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Posts in category 'Social change'

10 November 2013

[Book] Connect: Design for an Empathic Society

connect

Connect: Design for an Empathic Society
by Sabine Wildevuur, Dick van Dijk, Thomas Hammer-Jakobson, Mie Bjerre, Anne Äyväri, and Jesper Lund
BIS Publishers, 2014
216 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract

The prospects are clear: we will probably live longer. The number of people aged 65 and up will increase enormously over the next few decades. Society will change as a result, but in what manner?

Europe – and, in fact, probably the world – faces the challenge of preventing loneliness and isolation amongst a growing group of senior people. The oldest part of the population is at particular risk of becoming isolated and lonely as they grow older and their work-related networks erode. While working in the field of technology and aging, the authors discovered that there is a whole new field to be explored, namely the phenomenon of connectedness.

This book is written by a group of authors with very different backgrounds, varying from business, ICT, marketing, anthropology, medicine, design and computer interaction. They all felt the urge to explore this field of connectedness and they discovered new opportunities for the emerging market of ‘aging-driven design’.

Design for connectedness is about support for behavioral change that increases connectedness in day-to-day routines. It’s not about encouraging a completely novel set of behaviors. Rather, it is about supporting human connections, especially during major transitions in life such as retirement.

Authors

Sabine Wildevuur works as Head of Waag Society‘s Creative Care Lab. She has an academic background in Medicine and Mass Communication and works as a programme manager, researcher and writer. She is passionate about innovation in the interdisciplinary field of healthcare, design, the arts, new media and ICT.

Dick van Dijk is Creative Director at Waag Society. He is interested in the crossover between virtual and physical interactions, in creating a narrative space, a place for imagination. Dick has a background in Business Economics and History of Art and is currently extending his creative skills in the context of an Arts Academy.

Thomas Hammer-Jakobson is Chairman of Copenhagen Living Lab, and has previously held top-level positions in the Danish Broadcasting Corporation for more than 10 years. Thomas is a specialist in welfare innovation. As such he has initiated and led many national and international projects in the field of elderly care and independent living.

Mie Bjerre is a partner at Copenhagen LivingLab, which assists public and private organisations in realising innovation and business potential. Mie has a background in European ethnology, realising while travelling that “understanding cultures, people and why people are doing what they’re doing holds great value when innovating”

Anne Äyväri, D.Sc. (Econ.), currently works as a Principal Lecturer at Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland. Her main responsibilities include managing RDI projects aiming at developing services and procedures in the social and health care sector. Her research interests include small firm networks, networking abilities, and learning in networks.

Jesper Lund has worked with digital innovation and user-centric design since 2004. He is currently working as a teacher and researcher at Halmstad University in Sweden, where he has been involved as a researcher in several R&D projects within the health technology field.

9 November 2013

Ubiquitous across globe, cellphones have become tool for doing good

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With 96 percent of the world connected, organizations are using mobile phones to deliver, via texts, water, energy, financial services, health care, even education.

“The number of such initiatives seems likely to increase. “The development community is eager to learn more about how to use mobiles effectively,” said Nick Martin, a founder of Tech Change, a social enterprise based in Washington that educates development practitioners via online courses.

Mr. Martin said his most popular course has been Mobiles for Development. In the last three years, TechChange has taught the course eight times to nearly 400 participants from over 60 countries.”

3 November 2013

[Book] Changing Behaviours: On the Rise of the Psychological State

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Changing Behaviours: On the Rise of the Psychological State
by Rhys Jones, Jessica Pykett and Mark Whitehead
Edward Elgar Publishers
2013, 240 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract
Changing Behaviours charts the emergence of the behaviour change agenda in UK based public policy making since the late 1990s.
By tracing the influence of the behavioural sciences on Whitehall policy makers, the authors explore a new psychological orthodoxy in the practices of governing. Drawing on original empirical material, chapters examine the impact of behaviour change policies in the fields of health, personal finance and the environment. This topical and insightful book analyses how the nature of the human subject itself is re-imagined through behaviour change, and develops an analytical framework for evaluating the ethics, efficacy and potential empowerment of behaviour change.
This unique book will be of interest to advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and academics in a range of different disciplines. In particular, its inter-disciplinary focus on key themes in the social sciences – the state, citizenship, the meaning and scope of government – will make it essential reading for students of political science, sociology, anthropology, geography, policy studies and public administration. In addition, the book’s focus on the practical use of psychological and behavioural insights by politicians and policy makers should lead to considerable interest in psychology and behavioural economics.

