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Posts in category 'Social change'

23 December 2013

Ethnographic research: Facebook is basically dead and buried with UK teenagers

 

As part of a European Union-funded study on social media (make sure to check also the UCL site and blog on the same project), the Department of Anthropology at University College London is running nine simultaneous 15-month ethnographic studies in seven countries (small towns in Brazil, China (2), India, Italy, Trinidad, Turkey and the UK). Interesting insights from the UK:

“What we’ve learned from working with 16-18 year olds in the UK is that Facebook is not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried. Mostly they feel embarrassed even to be associated with it. Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives. Parents have worked out how to use the site and see it as a way for the family to remain connected. In response, the young are moving on to cooler things.

Instead, four new contenders for the crown have emerged: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. This teaches us a number of important lessons about winning the app war.”

8 December 2013

Britain’s Ministry of Nudges

08BIZILLO-articleInline

The title of this New York Times article sounds like a Monty Python sketch (intentionally, I guess). But the article is luckily quite a lot more serious, exploring how the British government – inspired by American behavioral economics – is finding new ways to gently prod people to pay taxes, find jobs and insulate their homes:

“A small band of psychologists and economists is quietly working to transform the nation’s policy making. Inspired by behavioral science, the group fans out across the country to job centers, schools and local government offices and tweaks bureaucratic processes to better suit human nature. The goal is to see if small interventions that don’t cost much can change behavior in large ways that serve both individuals and society.

It is an American idea, refined in American universities and popularized in 2008 with the best seller “Nudge,” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. Professor Thaler, a contributor to the Economic View column in Sunday Business, is an economist at the University of Chicago, and Mr. Sunstein was a senior regulatory official in the Obama administration, where he applied behavioral findings to a range of regulatory policies, but didn’t have the mandate or resources to run experiments.

But it is in Britain that such experiments have taken root. Prime Minister David Cameron has embraced the idea of testing the power of behavioral change to devise effective policies, seeing it not just as a way to help people make better decisions, but also to help government do more for less.”

6 December 2013

UK Cabinet Office policy lab aims to create designer public services

Airport design

Public service design is about to hit the mainstream. In December the Cabinet Office will launch a new policy lab tasked with using design to “re-invigorate policymaking in the UK civil service”, reports The Guardian.

The new lab to be launched in December will work with departments on their toughest problems, drawing on design methods such as ethnography to shed new light on what services people really need, and what a better solution might look like.

“Most design in the public sector is focused on transactions with government, such as applying for a passport. Much less has been done on design for improving human services such as drug rehabilitation. Even where design is deployed, it is usually only used to reshape a particular service not redesign the system surrounding it. So although some have designed to cut reoffending, designers have not yet had the chance to explore why offending is happening in the first place.

Moreover, design needs to learn from other public service fields, such as behavioural economics and social finance. The public service design revolution is just beginning.”

29 November 2013

Design your way to better public services

 

Innovative design-based approaches to public service management can rapidly enhance user experience whilst driving effective and efficient policymaking, explains Lucy Kimbell on the site of the Policy Network (the UK’s leading thinktank and international political network based in London).

“[The UK Cabinet Office, the Young Foundation, the International Telecommunications Union amd Nesta] are all examples of organisations reaching out to something confusingly called “Design”, in their attempts to create and deliver better responses to social challenges. Here, “better” public services can be understood through the lens of Roman architect Vitruvius. Well-designed public services should be pleasing and easy to access and use from the end user’s perspective (venustas). They should use resources effectively and efficiently, for example, reducing public sector investment (firmitas). And they should achieve policy goals resulting in the impacts that were the point of creating the solution in the first place (utilitas).

Helpful is how Kimbell describes what is distinctive about an approach where a team of people from policy, social science, technology and design backgrounds together take a design-led approach to addressing social challenges.

19 November 2013

Behavioral change strategy cards

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Artefact Group, the Seattle based design company, has posted the first installment of its Behavior Change toolkit.

“We’ve curated this selection of cards to give you a sample of principles and strategies that you can apply to your own work, dealing with concepts like how timing, ownership, and perceived losses impact people’s decisions.

Our goal is to provide internal and external designers, talent managers, and organizations with tools to incorporate behavioral economics principles into their work. This first installment of our Behavior Change toolkit rounds out our library of free resources on behavior change, including:

19 November 2013

Bringing sharing to Korea

aside-logo

Richard Heinberg, author of The End of Growth, gave the keynote address at the ‘Seoul Youth Hub Conference 2013, Reshaping the Way We Live’, held in Seoul, Korea from 6 to 8 November 2013.

The conference was co-hosted with 8 youth-led organizations working for transforming our lives into more sustainable way in various sectors.

The Seoul Youth Hub is a project of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and its mandate is to help young people “design a future society” by providing a place where they can share and resolve their problems, experiment with a sharing economy, and “discuss specific policies regarding various agendas such as work-labor, housing, life safety net, business creation, youth politics,” and more. The Hub is also intended as a model and a networking center for similar projects throughout Asia.

Richard was quite impressed about it all, and wrote a report on his experience on Shareable.

Very funny was his meeting with the Mayor of Seoul:

“On the evening of the first day of the conference I met Mayor Park at his offices in City Hall, a twisty new steel-and-glass structure whose ground floor is devoted to citizen-led social innovation projects.

Copies of The End of Growth were on the mayor’s meeting room table. Using an interpreter, we got right to it: He had clearly read the book and asked intelligent questions about it. What would I recommend that he and the City of Seoul do to prepare for the end of economic growth? It was a stunning question, given the circumstances, and he appeared eager to consider whatever suggestions I might offer. I started rattling off a laundry list of ideas — supporting farmers’ markets, community gardens, and other staples of a local food system; discouraging cars while encouraging bicycling and public transport; raising energy building standards to the Passive House level; staging more cultural events to increase the happiness quotient among citizens. When I finished, he recited examples of how he and the city have already begun doing nearly every one of these things. He was saying, in effect, “Check, check, check. Come on, what else have you got? Please tell me, and I’ll see if we can do it!” I suggested he find a way for the city to help bring Transition to Seoul. (There are currently two official Transition Initiatives in Japan, none in Korea.) He promised to do just that.”

19 November 2013

What human experiences are we missing by adopting new technologies?

drink

The more our data is used to determine our needs and desires, the less chance there is for serendipity, writes Bronwen Clune. Are we willing to make this concession in the name of progress?

“Tracking, data mining and collaborative filtering are now the way things are done. There is little room left for the art of finding something good by accident, or stumbling upon something useful while not searching for it. We shouldn’t underplay this, as luck and serendipity have long played a role in science when it’s come to discoveries; penicillin, radioactivity and gravity to name a few. What role could technology play in reducing these accidents from our lives? If we’re only ever exposed to what has been determined to appeal to us, we reduce the chances of these accidental discoveries. This can be from the personal to things of larger consequence. Put simply, the more our data is used to determine our needs and desires, the less chance there is for serendipity.”

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

CELL-articleInline

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

changingbehavious

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”

statusupdatenyt

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

socialbook

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

statusupdate

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

qualified-self

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”.