counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'Scenarios'

27 September 2011

From mass consumerism to mass change: Hope for sustainable consumption

buy or rent
In an article for Shareable, Caren Holzman presents trends that signal “a reversal in the way that consumers value and use products and services”:

“A global culture of consumerism has firmly taken hold – the average British woman buys half her body weight in clothing every year; a typical American purchases more stuff every day than an average American weighs; more than 30 million tons of food was dumped in landfills in the US in 2009; and the largest shopping centre in Europe has just opened as the gateway to the London 2012 Olympics. Yet as resources become more constrained, economies stall and businesses begin to think more innovatively about different ways of delivering value to the customer, there are some signals of hope for a reversal in the way that consumers value and use products and services.”

Read article

27 September 2011

The end of motoring

Motoring
Highly recommended read in The Guardian on the end of the golden age of motoring (or for non-Brits: car travel):

“The most radical change [according to German entrepreneur Stefan Liske] is that “in big societies, there is a huge status shift happening, where we are losing the idea that you use a car to define your status. So the industry needs more flexible leasing, financing and car-sharing models. And second, they have to find new revenue streams.

The near future that Liske describes echoes the computer industry’s earlier shift from a business model based on hardware to one based on software. “Audi and Toyota have just invested $1bn in wind energy. If you’re leasing a car from them, they can sell you the energy – or they go in a different direction like BMW, who just invested $100m in start-up companies offering transport-related mobile services.”

Underpinning all these innovations and ideas is what Liske sees as a major behavioural shift among the generation of “digital natives”. “They don’t care about owning things. Possession is a burden, and a car is a big investment for most people – not just the vehicle, but the permits, the parking space.”

Read article

21 September 2011

Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?

Digital AlterNatives
Hivos (The Netherlands) and the Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore, India) have consolidated their three year knowledge inquiry into the field of youth, technology and change in a four book collective “Digital AlterNatives with a cause?”.

This collaboratively produced collective, edited by Nishant Shah and Fieke Jansen, asks critical and pertinent questions about theory and practice around ‘digital revolutions’ in a post MENA (Middle East – North Africa) world. It works with multiple vocabularies and frameworks and produces dialogues and conversations between digital natives, academic and research scholars, practitioners, development agencies and corporate structures to examine the nature and practice of digital natives in emerging contexts from the Global South.

The conversations, research inquiries, reflections, discussions, interviews, and art practices are consolidated in this four part book which deviates from the mainstream imagination of the young people involved in processes of change. The alternative positions, defined by geo-politics, gender, sexuality, class, education, language, etc. find articulations from people who have been engaged in the practice and discourse of technology mediated change. Each part concentrates on one particular theme that helps bring coherence to a wide spectrum of style and content.

Book 1: To Be: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?
The first part, To Be, looks at the questions of digital native identities. Are digital natives the same everywhere? What does it mean to call a certain population ‘Digital Natives”? Can we also look at people who are on the fringes – Digital Outcasts, for example? Is it possible to imagine technology-change relationships not only through questions of access and usage but also through personal investments and transformations? The contributions help chart the history, explain the contemporary and give ideas about what the future of technology mediated identities is going to be.

Book 2: To Think: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?
In the second section, To Think, the contributors engage with new frameworks of understanding the processes, logistics, politics and mechanics of digital natives and causes. Giving fresh perspectives which draw from digital aesthetics, digital natives’ everyday practices, and their own research into the design and mechanics of technology mediated change, the contributors help us re-think the concepts, processes and structures that we have taken for granted. They also nuance the ways in which new frameworks to think about youth, technology and change can be evolved and how they provide new ways of sustaining digital natives and their causes.

Book 3: To Act: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?
To Act is the third part that concentrates on stories from the ground. While it is important to conceptually engage with digital natives, it is also, necessary to connect it with the real life practices that are reshaping the world. Case-studies, reflections and experiences of people engaged in processes of change, provide a rich empirical data set which is further analysed to look at what it means to be a digital native in emerging information and technology contexts.

Book 4: To Connect: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?
The last section, To Connect, recognises the fact that digital natives do not operate in vacuum. It might be valuable to maintain the distinction between digital natives and immigrants, but this distinction does not mean that there are no relationships between them as actors of change. The section focuses on the digital native ecosystem to look at the complex assemblage of relationships that support and are amplified by these new processes of technologised change.

