counter

Putting People First

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

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'Sustainability'

29 June 2012

Low2No smart services and informatics workbook published

low2no_informatics

The Helsinki Low2No project team just released a smart services and informatics workbook that was developed by ARUP and Experientia.

Low2No is a broad project, initiated in collaboration with the Finnish innovation fund Sitra, aimed at the development of a Helsinki mixed-use city block called Airut on the Jätkäsaari peninsula, which will have low or no carbon emissions.

The 110 page booklet describes work-in-progress on the smart services and urban informatics component of the Low2No project activities.

In the words of Dan Hill, “the aspect of ‘smart services‘, also known as urban informatics, 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.

“Today,” he says, “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.”

Hill describes that the team wanted “to use the building project as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to warrant a reason to look at this potentially powerful combination of smart technologies and services — with an emphasis on the latter — and in enabling positive behaviour change amongst the various groups who will use the block.”

“This work often involves positioning these otherwise technology-led areas in a more human-centred, and behaviour-oriented, framework — getting well beyond the hype about “smart cities” — whilst also trying to connect it to business drivers (the lack of the latter has hampered pretty much any serious progress in smart cities.),” he adds.

Arup and Experientia worked on this aspect of the project, together with partners Sauerbruch Hutton and clients Sitra, SRV, and VVO. Over a couple of years of engagement, with Experientia leading and driving, and Arup working on the informatics aspects in particular, the project’s design team produced some rich thinking about how to embed the potential of this area at the core of the project, that are now presented in the workbook.

Read more and download booklet

12 June 2012

A social network built around giving

impossible

Model and actress Lily Cole’s social network, Impossible, has been designed for users to meet and help each other. Users post requests (say, “I wish to have a haircut”), and anyone in their local network can offer to help. The emphasis is on giving, rather than bartering. “Giving triggers social cohesion,” says Cole, 24. “It’s also the basis for an economy not based on money. Impossible will facilitate that via social media.”

Impossible is in beta and is still self-funded, and its advisers include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and economist Hazel Henderson. “Impossible is a utopian idea,” she says, “but I do believe it is possible.”

(via Wired UK)

10 June 2012

Manifesto for design upholding human talents and innovation

bigpotatoes

This morning I got an invite in the mail to attend a London design symposium at Brunel University next week (16 June) that will debate the core themes of a new design manifesto, strangely called “Big Potatoes”

Although I cannot attend the debates at such short notice, the manifesto itself and the themes of the debate are intriguing enough to merit this blog post.

The manifesto is written by six authors – Nico Macdonald, Alan Patrick, Martyn Perks, Mitchell Sava, James Woudhuysen and Norman Lewis. Unfortunately it is not so clear what the manifesto actually says – it will be officially presented at the London Symposium – but you get some background by looking at the fourteen principles who are explored in depth on the Big Potatoes website:

01: Think big
02: The post-war legacy
03: Principles not models
04: For useless research
05: Hard work
06: Expect failures
07: Chance and surprise
08: Take risks
09: Leadership
10: Whose responsibility?
11: Trust the people
12: Think/Act Global
13: We know no limits
14: For humanity

The debate on 16 June is quite provocative as well:

DEBATE#1: UPHOLDING HUMANISM – OR CENTERING ON USERS?
Design is intimately bound up with understanding people. Every designer extols the virtues of getting to know customers, users, people. However, can being too close to your subject stifle creativity? Today this question has added relevance and is at the heart of our manifesto. As at no other time, the collective and individual will of human beings is felt to be little rival to the capricious actions of Fate.

The human ability to take a conscious risk, in the pursuit of innovation, used to be the fundamental premise of design. But now designers join with other cynics in agreeing that people are for the most part driven by nature, neurology, ostentation and irrationality. That can only degrade the processes and the products of design.

