart cities will not easily work in an age where, even at the most basic level, apps designed for specific spaces or cities are prevalent on most mobile phones. Bespoke solutions will be required.”

22 May 2013

Smart citizens make smart cities, a talk by Dan Hill

 

“We have the technology to do anything. To make things happen you need to turn to design and redesign the context, the decision making and the question.” – Dan Hill, CEO of Fabrica, figured out that smart citizens are necessary to make smart cities. The institutions are collapsing, we have to decide on our own!

He spoke about all this at the end of April at Next Berlin.

Dan Hill is CEO of Fabrica, a communications research centre and transdisciplinary studio based in Treviso, Italy. A designer and urbanist, he has previously held leadership positions at Sitra (the Finnish Innovation Fund), Arup, Monocle, and the BBC. He is strategic design advisor for Domus magazine, as well as blogging at cityofsound.com.

Dan Hill will be the second speaker at Experientia’s Talking Design lecture series now co-organized with three other companies and organizations: Deltatre, GranStudio and ITC-ILO. The talk will be at the beginning of July and we will announce it here very soon.

10 May 2013

‘Open Data’ brings potential and perils for governments

 

Governments and public officials are rushing to embrace the concept of Open Data, throwing open the vast panoply of publicly collected information for the digitally savvy to mine and exploit, writes Ben Rooney in the Wall Street Journal.

However, the use of government data throws up many issues surrounding privacy, policy-making and the uses to which the data has been put. These need to be tackled before simply opening up these digital to all comers.

Some remarkable quotes:

“Anonymized personal data has to be treated as personal data and not open data.”

“The main problem with correlation is that if you look at enough data you can find correlations in almost anything.”

“It is very dicey when you start talking about causation… You know, we have real problems to solve.”

10 May 2013

Libraries: a canvas for creating meaningful UX

library-ux-small

Amanda L. Goodman is the User Experience Librarian at Darien Library in Connecticut. In this article for UX Magazine, she writes about her experience as a librarian in the USA:

“Across the country, libraries are providing services and crafting experiences that make patrons’ visits meaningful and pleasurable. The focus has changed from providing books and reference services to user experience—a change that has been partially facilitated in recent years by the economic downturn.

User experience is an important tool for libraries to employ against a number of competitors like bookstores and at-home Internet access. Libraries have taken this as an opportunity to provide services that are not available elsewhere. The strategy to focus on users and their needs has earned libraries strong support from the public as demonstrated by a recent Pew Internet study: an overwhelming 91% of Americans “say public libraries are important to their communities.”

2 May 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Press release

16 April 2013

Videos online of March 2013 Healthcare Experience Design conference

hxd

On March 25, the Healthcare Experience Design (HxD) conference took place in Boston. Speakers discussed how human centered design and design thinking can improve the quality of health service delivery and digital interactions, helping all of us achieve better health.

Videos of all sessions are now online.
 

PLENARY SESSIONS

Opening Address [14:32]
Amy Cueva, Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer, Mad*Pow

Evolving Health IT User Experience: The View from DC [No video yet]
Ryan Panchadsaram, Senior Advisor to the US CTO, The White House
Jacob Reider, ONC HIT, US Dept of Health and Human Services
While federal government’s meaningful use incentive program accelerated the adoption of technology in hospitals and medical offices across the United States, users of these systems express concern about their usability and safety. This session will provide a glimpse of the Federal efforts to help health IT designers & developers bridge the gap between where they are and where their users wish them to be.

Opening Keynote: Sneaking Up Sideways on Behavior Change [36:08]
Jane McGonigal, author, inventor, co-founder, Reality is Broken, SuperBetter
Jane McGonigal is a world-renowned creator of alternate reality games, or games designed to solve real problems and improve players’ real lives.

Health Behavior Change and Beyond: The Health Benefits of Success Experiences [35:38]
Dr. David Sobel, Medical Director of Patient Education and Health Promotion, Kaiser Permanente
While sustained behavior and lifestyle changes can lead to improved health outcomes, there may be another pathway to health. Namely, the increased sense of confidence and control that comes from being successful at changing ANY behavior, even if the change is not sustained, can also improve health outcomes. Learn how to avoid the tyranny of prescribed failure experiences. Learn how to prescribe success by aligning with passions, discovering patient-generated solutions, and celebrating success.

