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Posts in category 'Social change'

30 April 2013

Exploring Problem-framing through Behavioural Heuristics

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Article published in the April 2013 issue of the International Journal of Design
By Dan Lockton, David J. Harrison, Rebecca Cain, Neville A. Stanton, & Paul Jennings

Design for behaviour change aims to influence user behaviour, through design, for social or environmental benefit. Understanding and modelling human behaviour has thus come within the scope of designers’ work, as in interaction design, service design and user experience design more generally. Diverse approaches to how to model users when seeking to influence behaviour can result in many possible strategies, but a major challenge for the field is matching appropriate design strategies to particular behaviours (Zachrisson & Boks, 2012).

In this paper, we introduce and explore behavioural heuristics as a way of framing problem-solution pairs (Dorst & Cross, 2001) in terms of simple rules. These act as a ‘common language’ between insights from user research and design principles and techniques, and draw on ideas from human factors, behavioural economics, and decision research. We introduce the process via a case study on interaction with office heating systems, based on interviews with 16 people. This is followed by worked examples in the ‘other direction’, based on a workshop held at the Interaction ’12 conference, extracting heuristics from existing systems designed to influence user behaviour, to illustrate both ends of a possible design process using heuristics.

23 April 2013

“CasaZera” opens, with Experientia smart meter design (incl. slideshow)

 

In a decommissioned industrial zone in Turin, a single bright yellow apartment stands out in the shell of an old factory. This is “CasaZera”, a sustainable living housing prototype, which was officially opened on the 18th April 2013 by local officials, and the project partners. Experientia consulted for project partner DE-GA, designing a tablet-based solution to enable the residents to access information and systems about energy use in the apartment, as well access to local services. Experientia senior design Renzo Giusti was on-hand to showcase Experientia’s contribution.

The Experientia-designed interface shows monthly energy consumption and production for electricity, heating, cooling and water.
Click on image to view slideshow

CasaZera is part of the ECOstruendo program, funded by the Region of Piedmont, and promoted by Polight, the innovation centre for sustainable construction at the Turin Environment Park. The apartment is an inhabitable prototype, demonstrating ways to utilise decommissioned industrial areas for residential use, and adhering to five main precepts: zero consumption of soil, zero waste of resources, zero time, zero energy and zero project errors. The apartment itself is a fully-designed and equipped residential unit, which has been integrated into the framework of an old factory, instead of creating new zones for residential construction.

The apartment is around 30 square meters, with a bedroom, living-room/kitchen and bathroom. It contains state-of-the-art technology for home automation and resource management, with 75% of the energy used in the apartment produced by renewable solar, photovoltaic and biomass sources. Experientia’s role, as consultants to DE-GA S.p.A, was to employ human-centred design methodologies to make this cutting-edge technology easily usable for the everyday people who will live in the unit. The tablet-based solution Experientia created allows people to interact with key functions for controlling the home appliances and heating and cooling systems, and shows simple visualisations of how the energy in the home is being used – a “living room” view of the household consumption.

As part of Experientia’s holistic approach to enabling more sustainable lifestyles, the final solution also helps connect the residents of the apartment to local services. This includes information on frequency and time of local public transport, bike sharing availability, and locations of local markets, stores and pharmacies.

The apartment systems will now be tested for 10 days with the unit empty, to gather feedback on how systems are working. After this time, two students from the Turin Polytechnic will move in, and will test the apartment systems over the course of the next year. The students will provide an in-depth look at how well the system performs in the long run, and how easy it is to use for people who are not specialists or involved in the system development, but are representative of the people who will eventually live, work and study in similar constructions.

Turin council member for the environment, Enzo Lavolta, was present at the opening, praising the initiative as a “concrete example of a smart city”. Giorgio Gallesio, DE-GA S.p.A’s managing director, and head of the project, and Matteo Robiglio from the architectural partner Tra, also spoke. Much of the debate of the day centred on how affordable the solution is, and the vibrant possibilities for urban renewal it offers, reclaiming existing urban areas for residential use, without waste. The project aims to be an Italian example of a new mindset, and demonstrate an innovative method to create zones for rental property.

Experientia senior designer, Renzo Giusti, who helped implement Experientia’s contribution to the project, also spoke about Experientia’s vision for sustainable, high quality urban development, and how this was channelled into the final solution.

Experientia’s work on this project was as consultants to DE-GA S.p.A. The other partners in the initiative were: Tra architects, experts in social and co-housing; Confortaree, experts in housing fixtures and fittings; Habicher Holzbau, specialised in wooden residences; Teclmp for heating and cooling fixtures; Golder Associates, environmental and energy consultants; Onleco consultancy service; and Tebe, research group on energy technology for construction.

22 April 2013

Low2No smart services workbook by Experientia

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As part of Experientia’s involvement in the award winning Low2No project in Helsinki and in particular its strategy towards demand management and behavioral change, we are proud to announce that Dan Hill (former ARUP and Sitra, now Fabrica) has just reminded us of last year’s long review (and a download link) of the Low2No smart services workbook created by Experientia and ARUP:

“This aspect explores the potential of contemporary technologies – particularly those increasingly everyday circling around phrases like social media, “internet of things”, “smart cities” and so on – to enable residents, workers, visitors and citizens in general to live, work and play in and around the block in new ways. These are predicated on the same low-carbon outcomes that drives the Low2No project in general, but also a wider “triple-bottom line” approach to sustainability, which might include beneficial social and economic outcomes, as well as environmental. We’d had this element in from the start, from the Arup-led consortium’s original competition submission in 2009, and today we’re sharing some of the work-in-progress as it developed, in the form of the “informatics workbook” developed by the design team, as a tool in the design process.”