The old discussion was about people as market segments with latent needs – people who were held to be in a ‘relationship’ with product or service providers. More and more, however, the rhetoric today consists of how design can work to minimise demand, redirect consumption, and even improve patterns of human behaviour.

Is it the role of design to understand and change people’s behaviour, or is design about producing ideas that allow people to make their own minds up on how they choose to use it? Likewise, should design strive to exceed expectations by going beyond people’s immediate needs, or must it be mindful of how people might use stuff, encouraging greater responsibility and awareness to ourselves and even the planet? And even where people do adapt existing things to better suit their needs – should we celebrate such amateurism, or instead prefer the expertise designers can bring, expertise that can raise people’s horizons further still?

DEBATE#2: DOES DESIGN DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH?
What is design’s contribution to economic growth? This question has for a long time been intimately bound up with discussions about design’s purpose — even more so since New Labour sought to trumpet the contribution made by the so-called ‘creative industries’ to UK plc. Because of the credit crunch, the precise effects that design has on wealth creation have become more pertinent than ever. Both the state and many design industry professionals feel that design needs to justify its contribution.

Economic growth is a key issue for our manifesto, not least because designers have been poor at theorising their relationship with innovation. In our view, design could do more to promote and implement scientific and technological advance. At the moment design often fails to grasp the opportunity presented by innovation – by being too focused on surface, incremental improvements. That can mean it ends up being marginalised as a result.

The problem with design and growth runs much deeper than rates of remuneration, royalties, intellectual property and all the rest. It is impossible to put a value on design without clarifying and improving the role designers play with regard to innovation. Can designers, by themselves, stimulate economic growth by creating new demand through the design of new products and services? Or are such products and services best realised when designers link up closely with scientific and technological innovation? Conversely, is design’s real role less about creating new growth per se, and more about persuading people to consume more through marketing and branding existing products and services?

So you get the gist: this event has a very strong political and pro-growth agenda, while some of the debate descriptions are laced with value judgments (“capricious actions of Fate”, “designers join with other cynics”, “degrade the process and products of design”, “amateurism”, etc.)

A little searching online confirms this first impression, but also adds complexity to it all:

Powerbase, the online wiki-style “guide to networks of power, lobbying, public relations and the communications activities of governments and other interests”, says that the manifesto is associated with the “libertarian anti-environmental LM network” (with LM standing for “Living Marxism”), which itself is an offspring of the RCP (the UK’s Revolutionary Communist Party, disbanded in 1996).

Steven Rose has been exploring the LM Network and writes briefly about it on Spinwatch, “an independent non-profit making UK organisation which monitors the role of public relations and spin in contemporary society”:

“Spinwatch has monitored the groups that have flowed from the RCP, groups we collectively term the ‘LM network’. Moving from an ultra-left position through to a libertarian pro-corporate line of argument, they have been, as Rose notes, strong defenders of what they call ‘scientific progress’, meaning that they have been strongly in favour of GM technology and other scientific advances favoured by transnational corporations. However, they have also taken a strong line against scientific progress in the area of risk. So they are opposed to the scientific consensus on climate change, on harms caused by tobacco and by the food and advertising industries.

The common denominator there is that this kind of scientific progress is against the interests of key corporate sectors. Spinwatch has also recently reported on how their traditional ‘anti-Imperialist’ position on colonial struggles has degenerated into a position that attacks those offering solidarity to the Palestinian people. Overall, what we see from the very earliest days of the RCT to the antics of the various tentacles of the LM network now, is consistent in the sense that it involves attacking the left and progressive movements. However, the increasingly close relationship between the LM network and corporate lobby groups and neoliberal and neoconservative think tanks, suggests that it might be more accurate to see them not as libertarian iconoclasts, but simply as another faction of the British conservative movement.”

I am not convinced that the above politicising of the design debate is the best way forward. It just makes our discipline another battleground of a wider culture clash, whereas I see design more as a problem solving tool. I also disagree with their deep faith in the power of economic growth, but leave it to brighter minds – like John Thackara and others – to develop this criticism.