The Happiness Project: Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun [27:46]
Gretchen Rubin, Author, The Happiness Project
Gretchen has a wide, enthusiastic following, and her idea for a “happiness project” no longer describes just a book or a blog; it’s a movement. Happiness Project groups have sprung up from Los Angeles to Enid, Oklahoma to Boston, where people meet to discuss their own happiness projects. More than a dozen blogs have been launched by people who are following Gretchen’s example. On her companion website, the Happiness Project Toolbox, enthusiastic readers track and share their own happiness projects.

Closing Keynote [36:22]
Jamie Heywood, Co-founder, Chairman, Patients Like Me
Jamie’s scientific and business innovations have been transforming the intersection of biotechnology and pharmaceutical development, personalized medicine, and patient care.
As chairman of PatientsLikeMe, Jamie provides the scientific vision and architecture for its patient- centered medical platform.
 

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Theme: Behavioral change

Systems for Self-Regulation [29:56]
Dustin DiTommaso, VP User Experience, Mad*Pow
By better understanding the factors that govern self-regulation of human behavior, we can begin to design products and services that more reliably facilitate healthy changes in behavior.

How to Design User Habits [27:06]
Nir Eyal, Consultant
In an age of ever-increasing distractions, quickly creating customer habits is an important characteristic of successful products. How do companies create products people use every day? What are the secrets of building services customers love? How can designers create products compelling enough to “hook” users?

Theme: Team Dynamics

Playing Nice: Facilitating Multi-disciplinary Teams to Create Better Holistic Experiences [34:21]
Toi Valentine, Experience Designer, Adaptive Path
In this talk, Toi explores the challenges that come with collaboration within a traditional organizational culture and some creative methods and strategies to overcome those obstacles.

Influence Mapping in Healthcare: How information design and organizational dynamics can improve the quality of health communication [31:27]
Dante Murphy, Global Experience Director, Digitas Health
This discussion will demonstrate how applying the techniques of influence mapping in organizational Dynamics and information design can help discover the points of failure in healthcare interactions and address them with appropriate content, tools, and techniques.

The Embedded Designer: How to Make Designers an Integral Part of Your Team [28:12]
Cassie McDaniel, Design Lead, Healthcare Human Factors, University Health Network
This session will outline how to lay down the infrastructure for designer and clinician collaboration by sharing case studies, challenges, opportunities, and tips and tricks, particularly from the lens of the largest human factors design team in the world devoted to health.

Theme: Health Literacy and Public Health

Reader-Centered Design for Health Communication [29:12]
Sandy Hilfiker, Principal and Director of User-Centered Design, Communicate Health Inc.
Molly McLeod, Creative Director, Communicate Health Inc.
The presenters have designed and tested health Web sites and interactive tools using the strategies outlined in Health Literacy Online (edited by CommunicateHealth co-founders). The presentation will include examples and case studies, with a focus on content developed for audiences with limited health literacy skills.

Where We Are: Designing the Environment for Health Impact [No video yet]
Andre Blackman, Founder, Pulse + Signal
Seamlessly integrating health into what citizens are already doing (e.g. not more health posters) is what will help shape the future of health.

Inclusion by Design [27:02]
Dr. Ivor Horn, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s National Medical Center and George Washington University School of Medicine
Social media and mobile technology are disrupting the way patients and health systems interact and our expectations of how individuals and systems manage health and wellness in addition to illness. As early adopters, minority populations, who suffer from some of the greatest health disparities, are positioned to take a lead in leveraging innovations to improve their health outcomes. However, it is important that we discuss ways for companies and developers to partner with underserved populations and the providers who care for them to create solutions that are applicable and relevant to the realities of the environment (economic, social and physical) in which they live.