(via Luca De Biase)

23 June 2011

Achieving long-term sustainability at a Belgian expo centre

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

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

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

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

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

Read article
Download illustrated pdf

24 May 2011

Designing Connectivity notebook available

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 May 2011

Forever online: Your digital legacy

Tombstone
Your photos, status updates and tweets will fascinate future historians. Will these online remains last forever? In this special report, newscientist.com editor Sumit Paul-Choudhury reports on life, loss, memory and forgetting in the internet age.

The fate of your online soul
We are the first people in history to create vast online records of our lives. How much of it will endure when we are gone?

Archaeology of the future
Future historians will want to study the birth of the web using our digital trails – but how will they make sense of it all?

Respecting the digital dead
How can we keep digital bequests safe without poking our noses where they’re not wanted?

Amateur heroes of online heritage
It’ll take more than money alone to preserve today’s internet pages for posterity

Digital legacy: Teaching the net to forget
We’ve begun to accept that the internet cannot forget, but the power to change that has been in our hands for decades

19 April 2011

The sharing economy

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

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

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

Read article

2 December 2010

Report calls for radical redesign of cities to cope with population growth

Istanbul
The Megacities on the Move report says authorities must start planning their transport infrastructure now for a future when two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities.

The Forum for the Future report devotes a lot of attention to new types of user-centred mobility solutions, as reported by The Guardian:

“Moving away from car ownership, using real-time traffic information to help plan journeys and having more virtual meetings will be vital to prevent the megacities of the future from becoming dysfunctional and unpleasant places to live, according to a study by the environmental think tank Forum for the Future. [...]

One issue is to integrate different modes of transport: citizens will want to walk, cycle, access public transport, drive personal vehicles or a mixture of all modes in one journey. “Information technology is going to be incredibly important in all of this, in terms of better integrating and connecting physical modes of transport,” said [Ivana] Gazibara [, senior strategic adviser at Forum for the Future and an author of the report]. “But we’re also going to see lots more user-centred ICT [information and communication technology] so it makes it easier for us to access things virtually.”

Of particular interest too are the four scenarios for urban mobility in 2040, which paint vivid pictures of four possible worlds in 2040. Scenario animations bring each world to life, as they follow a day in the life of an ordinary woman, examining the mobility challenges and solutions in each world:

Planned-opolis
In a world of fossil fuels and expensive energy, the only solution is tightly planned and controlled urban transport.

Sprawl-ville
The city is dominated by fossil fuel-powered cars.The elite still gets around, but most urban dwellers face poor transport infrastructure.

Renew-abad
The world has turned to alternative energy and high-tech, clean, well-planned transport helps everyone get around.

Communi-city
The world has turned to alternative energy, and transport is highly personalised with a huge variety of transport modes competing for road space.

23 November 2010

The Morrow Project and futurism at Intel

The Morrow Project
Intel’s Chief Futurist, Brian David Johnson, is a big advocate of using science fiction narratives as a jumping off point for a discussion between management and engineering about the future of Intel’s business, reports BoingBoing today (see also video).

Intel Germany’s Morrow Project (“Uber Morgen“) has commissioned four writers — Douglas Rushkoff, Ray Hammond, Scarlett Thomas and Markus Heitz — to produce science fictional pieces on the future that the company can use in its own planning. Intel has also released free ebooks and podcasts of the works in German and English.

“The Morrow-Project” is a unique literary project which shows the important effects that contemporary research will have on our future and the relevance that this research has for each of us. Research currently being conducted by Intel in the fields of photonics, robotics, telematics, dynamic physical rendering and intelligent sensors served as the basis to inspire four bestselling authors. The results are four short stories which paint amusing, thought-provoking and hopeful pictures of our future.

The stories
– All in one (podcast | pdf)
Last Day of Work – by Douglas Rushkoff (podcast)
The Mercy Dash – by Ray Hammond (podcast)
The Drop – by Scarlett Thomas (podcast)
The Blink of an Eye – by Markus Heitz (podcast)

7 November 2010

The enabling city

The enabling city
Italian social researcher Chiara Camponeschi has written a fascinating Creative-Commons licensed publication, The Enabling City: Place-Based Creative Problem-Solving and the Power of the Everyday (pdf), an innovative toolkit – also featured on a website – that showcases pioneering initiatives in urban sustainability and open governance.

“I am a firm believer in the power of communities to solve their own needs and contribute to larger processes of change”, says Camponeschi in an article published in The Mobile City.

“The recent graduate of York University based The Enabling City on international research she conducted as part of her Master in Environmental Studies in Toronto, Canada.