UPDATE: John commented here and here.

28 May 2012

Experientia concept video for a sustainable trade fair centre

event_6

The Event project for Kortrijk Xpo, Belgium, developed concepts for how to make trade fairs and temporary events more sustainable.

Experientia® developed the resulting concepts into a video, showcasing four of the best concepts in action.

The video of these concepts is now online on Experientia’s vimeo channel.

The “Virtual Xpo” concept focused on ways to reduce travel and to encourage lower-impact travel to expositions.

“Living Kortrijk” envisioned ways to make the expo centre’s sustainable values and solutions available throughout the city.

The “Booth dashboard” visualises the carbon impact and/or savings of creating each expo booth, as well as its energy use during the event.

“Eco-fair network” proposes a collective, global movement to make expo centres more sustainable.

25 May 2012

Be Everyday

carolienslidec

On Be Everyday, the site of a Brussels-based project, you can follow the stories of inspiring people that live in European cities and who have found their own creative ways to lead sustainable and meaningful lives, everyday!

“Why are we stuck in non-sustainable lifestyles? There is a clear need for behaviour change and revisiting values and norms. We have a reasonably good knowledge of the problems and the barriers to change. What is less developed is the discussion of possible solutions, answers and examples of ways to live and overcome real and perceived barriers at the individual level. We are still confused as to how we as an individual can make a real change in our lifestyles. What is a meaningful and sustainable life? And how do we get there?

This website aims to address these questions and provide real solutions based on peoples experiences. On this website we will tell stories of real people doing real things. Starting in Belgium and moving to other cities in Europe, we will follow people who live everyday in a meaningful sustainable way. They are all inspiring characters that are true to the idea of sustainability in most of their actions, their work, life, and travel. Furthermore, these people are not marginal, self-sacrificing or “ecological weirdoes” but “ordinary everyday people.” They all have an interesting story to tell and they are willing to share these with us here.”

24 May 2012

Aljazeera’s The Stream on alternative currencies

drachma

Aljazeera’s The Stream reports on how people declare economic independence by establishing alternative currencies.

“People and businesses are establishing micro-currencies in the wake of the global financial crisis in order to take matters into their own hands. These small alternative forms of money are used as a way to promote local commerce and challenge the current economic system.

Critics, however, claim they are merely a gimmick. Others say it is a way to keep money within a local economic area while forming resilience against the volatility of the global system.

In this episode of The Stream we speak with Eric Garland (@EricGarland), Heloisa Primavera (@jelenabartermad) a sociologist in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Peter North, a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool.”

Watch episode (YouTube)

22 April 2012

Internet must be a web not for the consumer, but for the citizen

 

In an editorial, The Guardian argues for an open web:

“To protect the web’s founding principle is a matter of what Tim Berners-Lee would call citizen vigilance, of restraining by openness itself the continual pressure for a closed-down, privately owned cyberspace that is the inevitable product of those internet Cecil Rhodes who would like to fence in the riches of the virtual world. It must be a web not for the consumer, but for the citizen.”

Read editorial

18 April 2012

Brains, Behavior and Design

 

Brains, Behavior and Design is a group of IIT Institute of Design students appling findings from the fields of cognitive psychology and behavioral economics to the design process.

It is not clear to what extent the group is still active now, but the site is still alive.

The Brains, Behavior & Design Group is dedicated to exploring how insights from the fields of cognitive psychology and behavioral economics can be used to design better products, services, experiences, and business strategies.

The group is composed of interaction designers, design researchers and design strategists who each came to the field with a range of backgrounds (HCI, advertising, education, finance). We intersect in our two core beliefs that the better we understand people the better we can design for them, and this understanding gains value when it’s transformed into actionable insights.

Niki Pfarr (who is now at The Artefact Group and was featured on this blog earlier today) was one of the members.