Theme: Methods for Research, Strategy & Design

Research and Design Methods in Healthcare [1:04:03]
Megan Grocki, Experience Design Director, Mad*Pow
Adam Connor, Experience Design Director, Mad*Pow
Michael Hawley, Chief Design Officer, Mad*Pow
Designing experiences that are elegant, simple, intuitive and valuable is hard. Organizations often have a difficult time coming to consensus around design decisions or leveraging outside perspective and research into their design process. In healthcare, the complex web of patient behavior, regulatory systems, and multiple players make the design process that much more challenging. In this fast-paced session, we share our experiences designing for the multiple facets of healthcare experiences. We discuss core research and design methods that help overcome organizational barriers to good design, and review research and design methods that work for patient, provider, insurer and other players in healthcare specifically.

The C-Factor: Boosting Your Content’s Clout [29:40]
Colleen Jones, Principal, Content Science
Getting strategic about content for your website or mobile application starts with analysis. Would a doctor prescribe a solution without first conducting a thorough exam? Of course not! In the same way, your organization can’t fix its content problems or make the most of its content opportunities without taking a close look at your content situation.

Theme: Well-being: Foundation for Health

Stress is the New Fat [29:12]
Jan Bruce, Founder, CEO, meQuilibrium
Stress is the #1 inhibitor to people adopting healthy behavior changes like diet and fitness. Stress costs employers $300 billion each year in healthcare expenses and absenteeism. One in 4 adults now characterize their stress as high or severe, and 80% understand that, left unattended, stress is making them ill, overweight, unproductive and with a diminished quality of life. This session will cover the common misperceptions about stress and its significance in behavior change; and then explain how stress can be managed in new ways, which give important clues to helping people with other behavior change issues.

Vulnerability is an issue like never before… is it treatable? [27:24]
Alexandra Drane, Founder, Chief Visionary Officer and Chair of the Board, Eliza Corporation
Join our session to better understand how we can help measure Vulnerability in actionable ways, develop solutions based on successful models outside the traditional healthcare space, and then analyze the results of these interventions to determine whether or not this pervasive condition is in fact, treatable.

Calming Technology [27:34]
Neema Moraveji, Director, Calming Technology Lab, Stanford University
As interactive experiences pervade everyday life, the potential for stress and anxiety increases. How can we utilize the power of interactive tools without sacrificing our sanity? The answer lies in a dual-pronged approach: (1) cultivating contemplative and calming practices in our personal lives and (2) increasing awareness of designers to mitigate stressors in interactive products. In this talk I will discuss our research from the Calming Technology Lab at Stanford University towards this aim.

Theme: Patient Stories

Preventing Nightmare Patient Experiences Like Mine [21:28]
Richard Anderson, Principal Consultant, Riander
Richard will detail some of his nightmare patient story, some of what was responsible for it, and some of the implications for how healthcare experience designers and researchers need to work.

Live a Full Life with Chronic Illness [24:00]
Nina Gilmore, Principle UX Designer, Oracle Corporation
Nina will share her experience as a patient and adventurer in the world of healthcare. She’s been poked and prodded, helped and harmed, treated sometimes with compassion and sometimes with indifference. As a designer, she is passionate about opportunities to create experiences more conducive to healing and hope. She’ll talk about what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, and she’ll share her curious experiences on this journey.

When the Designer is a Patient: A View from the Inside [30:59]
Samantha LeVan, Senior User Experience Designer, Mayo Clinic
Patient experience researchers are trained to minimize the influence of personal opinions on the design of a product or service, but when the researcher is also a patient, those personal experiences may be difficult to set aside. In this talk, Samantha will share how being a cancer patient has shaped the direction of her user experience design career and highlight a few tricks to using personal experience as an advantage, rather than a hindrance to patient-centered design.

Patient Innovators and Instigators [31:43]
Katie McCurdy, Experience Design Consultant, Mad*Pow
Meet these bold patients who are creatively using the tools at their disposal to take control of their healthcare. This panel brings together patients who have ‘hacked’ their own healthcare to improve communication, connect the dots between their providers, and generally create a more satisfying patient experience. These problem-solving trailblazers give us a glimpse into a future of highly informed, connected and empowered patients – so we’d be smart to listen to them now.

