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Posts in category 'Service design'

2 November 2013

Publication: Smart Citizens (by FutureEverything)

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Smart Citizens
Edited by Drew Hemment and Anthony Townsend
Future Everything
2013, 96 pages

This publication aims to shift the debate on the future of cities towards the central place of citizens, and of decentralised, open urban infrastructures. It provides a global perspective on how cities can create the policies, structures and tools to engender a more innovative and participatory society. The publication contains a series of 23 short essays representing some of the key voices developing an emerging discourse around Smart Citizens.

Contributors include:

  • Dan Hill, Smart Citizens pioneer and CEO of communications research centre and transdisciplinary studio Fabrica on why Smart Citizens Make Smart Cities.
  • Anthony Townsend, urban planner, forecaster and author of Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia on the tensions between place-making and city-making on the role of mobile technologies in changing the way that people interact with their surroundings.
  • Paul Maltby, Director of the Government Innovation Group and of the Open Data and Transparency in the UK Cabinet Office on how government can support a smarter society.
  • Aditya Dev Sood, Founder and CEO of the Center for Knowledge Societies, presents polarised hypothetical futures for India in 2025 that argues for the use of technology to bridge gaps in social inequality.
  • Adam Greenfield, New York City-based writer and urbanist, on Recuperating the Smart City.

FutureEverything is an art and digital innovation organization based in Manchester, England, founded in 1995 around an annual festival of art, music and digital culture. The organization runs year-round digital innovation labs on themes such as open data, remote collaboration, urban interface and environmental mass observation. FutureEverything presents an international art and innovation award, The FutureEverything Award, introduced in 2010.

25 October 2013

Sustainable living and behavioral change

A bedroom with a light on

Below a selection of pieces from The Guardian’s sustainable living hub:

The power of behavioural design: looking beyond nudging
Christoph Burmester – 10 September 2013
Beyond nudging lies the world of applied behavioural science or, alternatively, the domain of behavioural design. Combining behavioural science with sustainable design could be a powerful game changer in shifting consumer behaviour.

Beyond farmers markets: can food entrepreneurs boost buying local?
Sarah Shemkus – 11 September 2013
Startups and nonprofits are working to better connect smaller farms with consumers – beyond the farmers market – to give local produce a boost.

Do businesses care about sustainable behaviour change?
John Drummond – 18 September 2013
New survey shows majority of businesses are taking behaviour change seriously but there are still misaligned priorities and a lack of top level engagement.

Prosperity with less: what would a responsible economy look like?
Yvon Chouinard – 4 October 2013
The founder of Patagonia Inc discusses the value of the simple life, and growing an economy based on buying less, not more.

Using innovation to shift behavior from consumption to conservation
Anna M. Clark – 14 October 2013
Brands have the potential to generate consumer movements that could progress sustainable living. But are they using their power and can they really turn consumers into collaborators?

24 October 2013

‘An Overview of Service Design for the Private and Public Sectors’ report

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Service design is an approach to innovating both private and public sector services that places the user at the heart of the development process. Service design is concerned with the customer experience and ensuring optimal interactions between the service provider and the service user through various ‘touch points’. Whether it is a small to medium-sized company (SME) or a local public authority, in developing new services, organisations can become preoccupied with the empirical data and develop services that are too far removed from the individual. The value of a service design approach is that it involves engaging the users directly in service development through action research, which provides a qualitative and human dimension to service development leading to increased desirability, usability and efficiency.

This SEE Policy Booklet seeks to answer some fundamental questions public officials may have about service design: What is service design? What are the benefits of a service design approach? Why engage in service design now? How does service design compare to other innovation methods? What are service design methods and tools? Subsequently, the booklet presents case studies of service design in the private and public sectors to illustrate service design processes in practice.

Private sector case studies:
- Aggrelek, a Welsh manufacturing company, that developed a service offering around their core business
- Service design tools and methods to companies in the tourism sector in Lapland in Finland

Public sector case studies:
- The Municipality of Rijkevorsel in Flanders
- The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council

SEE is a network of 11 European partners sharing international best practice to accelerate the adoption of design into government mainstream practices, policy and programmes.

19 October 2013

The design of Copenhagen as a bicycle friendly city

 

In a ten part video series, Copenhagenize Design Co explores the top 10 design elements that make Copenhagen a bicycle-friendly city.

The embedded video highlights the big picture. The overall design of the bicycle infrastructure network as a key element in encouraging Citizen Cyclists to choose the bicycle as transport and that keeps them safe.