18 April 2012

Applying behavioral economics and cognitive psychology to the design process

behaviorchange

Artefact is, like Experientia, a UX design consultancy that is strongly inspired by cognitive and behavioral modeling, and uses all kinds of inputs from cognitive and social science to enrich their design work:

“At Artefact, we’re becoming increasingly aware of the fact that regardless of the type of design challenge we work on, all of the decisions we make on a given project have the potential to influence human behavior – whether we intended them to or not.

As we outlined in our 21st Century Design paper, the toolkit of the modern designer is rapidly expanding. Design practice is maturing, and what was once a focus on aesthetics and usability is broadening to incorporate interdisciplinary knowledge from a variety of fields like4 behavioral economics and cognitive psychology. These disciplines shed light on the factors that impact human decision-making and motivate our behaviors.

Knowledge from these fields can help us better understand why people behave the way they do, help us design to reinforce or change that behavior, and help us make more informed predictions about how people will behave when faced with new decisions in the future.”

Artefact researcher Nikki Pfarr is now exploring the topic in more depth with a video that introduces some of the principles and tips coming from the fields of behavioral economics and human-centered design. We agree with her that these topics could allow us to better understand human behavior, and to design products and services that facilitate better decision-making.

Pfarr also wrote a short paper “Applying Behavioral Economics and Cognitive Psychology to the Design Process“ on the topic.

6 April 2012

Earth Institute publishes first ever World Happiness Report

Screen Shot 2012-04-06 at 15.00.07

The first ever World Happiness Report has been made public and states that our best chance at a contented life is to pack up and move to Scandinavia, writes Wired UK.

Published by The Earth Institute at Columbia University and co-edited by its director, the report was commissioned for a United Nations conference on happiness.

The report collated data from several different happiness measurement exercises worldwide to create a “life evaluation score”, which took in not just wealth but also social factors such as political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption as well as personal criteria including good mental and physical health, someone to count on, job security and having a stable family life. The sources include the Gallup World Poll (GWP), the World Values Survey (WVS), the European Values Survey (EVS), and the European Social Survey (ESS).

After the figures were analysed, the report authors found that the “happiest countries in the world” are Denmark, Norway, Finland and Netherlands, where the average life evaluation score is 7.6 on a 0-to-10 scale. The least happy countries are Togo, Benin, Central African Republic and Sierra Leone with average life evaluation scores of just 3.4.

Read article (Wired UK)
Read press release (Earth Institute)
Download report

6 April 2012

Don Tapscott: The internet’s real killer app is saving the planet

Screen Shot 2012-04-06 at 14.38.27

All our global institutions — from the United Nations to the World Trade Organization to the International Monetary Fund to the G20 to the G8 — are broken, according to Don Tapscott, the best-selling author of Macrowikinomics.

In an 8 minute video interview on TechCrunch – recorded last week at The Economist‘s Innovation event in Berkeley – he outlined how we can rebuild these global institutions in the digital 21st century.

We need to rebuild our institutions around open source technology, wikis, social media and all the other distributed models that are shaping our networked world, says Tapscott, who has brought together a number of other leading thinkers – Jonathan Zittrain from Harvard and writers Parag Khanna and Richard Florida, for example – to participate in this ambitious project to reinvent the planet in our digital century.

It sounds highly if not over-ambitious.

Watch video

4 April 2012

Experientia working towards ECOFAMILIES

ecofamilies.original

Experientia® is partnering with the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB) of Nice, France and a series of other agencies on Ecofamilies, a project aimed at the enhancement and promotion of eco-responsible behaviours in family homes.

Starting from March 2012, and continuing until June, co-design workshops are being conducted with 30 volunteer families, in a participatory approach which aims to discover the real behaviours, attitudes and needs of families when it comes to energy consumption.

The final goal of the project is to produce an innovative technological solution which will allow families, parents and children alike, to have a concrete understanding of their energy consumption, and the choices that are available to reduce it, with personalised tips and detailed, useful information on household energy use.