“…but a sword:” Art, Icons and Medical Advocacy< [24:43]
Regina Holliday, Founder, Patient Artist Activist, The Walking Gallery of Healthcare
Description TBD.

Theme: Consumer Expectations

The Digital Revolution: Leveraging the Consumer Journey to Deliver Transformative Health Experiences [30:27]
Brian Tilzer, Chief Digital Officer, CVS Caremark
Digital trends are changing consumers- expectations of the interactions they have with the healthcare system, and pharmacies sit at the forefront of this transformation. Empowered customers are increasingly managing their own care using an array of digital tools and now have access to technology everywhere they go. To stay relevant, health care companies must adapt their customer experiences to these new ways of doing business.

The #NEXT Generation of Healthcare [25:16]
Sean Brennan, Senior Envisioner, Continuum
As patient satisfaction starts to matter more and more, healthcare services will need to figure out how to deliver for this audience – what attributes does Gen Y seek in its experiences and services? What can we learn from sectors outside of healthcare about what this next generation of healthcare consumers are going to demand from their healthcare experiences? And ultimately, what does that mean for design?

HxD: from the Big Picture to Painting by Numbers [30:09]
Rodrigo Martinez, Life Sciences Chief Strategist, IDEO
Designing better experiences in healthcare is complex, difficult and often overwhelming. What if we were to build these experiences bottom-up, from isolated touch points and principles towards a cohesive system? How might we apply simple lessons from great experiences in other industries?

Theme: Care Experiences

Case studies [32:28]
Jeff Stevens, Web Content Optimizer, University of Florida Academic Health Center on building an integrated patient-focused website for the University of Florida Academic Health Center
Chris Herot, CEO and Co-Founder, SBR Health on how SBR health has created a video communication web services model to support healthcare designers who are incorporating today’s low cost and cloud-based televideo technologies into their own applications
Valerie Mais, Project Lead, Center for Innovation in Complex Care, University Health Network on implementing new ways to capture and display patient experience, care quality, efficiency and interprofessional team “health” in meaningful ways for frontline healthcare providers.

Case Studies [30:27]
Jeanine Kierkels, Design Research Consultant, Philips Healthcare Design on experience design for labor and delivery
Brian Loew, CEO, Inspire on Inspire’s rare disease communities
Zen Chu, Medical Tech Entrepreneur & Investor, MIT on MIT’s H@ckingMedicine program.

Health Navigation [32:11]
Dan Brousseau, Partner, Emperia LLC
Dan’s talk describes how service at hospitals can help transform the overall experience. He describes of how a large unit within a major teaching hospital that he worked with is innovating the concept of service and support through ‘health navigation’ to engage patients and families at a deeper level and bring new value to their healthcare experiences. He provides strategic context for customer experience at hospitals and show how a technique called Experience Value Mapping can be used to examine and redefine the customer experience from the outside-in.

Breaking the Mold [29:56]
Jess Kadar, Principal Product Manager, Iora Health
Details coming soon.

Rethinking the Fertility Patient Journey [28:36]
Peter Eckert, Chief Experience Officer, Projekt 202
Kijana Knight, Senior User Experience Researcher, Projekt 202
Aliza Gold, Senior Experience Designer/Researcher, Projekt 202
The Reproductive Medicine Associates of Texas (RMA) is not the first client to engage projekt202 in the hopes of becoming better, faster, more efficient, and more creative in their approach to problem-solving and ways upon they offer their services; but they are the first to ask us to apply our processes and skills to finding solutions in physical and emotional space. We believe that our findings and the documentation we have begun to create in response to our observations and hypotheses offers an opportunity to begin a very fruitful dialogue between interaction designers and healthcare providers on how the principles of user-centered design can be applied to improve the experience of medical service for both patients and providers.