“I believe that there are vast amounts of untapped knowledge and creativity out there that we need to unleash to make our cities more open and sustainable”, she continues. The Enabling City exists to document and celebrate the power of inter-actor collaboration and of our everyday experiences in enhancing problem-solving and social innovation worldwide.

The toolkit showcases a total of forty innovative initiatives across six categories: place-making; eating and growing; resource-sharing; learning and socializing; steering and organizing; and financing. Through what she refers to as ‘place-based creative problem-solving’, Camponeschi sketches out an approach to participation that leverages the imagination and inventiveness of citizens, experts, and activists in collaborative efforts that make cities more inclusive, innovative, and interactive.

Through their involvement, creative citizens worldwide demonstrate that citizenship is so much more than duties and taxes it’s about outcome ownership, enablement, and the celebration of the myriad connections that make up the collective landscape of the place(s) we call home. The Enabling City, then, is here to invite us to unleash the power of our creative thinking and to rediscover ‘the power of the everyday.’”

Publication abstract

At its simplest, The Enabling City is a new way of thinking about communities and change.

Guided by principles such as collaboration, innovation and participation, the pioneering initiatives featured in The Enabling City attest to the power of community in stimulating the kind of innovative thinking needed to tackle complex issues ranging from participatory citizenship to urban livability.

We know that markets are no longer the only sources of innovation, and that citizens are capable of more than just voting during election time. We have entered an era where interactive technologies and a renewed idea of citizenship are enabling us to experiment with alternative notions of sustainability and to share knowledge in increasingly dynamic ways. We now see artists working alongside policy makers, policy makers collaborating with citizens, and citizens helping cities diagnose their problems more accurately.

What emerges, then, is a community where the local and global are balanced and mediated by the city at large, and where local resources and know-how are given wider legitimacy as meaningful problem-solving tools in the quest for urban and cultural sustainability.

Here, innovation is intended as a catalyst for social change — a collaborative process through which citizens can be directly involved in shaping the way a project, policy, or service is created and delivered. A shift from control to enablement turns cities into platforms for community empowerment — holistic, living spaces where people make their voices heard and draw from their everyday experiences to affect change.

So be surprised by how walks have the power to make neighbourhoods more vibrant, and how art can be used to convert dull city intersections into safe community spaces. Learn how creative interventions can unleash spaces for reflection and participation, and witness how online resources can lead to offline collaboration and resource-sharing. See how the values of Web 2.0 translate into the birth of the open government and open data movement, and what a holistic approach to financing can bring to local communities and cities alike.

This is what place-based creative problem-solving looks like in action. This is the power of the everyday.

Chiara Camponeschi works at the intersection of interdisciplinary research, social innovation and urban sustainability. She is passionate about the ‘creative citizen’ movement, and is committed to strengthening and supporting networks of grassroots social innovation. Originally from Rome, Italy Chiara has been involved with creative communities in Europe and Canada for over six years. Chiara holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science & Communications Studies, and a Master in Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto, Canada.

24 October 2010

When augmented reality hits the Internet of Things

Cyborg
Wired.co.uk contributor Anna Leach examines how augmented reality and The Internet of Things could impact each other in the coming years.

“Both the Internet of Things and augmented reality (AR) are hotly tipped computing trends and both are in their infancy. Where they intersect could be an engrossing area — with the visual and location-based aspect of augmented reality providing a real-time, real-place interface for the data being pumped out by objects. We’d be able to see not just whether a bus is behind a building but how many people are on it, whether it’s on time, where people are sitting on the bus, what the name of driver is and well, any other information you decided to put out there.”

Read article

6 October 2010

Bruce Sterling interview by Rhys Hughes

Bruce Sterling
Last week, La Stampa newspaper of Turin, Italy published an interview with Bruce Sterling, conducted by Welsh writer and essayist Rhys Hughes.

The complete English version of the interview has now been posted on fortykey (which by the way has a very interesting collection of essays). An excerpt:

Rhys: The ‘Internet of Things’ is a truly startling concept. I seem to remember that you once described it as “inconceivable before the 21st Century”. I find the prospect of everything in the world being linked together as alarming rather than uplifting, a threat to liberty. Are my concerns naive?

