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Posts in category 'Public services'

10 July 2011

Service design, a strong strategy for local authorities

Service design in Flanders
Design Flanders ["Design Vlaanderen"] and the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (both in Belgium) have just published a bilingual Dutch-English booklet entitled “Service design, a strong strategy for local authorities[Dutch title: "Service design, een sterke strategie voor het lokale bestuur"] – based on a seminar in Antwerp on 7 December 2010.

Abstract

Eighty-five percent of everything that local authorities are tasked with is in relation to service provision: personalised services such as in the Department of Civil Affairs and the Leisure Activities department, social services in the social centre or the OCMW (Public Social Assistance Centre), but also community services through the local services centre, domestic refuse collection service, services to ensure safety and so on. It is, therefore, not an exaggeration to say that good, customer-oriented services are a priority for every local authority.

Service Design provides a powerful strategy for improving these services. This is why the Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten (VVSG, Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities) wants to put the spotlight on this relatively new discipline. This method appeals to the VVSG because of its integrated approach to service provision and the cooperative and participatory method of working together with the users and staff members of a particular service.

Service Design is a method of listening properly, while simultaneously being a method of working to reach solutions relatively quickly and in a manner that is highly visual and comprehensible for all. This is what emerged from all the statements and presentations at the seminar organised by the VVSG and Design Flanders in Antwerp on 7 December 2010, which has resulted in this report.

All articles are available in Dutch and English – here is the English table of contents:

Foreword
by Kris Peeters [Minister-President of the Flemish Government]

Foreword
by Ingrid Vandenhoudt, consultant, Design Flanders
and Jan Van Alsenoy, director, communication service, Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities

Antwerp’s single-brand strategy
by Patrick Janssens, Mayor of Antwerp

Antwerp police station reception area’s restyling
by Peter Muyshondt, chief superintendent, Antwerp Police Zone

Restyling of Antwerp district houses and city offices
by Maxime Seif, business manager, MAXIMALdesign design agency
and Paul Van Steenvoort, operations manager district and counter services, City of Antwerp

Service design toolkit
by Kristel Van Ael, creative director, Namahn design agency
and Caroline Van Cauwelaert, service design consultant, Yellow Window

Applied service design
by Bie Hinnekint, senior care department staff manager, OCMW (Public Social Assistance Centre), Ghent
and Véronique Dierinck, director of residential care centre De Liberteyt, OCMW, Chent

Det Gode Køkken [The Good Kitchen], Holstebro, Denmark
by Lotte Lyngsted Jepsen, innovation manager, Hatch & Bloom design agency
and Michael Keissner, managing director, Hatch & Bloom design agency

Authors [including all contact details]

Colofon

Download booklet [contains Dutch and English texts]

7 July 2011

Report: Behaviour Change and Energy Use

Behaviour Change and Energy Use
The Behavioural Insight Team of David Cameron’s Cabinet Office – widely known as the ‘nudge unit‘, has published the report, Behaviour Change and Energy Use, setting out how we can use behavioural insights to help people save energy and money. The report launches a series of trials and changes to (UK) government policy which will make it easier for individuals to green their homes and use less energy.

“This paper shows how government can make it easier for people to use energy more efficiently. It sets out a range of trials to test different ways of applying behavioural insights to overcome barriers to being more energy efficient. This research will help to ensure that government policy on energy efficiency will be as effective as possible in motivating behavioural change.

Chapter 1 sets out how we can encourage people to green their homes and be more energy efficient.
Chapter 2 focuses on how we can use information more effectively to encourage people to be more energy efficient. In particular, it explores how we can draw upon the fact that people are influenced by what those around them are doing (social norms), and are more likely to be influenced by information which is novel, accessible and of relevance to the individual in question.
Chapter 3 demonstrates how the Government has already done a great deal to achieve energy efficiency savings of its own. The Government set itself a target to reduce emissions from departments by 10% in just one year. The application of behavioural insights has helped the Government to surpass this objective, for example through changes to the default settings of heating and lighting systems. This chapter also recognises the work done by UK businesses, non-governmental organisations and other organisations, and sets out a new Responsibility Deal, whose aim is to encourage organisations to make public commitments to reduce energy use.

Taken together, these trials and reforms show how the Government is drawing on new evidence to encourage positive behaviours in ways that do not require a new legislative initiative or spending programme. We will evaluate their impact, and ensure that lessons learnt inform future policy.”