Experientia® is a consultant on the project, as part of a growing profile in the field of behavioural change for sustainability.

In the past three years, Experientia® has developed a framework for sustainable behavioural change.

Experientia’s other sustainability focused projects include developing an environmental road map for Kortrijk Xpo in Belgium to become the most environmentally sustainable trade fair complex in Europe; and Low2No, where they are focusing on behavioural change, service design and an advanced smart metering device, to help people achieve more sustainable lifestyles.

4 April 2012

On Facebook, some friendly energy rivalry

opower-blog480

Opower [is a company] that blends behavioral science and data analysis to find ways to help utilities get their customers to use less electricity.

[Their] thinking is that it’s not so much factual information that motivates behavioral change — knowing that smoking is bad for you, or that most electricity generation emits heat-trapping carbon dioxide – but the way that such information plays off social relationships and creates peer pressure. Now the company is harnessing social media to further that kind of psychological connection as well.

Teaming with Facebook, energy conservation advocates and the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, Opower released a new app on Tuesday that will allow interested parties in 20 million households served by 16 utilities to post their energy use on their Facebook pages and invite friends to do so as well. The option is available from participating utilities in California, New York and points in between.

Read article

21 March 2012

Helsinki Street Eats: a book about everyday food

helsinkifood

Helsinki Street Eats: a book about everyday food
By Bryan Boyer and Dan Hill, with contributions from Ville Tikka, Nuppu Gävert, Tea Tonnov, and Kaarle Hurtig.
Sitra / Low2No

Street food describes systems of everyday life. In its sheer everydayness we discover attitudes to public space, cultural diversity, health, regulation and governance, our habits and rituals, logistics and waste, and more.

It can be an integral part of our public life, our civic spaces, our streets, our neighbourhoods. Street food can help us articulate our own culture, as well as enriching it by absorbing diverse influences. And it can enable innovation at an accelerated pace by offering a lower-risk environement for experimentation.

Street food can do all of these things, but it doesn’t necessarily.

This book is an attempt to unpack what’s working and what isn’t in Helsinki, and sketch out some trajectories as to where it could go next.

We see that the history of Helsinki’s street food is inextricably tied to food in Finland in general, and so it is caught up in deep currents of regulation, politics, commerce, national identity and culture. As unlikely as it may seem, when viewed from this historical and cultural perspective, street food might be a powerful force for shaping everyday life. It also presents an economic opportunity.

The Low2No project is interested in understanding these systems of everyday life, in order to assess how best to support, influence, and invest into them to enable a greater capacity for sustainable well-being. We’re interested in enabling food entrepreneurship with an eye towards diversity, quality, and sustainability – this short book is our first step towards our next projects in this space. Take a bite – download a PDF or order a print-on-demand copy – and get in touch if you want more.

See also: Bryan Boyer’s blog post on the book

5 March 2012

Low2No featured in ARUP Design Yearbook 2011

low2no_with

The Design Yearbook 2011 of ARUP — the global firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists that Experientia collaborated with on the Low2No project in Helsinki — is a gorgeous overview of the power of (sustainable) design in the firm’s recent work.

Pages 70-71 of the book (38 in the pdf download) feature the Low2No project, which is now called Airut. The striking visual is by Lamosca.

Below is the text that accompanies it:

Leading by example

Our approach to the design of the Helsinki’s first carbon-neutral district – formerly known as the Low2No project – encourages residents to make more informed choices about energy, transport, food and consumer goods, with the goal or reducing energy demands in the district by more than 40% compared with the Finnish average.

We are pioneering a new model of urban design on this 22,000 m2-mixed-use project that demonstrates how design can empower people to live a healthier, creative and more sustainable lifestyle. We are showing how every lifestyle choice has an impact upon their carbon and ecological footprints.