Thank you, Dan.

19 April 2013

David Cannadine, Alice Rawsthorn and Dave Coplin – videos to watch on the RSA site

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Common Humanity: Making ‘us vs. them’ history [20:09]
Presentation at RSA on 14 March 2013
Sir David Cannadine, one of Britain’s most distinguished historians visits the RSA to provide a new paradigm for historical understanding that emphasises our commonalities, rather than our differences.

RSA Tindale Lecture: Design and Society [18:54]
Presentation at RSA on 19 March 2013
In the inaugural RSA Tindale Lecture, Alice Rawsthorn, leading design critic and author of the forthcoming book “Hello World: Where Design Meets Life”, explores the powerful and pervasive influence of design in our lives — and addresses design’s social responsibilities.

Re-Imagining Work: Shifts in the digital revolution [20:04]
Presentation at RSA on 16 April 2013
Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, imagines what might be possible if organisations really began to think differently about the power of technological and social change to transform the way we do business.

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges

16 April 2013

Videos online of March 2013 Healthcare Experience Design conference

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On March 25, the Healthcare Experience Design (HxD) conference took place in Boston. Speakers discussed how human centered design and design thinking can improve the quality of health service delivery and digital interactions, helping all of us achieve better health.

Videos of all sessions are now online.
 

PLENARY SESSIONS

Opening Address [14:32]
Amy Cueva, Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer, Mad*Pow

Evolving Health IT User Experience: The View from DC [No video yet]
Ryan Panchadsaram, Senior Advisor to the US CTO, The White House
Jacob Reider, ONC HIT, US Dept of Health and Human Services
While federal government’s meaningful use incentive program accelerated the adoption of technology in hospitals and medical offices across the United States, users of these systems express concern about their usability and safety. This session will provide a glimpse of the Federal efforts to help health IT designers & developers bridge the gap between where they are and where their users wish them to be.

Opening Keynote: Sneaking Up Sideways on Behavior Change [36:08]
Jane McGonigal, author, inventor, co-founder, Reality is Broken, SuperBetter
Jane McGonigal is a world-renowned creator of alternate reality games, or games designed to solve real problems and improve players’ real lives.

Health Behavior Change and Beyond: The Health Benefits of Success Experiences [35:38]
Dr. David Sobel, Medical Director of Patient Education and Health Promotion, Kaiser Permanente
While sustained behavior and lifestyle changes can lead to improved health outcomes, there may be another pathway to health. Namely, the increased sense of confidence and control that comes from being successful at changing ANY behavior, even if the change is not sustained, can also improve health outcomes. Learn how to avoid the tyranny of prescribed failure experiences. Learn how to prescribe success by aligning with passions, discovering patient-generated solutions, and celebrating success.

The Happiness Project: Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun [27:46]
Gretchen Rubin, Author, The Happiness Project
Gretchen has a wide, enthusiastic following, and her idea for a “happiness project” no longer describes just a book or a blog; it’s a movement. Happiness Project groups have sprung up from Los Angeles to Enid, Oklahoma to Boston, where people meet to discuss their own happiness projects. More than a dozen blogs have been launched by people who are following Gretchen’s example. On her companion website, the Happiness Project Toolbox, enthusiastic readers track and share their own happiness projects.

Closing Keynote [36:22]
Jamie Heywood, Co-founder, Chairman, Patients Like Me
Jamie’s scientific and business innovations have been transforming the intersection of biotechnology and pharmaceutical development, personalized medicine, and patient care.
As chairman of PatientsLikeMe, Jamie provides the scientific vision and architecture for its patient- centered medical platform.
 

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Theme: Behavioral change

Systems for Self-Regulation [29:56]
Dustin DiTommaso, VP User Experience, Mad*Pow
By better understanding the factors that govern self-regulation of human behavior, we can begin to design products and services that more reliably facilitate healthy changes in behavior.

How to Design User Habits [27:06]
Nir Eyal, Consultant
In an age of ever-increasing distractions, quickly creating customer habits is an important characteristic of successful products. How do companies create products people use every day? What are the secrets of building services customers love? How can designers create products compelling enough to “hook” users?

Theme: Team Dynamics

Playing Nice: Facilitating Multi-disciplinary Teams to Create Better Holistic Experiences [34:21]
Toi Valentine, Experience Designer, Adaptive Path
In this talk, Toi explores the challenges that come with collaboration within a traditional organizational culture and some creative methods and strategies to overcome those obstacles.

Influence Mapping in Healthcare: How information design and organizational dynamics can improve the quality of health communication [31:27]
Dante Murphy, Global Experience Director, Digitas Health
This discussion will demonstrate how applying the techniques of influence mapping in organizational Dynamics and information design can help discover the points of failure in healthcare interactions and address them with appropriate content, tools, and techniques.