(via Dan Lockton)

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
 

8 June 2011

WHO report on mHealth

mHealth
The World Health Organisation has just issued a major (free) report on mHealth, entitled “mHealth: New horizons for health through mobile technologies“.

Abstract
Only five years ago who would have imagined that today a woman in sub-Saharan Africa could use a mobile phone to access health information essential to bringing her pregnancy safely to term? Mobile phones are now the most widely used communication technology in the world. They continue to spread at an exponential rate – particularly in developing countries. This expansion provides unprecedented opportunities to apply mobile technology for health. How are mobile devices being used for health around the world? What diverse scenarios can mHealth be applied in and how effective are these approaches? What are the most important obstacles that countries face in implementing mHealth solutions? This publication includes a series of detailed case studies highlighting best practices in mHealth in different settings. The publication will be of particular interest to policymakers in health and information technology, as well as those in the mobile telecommunications and software development industries.

According to the Guardian, the reports “finds that 83% out of 122 countries surveyed use mobile phone technology for services that include free emergency calls, text messaging with pill reminders and health information and transmission of tests and lab results. Mobile health is already firmly established enough for the WHO to have set up a special unit five years ago, the Global Observatory for eHealth, staffed by four people in Geneva.”

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

Study: people with access to power meter data reduce energy use

Energy use
The simplest way to cut down on energy use isn’t to build millions of brand-new LEED-certified buildings; it’s to convince people to make changes themselves. And sometimes, having access to energy consumption data–and a friendly nudge to compete with neighbors–is enough to get people to do just that.

According to the Behavior and Energy Savings study by the Environmental Defense Fund and energy-management software company OPower, Americans who get better power meter data (from both regular and smart meters) cut energy consumption by an average of 1.8% in the first year.

Read article

24 May 2011

Low2No Camp

Low2No
Low2No Camp is a strategic design workshop curated by think tank Demos Helsinki. In Low2No Camp thirty carefully chosen urbanists come together to create groundbreaking projects. The key players of Helsinki’s people-driven urban culture are here to take our thinking on what good life in cities can be to a new level and document it on this blog.

Urban culture – doing things together, trying out and evaluating later, joining in – is key to building those better places to live. Low2No is Finland´s flagship project on low-carbon happiness. Through designing differently and doing things together we show how the future can be brighter and smarter. Low2No is an initiative of Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, and Experientia is actively working there on the behavioural change for sustainability strategy.

Low2No Camp happens in two parts. The first part takes place in DMY Berlin International Design Festival (1-5 June 2011), where the group is an exhibitor in the Maker Lab-section. On the way to Berlin and back to Helsinki they workshop and take their ideas to the next level. In the second part that happens in Helsinki we will make the ideas in to reality.

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.

19 May 2011

Compendium for the Civic Economy

Compendium for the Civic Economy
The Compendium for the Civic Economy is the latest publication by NESTA, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative). It showcases 25 trailblazing ideas that are transforming local places and economies across the UK.

Abstract

Against the context of rapid economic, social and environmental change, a collective reflection is taking place on how to build more sustainable routes to share prosperity. In the meantime, an increasing number and wide range of change-makers have already found ways to imagine and grow a different economy in our cities, towns, neighbourhoods and villages.

This publication presents 25 case studies of the civic economy – rooted in age-old traditions of the associational economy but using new organising tactics, ways of connecting with people and approaches to collaborative investment.

They show that the civic economy is already a real, vital and growing part of many places, which actively contributes to community resilience, everyday innovation and shared prosperity. They also reveal how local leaders – that is, all those working together to improve places and their economies, whether in the public, private or third sector – can create the fertile ground for the civic economy to flourish and grow. Most importantly, the remarkable achievements of these 25 trailblazers show why we need to get better at understanding and recognising the role of civic entrepreneurship and enable it to turn ideas into action and impact.

11 May 2011

Macro design for nation building

Uday Dandavate
In his paper “MacroDesign for Nation Building“, Uday Dandavate, founder and CEO of SonicRim Ltd., elaborates on the concept of MacroDesign, a public policy perspective in understanding the role of design and design thinking.

This article is written with the purpose of drawing the attention of policy makers – politicians, government officials, and public policy consultants – to a new way of improving how citizens interface with public institutions, services, infrastructures,and processes.

As the design community in India is mobilizing ideas to co-create a new vision for the expansion of its design education infrastructure, this article aims to help public officials better appreciate the contemporary relevance of design in conjunction with two other practices that have received greater attention and public investment: invention and innovation. Understanding the interrelationship between the three practices will help policy makers plan for and boost creative energy nationwide.