We have undertaken a broader carbon assessment that takes into consideration the site’s likely total consumption of carbon. This enabled our client to chart an achievable and replicable course from the low-carbon norms of Finnish society to a fully decarbonised model.

More than 15% of the project’s electricity will be sourced from photovoltaic sources and heat from a biomass heat network. The seven-storey office is a pioneering all-timber building and the carbon impact of in situ concrete will be cut by 20% compared to conventional specifications.

Download ARUP Design Yearbook 2011

5 March 2012

Book: The Transition Companion

transitioncompanion

The Transition Companion: making your community more resilient in uncertain times
by Rob Hopkins
Chelsea Green Pub Co, November 2011
320 pages

Abstract

In 2008, the bestselling The Transition Handbook suggested a model for a community-led response to peak oil and climate change. Since then, the Transition idea has gone viral across the globe, from universities and London neighbourhoods to Italian villages and Brazilian favelas. There are now hundreds of Transition towns and Transition initiatives around the world. In contrast to the ever-worsening stream of information about climate change, the economy and resource depletion, the Transition movement focuses on solutions, on community-scale projects and on positive results.

The Transition Companion picks up the story today, describing one of the most fascinating experiments now under way in the world. It answers the question ‘What is Transition?’ and shows how communities are working for a future where local enterprises are valued and nurtured; where lower energy use is seen as a benefit; and where cooperation, creativity and the building of resilience are the cornerstones of a new economy.

In the first part of the book author and Transition movement co-founder Rob Hopkins discusses where we are now in terms of resilience to the problems of rising oil prices, climate change and economic uncertainty. He presents a vision of how the future might look if we succeed in addressing these issues. Rob Hopkins then looks in detail at the process a community in transition goes through, drawing on the experience of those who have already embarked on this journey. These examples show how much can be achieved when people harness energy and imagination to create projects that will make their communities more resilient. The Transition Companion combines practical advice – the tools needed to start and maintain a Transition initiative – with numerous inspiring stories from local groups worldwide.

Review by John Thackara

“One of the many virtues of this awesome and joysome book is that the word “strategic” does not appear until page 272; a section on “policies” has to wait until page 281. It’s not that the book is hostile to high altitude thinking; on the contrary, its pages are scattered with philosophical asides on everything from Buddhist thinking and backcasting, to time banking and thermodynamics. But the rational and the abstract are given their proper, modest, place.

The book is filled with incredibly handy short texts about issues that confuse many of us. What, for example, are we to think of Community Supported Agriculture? Is it enough to sign up to a vegetable box scheme – and find the resulting service inflexible and irritating? Maybe yes and maybe no, writes Hopkins. For him, our relationship with the people who grow our food should be shaped by four key principles (page 268): “shared risk; transparency; community benefits; and building resilience”. Within that framework, the details are down to us.”

29 February 2012

Nudging consumers into making better life choices

1280-science-influence-consumer-choices_1

Designers are beginning to understand how irrational thinking plays into the decisions people make, writes Rob Girling of Artefact. That knowledge can be used to openly influence consumers to make responsible choices.

“Recent advances in neuroscience and behavioral economics, cognitive psychology and anthropology are helping us better understand how our brains work and how decision-making takes place. A core finding of this work is that we are not primarily the products of our conscious thinking; we are instead the products of thinking that happens below the level of awareness. Reason, it turns out, is highly dependent on emotional value judgments and therefore is highly susceptible to bias. [...]

Designers have been influencing behavior for a long time. Graphic design, for example, has generally been concerned with either the visual communication of information (implying static transfer of knowledge but not behavioral change) or the creation of attractive, eye-catching, coherent brand stories (attempting to encourage consumer purchasing and loyalty). This design concerned itself with changing or shaping attitudes and emotions toward brands and engaging their rational sensibilities. However, consciously “changing” the behavior of the users is something we argue is a relatively new role.”