Theme: Design Innovation

From Malawi to Minnesota: Hyper-Local System Design and Global Scale [No video yet]
Christopher Fabian, Co-leader and Co-founder, Innovation Unit, Unicef
Bringing best practices from design and start-up culture to the world of development challenges is daunting – but allowing for failure, co-creating solutions, and recognizing that almost everything we build in New York does not, in the end, work in the field have forced us to be humble and look for ways to facilitate solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Design and Innovation: The Human Perspective [29:56]
Ryan Armbruster, VP, Innovation Competency. UnitedHealth Group
In this session, Ryan will share frameworks for explaining and understanding this interrelationship which have been effective at helping healthcare leaders grasp and pursue design and innovation effectively within their organizations. In addition, he will share recent examples of how UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest and most diversified companies in the healthcare industry, is applying design to enable more successful innovation.

Theme: Chronic Condition Management

Understanding Networks of Diabetes Care: A Research Framework for the Healthcare Innovation of Tomorrow [26:11]
Eilidh Dickson, Project Leader and Senior Interaction Designer, CIID Consulting
Helle Rohde Andersen, Interaction and Service Designer, CIID Consulting
Working with Novo Nordisk, CIID Consulting assembled a 360º view into the networks of care, that support diabetes patients. By approaching the research from a systemic level and studying a patient’s network of support rather than individuals in isolation, the result was a rich and emotional view into the complex interactions and relationships encompassing a patient’s journey with the condition.
This talk shows how a new research framework and information visualization methods can inspire you to tackle challenging healthcare issues in ways that will provoke new understanding and build user empathy.

Am I Normal? Findings from Research on Text Messaging for Women with Diabetes [28:35]
Janna Kimel, Senior User Experience Researcher, Regence
The session goes into detail about how to insert qualitative research into a quantitative environment, with best practices for getting answers from study participants. This discussion also reviews key findings about how to interact and message disparate populations, as well as the pros and cons of using text messaging to influence health outcomes.

Theme: Health Trends

Designing Work for Health and Profit [31:19]
Martin Adler, Co-Founder & Director of Product Management, Healthrageous
This session will address how cutting edge science and technology can be used to change behaviors and optimize workplace health. In doing so, we will define steps that individuals can take to improve their health and wellbeing immediately, how change makers and organizations can cut costs by improving the health of their workforce and how technology is revolutionizing the way we’ll work tomorrow.

28 March 2013

Is Open Government working?

opengov

In an insightful blog post, Reboot principal Panthea Lee asks if open government initiatives make citizens more informed and engaged, and make governments more accountable to their people? What impact have open government initiatives had so far?

Reboot is a USA-based service design firm working in the fields of global governance and development.

Four questions, she writes, might be worth considering for those working to measure and achieve impact in this space:

1. Who gains from Open Government?
Which populations have the access and motivation to use these channels? Frequently, programs and platforms privilege certain groups over others.

2. How do we reach “The Other Side”?
There are two sides to the open government coin: citizens and governments. The goal is to facilitate constructive dialogue between the two, but many projects seem to focus on one side or the other.

3. Can we do better than equating scale with success?
Replication and scale are not always appropriate indicators of success. The effectiveness of most open government initiatives will be context dependent. Replication requires programs to standardize as many elements of its models and activities as possible.

4. How do Open Government processes change people?
Open government initiatives seek to mobilize citizens and to motivate governments to respond. But what are the processes through which change occurs?

28 March 2013

What can ethnography bring to the study of deliberative democracy?

 

Open government initiatives offer new, often technologically enabled avenues for civic participation. But which populations have the access and motivation to use these channels? Frequently, programs and platforms privilege certain groups over others.

An ethnographic study of participatory budgeting in Rome (conducted by Julien Talpin of the University of Lille) found that participation skewed towards those who were already active in civic affairs and in relative positions of power. Sixty-three percent of participants were activists. White-collar workers and those over 50 were also over-represented.

Abstract

The study of the individual effects of participation has mainly focused on the impact of deliberation on actors’ preferences, mostly based on quantitative and experimental research. I argue here that ethnography, based on a praxeologic and process approach, can offer broader results on actors’ learning in participatory devices than the cognitive effects generally emphasized.

Grounded in a case-study of a participatory budget in Rome, the research shows participation allows learning new skills and civic habits but may also bring about a greater distrust with politics.

