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Search results for 'debatty'
19 April 2007

Carlo Ratti and Régine Debatty featured in Ventiquattro magazine

Régine Debatty
Last Saturday (14 April), Carlo Ratti of MIT’s Senseable City Lab and Régine Debatty of we-make-money-not-art.com were featured in a six page article in Ventiquattro, the magazine of the highly regarded Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore (somewhat comparable to The Wall Street Journal).

Of course, this is delightful news. I have featured Carlo and Régine and their work several times on this blog and I know them both quite well. Each of them has a connection with Torino: Carlo who is originally from the city divides his life between Torino and Boston. Régine has lived in Torino for many years, and moved only recently to Berlin.

The article, with gorgeous photos, is really a double self-portrait featured in a section called “New lifestyles”. They each write about how they live their rather unique lives: Régine as a full-time blogger, and Carlo with a professional architecture studio in Torino and a research group and lecturing activities at MIT in Boston.

Download scan of article (pdf, 1.1 mb, 6 pages)

1 October 2005

Red Herring interviews Régine Debatty

Reginerh_1
International woman of blogs Régine Debatty does a balancing act between art and technology.

Over the past 18 months, 34-year-old Ms. Debatty has written about robots, digital information security, nanotechnology, technology for women, and about many such intersections of society, art, and technology on her blog we-make-money-not-art.

Ms. Debatty’s writing reaches millions, if you add up the numbers visiting all the sites she writes for.

Read full story

30 September 2005

Régine Debatty launches new blog

Badhair
Régine Debatty who runs the very successful cult blog we make money not art just launched no garlic please, a new blog on what’s beautiful or interesting in Europe, starting this week with a special on 100%design London. The blog has big images and short texts. A blogroll and other features will come.
25 August 2005

Podcast with Régine Debatty of we-make-money-not-art

Reginerh_1
“La Signora dei Blog!” is the title of Lele Dainesi‘s introduction to his interview with Régine Debatty, author of the cult blog we-make-money-not-art.com (which has been a favourite link on this blog pretty much from its beginning and was recently listed by Feedster as one of the 75 most popular blogs). Lele Dainesi is in charge of the Mash-ups in Italy blog and the more corporate Key4Biz podcasts.

The Italian-language interview (Régine also lives in Turin, Italy) can be listened to as mp3 and as podcast.

For more information

1 March 2009

KashKlash booklet now online

KashKlash
After the project, the collaborative website, the game, now also the booklet.

KashKlash is an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together online to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.

KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.

Download booklet (pdf)

1 March 2009

The KashKlash game at LIFT09

Bruce Sterling
We just came back from the LIFT conference and have lots to blog about. Our LIFT experience started off with the KashKlash game, an action-packed workshop that explored alternative methods of exchange [and I helped prepare].

The focus was on a possible future ecosystem – in a new world where today’s aging, less useful and even dangerous financial systems are replaced by (or mixed with) more disruptive innovations and exchanges. Imagine yourself deprived of all of today’s financial resources. Maybe you’re a refugee or stateless. Yet you still have your handset and laptop and Internet and a broadband cellphone connection….

This is one of the provocations posed on KashKlash, an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together online to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.

KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.

Here is how Bruce Sterling, the game master par excellence, introduced the game:

“This is the KashKlash game. It is a game of development, design, construction, building. What you are trying to do is dominate the world with your group’s theory of how the world should be.

So you are going to use these devices to construct a model of your civilisation. Unfortunately you have to bid for them, and you also have to communicate among one another, to get your hands on these delightful building materials.

Now you each have different advantages and deficits.

This is the high-tech group here. They have more money than anybody else and instead of the normal chopsticks, straw, clay and cheap string, they have exciting high-tech girders.

The rather emergent slumdogs group over there repesents tomorrow’s emerging economy. There are more of them than anybody else. But they have a lesser income and lesser communication than anybody else.

This group here, the Communists, have a relatively modest income in cash, but they have an open means of communication and solidarity. They have more communication and less cash.

And this group here which represents the marketeers has modest communication skills but a booming and sometimes crashing economy.

So each turn you are going to get some money and communication tokens that you can use to bid for things and to build things. So you can buy these materials with your tokens.

Now I am the auctioneer. I am the invisible hand of the market.”