The Embedded Designer: How to Make Designers an Integral Part of Your Team [28:12]
Cassie McDaniel, Design Lead, Healthcare Human Factors, University Health Network
This session will outline how to lay down the infrastructure for designer and clinician collaboration by sharing case studies, challenges, opportunities, and tips and tricks, particularly from the lens of the largest human factors design team in the world devoted to health.

Theme: Health Literacy and Public Health

Reader-Centered Design for Health Communication [29:12]
Sandy Hilfiker, Principal and Director of User-Centered Design, Communicate Health Inc.
Molly McLeod, Creative Director, Communicate Health Inc.
The presenters have designed and tested health Web sites and interactive tools using the strategies outlined in Health Literacy Online (edited by CommunicateHealth co-founders). The presentation will include examples and case studies, with a focus on content developed for audiences with limited health literacy skills.

Where We Are: Designing the Environment for Health Impact [No video yet]
Andre Blackman, Founder, Pulse + Signal
Seamlessly integrating health into what citizens are already doing (e.g. not more health posters) is what will help shape the future of health.

Inclusion by Design [27:02]
Dr. Ivor Horn, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s National Medical Center and George Washington University School of Medicine
Social media and mobile technology are disrupting the way patients and health systems interact and our expectations of how individuals and systems manage health and wellness in addition to illness. As early adopters, minority populations, who suffer from some of the greatest health disparities, are positioned to take a lead in leveraging innovations to improve their health outcomes. However, it is important that we discuss ways for companies and developers to partner with underserved populations and the providers who care for them to create solutions that are applicable and relevant to the realities of the environment (economic, social and physical) in which they live.

Theme: Methods for Research, Strategy & Design

Research and Design Methods in Healthcare [1:04:03]
Megan Grocki, Experience Design Director, Mad*Pow
Adam Connor, Experience Design Director, Mad*Pow
Michael Hawley, Chief Design Officer, Mad*Pow
Designing experiences that are elegant, simple, intuitive and valuable is hard. Organizations often have a difficult time coming to consensus around design decisions or leveraging outside perspective and research into their design process. In healthcare, the complex web of patient behavior, regulatory systems, and multiple players make the design process that much more challenging. In this fast-paced session, we share our experiences designing for the multiple facets of healthcare experiences. We discuss core research and design methods that help overcome organizational barriers to good design, and review research and design methods that work for patient, provider, insurer and other players in healthcare specifically.

The C-Factor: Boosting Your Content’s Clout [29:40]
Colleen Jones, Principal, Content Science
Getting strategic about content for your website or mobile application starts with analysis. Would a doctor prescribe a solution without first conducting a thorough exam? Of course not! In the same way, your organization can’t fix its content problems or make the most of its content opportunities without taking a close look at your content situation.

Theme: Well-being: Foundation for Health

Stress is the New Fat [29:12]
Jan Bruce, Founder, CEO, meQuilibrium
Stress is the #1 inhibitor to people adopting healthy behavior changes like diet and fitness. Stress costs employers $300 billion each year in healthcare expenses and absenteeism. One in 4 adults now characterize their stress as high or severe, and 80% understand that, left unattended, stress is making them ill, overweight, unproductive and with a diminished quality of life. This session will cover the common misperceptions about stress and its significance in behavior change; and then explain how stress can be managed in new ways, which give important clues to helping people with other behavior change issues.

Vulnerability is an issue like never before… is it treatable? [27:24]
Alexandra Drane, Founder, Chief Visionary Officer and Chair of the Board, Eliza Corporation
Join our session to better understand how we can help measure Vulnerability in actionable ways, develop solutions based on successful models outside the traditional healthcare space, and then analyze the results of these interventions to determine whether or not this pervasive condition is in fact, treatable.

Calming Technology [27:34]
Neema Moraveji, Director, Calming Technology Lab, Stanford University
As interactive experiences pervade everyday life, the potential for stress and anxiety increases. How can we utilize the power of interactive tools without sacrificing our sanity? The answer lies in a dual-pronged approach: (1) cultivating contemplative and calming practices in our personal lives and (2) increasing awareness of designers to mitigate stressors in interactive products. In this talk I will discuss our research from the Calming Technology Lab at Stanford University towards this aim.

Theme: Patient Stories

Preventing Nightmare Patient Experiences Like Mine [21:28]
Richard Anderson, Principal Consultant, Riander
Richard will detail some of his nightmare patient story, some of what was responsible for it, and some of the implications for how healthcare experience designers and researchers need to work.

Live a Full Life with Chronic Illness [24:00]
Nina Gilmore, Principle UX Designer, Oracle Corporation
Nina will share her experience as a patient and adventurer in the world of healthcare. She’s been poked and prodded, helped and harmed, treated sometimes with compassion and sometimes with indifference. As a designer, she is passionate about opportunities to create experiences more conducive to healing and hope. She’ll talk about what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, and she’ll share her curious experiences on this journey.

When the Designer is a Patient: A View from the Inside [30:59]
Samantha LeVan, Senior User Experience Designer, Mayo Clinic
Patient experience researchers are trained to minimize the influence of personal opinions on the design of a product or service, but when the researcher is also a patient, those personal experiences may be difficult to set aside. In this talk, Samantha will share how being a cancer patient has shaped the direction of her user experience design career and highlight a few tricks to using personal experience as an advantage, rather than a hindrance to patient-centered design.