The authors
Rhys Jones, Professor of Human Geography, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, UK
Jessica Pykett, Lecturer, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK
Mark Whitehead, Professor of Human Geography, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, UK

The Changing Behaviours project
The authors of the book have now began a Changing Behaviours research project that is exploring emerging strategies for changing human behaviours. The project is being funded as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Transforming Social Science programme. The primary aim of thistheproject is to consider the ways in which the emerging insights of behavioural science (in particular behavioural psychology, behavioural economics, microeconomics, cognitive design, and neuroscience) are shaping the design of public policy. This project has been designed to provide the first large-scale, international comparative study of behaviour changing initiatives. In addition to studying the application of behaviour changing policies in different countries throughout the world, the team is also exploring the use of alternative, and perhaps, more neurologically empowering approaches to behaviour change (including mindfulness, connected conversations, and critical behavioural literacy). The project, which started in September 2013, will run until February 2015.

[The book was mentioned in this long piece by Evgeny Morozov for the MIT Technology Review]

2 November 2013

New York Times book review of “Status Update”

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Putting People First has been following the work of Alice E. Marwick for a while, first when she published her PhD dissertation, then when her book “Status Update” came out.

Now the New York Times has published Walter Kirn’s extensive but not so positive review of her book:

“Alice E. Marwick, an academic observer of American online culture who teaches at Fordham University, would have us believe that the phenomenon of social media functions less as a revolutionary instrument of human liberation than as a peculiarly insidious agent of obedience and conformity. For Marwick, Web 2.0 is a promoter of what, following Foucault, she terms “technologies of subjectivity.” In other words, they turn its users into self-promoting, competitive, superficial “good corporate citizens” whose values are those of the very businesspeople behind the leading social media sites. She sees us as an army of little Mark Zuckerbergs, emulating without our conscious knowledge the highly effective, market-driven habits of “neoliberal” capitalism.”

2 November 2013

Book: Social – Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

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Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
by Matthew D. Lieberman
Crown
October 2013, 384 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract

In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter. Because of this, our brain uses its spare time to learn about the social world – other people and our relation to them. It is believed that we must commit 10,000 hours to master a skill. According to Lieberman, each of us has spent 10,000 hours learning to make sense of people and groups by the time we are ten.

Social argues that our need to reach out to and connect with others is a primary driver behind our behavior. We believe that pain and pleasure alone guide our actions. Yet, new research using fMRI – including a great deal of original research conducted by Lieberman and his UCLA lab — shows that our brains react to social pain and pleasure in much the same way as they do to physical pain and pleasure. Fortunately, the brain has evolved sophisticated mechanisms for securing our place in the social world. We have a unique ability to read other people’s minds, to figure out their hopes, fears, and motivations, allowing us to effectively coordinate our lives with one another. And our most private sense of who we are is intimately linked to the important people and groups in our lives. This wiring often leads us to restrain our selfish impulses for the greater good. These mechanisms lead to behavior that might seem irrational, but is really just the result of our deep social wiring and necessary for our success as a species.

Based on the latest cutting edge research, the findings in Social have important real-world implications. Our schools and businesses, for example, attempt to minimalize social distractions. But this is exactly the wrong thing to do to encourage engagement and learning, and literally shuts down the social brain, leaving powerful neuro-cognitive resources untapped. The insights revealed in this pioneering book suggest ways to improve learning in schools, make the workplace more productive, and improve our overall well-being.

The Author
Mathew Dylan Lieberman [Wikipedia - Personal site] PHD is a Professor and SCN (Social Cognitive Neuroscience) Lab Director at UCLA Department of Psychology, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.

> New York Times book review

2 November 2013

Book: Smarter Than You Think

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Smarter Than You Think
How Technology Is Changing Our Minds For the Better
by Clive Thompson and Jeff Cummings
Penguin Press
September 2013, 352 pages
[Penguin Press link - Amazon link]

Abstract

How technology boosts our cognitive abilities — making us smarter, more productive, and more creative than ever before It’s undeniable: technology is changing the way we think. But is it for the better? Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson votes yes. The Internet age has produced a radical new style of human intelligence, worthy of both celebration and investigation. We learn more and retain information longer, write and think with global audiences in mind, and even gain an ESP-like awareness of the world around us.