The other videos:

  1. The Green Wave
    The Green Wave is coordinated traffic lights for cyclists. Ride 20 km/h and you won’t put a foot down on your journey into the city centre in the morning and home again in the afternoon.
    On Nørrebrogade, the first street to feature the Green Wave, the number of cyclists increased by 15%. Traffic flow in the intense morning bicycle rush hour was improved, providing Citizen Cyclists with a smoother, more efficient journey.
    Now, several major arteries leading to the city centre in Copenhagen feature the Green Wave for cyclists.
     
  2. Intermodality
    Combining the bicycle on all forms of transport is vital.
     
  3. Safety details
    It’s in the details when you wish to keep cyclists safe and cycling convenient.
     
  4. Nørrebrogade
    Exploration of one of the greatest urban planning experiments in recent Copenhagen history. The retrofitting of the street Nørrebrogade, complete with Green Wave for cyclists, wide cycle tracks and restricted access for cars.
     
  5. Macro design
     
  6. Micro design
    The design details on the urban landscape – many by the people, for the people – are the beautiful polish on a bicycle-friendly city.
     
  7. Cargo bikes
     
  8. Desire lines
     
  9. Political will
25 September 2013

Simon Roberts (EPIC chair) reflects on Big Data, business and ethnography

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Simon Roberts, the highly engaging, smart and easily approachable chair of the EPIC conference last week, was so absorbed with all the logistics that he didn’t find the concentration to speak his mind during the conference. Now that the conference is over (and well organised it was!), it took him less than a week to type out a long blog post to position his thoughts on Big Data. It’s a long read but very much worth it, and it starts off exactly with the right criticism:

“The discussion at EPIC 2013 disappointed me a little. It was either constrained by simplistic oppositions (big data good / nothing to fear vs. big data bad / end of our profession as we know it), impoverished by a general lack of ethnographic specificity and illustration, or absented to discuss the power relations that big data entails.

Most worrying for me of all of these was the lack of specificity in the discussion and the absence of discussion about power. “

Exactly my thinking as well. There is an asymmetry in power relations that requires serious reflection and analysis, and it was dearly missing, sometimes even actively sidelined – as if irrelevant for ethnographers. There is an ethical and even political side to Big Data, that we have to very aware of, as user researchers and as designers (i.e. the professionals that mediate the relations between corporations and people).

Very helpful are Simon’s four dimensions of Big Data which articulate this power imbalance in more detail:

  • Quantified self vs. Monitored Self — the difference between me assenting to monitor myself vs. being monitored
  • Asymmetries of exchange — the uneven nature of the exchange between provider and analysyer/reseller of data
  • Asymmetries of feedback — the importance of balanced feedback systems
  • Asymmetries of judgment — the difference between the big data creating ‘fact’ and being used to create value judgements

He uses the example of the driving style tracking device that an insurance company installed in his car to raise some very good questions.

His three challenges (on incentive structures, interaction design and business risks) are spot-on. Read, read, read!

19 September 2013

How Public Design? A conference at Mindlab

mindlab

MindLab, a cross-ministerial innovation unit in Denmark, hosted the seminar titled ‘How Public Design?’ for the second time on 2 and 3 September.

This event gathered a distinguished group of decision-makers, researchers, experts and consultants of social change. As the previous event, the theme itself was subject to continuous reflection: what was ‘how public design’ actually referring to? Most of the participants could agree that we were talking about a particular kind of ‘human-centered design’ approach. But was it a specific kind of thinking, process or method? Was it about exploring and characterizing a specific mentality or even personality as a ‘public designer’? Or was ‘public design’ perhaps a way of reframing ‘public sector change’ or ‘public policy’?

A reflection by Jesper Christiansen.

> Other reflections by Joeri van den Steenhoven (Mars Solutions Lab) and Sarah Schulman (Kennislands).

23 August 2013

The UK’s Behavioural Design Lab

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The UK’s Behavioural Design Lab is a new collaboration between Warwick Business School and the Design Council, uniting behavioural science with design-thinking. They help organisations transform a better understanding of people into innovative solutions that improve society.

Our Belief
The biggest issues in society, from obesity to climate change, are due to behavioural and lifestyle factors people embrace on a daily basis.
Most attempts to change behaviour rely on the outdated assumption that people are governed by a rational self-interest. The result is a range of programmes with a firm rationale but minimal impact.
We believe the best way to solve these issues is to not only research how and why people actually make decisions, but use the design of products, services and places to help us all make better decisions.