Patient Innovators and Instigators [31:43]
Katie McCurdy, Experience Design Consultant, Mad*Pow
Meet these bold patients who are creatively using the tools at their disposal to take control of their healthcare. This panel brings together patients who have ‘hacked’ their own healthcare to improve communication, connect the dots between their providers, and generally create a more satisfying patient experience. These problem-solving trailblazers give us a glimpse into a future of highly informed, connected and empowered patients – so we’d be smart to listen to them now.

“…but a sword:” Art, Icons and Medical Advocacy< [24:43]
Regina Holliday, Founder, Patient Artist Activist, The Walking Gallery of Healthcare
Description TBD.

Theme: Consumer Expectations

The Digital Revolution: Leveraging the Consumer Journey to Deliver Transformative Health Experiences [30:27]
Brian Tilzer, Chief Digital Officer, CVS Caremark
Digital trends are changing consumers- expectations of the interactions they have with the healthcare system, and pharmacies sit at the forefront of this transformation. Empowered customers are increasingly managing their own care using an array of digital tools and now have access to technology everywhere they go. To stay relevant, health care companies must adapt their customer experiences to these new ways of doing business.

The #NEXT Generation of Healthcare [25:16]
Sean Brennan, Senior Envisioner, Continuum
As patient satisfaction starts to matter more and more, healthcare services will need to figure out how to deliver for this audience – what attributes does Gen Y seek in its experiences and services? What can we learn from sectors outside of healthcare about what this next generation of healthcare consumers are going to demand from their healthcare experiences? And ultimately, what does that mean for design?

HxD: from the Big Picture to Painting by Numbers [30:09]
Rodrigo Martinez, Life Sciences Chief Strategist, IDEO
Designing better experiences in healthcare is complex, difficult and often overwhelming. What if we were to build these experiences bottom-up, from isolated touch points and principles towards a cohesive system? How might we apply simple lessons from great experiences in other industries?

Theme: Care Experiences

Case studies [32:28]
- Jeff Stevens, Web Content Optimizer, University of Florida Academic Health Center on building an integrated patient-focused website for the University of Florida Academic Health Center
- Chris Herot, CEO and Co-Founder, SBR Health on how SBR health has created a video communication web services model to support healthcare designers who are incorporating today’s low cost and cloud-based televideo technologies into their own applications
- Valerie Mais, Project Lead, Center for Innovation in Complex Care, University Health Network on implementing new ways to capture and display patient experience, care quality, efficiency and interprofessional team “health” in meaningful ways for frontline healthcare providers.

Case Studies [30:27]
- Jeanine Kierkels, Design Research Consultant, Philips Healthcare Design on experience design for labor and delivery
- Brian Loew, CEO, Inspire on Inspire’s rare disease communities
- Zen Chu, Medical Tech Entrepreneur & Investor, MIT on MIT’s H@ckingMedicine program.

Health Navigation [32:11]
Dan Brousseau, Partner, Emperia LLC
Dan’s talk describes how service at hospitals can help transform the overall experience. He describes of how a large unit within a major teaching hospital that he worked with is innovating the concept of service and support through ‘health navigation’ to engage patients and families at a deeper level and bring new value to their healthcare experiences. He provides strategic context for customer experience at hospitals and show how a technique called Experience Value Mapping can be used to examine and redefine the customer experience from the outside-in.

Breaking the Mold [29:56]
Jess Kadar, Principal Product Manager, Iora Health
Details coming soon.

Rethinking the Fertility Patient Journey [28:36]
Peter Eckert, Chief Experience Officer, Projekt 202
Kijana Knight, Senior User Experience Researcher, Projekt 202
Aliza Gold, Senior Experience Designer/Researcher, Projekt 202
The Reproductive Medicine Associates of Texas (RMA) is not the first client to engage projekt202 in the hopes of becoming better, faster, more efficient, and more creative in their approach to problem-solving and ways upon they offer their services; but they are the first to ask us to apply our processes and skills to finding solutions in physical and emotional space. We believe that our findings and the documentation we have begun to create in response to our observations and hypotheses offers an opportunity to begin a very fruitful dialogue between interaction designers and healthcare providers on how the principles of user-centered design can be applied to improve the experience of medical service for both patients and providers.

Theme: Design Innovation

From Malawi to Minnesota: Hyper-Local System Design and Global Scale [No video yet]
Christopher Fabian, Co-leader and Co-founder, Innovation Unit, Unicef
Bringing best practices from design and start-up culture to the world of development challenges is daunting – but allowing for failure, co-creating solutions, and recognizing that almost everything we build in New York does not, in the end, work in the field have forced us to be humble and look for ways to facilitate solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Design and Innovation: The Human Perspective [29:56]
Ryan Armbruster, VP, Innovation Competency. UnitedHealth Group
In this session, Ryan will share frameworks for explaining and understanding this interrelationship which have been effective at helping healthcare leaders grasp and pursue design and innovation effectively within their organizations. In addition, he will share recent examples of how UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest and most diversified companies in the healthcare industry, is applying design to enable more successful innovation.