Modern technology is making us smarter and better connected, both as individuals and as a society. In Smarter Than You Think, Thompson documents how every technological innovation — from the printing press to the telegraph — has provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today. We panic that life will never be the same, that our attentions are eroding, that culture is being trivialized. But as in the past, we adapt, learning to use the new and retaining what’s good of the old.

Thompson introduces us to a cast of extraordinary characters who augment their minds in inventive ways. There’s the seventy-six-year-old millionaire who digitally records his every waking moment, giving him instant recall of the events and ideas of his life going back decades. There are the courageous Chinese students who mounted an online movement that shut down a $1.6 billion toxic copper plant. There are experts and there are amateurs, including a global set of gamers who took a puzzle that had baffled HIV scientists for a decade and solved it collaboratively — in only one month.

But Smarter Than You Think isn’t just about pioneers, nor is it simply concerned with the world we inhabit today. It’s about our future. How are computers improving our memory? How will our social “sixth sense” change the way we learn? Which tools are boosting our intelligence — and which ones are hindering our progress? Smarter Than You Think embraces and interrogates this transformation, offering a provocative vision of our shifting cognitive landscape.

The author
Clive Thompson is a contributor for the New York Times Magazine and Wired. He also writes for Fast Company and appears regularly on many NPR programs, CNN, Fox News, and NY1, among other news outlets. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

> New York Times book review

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?

22 October 2013

Book: Status Update by Alice E. Marwick

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Last year, I posted about the very interesting PhD dissertation by Alice E. Marwick (downloadable here). Based on ethnographic research of the San Francisco technology scene, she explains how social media’s technologies are based on status-seeking techniques that encourage people to apply free-market principles to the organization of social life. She has now rewritten the material – and added new interviews, new material and an extra chapter – for a book that was just published:

Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age
by Alice E. Marwick
Yale University Press
2013, 368 pages
[Amazon link]

Social media technologies such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook promised a new participatory online culture. Yet, technology insider Alice Marwick contends in this insightful book, “Web 2.0” only encouraged a preoccupation with status and attention. Her original research—which includes conversations with entrepreneurs, Internet celebrities, and Silicon Valley journalists—explores the culture and ideology of San Francisco’s tech community in the period between the dot com boom and the App store, when the city was the world’s center of social media development. Marwick argues that early revolutionary goals have failed to materialize: while many continue to view social media as democratic, these technologies instead turn users into marketers and self-promoters, and leave technology companies poised to violate privacy and to prioritize profits over participation. Marwick analyzes status-building techniques—such as self-branding, micro-celebrity, and life-streaming—to show that Web 2.0 did not provide a cultural revolution, but only furthered inequality and reinforced traditional social stratification, demarcated by race, class, and gender.

Alice E. Marwick is assistant professor, communication and media studies, Fordham University, and an academic affiliate at the Center on Law and Information Policy, Fordham Law School. Previously a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research, she regularly speaks to the press on various social media topics and has written for the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and the Guardian. She lives in New York City.

18 October 2013

What behavioral economics is not

 

Essay:
The Nature of the BEast: What Behavioral Economics Is Not
10/16/13
Matthew Darling, Saugato Datta, and Sendhil Mullainathan

People are complex; they defy easy summary. Like Walt Whitman, we all contain multitudes. As a discipline, economics has been successful in part because it has ignored this complexity. Instead it has focused on explaining the institutions in which decisions are made — with institutions ranging from capitalism to communism, from perfect competition to monopolies, and from rock-paper-scissors to the prisoner’s dilemma.

Behavioral economics differs from standard economics in that it uses a more realistic (and more complicated) model for people; it differs from psychology in that it maintains the focus on institutions and the contexts in which decisions are made. Behavioral economists study how the context of decisions interacts with our expanding understanding of human psychology. By combining the insights from these two very different perspectives, behavioral economists have been able to reveal new depths in ourselves.

The short 4 page essay can be downloaded for free from the website of the Center for Global Development, an independent, nonprofit policy research organization “dedicated to reducing global poverty and inequality and to making globalization work for the poor”.