Our Approach
Innovation requires two things. The ability to generate creative ideas and a way of testing them.
Our approach uses design-thinking and behavioural insights to reframe problems as an opportunity for enterprise, providing a platform for creative ideas.
We then use our network to bring teams together to tackle the briefs, supporting them through development. As ideas become real, they are tested and refined using experiments.

6 August 2013

The business case for service design

 

Service designer Bill Hollins shares his thoughts on why service design makes business sense and argues that more businesses should invest in employing a service designer.

1. Good customer service + quality product = brand loyalty
2. Rising consumer expectations
3. Integrating technology
4. Maximising resources
5. Innovating services
6. Looking abroad: the impact of services

The article is published on the website of the UK Design Council.

6 August 2013

Putting the customer at the centre of your retail business

Female shop assistant

Oracle recently conducted some research into the shopping needs and expectations of shoppers in Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US – in an effort to better understand the role and importance of service to the retail experience.

Here are some of the things they found shoppers value most.

5 August 2013

Smart cities workshop with the Design Center Busan

EXP_DCB_Workshop

A few days ago Experientia’s latest collaboration with Korea’s Design Center Busan wrapped up, as 21 South Korean students completed a summer study program in Turin.

Experientia ran a creative workshop for the students, titled “Barely legal, but very nice! Smart interventions in public spaces, offices and services“. The diverse curricula of the program included architecture, industrial design, visual design, fine arts and more, and was selected by the Design Center Busan (DCB), in collaboration with Gwangju Design Center (GDC) and the Daegu Gyeongbuk Design Center (DGDC). Experientia’s faculty were Design Director Jan-Christoph Zoels, and interaction designers Renzo Giusti and Seungjun Jeong.

Experientia’s workshop tackled contemporary issues in the design discourse about Smart Cities and smart citizenship, raising awareness of public interventions, grassroots initiatives, and the formal and informal best practices that cities around the world are rolling out to meet the challenges of civic development.

The workshop explored the use of participatory design techniques aimed at urban scale issues. The students were exposed to a diverse palette of solutions for issues of civic consent creation and management, creative problem solving, citizen engagement and public sphere re-appropriation.

Students were also challenged to come up with creative solutions to address real issues they identified, from their fresh perspective, during their stay in Turin. To face the challenge of designing in an unknown territory, they were invited to take a bold yet borderline stance. To conceive design intervention capable of bringing citizens together, students could design light and pop-up solutions that would achieve the goals expected, even eschewing full compliance with official regulations.

The workshop ended on Tuesday July 30th with a final exhibition of a set of posters showcasing the design interventions conceived by the 4 groups of young Korean designers. A final keynote speech by world-famous futurist and science fiction author Bruce Sterling officially concluded the proceedings.

The workshop benefitted from the contributions of many practitioners in Turin and Milan. Experientia wants to thank: Matteo Robiglio (Tra), Simone Carena and Marco Bruno (Motoelastico), Paolo Maldotti (Archilandstudio), Isabella Steffan (studiosteffan), Carlotta Bonvicini and Francesco Cerroni (MiC, mobility in chain), Stefano Recalcati (ARUP), Giovanna Castiglioni (Fondazione Achille Castiglioni), and Luca Troisi (Enhancers).

Finally, special thanks go to SeungJun Jeong (Experientia) for managing the workshop preparation and facilitating the relationship with Design Centre Busan, and to Federico De Giuli for hosting us at the wonderful Cluster Learning Communities space.

31 July 2013

Usman Haque: ‘Messiness will inevitably arise in spite of smart cities’

Smart-City-10-1

No matter what attempts are made to impose order and predictability on cities of the near future, a messiness will inevitably arise, argues Usman Haque.

“Grub City citizens recognise it’s through the activity of measurement, not passive interpreting of data, that we understand our environment; that we build up intuitions about how we affect it; and through which we develop our own standards of evidence. It’s the ensuing heterogeneity of understandings, explanations and attempts to control (as well as the heterogeneity of goals implied) that is essential for any sustainable model of city-making. New technologies help us do this not “better” but “differently”. We will see contradictions, for even collaboration does not need consensus. But no matter what attempts are made to impose order and predictability on cities of the near future, a messiness will inevitably arise.”

24 July 2013

Ph.D thesis: Design with Intent

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Brunel University London has posted the Ph.D dissertation of Daniel Lockton, entitled “Design with Intent – A design pattern toolkit for environmental & social behaviour change” (download link).