Theme: Chronic Condition Management

Understanding Networks of Diabetes Care: A Research Framework for the Healthcare Innovation of Tomorrow [26:11]
Eilidh Dickson, Project Leader and Senior Interaction Designer, CIID Consulting
Helle Rohde Andersen, Interaction and Service Designer, CIID Consulting
Working with Novo Nordisk, CIID Consulting assembled a 360º view into the networks of care, that support diabetes patients. By approaching the research from a systemic level and studying a patient’s network of support rather than individuals in isolation, the result was a rich and emotional view into the complex interactions and relationships encompassing a patient’s journey with the condition.
This talk shows how a new research framework and information visualization methods can inspire you to tackle challenging healthcare issues in ways that will provoke new understanding and build user empathy.

Am I Normal? Findings from Research on Text Messaging for Women with Diabetes [28:35]
Janna Kimel, Senior User Experience Researcher, Regence
The session goes into detail about how to insert qualitative research into a quantitative environment, with best practices for getting answers from study participants. This discussion also reviews key findings about how to interact and message disparate populations, as well as the pros and cons of using text messaging to influence health outcomes.

Theme: Health Trends

Designing Work for Health and Profit [31:19]
Martin Adler, Co-Founder & Director of Product Management, Healthrageous
This session will address how cutting edge science and technology can be used to change behaviors and optimize workplace health. In doing so, we will define steps that individuals can take to improve their health and wellbeing immediately, how change makers and organizations can cut costs by improving the health of their workforce and how technology is revolutionizing the way we’ll work tomorrow.

15 April 2013

Rx: Human nature

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Why doesn’t a woman who continues to have unwanted pregnancies avail herself of the free contraception at a nearby clinic? What keeps people from using free chlorine tablets to purify their drinking water? Behavioral economics has shown us that we don’t always act in our own best interests. This is as true of health decisions as it is of economic ones. An array of biases, limits on cognition, and motivations leads people all over the world to make suboptimal health choices.

The good news is that human nature can also be a source of solutions. Through her studies in Zambia exploring the reasons for unwanted pregnancies and the incentives that would motivate hairdressers to sell condoms to their clients, Nava Ashraf (an associate professor at the Harvard Business School) has found that designing effective health programs requires more than providing accessible, affordable care; it requires understanding what makes both end users and providers tick.

By understanding the cognitive processes underlying our choices and applying the tools of behavioral economics — such as commitment devices, material incentives, defaults, and tools that tap our desire to help others — it’s possible to design simple, inexpensive programs that encourage good health decisions and long-term behavior change.

12 April 2013

#wethedata

wethedata

Right now, data may be what we intentionally share, or what is gathered about us – the product of surveillance and tracking. We are the customer, but our data are the product. How do we balance our anxiety around data with its incredible potential? How do we regain more control over what happens to our data and what is targeted at us as a result?

We The Data is born of a partnership between a group of friends, TED Fellows, and some visionaries at Intel Labs. Brought together by a common belief that ‘the internet is an organism in the process of being born’ and that we all have an important role in the data revolution, these groups worked together to seed what was to become a movement, #wethedata.

“WE THE DATA is a hub of conversation, news, and events celebrating innovative communities who are each focused on democratizing data in their own way. Our goal is to spark synergy among people and organizations who are tackling a nexus of interdependent Core Challenges and collectively giving rise to the Gutenburg press of our era: flows of data that are at once more fluid and more trustworthy, new and more accessible tools for analysis and visualization, and vehicles of communication and collaboration that help communities come together to gain a voice, mobilize resources, coordinate action, and create the ventures of the future.”

(thanks, Todd!)

12 April 2013

Bitcoin is just the poster currency for a growing movement of alternative tender

brixtonpounds

Scott Smith of futures research lab Changeist writes in Quartz about the long history of alternative currencies, and criticizes Bitcoin because “they set too high a bar for the average person”:

“There have been various alternative currencies kicking around developed countries like Britain and the US for years, but the global recession has spurred increased interest in setting up small local systems of payment using money designed around local needs. These range from the gray hairs of local currency such as the Brixton Pound, set up five years ago in the South London neighborhood that gave it its name, to more recent entrants like Bavaria’s Chiemgauer, a currency that started in a school and has spread to wider use, and the Credito, used by the Damanhur eco-community in Northern Italy.”

See also his 2012 article: “The Future of Informal Economies“.

31 March 2013

How habits can impact user behavior

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In the book The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg explains how habits are formed and what it takes to break an ingrained habit. The book references a 2006 study from Duke University that found that 40% of the actions that people perform each day are habits, not purposeful decisions. Habits impact our daily lives in many different ways, even in how we interact with websites and applications. Being aware of how habits may influence interactions users have with your products can help you design better user experiences.

31 March 2013

Web privacy, and how consumers let down their guard

PRIVACY-articleLarge

Consumers insist that they treasure their online privacy. But their mouse clicks tell a far different tale, as the experiments of a behavioral economist show.

In a series of provocative experiments, Alessandro Acquisti, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, has shown that despite how much we say we value our privacy — and we do, again and again — we tend to act inconsistently.

28 March 2013

Is Open Government working?

opengov

In an insightful blog post, Reboot principal Panthea Lee asks if open government initiatives make citizens more informed and engaged, and make governments more accountable to their people? What impact have open government initiatives had so far?

Reboot is a USA-based service design firm working in the fields of global governance and development.

Four questions, she writes, might be worth considering for those working to measure and achieve impact in this space:

1. Who gains from Open Government?
Which populations have the access and motivation to use these channels? Frequently, programs and platforms privilege certain groups over others.