The game was won by the Pragmatic Communities, who – pragmatically – joined forces with the High-tech Progressives.

You can watch the video of the KashKlash workshop (and of many other workshops) on the Klewel website. On Flickr you can see about 75 photos of the workshop.

27 January 2009

Two Experientia/Vodafone workshops at the upcoming LIFT conference

LIFT 2009
Experientia, in collaboration with the Vodafone User Experience team, is running two workshops on 25 February at the upcoming LIFT conference to present the results of two recent projects and explore their impact.

KashKlash: exchanging the future

Join us for a workshop to explore alternative methods of exchange. The focus is on a possible future ecosystem – in a new world where today’s ageing, less useful and even dangerous financial systems are replaced by (or mixed with) more disruptive innovations and exchanges. Imagine yourself deprived of all of today’s financial resources. Maybe you’re a refugee or stateless. Yet you still have your handset and laptop and Internet and a broadband cellphone connection….

This is one of the provocations posed on KashKlash , an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.

KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Irene Cassarino, Mark Vanderbeeken and Michele Visciola of Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.

Intrigued? We are looking forward to exchanging ideas with you. See you at the workshop!

Lifestream – Visualizing my data
Explorations of large quantity information visualization

Current technologies allow people to capture, warehouse and retrieve vast amounts of data; more information than we can comprehend as individuals – more than we will ever need. As we move through our days, generating text messages, phone calls, photos, documents, and their inherent metadata, we are not conscious of the cloud of information that we create and carry with us.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded by more information than we can process, it is tempting to entrust this information to computers to store and organise for us. It is tempting to think that the more we store, the safer our memories and important ideas are. We let paradigms that are logical for computers govern the way our personal data is organised and accessed, at the expense of more human forms of interaction.

This workshop explores new paradigms to overcome the defects of current visualization methods. How can interfaces support traditional ways of coping with large amounts of information? How best can we facilitate such cognitive processes such as forgetting and constructing memories? Can our data be presented to us in such a way that it accrues layers of meaning, enhances nostalgia about our past, keeps us in contact with the present, while aiding us in thinking ahead? How can we design information patterns to make visible the connections, patterns and coincidences in our lives, remind us of favourite memories and moments, and allow all that is no longer relevant to fall away like dust.

The workshop by Willem Boijens, Vodafone, and Jan-Christoph Zoels, Experientia will introduce insights and examples of information visualizations, engage the participants in interactive exercises and team discussions.

I might want to add that the original concepts on both projects stem from Willem Boijens (Vodafone) as well, who was also the driving force in making sure that these projects would be presented at the LIFT conference.

A third workshop might be added still. More soon.

12 December 2008

Bruce Sterling’s brixels

KashKlash
Bruce Sterling looked at the KashKlash questionnaire results and condensed it all into four narrative future scenarios. An excerpt from the last one:

But then his son — who had gone into “cloud design,” God help him — started referring to bricks as “brixels.”

A brick house was a byword for solidity. “Solid as a brick house.” For a brick house to be malleable, temporary, gaseous, was a weird, crazy, extreme idea — as crazy as a trip to the moon. But a brixel was a brick: a mobile brick. A smart brick that was also a phone. A brick built around a phonechip, phones so high tech, so cheap, that they were cheaper than bricks. So that yesterday’s crown jewels, mobile phones, because building blocks.

Brixels locked together like children’s toys, and they were picked up and dropped, not by honest union bricklayers, but by little blind robots like an iPod lashed to Roomba. It took very little machine intelligence to move “brixels” around or to stack a huge wall out of “brixels.” A wall of brixels grew overnight. It was extravagantly patterned, like a computer screensaver. It was gorgeous. It was magnificent. It was very Italian.

KashKlash is a lively platform where you can debate future scenarios for economic and cultural exchange. Besides Bruce Sterling, the initial collaborators are Régine Debatty (of we-make-money-not-art), Nicolas Nova (LIFT) and Joshua Klein (author and hacker), who have been collaborating on initiating the discussion. The public domain project is conceived and led by Heather Moore of Vodafone’s Global User Experience Team and run by Experientia, an international forward-looking user experience design company based in Turin, Italy

(Also, make a note of Bruce’s forthcoming book, The Caryatids)

19 November 2008

How to rob a bank without money?