3 October 2013

Dancing to silent algorithms

 

More and more, we live our lives according to the unknown auspices of machine codes, writes Frank Swain.

“Our lives are influenced by technologies not simply as objects but invisible systems that surround us, and whose architecture shapes the patterns of our lives. To live inside these invisible systems, whether they be insurance forms, loan requests, job applications or dating websites, we consciously adjust ourselves, providing the information we think is most suitable — or the least open to misinterpretation by the system.”

29 September 2013

The Qualified Self

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Looking at yet another tweet and another post about the Quantified Self, I started reflecting this morning on the Silicon Valley-driven fascination with the quantification of one’s own activities, body and habits.

The Quantified Self movement is portrayed as the nec-plus-ultra of objectivity that will help us live a better life. But something big is missing, and Jenny Davis PhD, a sociologist who teaches at James Madison University, seeks to address the fundamental issue of “why”. She argues (in a March 2013 blog post) that the reasons why people quantify themselves are entirely qualitative, with all that this implies:

“Self-quantification has a really important, prevalent, and somewhat ironic, qualitative component. This qualitative component is key in mediating between raw numbers and identity meanings. If self-quantifiers are seeking self-knowledge through numbers, then narratives and subjective interpretations are the mechanisms by which data morphs into selves. Self-quantifiers don’t just use data to learn about themselves, but rather, use data to construct the stories that they tell themselves about themselves. [...]

Self-qualification is present from the beginning, as decisions about what to measure and how to do so are highly subjective, and rest upon subject narratives. [...]

Self quantification is a process bookended by self qualification. Yes, the numbers are important. Self-quantification is, by definition, self-knowledge through numbers. Those numbers, however, take shape qualitatively. They become the code with which self-quantifiers prosume selves and identities into being. They are the bits with which self-quantifiers make sense of their atoms. ”

(My emphasis)

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!

21 September 2013

Online time can hobble brain’s important work

 

While you are browsing online, you could be squandering memories — or losing important information, according to Swedish research.

Contrary to common wisdom, an idle brain is in fact doing important work — and in the age of constant information overload, it’s a good idea to go offline on a regular basis, says a researcher from Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
Erik Fransén, whose research focuses on short-term memory and ways to treat diseased neurons, says that a brain exposed to a typical session of social media browsing can easily become hobbled by information overload. The result is that less information gets filed away in your memory.

Nice, the phrase at the end of the article: “Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google”.

19 September 2013

How Public Design? A conference at Mindlab

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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).

11 September 2013

Design, innovation and government

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Last week Joeri van den Steenhoven, attended the How Public Design? conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which was organized by MindLab, the Danish design lab that has been an inspiration to many in social and public sector innovation.

MindLab had gathered a small but global crowd, from countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Canada, most of whom were running innovation labs, such as Nesta27th RegionKennislandStanford ChangeLabs and DESIS Lab at Parsons the New School for Design.

The conference looked at design-led approaches to innovation in government, and here are some of the lessons Joeri took home.

6 September 2013

Selected videos from “The Conference” in Sweden

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Media Evolution The Conference is an international conference organized annually in Malmö, Sweden. The event focuses on factors that are affecting our society, with a media industry angle to it, exploring who sets the agenda, what changes the playing field and how we all can shape society from now on.

The main themes are “Human Behavior”, “New Technology” and “Make it Happen” with sessions that look into topics such as big data, learning, non visual communication, online harassment, responsive web design, boredom, change making and tactility in a digital world.

Here are some selected videos from the August 2013 edition. There are 56 in all online (just from 2013), so I invite you to explore them as well.

Suzannah Lipscomb – Opening keynote [41:19]
Suzannah Lipscomb is Senior Lecturer and Convenor for History at New College of the Humanities. She also holds a post as Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. Suzannah opened The Conference by looking back and talked about what we can and can not learn from the past.

James Bridle – Naked Lunch [43:07]
The world is shaped by new technologies, but perhaps it is shaped more by how we understand those technologies, how they impact our daily lives, and the mental models we have of them. James Bridle, who coined the term “New Aesthetic”, talks about architectural visualisation, online literatures, contemporary warfare and contemporary labour, in an attempt to articulate new ways of thinking about the world.