2. How do we reach “The Other Side”?
There are two sides to the open government coin: citizens and governments. The goal is to facilitate constructive dialogue between the two, but many projects seem to focus on one side or the other.

3. Can we do better than equating scale with success?
Replication and scale are not always appropriate indicators of success. The effectiveness of most open government initiatives will be context dependent. Replication requires programs to standardize as many elements of its models and activities as possible.

4. How do Open Government processes change people?
Open government initiatives seek to mobilize citizens and to motivate governments to respond. But what are the processes through which change occurs?

25 March 2013

Human-centred systems innovation

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How do we help or support people that live in situations that do not fit into a system’s categories, e.g. by transforming perceptions of what a system can be? This question is constantly reoccurring in the development of our public service systems, writes Jesper Christiansen, anthropologist at MindLab, a Danish cross-ministerial innovation unit, on the NESTA site.

“A very obvious example where this matter is persistent is the area of social care for vulnerable families. This area is increasingly becoming a nightmare scenario for Western nation states across the world. These are often at-risk families, which access many different services and are involved in several case plans at the same time. The challenge is to coordinate and integrate services that are addressing such different issues like child behaviour and education, domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, unemployment or work injury, financial crisis, unstable housing, physical or mental illness or other more or less common hardships of everyday life.

Working with Australian design agency ThinkPlace, MindLab took part in a project that set out to address these issues and transform the service system dealing with vulnerable families in the ACT region of Australia. The purpose was to develop new capabilities and processes to co-design and co-produce services with current service users as part of introducing a new human-centred, systemic approach to improve outcomes for vulnerable families.”

Other recent readings by MindLab:

Co-production (pdf)
How do we ensure collaboration with all the actors who can potentially make a contribution to the challenges we face? Can juvenile first time offenders be sentenced by youths with a criminal record? To see the citizens’ resources and design welfare with them rather than to them – that is what we call co-production. Read cases and useful principles on the subject in this pamphlet. [Video]

Design-Led Innovation in Government
Christian Bason’s reflections on design-led innovation in the public sector and the three challenges it raises.
(Published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review)

24 March 2013

Big Data and personal data for behavioral analysis and behavioral change

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In a broader article on Big Data and privacy, the New York Times writes about the work of Alex Pentland, a computational social scientist, director of the Human Dynamics Lab at the M.I.T., and academic adviser to the World Economic Forum’s initiatives on Big Data and personal data.

His M.I.T. team, writes the New York Times, is also working on living lab projects. One that began recently, the Mobile Territorial Lab, is in the region around Trento, Italy, in cooperation with Telecom Italia and Telefónica, the Spanish mobile carrier. About 100 young families with young children are participating. The goal is to study how much and what kind of information they share on smartphones with one another, and with social and medical services — and their privacy concerns.

The Mobile Territorial Lab (MTL) aims at creating an experimental environment to push forward the research on human-behavior analysis and interaction studies of people while in mobility. MTL has been created by Telecom Italia SKIL Lab, in cooperation with Telefonica I+D, the Human Dynamics group at MIT Media Lab, the Institute for Data Driven Design (ID³) and Fondazione Bruno Kessler, and with contributions from Telecom Italia Future Center.

The data presents a valuable and unique source for investigating personal needs, community roles, phone usage patterns, etc. and for providing benefits to people in terms of personal, economic and social benefits.

MTL aims at exploiting smartphones’ sensing capabilities to unobtrusively and cost-effectively access to previously inaccessible sources of data related to daily social behavior (location, physical proximity of other devices; communication data (phone calls and SMS), movement patterns, and so on. The Mobile Territorial Lab (MTL) in Trentino aims at fostering mobile phone related research activities with real people on a very responsive territory. This include the involvement of a significant number of committed users with the goal of having a continuous and active user base to interact with and cutting down the experimentation setup costs. Not only.
A continued and active user base equipped with smartphones, enabling users to access (from everywhere) online services and to collect personal or contextual information from the integrated sensors, represents a valuable and unique sample for investigating new paradigms in the management of personal data.

21 March 2013

Sustainable living and behavioural change

Houses in Valparaiso, near Santiago, Chile.

A Unilever sponsored sustainability supplement to The Guardian contains a short articles by Dan Lockton that is worth exploring.

Design for sustainability: making green behaviour easy describes how design can enable sustainable behaviour by understanding everyday needs rather than treating people as the problem.

“Design has a massive opportunity: enable more sustainable behaviour through making it easier to do things in a more sustainable way. Lower the barriers to sustainable behaviour – do research with people, in everyday contexts, to find out what the barriers are, and address them directly.”

14 March 2013

Book: Present Shock – When Everything Happens Now

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Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now
by Douglas Rushkoff
Current Hardcover
March 2013, 216 pages
[Amazon]

Abstract

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, explains award-winning media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, but we don’t seem to have any time in which to live it. Instead we remain poised and frozen, overwhelmed by an always-on, live-streamed re­ality that our human bodies and minds can never truly in­habit. And our failure to do so has had wide-ranging effects on every aspect of our lives.

People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, compile knowledge, and con­nect with anyone, at anytime. We strove for an instanta­neous network where time and space could be compressed.

Well, the future’s arrived. We live in a continuous now en­abled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technologi­cal shift. Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.