Bruce: I would agree that the privacy risks are always the first issues to strike thoughtful people. As people become more engaged with the many startling possibilities of the Internet of Things, they understand that those first concerns are primitive. They are not wrong, just simplistic.
It’s like learning about the railroad, and immediately thinking that it means that foreign spies will come to your town on the railroad. That is true. Yes, foreign spies really are a threat to your liberty, and they will use railroads. But railroads are alarming for many good reasons other than mere foreign spies.
The worst concern about a railroad is this: if a rival town gets the railroad, and your town doesn’t get that railroad, then your town dies. You will live a dead town. Posed in the rhetorical terms of the Internet of Things, this would mean a frightening “Internet of Things Gap.” This would be something like yesterday’s famous “digital divide.” When no one has it, then it might be bad to have it. When others really have it and you don’t, that deprivation is terrifying, unjust, evil. This would crush all your intelligent and skeptical reservations because it would reframe the debate in a way you could not counter.
The Internet of Things is indeed startling. It is also dangerous. But that’s just theory. To to have no real Internet is worse. To have no Internet while others do have it can be lethal. The Regione of Piemonte understood that problem, and that’s why I am able to type this to you on some very nice state-supported broadband.

Read interview

1 October 2010

Data visualisation as an actionable tool in our lives

Inflation
This week I watched the excellent online documentary “Journalism in the Age of Data“, which is a video report on data visualisation as a storytelling medium that Geoff McGhee created during a 2009-2010 Knight Journalism fellowship. I first didn’t write on it in Putting People First, as I considered it a media story. But I changed my mind.

Apart from the fact that this video provides great inspiration for interaction designers and interface designers of all sorts, and not just those working in journalism, it also inspires a wider reflection.

With people rapidly moving to a world inundated with data capturing devices and the resulting data streams, our challenge as UX designers is to create tools that make sense of these data, and transform this data flood into useful and actionable informational experiences that help us better conduct our lives.

Smart phone applicatins seem to me an intermediate step. Yes, indeed, one can find apps for almost any need and they are sometimes quite useful. But we cannot conduct our lives with hundreds of apps: one for parking, one for driving, one for shopping, one for dining, etcetera.

What could be the future of actionable data visualisations in a multi-sensorial world?

9 September 2010

Vodafone’s Future Agenda forum

Future Agenda
The Future Agenda, sponsored by Vodafone, is a not-for-profit, cross-discipline programme which aims “to unite the best minds from around the globe to address the greatest challenges of the next decade”.

“In doing so, it will map out the major issues, identify and discuss potential solutions, suggest the best ways forward and, we hope, as a consequence, provide a platform for collective innovation at a higher level than has been previously achieved.”

As the first global open foresight programme the Future Agenda began by identifying 16 of the most pressing issues to face society over the next 10 years, irrespective of location, industry or financial stability, and has invited experts in each area to publish an initial point of view for others to comment upon. The subjects and experts who have written the initial point of view include:

  • Authenticity – Diane Coyle, OBE, Enlightenment Economics, UK
  • Choice – Professor Jose Louis Nueno, Professor of Marketing, IESE, Barcelona, Spain
  • Cities – Professor Richard Burdett, Professor of Architecture & Urbanisation, LSE, UK
  • Connectivity – Jan Farjh, Vice President and Head of Ericsson Research, Sweden
  • Currency – Dr Rajiv Kumar, Chief Executive ICRIER, India
  • Data – DJ Collins, Head of Corporate Communications, Google Europe
  • Energy – Dr Leo Roodhart, President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, VP Royal Dutch Shell, Netherlands
  • Food – Jim Kirkwood, Vice President R&D, Centre for Technology Creation, General Mills, USA
  • Health – Dr Jack Lord, CEO, Navigneics Inc, USA
  • Identity – Professor Mike Hardy, OBE, Director of British Council Intercultural Dialogue, UK
  • Migration – Professor Richard Black, Head of Global Science University of Surrey
  • Money – Dave Birch, Founder Digital Money Forum, UK
  • Transport – Mark Philips, Interior Design Manager at Jaguars Advanced Design Studio, UK
  • Waste – Professor Ian Williams, Director of School of Civil Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, UK
  • Water – Professor Stewart Burn Stream Leaders of Infrastructure Technologies, CISRO, Australia
  • Work – Chris Meyer, Chief Executive of Monitor Networks, USA

The Future Agenda has also identified 20 insights which will have impact by 2020.

Global Connectivity
In 2010 the number of mobile subscribers reached 4bn. By 2020 there may well be as many as 50bn devices connected to each other. Everything that can benefit from a network connection will have one.