The concept of Macro Design provides a public policy perspective in understanding the role of design and design thinking.

Check also Dandavate’s paper “MacroDesign with Denmark” where he describes how Denmark is about to establish an Innovationcenter in Asia to facilitate closer cooperation between Asia and Denmark for strategic innovation and design and on Denmark’s unique potential as a partner country in the global arena.

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

20 April 2011

How smartphones can improve public transit

Train wait
An interesting study of commuters in Boston and San Francisco found people are more willing to ride the bus or train when they have tools to manage their commutes effectively. The study asked 18 people to surrender their cars for one week. The participants found that any autonomy lost by handing over their keys could be regained through apps providing real-time information about transit schedules, delays and shops and services along the routes.

Though the sample size is small, the researchers dug deep into participants’ reactions. The results could have a dramatic effect on public transportation planning, and certainly will catch the attention of planners and programmers alike. By encouraging the development of apps that make commuting easier, transit agencies can drastically, and at little cost, improve the ridership experience and make riding mass transit more attractive.

Read article

19 April 2011

EU recommendations on privacy protection in smart meters

EUJustice
The European Union’s Working Party on Data Protection has issued five recommended requirements for the protection of personal privacy in a time of Smart Meters in the home (pdf), outlining what needs to happen in order to gain the benefits of Smart Metering data while minimizing the risk and cost to personal privacy.

The Working Group’s recommendations:

  • Electricity consumption data should be treated as Personal Information, because it can be traced back to an individual person. Europeans treat Personal Information very seriously, sometimes arguably at the expense of technological innovation.
  • Push-button consent: the Working Group recommends that Smart Meter providers develop easy buttons that consumers can push to grant or remove consent that their data be shared with anyone who seeks to offer them enhanced services.
  • The social good is not always the primary consideration. “The imperative to reduce energy consumption,” writes the Working Group, “although it might be a sensible public policy objective, does not override data subjects’ rights and interests in every case.”
  • Personal data collected should be kept to a minimum as required to fulfill services offered – and be deleted as soon as possible except in cases where the electricity consumer has requested services like annual comparisons of consumption.
  • Privacy by Design: “Security should also be designed in at the early stage as part of the architecture of the network rather than added on later.”

Read article (ReadWriteWeb)

7 April 2011

Book: Sentient City

Sentient City
Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space
Edited by Mark Shepard
Paperback, 200 pages, 2011
MIT Press in copublication with the Architectural League of New York
(Amazon link)

Abstract
Our cities are “smart” and getting smarter as information processing capability is embedded throughout more and more of our urban infrastructure. Few of us object to traffic light control systems that respond to the ebbs and flows of city traffic; but we might be taken aback when discount coupons for our favorite espresso drink are beamed to our mobile phones as we walk past a Starbucks. Sentient City explores the experience of living in a city that can remember, correlate, and anticipate. Five teams of architects, artists, and technologists imagine a variety of future interactions that take place as computing leaves the desktop and spills out onto the sidewalks, streets, and public spaces of the city.

“Too Smart City” employs city furniture as enforcers: a bench ejects a sitter who sits too long, a sign displays the latest legal codes and warns passersby against transgression, and a trashcan throws back the wrong kind of trash. “Amphibious Architecture” uses underwater sensors and lights to create a human-fish-environment feedback loop; “Natural Fuse” uses a network of “electronically assisted” plants to encourage energy conservation; “Trash Track” follows smart-tagged garbage on its journey through the city’s waste-management system; and “Breakout” uses wireless technology and portable infrastructure to make the entire city a collaborative workplace.

These projects are described, documented, and illustrated by 100 images, most in color. Essays by prominent thinkers put the idea of the sentient city in theoretical context.

Case studies by David Benjamin, Soo-in Yang, and Natalie Jeremijenko; Haque Design + Research; SENSEable City Lab; David Jimison and JooYoun Paek; and Anthony Townsend, Antonina Simeti, Dana Spiegel, Laura Forlano, and Tony Bacigalupo

Essays by Martijn de Waal, Keller Easterling, Matthew Fuller, Anne Galloway, Dan Hill, Omar Khan, Saskia Sassen, Trebor Scholz, Hadas Steiner, Kazys Varnelis, and Mimi Zeiger

Mark Shepard is Assistant Professor of Architecture and Media Study at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, and an editor of the Situated Technologies pamphlet series, published by the Architecture League of New York.

(via Stowe Boyd)

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.