Rushkoff weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eter­nal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture. He explains how the rise of zombie apocalypse fic­tion signals our intense desire for an ending; how the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; how corporate investing in the future has been replaced by futile efforts to game the stock market in real time; why social networks make people anxious and email can feel like an assault. He examines how the tragedy of 9/11 disconnected an entire generation from a sense of history, and delves into why conspiracy theories actually comfort us.

As both individuals and communities, we have a choice. We can struggle through the onslaught of information and play an eternal game of catch-up. Or we can choose to live in the present: favor eye contact over texting; quality over speed; and human quirks over digital perfection. Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false now.

Absorbing and thought-provoking, Present Shock is a wide-ranging, deeply thought meditation on what it means to be human in real time.

See also:
- Wall Street Journal excerpt
- New York Times review

7 March 2013

What form of behaviour change does climate change call for?

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Jonathan Rowson @Jonathan_Rowson, who leads the RSA Social Brain Centre, recently gave a 15 minute presentation on the Social Brain Centre’s emerging ideas relating to behaviour change in the context of Climate Change. The title was: “What kind of behaviour change do we need?” The details will soon be unpacked in a report, grounded in evidence from a national survey, but the idea in outline is as follows:

  • Begin with those people who fully accept the reality of climate challenge, want to do more to deal with it in their own lives, but somehow don’t manage to (‘climate ignorers
  • Focus on practices that have strategic value (changing behaviour in a way that promotes attitudes or values that reinforce rather than undermine related behaviours)
  • Help people change certain social practices(often called “habits”) that are formative of their relationship to climate change.
  • Design this change in a a way that promotes social diffusion to shift social norms and shape political will at a local level.
  • Through a shift in civil society, local government and businesses, change political will at national and international levels.
5 March 2013

Designing the political future

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After technology received so much attention as a key differentiator for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, Cooper Managing Director Doug LeMoine asked Scout Addis, the Director of User Experience at Practice Fusion, to discuss his experience working on the campaign and how design and technology worked together to help win the election and change the future of politics.

“I would encourage every designer to apply his or her skills to the political process to help make it better. We need more designers helping with civic engagement. Working on a political campaign is unlike working for any company you can imagine. It’s so fast, so fluid, so data intensive, that you’ll learn more in a day about what works and what doesn’t than you will in a month at most other companies.”

Read the interview

28 February 2013

Future Imperfect: Evgeny Morozov vs. Steven Johnson

 

A couple of weeks ago Evgeny Morozov and Steven Johnson had a very public spat (writers’ favorite kind), prompted by Evgeny’s review of Johnson’s latest book in the New Republic.

The result was predictable: two geeky boys with big egos each hell bent on proving the other wrong. ThIn the end, the big winner was … the New Republic — and the authors’ respective book publishers. Nothing attracts a crowd like a public tussle, and a crowd is precisely what the publishing industry so desperately needs. Notably absent from their nitpicking and clawing, however, was a thoughtful discussion of ideas, specifically the ideas that each one presents in his latest respective book.

David Sasaki offer his own interpretation of what Evgeny and Steven have each contributed to our understanding about our relationship with the Internet.

25 February 2013

The problem with our data obsession

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To Save Everything Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism
by Evgeny Morozov
Public Affairs Book, 2013
432 pages
[Amazon]

Abstract
In the very near future, “smart” technologies and “big data” will allow us to make large-scale and sophisticated interventions in politics, culture, and everyday life. Technology will allow us to solve problems in highly original ways and create new incentives to get more people to do the right thing. But how will such “solutionism” affect our society, once deeply political, moral, and irresolvable dilemmas are recast as uncontroversial and easily manageable matters of technological efficiency? What if some such problems are simply vices in disguise? What if some friction in communication is productive and some hypocrisy in politics necessary? The temptation of the digital age is to fix everything—from crime to corruption to pollution to obesity—by digitally quantifying, tracking, or gamifying behavior. But when we change the motivations for our moral, ethical, and civic behavior we may also change the very nature of that behavior. Technology, Evgeny Morozov proposes, can be a force for improvement—but only if we keep solutionism in check and learn to appreciate the imperfections of liberal democracy. Some of those imperfections are not accidental but by design.
Arguing that we badly need a new, post-Internet way to debate the moral consequences of digital technologies, To Save Everything, Click Here warns against a world of seamless efficiency, where everyone is forced to wear Silicon Valley’s digital straitjacket.

Review by Brian Bergstein (MIT Technology Review)

“The quest to gather ever more information can make us value the wrong things and grow overconfident about what we know.”

“Evgeny Morozov worries that we are too often [...] opting to publish more information to increase transparency even if it undermines principles such as privacy or civic involvement. [...]

Transparency is ascending at the expense of other values, Morozov suggests, mainly because it is so cheap and easy to use the Internet to distribute data that might someday prove useful. And because we’re so often told that the Internet has liberated us from the controls that “gatekeepers” had on information, rethinking the availability of information seems retrograde—and the tendency toward openness gathers even more force.”

9 February 2013

UK Report: Notions of identity will be transformed in the next decade

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Hyper-connectivity – where people are constantly connected to social networks and streams of information – will have a transforming effect on how we see ourselves and others in the next decade, according to a new report published by the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir John Beddington.