Read article
Download white paper

29 February 2012

Connected homes for connected people

habitantsconnectes

The French think tank Fing (who was also behind the LIFT France event last year) collaborated last year with VIA, Promotelec, Renault Group, La Poste, Minatec Laboratory (CEA), CNR Santé, ESIR Engineering school on a research project called “Connected homes for connected people” (Habitants Connectés) and have now posted key materials of the project including the presentation (in French) and five (English subtitled) video scenarios.

“How do digital technologies change ways of living and the housing ? Do they cause new problems ? Which new opportunities ? How can the resident be autonomous at home, and create new services, himself ? Here are some questions the “Connected homes for connected people” program has worked on…

More deeply than home automation, digital technologies have invaded homes through mobile phones, personal computers, boxes, TV, game consoles, etc. ”Smart home”, imagined more than 20 years ago, proves to be primarily a communicational and relational home, continuously crossed by various flows. Residents try to manage, control or even shut down these flows. Digital technologies have sustainably transformed our ways of living and housing. Objects, furniture and devices in the house, have gained through digital, new affordances. As a result, new perspectives of uses and living come for the inhabitants. Operators and providers can deliver new services. But there are also new annoyances, discomforts, problems for which improvements and solutions have to be found.

The subject of “Connected homes for connected people” has been explored, through 4 themes, 4 “innovation territories “. 17 “innovation paths” have been developed, suggesting new infrastructures, services, objects and forms of mediation ; 5 videos have been produced to develop them.”

In January, 2012, Fing organized a workshop at Google Zürich, also untitled “Connected Home for Connected People”. This one-day workshop, gathered about twenty people, including Fabio Carnevale Maffé of Experientia.

It enabled them to work on 4 “innovation paths” selected from the 17 paths of “Digital Residents” program. Participants developed three ideas of project : “Tack-tiles”, “Bread Assistant” and “Social scales”.

An English language presentation of the workshop is now also available.

7 December 2011

Homesense final report

Homesense
Homesense was a research project that looked at how we might design smart homes from the bottom up, in an environment of open innovation.

Using open source tools Homesense brings the open collaboration methods of online communities to physical infrastructures in the home.

“The Homesense project was an open research project around the topic of bottom-up smart homes initiated by Tinker London. In mid-2009, founder Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino wrote a blog post highlighting what the opportunities were for a large-scale open source interrogation of the “smart home” concept. Often explored in closed R&D environments, it was possible to think of the results being more relevant and accurate if the participants could build their own solutions to their problems rather than operating under the assumption that most people would accept top-down design. An existing relationship with EDF R&D via Arduino workshops led to a sponsorship from EDF R&D for 50% of the projectʼs value (£58K or so at the time). Partners in the project also included two PhD students from the HighWire group at Lancaster University, Natasha Carolan and Richard Wood who helped design the packaging for the tools available to users in this experiment. The project was eventually wrapped in mid-2011 and technical tools featured at the New York Museum of Modern Artʼs exhibition on smart objects: Talk to Me.”

After almost 2 years, here is finally the final report outlining all the work & findings.

View/download report

7 December 2011

Arup: The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth

New economics of cities
Information Marketplaces: The new economics of cities
Author: Arup, The Climate Group, Accenture and Horizon, University of Nottingham
Publication date: 28 November 2011

The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth.

“Written in partnership with The Climate Group, Accenture and Horizon, University of Nottingham, this report investigates how technology can be used in cities to meet the growing challenges of expanding urbanisation.

The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth and represents a powerful approach for tackling unprecedented environmental and economic challenges.

By unlocking technology, infrastructure and public data, cities can open up new value chains, spawning innovative applications and information products that make sustainable modes of city living and working possible.

While smart initiatives are underway in urban centres around the world, most cities have yet to realise the enormous potential value from fully-integrated, strategically-designed smart city development programmes.

Now is the time for government and business leaders to recognise the value created by smart city thinking.”