An Xiao Mina – The Internetz and Civics [12:54]
An Xiao Mina is an American artist, designer, writer and technologist. She explores the disruptive power of networked, creative communities in civic life. Dubbing memes the “street art of the internet”, she looks at the growing role of meme culture and humor in addressing social and political issues in countries like China, Uganda and the United States.

Golden Krishna – The Best Interface Is No Interface [16:25]
Golden Krishna, Senior Designer at Samsung, speaks about how “The best interface is no interface”.
Many people believe that the future of design is on screens. But what if we can design communication that doesn’t involve screens.

Mike Dewar – Seeing From Above [18:25]
Mike Dewar, Data Scientist at The New York Times R&D Lab, will talk about how we can build tools to let us see behavioral phenomena from a heady new perspective with big data and data science. In an increasingly complex and networked world, tools for recording, filtering and visualising data is powering a new breed of storytelling.

Petra Sundström – Digitals [13:52]
Petra Sundström is a leading researcher within the fields of Human Computer Interaction and Interaction Systems Design. She is Lab Manager for the Crafted Technology and Experiences lab at SICS and Mobile Life.
We all know how paper feels and that we interpret things by touching them But how does digital features feel, and how can we better understand “digital materials” to design augmented digital experiences.

Tricia Wang – The Elastic Self [17:23]
Tricia Wang is a global tech ethnographer who researches how technology makes us human. She advises organizations, corporations, and students on utilizing Digital Age ethnographic research methods to improve strategy, policy, services, and products.

6 September 2013

Thoughts on clever cities

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The multiplexed metropolis
Enthusiasts think that data services can change cities in this century as much as electricity did in the last one. The Economist – in a piece written by Ludwig Siegele, online business and finance editor, argues that they are a long way from proving their case.

The role of the citizen in the smart city
Technology has changed how we look at city infrastructure, raising the possibility of smart cities. Could it now change how city governments and citizens interact?
(With contributions by Dan Hill, Saskia Sassen, Usman Haque, William Perrin and Rick Robinson)

“Against the smart city” teaser
The smart city pretends to an objectivity, a unity and a perfect knowledge that are nowhere achievable, even in principle, argues Adam Greenfield.

6 September 2013

Rebecca Solnit on the downside of social and mobile technology

 

Rebecca Solnit writes – in an excellent piece – that she feels as though she is in a bad science fiction movie where everyone takes orders from tiny boxes that link them to alien overlords. Which is what corporations are anyway.

“Previous technologies have expanded communication. But the last round may be contracting it. The eloquence of letters has turned into the unnuanced spareness of texts; the intimacy of phone conversations has turned into the missed signals of mobile phone chat. I think of that lost world, the way we lived before these new networking technologies, as having two poles: solitude and communion. The new chatter puts us somewhere in between, assuaging fears of being alone without risking real connection. It is a shallow between two deep zones, a safe spot between the dangers of contact with ourselves, with others.” [...]

Getting out of it is about slowness, and about finding alternatives to the alienation that accompanies a sweater knitted by a machine in a sweatshop in a country you know nothing about, or jam made by a giant corporation that has terrible environmental and labour practices and might be tied to the death of honeybees or the poisoning of farmworkers. It’s an attempt to put the world back together again, in its materials but also its time and labour. It’s both laughably small and heroically ambitious.

Rebecca Solnit is the author of Motion Studies: Time, Space and Eadweard Muybridge, about technological change in the 19th century. She lives on the edge of Silicon Valley.

5 September 2013

Pew: 86% of USA adults make efforts to hide digital footprints online

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Pew Research Center found that 86 percent of surveyed adult Internet users in the U.S. have made efforts to obscure their “digital footprints” — which could include simple measures like clearing cookies in your browser or something more involved like encrypting your email, writes Ingrid Lunden on TechCrunch.

Some 55 percent have taken this one step further by trying to block specific people or organizations — services like Disconnect.me, for example, have built an entire business on creating these tools.

These efforts are not directed solely at state or government groups — despite all the recent attention from the PRISM revelations and the government’s role in gathering data.

“[Users'] concerns apply to an entire ecosystem of surveillance,” writes Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and one of the report’s authors. “In fact, they are more intent on trying to mask their personal information from hackers, advertisers, friends and family members than they are trying to avoid observation by the government.”

> See also this Fast Company article

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.