9 March 2011

Sitra’s Marco Steinberg on Low2No project

Ecobuild
Last week Experientia participated in Ecobuild 2011 (London, UK) to showcase its work in user-centred sustainable design for the built environment, and in particular its experience of Low2No, a major low-to-no carbon impact development in Helsinki Harbour, Finland.

The Low2No project is run by Sitra, the Finnish innovation fund, and Marco Steinberg, Sitra’s head of strategic design, made a strong case study presentation about Low2No at Ecobuild.

Experientia’s contribution to the Low2No project is to understand contexts, habits and beliefs that influence sustainable change in behaviour and design solutions that offer people control over their consumption and allow them to see the effects of their actions on the environment.

Renewable energy, smart grids and sustainable technologies will only make an impact if we also address the underlying behavioural issues of our energy use. Rather than individual smart meter designs, Experientia is therefore working on integrated demand management solutions, that is, a holistic approach in which advanced smart meters actually become an access point for social networking tools and services in the community, by offering things like bookings, deliveries, schedules for communal services, and information about public transport solutions.

At Low2No, Experientia applies its user research methods to evaluate the impact of the architectural and design choices on residents’ behaviours.

Experientia also led the mixed use planning of a regional and seasonal food hub offering a restaurant, cafe and natural/organic supermarket, an eco laundry and a communal sauna for the Low2No block. Engaging prospective residents early in various stages of the design of service and residential design, helped to understand people needs, desire, fears and expectations. This helped in addressing issues such as multi-story timber construction, natural vs centralized/decentralized ventilation systems, flexible layout of living spaces and the planning of smart systems to reduce residential carbon footprints in the post-occupancy phase.

Experientia researched the user requirements for smart systems to design smart home assistants:
– provide contextual real-time feedback
– analyse personal consumption (energy, water, waste…)
– incentivise reduced consumption through social reward systems
– integrate controls – holistic approach
– design intuitive and meaningful interface controls

We will soon post more extensive background information on our Low2No experience, approaches and learnings.

Listen to Marco Steinberg presentation (audio file recorded by Mark Vanderbeeken)

7 February 2011

SEE conference looks at Europe’s design future

SEE Conference
Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken will be heading to his home country of Belgium in March 2011, to chair the SEE conference on integrating design into regional and national policies.

The SEE project has been running since 2008, and has involved a series of workshops with policy-makers on themes such as design in innovation policy, design for sustainability, evaluating the return on design investment and bringing innovative ideas to market through design.

The SEE conference is the project’s final event, and will provide delegates with an overview of design’s role in innovation, recent design policy developments in Europe and examples of successful design policies and promotion programmes. It also aims to review the next steps to be undertaken at European level in relation to design and innovation.

The conference, which will take place at the Flemish Parliament in Brussels on 29 March, will be opened by Polish MEP, Jan Olbrycht (wikipedia), with reflections on design as part of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Bryan Boyer, from the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, will also be among the speakers, talking about Design as a Government capability. Sitra is the funding body for the Low2No project in Helsinki, Finland. Together with engineering firm Arup, and architectural firm Sauerbruch Hutton, Experientia is working on building a city commercial and residential block with low to no carbon emissions, where people will be able to live enjoyable, sustainable lifestyles. The project aims to prototype some of the technologies and even behaviours that will need to be integrated with legislation and government policy in the future, to create effective sustainable building design by the European Union’s 2020 deadline.

Other highlights from the conference include:

Design as part of innovation policy in a global context
Gavin Cawood / Operations Director, Design Wales, UK

Making design policy happen in Denmark: the journey since 1997
Anders Byriel / CEO of Kvadrat, Chairman, Danish Design Council, Denmark

Innovate and integrate: Design support for companies in New Zealand
Judith Thompson / Director, Better by Design, New Zealand

Service Design Toolkit : a design strategy for public services
Caroline Van Cauwelaert, Yellow Window, Belgium
Kristel Van Ael, Namahn, Belgium

Design policy in practice: innovative strategies for local authorities in Flanders
Patrick Janssens (wikipedia) / Mayor of Antwerp, Belgium
Jan Van Alsenoy / Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities, Belgium

EU Design and Innovation Initiative: What’s next for design in Europe?
Christine Simon / European Commission DG Enterprise and Industry, EU

The achievements of the SEE project over the last three years will also be presented at the conference, along with 11 short films about design policy developments in the SEE partner countries. Delegates will also receive a ‘Service Design Toolkit’.

The conference, which is organised by Design Flanders with support from Design Wales (lead partner of the SEE project), is a free event, but delegates are required to register.