Explaining the learning process, the paper stresses the different learning potential of participatory institutions. A condition for the durability of the effects observed is that participation be repeated over time. This requires integration within the institution, which happens for only a few; the majority of participants being disappointed stop participating. Speaking the language of the institution, some participants are however integrated enough to acquire further civic skills and knowledge, and even to endure a politicization process.

Finally, the study of actors’ long-term trajectories allows drawing conclusions on the social conditions of civic bifurcation. Ethnography thereby allows grasping the long-term consequences of civic engagement.

25 March 2013

Human-centred systems innovation

hcsi

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

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

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

Other recent readings by MindLab:

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

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

14 March 2013

UK Government Service Design Manual

royal

The UK Government Service Design Manual provides a (draft) digital by default service standard, as well as guidance and tools for building world-class digital services.

The Government Digital Strategy set an ambitious target for teams building services: services so good that people prefer to use them.

(via InfoDesign)

13 March 2013

Design and public services

restartingbritain

Design and Public Services is the second publication in the UK Design Commission‘s ‘Restarting Britain’ series. The first set out the strategic importance of design education as a driver of economic renewal and growth. This 64-page report turns to the question of public service renewal.

In the context of politics and governing, the word ‘design’ is applied liberally – the design of legislation, the design of policy, the design of public services – with little thought as to the significance of the word itself. Here the Design Commission shifts its focus to that word ‘design’, and explore its potential for creating cost-effective public services in the 21st century. Part-polemic, part-manual, this report is the culmination of a nine month inquiry, and the Commission’s response to a substantially increased appetite for more information on the subject of design in public services.

Co-author Nat Hunter of The RSA writes: “Design can make a huge impact in public service but is not commonly used to do so. It is still often misunderstood as being all about posters and soft furnishings, and not seen as a discipline that has potential to create enormous change that is better for the end user and saves money to boot. Good design turns problems on its head and starts with walking in the shoes of the users, not with the problems of the providers. During the inquiry we heard many examples of how great design had created huge organisational change, bringing empathy and kindness into public service, bearing in mind inclusion and access at all times, and, of course, saving vast amounts of money.”

3 February 2013

Social Innovation Europe Magazine interviews Ezio Manzini

Ezio_Interview

For more than two decades Ezio Manzini has been working in the field of design for sustainability. Recently, he focused his interests on social innovation –he started, and currently coordinates, DESIS, an international network on design for social innovation and sustainability.

Throughout his professional life he worked at the Politecnico di Milano. Parallel to this, he has collaborated with several international schools, such as: Domus Academy (in the 90s), Hong Kong Polytechnic University (in 2000) and, currently, Tongji University (Shanghai), Jiangnan University (Wuxi), COPPE-UFRJ (Rio de Janeiro), and Parsons (New York).

Recent books include:

In 2012 he co-promoted Public & Collaborative NYC — a program of activities, developed by Parsons DESIS Lab and the Public Policy Lab in New York, to explore how public services can be improved by incorporating greater citizen collaboration in service design and implementation.

During the lengthy interview Manzini delves deeper into the essence of social innovation, and specifically what designers can do to support it:

“All the social innovation processes are design processes. And all the involved actors, adopting a design approach, are (consciously or not) designers.

If we take all of that as given, then the question is: if all the social innovation actors—“ordinary people” included—are de-facto designers, what is the role of the design experts and of their design community?

To make a long story short, we could say that the design experts’ role is is to use their expertise (that is, their specific design knowledge) to empower the other social actors’ design capabilities.” [...]

“It comes, in conclusion, that design for social innovation is what the design experts can do to trigger and support a more effective co-design processes.”

Also of interest is Manzini’s reflection on the role of public services, the State, and the European Union.

Luca De Biase alerts us also to an older interview with Manzini on Shareable.

20 December 2012

How technology has restored the soul of politics

Joe Trippi

Longtime political operative Joe Trippi advocates a bottom-up, people-centered politics, and cheers the innovations of Obama 2012, saying they restored the primacy of the individual voter.