Less Choice
Fewer choices provide higher levels of satisfaction. We can see consumers making a trade‐off between variety and cost: Cost is winning and, as Asian consumers set the global trends, we will be focused on less variety not more.

Asian Euro
The introduction of a broad‐basket ACU (Asian Currency Unit) as the third global reserve currency will provide the world with the opportunity to balance economic influence and trade more appropriately.

Virtual Authenticity
Virtual identity and physical identity are not the same thing; they differ in ways that we are only beginning to take on board. By 2020 this difference will disappear.

Dense Cities
As urban migration increases globally, seen through the lens of efficiency, more densely populated cities such as Hong Kong and Manhattan are inherently more sustainable places to live than the spread-out alternatives found in the likes of Houston and Mexico City.

Open Access
Access to information is the great leveller. As we become more comfortable sharing our search histories and locations, more relevant information will be provided more quickly and the power of innovation will shift to the public.

Less Energy
The days of ‘easy energy’ are over. However, as CO2 capture yields no revenues without government support, global emissions will only be reduced by fundamental changes in behaviour – for us all to use less energy.

Feeding the World
We are in a world of paradox where a growing portion of the developed world is obese at the same time as 15% of the global population is facing hunger and malnutrition. Technology to improve food yield will be accelerated to balance supply and demand.

Food Markets
In the next decade, the world economics of food will change and food will change the economics of the world. Decisions on where and what to produce will be made on a global basis not by individual market or geography.

Global Pandemics
Between now and 2020 we are likely to see somewhere between 2 to 3 global pandemics. These will arise in areas that do not have the top tier of preventative or public health infrastructure and will rapidly spread to developed Western countries.

Chinese train travel
China is now the pacesetter for change in inter‐urban transport and is investing over $1 trillion in expanding its rail network to 120,000km by 2020 – the second largest public works program in history. China is rapidly reshaping its landscape around train services.

Slow Luxury
The luxury market buyers increasingly want ‘better not more’. They will move away from Bling Bling to have items that are visually more discreet and will increasingly want to position themselves as being more responsible.

Homogenous Identity
We are likely to move more quickly and more widely towards an integrated identity for work and social interaction. We will no longer compartmentalise our lives but the integrated ‘me’ and ‘you’ will be how we see each other and interact.

Digital Money
Money is the means of exchange that is most immediately subject to the pressure of rapid technological change. Digital money transfer via mobile phones will be the default by 2020.

Zero Waste
Global waste production is predicted to double over the next twenty years. Much of this will be due to increased urbanisation and emerging economic growth. A shift towards the zero waste society is a desperate global need that will accelerate in the next decade.

Water Wars
Today over 6.6bn people share the same volume of water that 1.6bn did a hundred years ago. As population and economies grow and diets change we need more of this scarce resource. This will be the decade that we fight wars over water not oil.

Flattening world
As income increases in India, China, Brazil, and elsewhere, growth in demand for skilled services will occur disproportionately in these emerging economies. Combined with more global networks, this will lead to income stagnation in “established” economies.

Commoditised Knowledge
Education will become increasingly industrialized ‐ broken into small, repeatable tasks and thus increasingly deskilled. As a consequence, the industrialization of information work is certain, and this will affect pretty much every business.

Global Tele-health
The drive towards personalized treatments will be matched by a greater focus on prevention. By delivering healthcare content to the individual’s handset, mobile technology can help to maintain wellness.

Urban Poverty
The nature of economic activity in cities seems to be leading to a greater degree of urban poverty as in-migration and the move to the knowledge society favours the educated and the nimble. This will widen the gap between the rich and poor.

21 July 2010

The web means the end of forgetting

Forgetting
Legal scholars, technologists and cyberthinkers are wrestling with the first great existential crisis of the digital age: the impossibility of erasing your posted past, starving over, moving on. Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, reports in The New York Times Magazine.

“We’ve known for years that the Web allows for unprecedented voyeurism, exhibitionism and inadvertent indiscretion, but we are only beginning to understand the costs of an age in which so much of what we say, and of what others say about us, goes into our permanent — and public — digital files. The fact that the Internet never seems to forget is threatening, at an almost existential level, our ability to control our identities; to preserve the option of reinventing ourselves and starting anew; to overcome our checkered pasts.”

Read article

8 July 2010

Towards a read/write urbanism

311 signs
Adam Greenfield, Nokia’s head of design direction for service and user-interface design, is the author of this week’s Urban Omnibus feature.