“This thesis describes a systematic research enquiry into influencing more sustainable behaviour through design, which has produced communicable new knowledge in the form of a design pattern toolkit, called Design with Intent, developed and evaluated through an action research process. The toolkit aims to help designers create products, services and environments which influence the way people use them, primarily for environmental and social benefit; it brings together techniques for understanding and changing human behaviour from a range of psychological and technical disciplines, illustrated with examples, with the aim of enabling designers to explore and apply relevant strategies to problems.

`Design for behaviour change’ has grown significantly as a field in the past few years, to a large extent due to recognition of the contributions that user behaviour makes to the environmental and social impact of technology and designed systems in general. People’s behaviour is inevitably influenced by the design of the systems which they use, and it is not a great leap to consider that design could be used intentionally to influence behaviour where some benefit would result.

This thesis starts by identifying the need for a guide for designers working on behaviour change. It extracts insights from reviews of perspectives on influencing behaviour from different disciplines, inside and outside of `design’, which could be usefully applied in a design context. Through an action research process of iterative development and workshops with design practitioners and students, these insights are incorporated into a toolkit for designers, which is applied mainly to environmental and social behaviour change briefs. Versions of the toolkit are made publicly available, and feedback from early users in different contexts is analysed and implications for continuing development discussed.”

24 July 2013

User-centred design on Gov.uk

govuk

The Design Manual of Gov.uk, the UK Government services and information portal, has a section on user-centred design, whereas the service manual home page describes in more detail how designers can build a gov.uk service: from discovery, to alpha, beta, live and retirement.

“People come to GOV.UK with specific needs. Anything that gets between our users and meeting those needs should be stripped away. The design of GOV.UK reflects this, existing primarily as a way of delivering the right content and services to our users. Find out here how we approach this challenge.”

14 July 2013

Why behavior change apps fail to change behavior

behavioralchange

“Too many well-intentioned products fail because they feel like ‘haftas,’ things people are obligated to do, as opposed to things they ‘wanna’ do,” writes Nir Eyal on Techcrunch.

“When faced with ‘haftas,’ our brains register them as punishments so we take shortcuts, cheat, skip-out, or in the case of many apps or websites, uninstall them or click away in order to escape the discomfort of feeling controlled. [...]

Unfortunately, too many companies build their products betting users will do what they should or have to do, instead of what they want to do. They fail to change behaviors because they neglect to make their services enjoyable for its own sake, often asking users to learn new, unfamiliar actions instead of making old routines easier.

Instead, products that successfully change behavior present users with an implicit choice between their old way of doing things and the new, more convenient solution to existing needs. By maintaining the user’s freedom to choose, products can facilitate the adoption of new habits and change behavior for good.”

11 July 2013

How is ‘experience’ valued in the sharing economy?

 

How do you buy or sell something so abstract as an “experience”? And what is it worth?

That’s not an idle question for companies in the sharing economy. The experience of staying in an Airbnb apartment–with all its quirks, blemishes and unique qualities–is the differentiator from the equivalent traditional hotel.

For most sharing economy companies, they aren’t selling a product. They’re providing a peer-to-peer marketplace for people to rent a product from another person or get a service from a person. Instead of buying something they get the access to that product or service. But how is this experience valued? And how does that compare to an equivalent service or product in a traditional company? How does an Airbnb home get valued and how does it compare to a hotel room?

6 July 2013

Cities are being redrawn according to Google’s world view

dezeen_Sam-Jacob-opinion-design-for-tech-companies1

In the second of two columns exploring the impact of digital culture on design, Sam Jacob looks at how Google Maps is reshaping cities while Apple, Facebook and Amazon are reshaping the natural landscape by building their own headquarters as self-contained ecosystems.

“Over the last year or so, many of the key digital behemoths have unveiled plans for new headquarters: the grand edifices that they choose to erect for themselves. These are the physical ecosystems inhabited by our digital ecosystems, and in these habitats we can read technology companies’ own ambitions and their own self images, and perhaps glimpse something of the distortions that digital culture brings to the world around us. [...]

In designs for both the Apple and Facebook headquarters, the idea of nature is at once highly present and highly synthetic. It’s a level constructed above vast parking garages, quoted as experience and presented as mission statement. In both, there are echoes of the hippy pastoral techno-utopias of the 1960s, washed together with management theory and marketing. These are ideologies made glass and grass. [...]

Proximity and loss of hierarchy are, in this headquarters, core issues. These reflect both the nature of digital work culture and the nature of the digital too. The absence of distance and constant adjacency is at once both the liberation that digital culture brings and the springboard for loss of liberty that Prism suggests. In architectural terms, we might understand this problem in terms of openness: the open plan and the curtain wall are simultaneously things that give us spatial transparency and a condition of panoptic surveillance.”