“New technologies can manipulate, empower, or do both. There will be plenty of actors in both politics and business who will use the innovations of the Obama 2012 campaign as tools to manipulate people. But for me, right now, it feels as if technology has empowered people and given politics back its soul.”

20 December 2012

Design in the service of austerity

Garden tools

The UK government’s deficit reduction plan may fall short of its targets, prompting speculation that austerity measures will have to continue into the next parliament.

Local government officers who have already seen substantial cuts are now looking at a further 20%, and casting about for help in redesigning their organisations and services, aware that scaling back simply won’t go far enough.

Enter design.

A Design Commission inquiry (with the help of the Royal College of Art and Ideo) is now investigating whether design skills and design thinking might be able to respond to this demand.

13 December 2012

Charles Leadbeater on scaling and system innovation in public services

 

On 26 November MindLab, the Danish citizen-centric governmental innovation unit, invited Charles Leadbeater for its morning lecture series.

Leadbeater, a leading authority on innovation and creativity, talked about scaling and system innovation in public services.

MindLab is a cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society. They work with the civil servants in their three parent ministries: the Ministry of Business and Growth, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Employment. These three ministries cover broad policy areas that affect the daily lives of virtually all Danes. Entrepreneurship, climate change, digital self-service, citizen’s rights, emplyment services and workplace safety are some of the areas they address.

3 October 2012

How to create a cutting edge Smart City visitor experience

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A four step guide from the Milan Expo 2015:

Step 1
Ask your main sponsors (in this case Cisco, Enel and Telecom Italia) to indicate the relevant “Smart City” technologies that they already have, are currently working on, or are generally trendy.
In the Milan case these are push technology services, QR codes, smart phone apps, mapping services, RFID tags, biometric identification, security services, electronic walls, gestural interfaces, augmented reality (and eyewear), immersive virtual reality, 3D avatars, health tracking services, and foldable tablets.

Step 2
Agree with these sponsors to hire an advertising agency to develop a short video scenario of the Expo 2015 visitor experience, using all these technologies, and obviously adhering to the general vision and principles of the Expo.

Step 3 (VERY IMPORTANT):

  • DO NOT make it realistic by introducing context, such as the City of Milan, traffic, other digital services people might use, other people, or anyone who may not be familiar with smartphones, gestural interfaces, QR codes
  • DO NOT base your ideas on the actual behaviour of people – since it will be impossible to say how people might behave in 2015, any user research is distracting
  • DO NOT show any use that goes beyond what you can already do on a smartphone or website in 2012 – like navigating, browsing and communicating – and emphasize passive media consumption
  • DO NOT indicate that people (and small companies) can create their own bottom up services – as this might be a security risk

Inadvertently doing any of the above, will diminish the power of the perfect visitor experience you aim to create.

Step 4
Use this video in key presentations on your Smart City credentials and highlight how these services will resolve the key visitor experience problem that came to the fore during the recent Beijing expo: queues.

The result: Expo 2015 Smart City video (Italian version)

(I hope you capture my irony.)

14 September 2012

The age of data sharing (report)

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We live in an age of sharing. As consumers and online, we regularly share personal information, and generate new data through our browsing or purchasing history. Businesses and government are increasingly aware of the value of this information, which can result in better and cheaper services for customers, new sources of income for businesses and improved public services. But the question of who owns this information, and how it is collected, stored and used, is becoming a major consumer rights issue. It is crucial, therefore, that people are at the heart of any new settlement.

The Data Dialogue report (80 pages), released today by Demos UK, sets out the results of the largest ever poll of public attitudes on personal information and data-sharing. Based on a representative sample of 5,000 adults, the report finds a growing crisis in consumer confidence over how government and business handle personal data, and discomfort about the way in which personal information and data are currently being used.

The report argues that this loss of confidence could have a knock-on effect on the economy and on the quality of services available to consumers. However, it also finds that views about sharing change when people are given more control and choice about what data is shared, and when the benefit of sharing that data is made clear to them. It therefore suggests that consumers should be engaged in an honest dialogue about how data are collected and used, and be given meaningful choice and control over the information they share. That will be good for business and consumers alike.