In the piece, he uses software design as a base to talk about the ways citizens call out trouble spots in the urban landscape and how we might redesign the performance of that landscape itself.

Read article

21 May 2010

BeAware – Boosting Energy Awareness

BeAware
BeAware, an EU-supported research project, has created a solution to motivate and empower citizens to become active energy consumers, by offering them the opportunity to raise awareness of their own power consumption in real time.

Energy Life includes a mobile phone application and an ambient interface that makes use of the home lighting and lamps as a means to communicate with the user. It provides feedback about consumption habits, and empowers users to become active and responsible consumers.

The efforts are part of a European Union research project that is creating new ways to allow consumers to follow and better understand their use of energy.

The technology developed in the project is being set up in two different pilot si­tes – one Nordic (Sweden/Finland) and one Southern European (Italy). In each site, studies are carried in a home environment. The research is highly multidisciplinary and combines a variety of approaches in the area of user studies, user-centred design and evaluation.

Read article
View video

12 May 2010

The future of news

Daedalus
The Spring 2010 issue of Dædalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, is dedicated to the Future of News.

Front Matter

Introduction
Loren Ghiglione, Professor of Media Ethics at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University

News & the news media in the digital age: implications for democracy
Herbert J. Gans, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Columbia University

Are there lessons for the future of news from the 2008 presidential campaign?
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, & Jeffrey A. Gottfried, senior researcher at the Annenberg Public Policy Center

New economic models for U.S. journalism
Robert H. Giles, Curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University

Sustaining quality journalism
Jill Abramson, Managing Editor, The New York Times

The future of investigative journalism
Brant Houston, Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the College of Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The future of science news
Donald Kennedy, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University

International reporting in the age of participatory media
Ethan Zuckerman, senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

The case for wisdom journalism – and for journalists surrendering the pursuit of news
Mitchell Stephens, Professor of Journalism in the Carter Institute at New York University

Journalism ethics amid structural change
Jane B. Singer, Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa

Political observatories, databases & news in the emerging ecology of public information
Michael Schudson, Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

What is happening to news?
Jack Fuller, former President of Tribune Publishing Company

The Internet & the future of news
Paul Sagan & Tom Leighton, Fellows of the American Academy

Improving how journalists are educated & how their audiences are informed
Susan King, Vice President for External Relations at Carnegie Corporation of New York

Does science fiction suggest futures for news?
Loren Ghiglione, Professor of Media Ethics at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University

poetry: In a Diner Above the Lamoille River
Greg Delanty, poet

Contributors

24 April 2010

Toward a read/write urbanism

Frameworks
What might we gain, asks Adam Greenfield, if we begin to conceive of cities, for some limited purposes anyway, as software under active development?

What if we imagined that the citizen-responsiveness system we’ve designed lives in a dense mesh of active, communicating public objects? Then the framework we’ve already deployed becomes something very different. To use another metaphor from the world of information technology, it begins to look a whole lot like an operating system for cities.

Provided that, we can treat the things we encounter in urban environments as system resources, rather than a mute collection of disarticulated buildings, vehicles, sewers and sidewalks. One prospect that seems fairly straightforward is letting these resources report on their own status. Information about failures would propagate not merely to other objects on the network but reach you and me as well, in terms we can relate to, via the provisions we’ve made for issue-tracking.

And because our own human senses are still so much better at spotting emergent situations than their machinic counterparts, and will probably be for quite some time yet to come, there’s no reason to leave this all up to automation.

Read article

24 April 2010

Machiavelli 2.0

IT
Alexander Schellong, a senior consultant with CSC’s public sector management practice, and Philipp Mueller, director of the Center for Public Management and Governance at the Salzburg University Business School, write in the Harvard International Review on the fundamentals of network society.

“In the sixteenth-century, Machiavelli, a senior policy advisor in the city-state of Florence, Italy, became one of the first thinkers to address the new formations of political power that developed with the advent of modern society. In his seminal work, the prince, he argues for the importance of influencing public opinion. For Machiavelli, attaining the positive opinion of his subjects is the precondition for political effectiveness. Machiavelli believed in the capacity of the people to judge the public good in various settings. [...]

Networked forms of societies are becoming serious alternatives to modern societies and we need to better understand them if we want to succeed in today’s complex policy environments. So in 2010, Machiavelli would advise the prince to build her power base around open networked communities, transparency, standardized interfaces and a bold move to just sail unchartered waters to test their boundaries.”

Read article