The Foresight study Changing Identities in the UK – the Next Ten Years looks at a range of areas affected by identity including social inclusion and mobility, education and skills, crime and mental health. It shows that traditional ideas of identity will become less meaningful as boundaries between people’s public and private identities disappear, with wide ramifications for policy-makers.

Reading the (long) executive summary, it all seems rather optimistic to me, as the grinding impact of a slow-growth economy in the UK as well as the increasing “under-the-rader” control systems of corporations and governments through the unleashing of algorithms on big data sets, don’t seem to be valued enough in this report.

Key findings (summary)
Rather than having a single identity, people have several overlapping identities, which shift in emphasis in different life stages and environments. These are changing in three important ways:

  • Hyper-connectivity: Sixty per cent of internet users in the UK are now members of a social network site, increasing from only 17% in 2007. The UK is now a virtual environment as well as a real place, and increasingly UK citizens are globally networked individuals. Events which occur elsewhere in the world can have a real and immediate impact in the UK. People have become accustomed to switching seamlessly between the internet and the physical world, and use social media to conduct their lives in a way which dissolves the divide between online and offline identities. The internet has not produced a new kind of identity. Rather, it has been instrumental in raising awareness that identities are more multiple, culturally contingent and contextual than had previously been understood.
     
  • Increasing social plurality: As the large UK post-war cohort reach old-age, the number of over-75 year olds will increase by over a million, from 5.1 million in 2012 to 6.6 million in 2022, a rise of more than 20%. The Report identifies a shift in attitudes, with the emergence of new transitional life stages being defined by attitudes and roles, rather than age. Traditional life stages, for example between adolescence and adulthood, or middle-age and old-age, are being delayed or blurred together.
     
  • Blurring of public and private identities: People are now more willing to place personal information into public domains, such as on the internet, and attitudes towards privacy are changing, especially among younger people. These changes are blurring the boundaries between social and work identities. The widespread use of mobile technology could, in time, allow social media to be linked with spatial tracking and even facial recognition technologies. This would allow people to draw on personal information about a stranger in a public place, changing the nature of what it means to be anonymous in public spaces.

The Report goes on to question what identity means today. It finds that:

  • Identities are controlled both by individuals and by others: People can choose to present certain aspects of their identities, or to disclose particular personal information. Identities can also be imposed by others. Even if a person does not create their own online accounts, their families and friends may discuss them or post photographs online.
     
  • People have many overlapping identities: Understanding which of a person’s identities are most relevant in a given situation depends on the context. Identities are, therefore, culturally contingent and highly contextual, but can also be strongly linked to behaviours.
     
  • People express their identities in different ways: One of the most significant observations of the impact of online identities is the way that some people can feel that they have achieved their ‘true’ identity for first time online. For example, some people may socialise more successfully and express themselves more freely online.
     
  • Identities have value: People’s identities have personal, psychological, social, and commercial value. The growth in the collection and use of personal data can have benefits for individuals, organisations and government, by offering greater insights through data analysis, and the development of more targeted and more effective services. Identities can unify people and can be regarded as a valuable resource for promoting positive social interaction. However, this growth in the amount of available data also has the potential for criminal exploitation or misuse. Trust is fundamental to achieving positive relationships between people and commercial organisations, and between citizens and the state, but surveys show that people are less willing to trust in authority than in the past.

Finally, the Report provides some recommendations for policy makers, particularly in six key areas:

  • Crime prevention and criminal justice: The growing quantity of personal and financial data online, as facial recognition technology, ‘big data’ and social media together begin to connect information about individuals, means that there will be more opportunities for criminal exploitation and cybercrime. However, there are also opportunities for enhanced crime prevention, intelligence gathering, and crime detection. The foundation of English law is a liberal society where social identity is, as far as possible, a personally defined and freely chosen individual possession, and so the legal system will need to continue to ensure that people’s online and offline identities are protected.
     
  • Health, environment and wellbeing: The implications of changing identities for the built environment, transport, infrastructure, and mitigating the effects of climate change will need to be considered by policy makers. The development and application of biomedical technologies, such as drugs to improve memory and cognition, and developments in reproductive technologies, could have the potential to transform the way that people relate to themselves, each other, and their environment. However, there are complex ethical and practical implications for government in regulating and responding to these technologies.
     
  • Skills, employment and education: A critical issue for the future will be to ensure that individuals have the knowledge, understanding, and technological literacy to enable them to take control of their own online identities, and to be aware of their online presence and how it could be used by others.
     
  • Radicalisation and extremism: The trends towards greater social plurality, declining trust in authority, and increasing take-up of new technologies may all pose challenges for policy makers seeking to manage radicalisation and extremism.
     
  • Social mobility: Perceptions of unfairness in access to opportunities, rather than actual inequality, may in turn reinforce certain kinds of social identities and increase the potential for collective action. However, as access to the internet and hyper-connectivity increase, information and education may become more freely available and shared, enhancing life opportunities for many individuals.
     
  • Social integration: Greater social plurality, demographic trends, and the gradual reduction in importance of some traditional aspects of identity, suggest that communities in the UK are likely to become less cohesive over the next 10 years. However, hyper-connectivity can also create or strengthen new group identities. Policy makers will need to consider indirect as well as direct implications of policy for communities and people’s sense of belonging. There are opportunities for policy to support social integration and acknowledge new forms of community as they develop.

(via @urukwavu)