4 September 2012

MindLab, Denmark’s cross-ministerial innovation unit

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MindLab is a Danish cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society. It is also a physical space – a neutral zone for inspiring creativity, innovation and collaboration.

They work with the civil servants in three parent ministries: the Ministry of Business and Growth, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Employment. These three ministries cover broad policy areas that affect the daily lives of virtually all Danes. Entrepreneurship, climate change, digital self-service, citizen’s rights, emplyment services and workplace safety are some of the areas they address.

Working with user-centred innovation requires a systematic approach to what needs to be investigated plus a wide variety of methodologies. MindLab’s methodologies are anchored in design-centred thinking, qualitative research and policy development, with the aim of including the reality experienced by both the public and businesses into the development of new public-sector solutions.

Their work is based on a process model which consists of seven phases: project focus, learning about the users, analysis, idea and concept development, concept testing, the communication of results and impact measurement.

MindLab is instrumental in helping the ministry’s key decision-makers and employees view their efforts from the outside-in, to see them from a citizen’s perspective. They use this approach as a platform for co-creating better ideas.

MindBlog, MindLab’s blog, is very rich in content and worth delving into. The keywords are: citizen-centred innovation, anthropological methods, service design, public development, communication, idea and concept development, innovation strategy and cross-institutional collaboration.

2 September 2012

Focus on service design – in UK and in Italy

 

Earlier this year, the UK Design Council and the Arts & Humanities Research Council conducted a wide ranging review of the place of design research in UK universities, and its connection with businesses and policymakers. The aim was to identify future areas for research funding, and new and innovative ways of bringing research and industry together to contribute their ideas.

The findings from the initial scoping study indicated that a focus on service design is of the utmost importance, as it is an interesting field both in the design profession and in academic research, and one in which there is considerable opportunity for engagement with business:

“In relation to the UK design industry and the disciplines that we reviewed, we think it would be fair to say that the area that is perhaps most neglected is the developing sector and discipline of service design. It was certainly the area most regularly cited as in need of attention across all of the stakeholder research that we have conducted, but also has the potential to make major contributions to innovation and to major challenges such as health and sustainability.”

We believe that it is bringing together economists, design businesses and design researchers in multidisciplinary teams that will generate evidence that can fill some of the gaps currently seen in the literature.”

The Design Council will now conduct a study of service design that will conclude in November.

Italy

In Italy, there is a strong tradition of service design at academic level, with high-level English language Masters programmes at Domus Academy (directed by Elena Pacenti) and at the Milan Polytechnic (directed by Anna Meroni).

But too few of the students end up working as service designers in Italy, and despite good initiatives such as Feeding Milano (LIFT conference video), the impact of these programmes on public services is still scarce.

We at Experientia contribute to making that change happen, having hired former students from both programmes and also recruited their interns. They work with Italian and global players in multi-disciplinary and evidence-based projects, as recommended by the Design Council scoping study. Experientia partners Jan-Christoph Zoels and Mark Vanderbeeken also taught service design this Spring at resp. Domus and the Polytechnic, eager to inspire future positive change in the Italian context.

14 August 2012

Care at a Distance : On the Closeness of Technology

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Care at a Distance : On the Closeness of Technology
By Jeannette Pols
Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam
2012, 204 pages

This widely researched study demonstrates convincingly that neither grandiose promises nor nightmare scenarios have much to do with actual care practices employing telecare.

Combining detailed ethnographic studies of nurses and patients involved in telecare with a broad theoretical frameworky from various disciplines, the author concludes that these practices leads to more rather than less intense caring relations, resulting from a spectacular raise in the frequency of contacts between nurses and patients.

Patients are much taken with this, not because they feel they are finally able to manage themselves, but because they can ‘leave things to the experts’. The patients find that caring is something that is best done for others.

The book frames urgent questions about the future of telecare and the ways in which innovative care practices can be built on facts rather than hopes, hypes or nightmares.

Jeannette Pols is a researcher at the Amsterdam Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam.

Download study (free)