(If this topic fascinates you, also check out this fascinating piece by George Packer in the New Yorker on how Silicon Valley is transferring its slogans — and its money — to the realm of politics.)

6 July 2013

Prism is the dark side of design thinking

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In this first of two columns about the impact of digital culture on design, Sam Jacob asks what America’s Prism surveillance program tells us about design thinking.

“Prism tells us something about design in the twenty-first century. [...] It tells us that design is increasingly about systems, increasingly about processes and the way these interface with the real world.

Prism is part, I would suggest, of the realm of design thinking. This is a problem-solving methodology born out of similarly strange bedfellows as The Californian Ideology. In this case it’s art school creativity hijacked by management theory. Design thinking suggests the synthetic way in which designers are (supposed to be) thinking can be applied to almost any subject. Its power is its ability to transform anything into a design problem: the way organisations work, profitability, market share, information, the gathering and processing of intelligence and, it seems, national security.”

6 July 2013

Seoul, the Sharing City

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On 20 September 2012, the Seoul Metropolitan Government disclosed its plan for promoting the “Sharing City, Seoul” project, which includes 20 sharing programs and policies for generating or diffusing “sharing city” infrastructure after declaring the “Seoul as a Sharing City” vision.

The Metropolitan Government regards “sharing city” as a new alternative for social reform that can resolve many economic, social, and environmental issues of the city simultaneously by creating new business opportunities, recovering trust-based relationships, and minimizing wastage of resources.

In particular, the city plans to deploy secondary sharing infrastructure from now on to enhance the usefulness of idle resources such as space, objects, and talents since its urban policies have concentrated on constructing primary sharing infrastructure to date, such as roads, parking lots, schools, and libraries. Parallel to the above, the Metropolitan Government plans to implement policies of opening public resources to the citizens by having the public sector take the initiative while focusing on the implementation of policies that respect and promote private sector capabilities.

6 July 2013

Book: Legible Practices by Helsinki Design Lab

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The social innovation book Legible Practices aims at codifying the practises of stewardship, as exhibited by innovators who are consciously rethinking institutions to better meet the challenges of today. It is the last book by Helsinki Design Lab, the recently closed strategic design lab of Sitra, the Finnish innovation fund.

“Stewardship is the art of aligning decisions with impact when many minds are involved in making a plan, and many hands in enacting it.

This notion comes to life through the stories of six projects on three continent, each an example of carefully rewiring institutions to better meet today’s challenges.

By zooming in on the details, a handful of practises emerge that will help you convert ideas into action. Each story is shared as a brief narrative which is then broken down into a network of interlinking practises.

In writing Legible Practises, the authors Bryan Boyer, Justin W. Cook and Marco Steinberg – hope to spark a conversation about the deep craft of social innovation as a reminder that, even when dreaming big, the details still matter.”

The case studies featured in the book:

  • Constitución (Chile): Redesign the city in 90 days through a co-creation process aimed at deliverying more resilient infrastructure and an urban form that provides greater social equity.
  • Brownsville Partnership (USA): Create a safer, stronger and more self-reliant community in Brownsville by working collaboratively with community, non-profit organisations, and public agencies to build a portfolio of complimentary services.
  • Creative Councils (UK): Support innovators in local government across England and Wales to develop and implement radical innovations addressing a long-term challenge that matters in their area.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (USA): Designing a brand identity, engagement strategy and discrete consumer-facing educational experiences for the nascent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Branchekode (DK): Transform a Danish government service responsible for generating classification categories needed to register a new business.
  • Gov.uk (UK): Transform the quality of the UK’s government digital services, making them “simpler, clearer, faster”, starting with a single website for the whole of government.

You can order a printed copy or download a free pdf.

29 June 2013

Designing for services beyond the screen

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The producer-consumer model is so ingrained in our society that we tend to treat everything like a product—a one-and-done offering that can be pushed to the market and forgotten. Yet, writes interaction and service design consultant Andy Polaine, online experiences are rarely so simple.

“Dividing businesses into silos, with each silo reporting back to management, worked well for industrial product companies: on an assembly line, each worker works on building the same object, such as a car, that never changes its planned final form over the course of assembly. Each task is repeatable and requires little or no interaction with other people—so much so that factory workers can be replaced by robots.

But services aren’t made on an assembly line. They are complex and difficult to get right, because your users might interact with the service across a wide array of touchpoints. You can’t predict precisely which of them each user will need, in what order she will encounter them, and who will help her along the way. The service is experienced differently by every person, because every person is different.”