KashKlash
“How can you rob a bank in a world without money?” wonders science fiction writer Bruce Sterling, one of the collaborators of the new foresight project KashKlash

KashKlash is a lively platform where you can debate future scenarios for economic and cultural exchange. Beyond today’s financial turmoil, what new systems might appear? Global/local, tangible/intangible, digital/physical? On the KashKlash site, you can explore potential worlds where traditional financial transactions have disappeared, blended, or mutated into unexpected forms. Understand the near future, and help shape it!

Imagine yourself deprived of all of today’s conventional financial resources. Maybe you’re a refugee or stateless — or maybe it’s the systems themselves that have gone astray. Yet you still have your laptop, the Internet, and a broadband mobile connection. What would you do to create a new informal economy that would help you get by? What would you live on? E-barter? Rationing? Gadgets? Google juice? Cellphone minutes? Imagine a whole world approaching that condition. Which of today’s major power-players would win and lose, thrive or fail? What strange new roles would tomorrow’s technology fill?

Besides Bruce Sterling, the initial collaborators are Régine Debatty (of we-make-money-not-art), Nicolas Nova (LIFT) and Joshua Klein (author and hacker), who have been collaborating on initiating the discussion.

KashKlash is now opening up to you. You can join and follow the debate of our experts or contribute yourself by leaving a comment on the different matters or fill out our KashKlash questionnaire.

This public domain project is conceived and led by Heather Moore of Vodafone’s Global User Experience Team and run by Experientia, an international forward-looking user experience design company based in Turin, Italy.

Check the project description for more info.

23 July 2008

In three years…

Experientia
Three years ago we founded Experientia. It has been a very exciting ride since.

In three years we worked with some of the best companies in the field and some of the best people too.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Our clients
Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy), Arits Consulting (Belgium), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy), Conifer Research (USA), CSI (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, France, Finland), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Swisscom (Switzerland), Tandem Seven (USA), Torino World Design Capital (Italy), Voce di Romagna (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).

Our collaborators (interns, consultants and staff)
Sven Adolph, Ana Camila Amorim, Andrea Arosio, An Beckers-Vanderbeeken, Josef ‘Yosi’ Bercovitch, Enrico Bergese, Niti Bhan, Elena Bobbola, Janina Boesch, Giovanni Buono, Donatella Capretti, Manlio Cavallaro, Gaurav Chadha, Dave Chiu, Raffaella Citterio, Sarah Conigliaro, Piermaria Cosina, Marco Costacurta, Laura Cunningham, Regine Debatty, Stefano Dominici, Saulo Dourado, Tal Drori, Dina Mohamed El-Sayed, Marion Froehlich, Giuseppe Gavazza, Valeria Gemello, Michele Giannasi, Young-Eun Han, Vanessa Harden, Yasmina Haryono, Bernd Hitzeroth, Juin-Yi ‘Suno’ Huang, Tom Kahrl, Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil, Helena Kraus, Francesca Labrini, Alberto Lagna, Shadi Lahham, Jörg Liebsch, Cristina Lobnik, Maya Lotan, Ofer Luft, Davide Marazita, Claude Martin, Camilla Masala, Myriel Milicevic, Kim Mingo, Emanuela Miretti, Massimo Morelli, Peter Morville, Muzayun Mukhtar, Giorgio Olivero, Pablo Onnias, Hector Ouilhet, Christian Pallino, Giorgio Partesana, Magda Passarella, Romina Pastorelli, Danilo Penna, Andrea Piccolo, Rachelly Plaut, Laura Polazzi, Laura Puppo, Alain Regnier, Enza Reina, Anna Rink, Michal Rinott, Silvana Rosso, Emanuela Sabena, Vera de Sa-Varanda, Craig Schinnerer, Fabio Sergio, Manuela Serra, Sofia Shores, Massimo Sirelli, Natasha Sopieva, Yaniv Steiner, Riccardo Strobbia, Victor Szilagyi, David Tait, Beverly Tang, Akemi Tazaki, Luca Troisi, Raymond Turner, Haraldur Unnarsson, Ilaria Urbinati, Carlo Valbonesi, Marcello Varaldi, Giorgio Venturi, Anna Vilchis, Dvorit Weinheber, Alexander Wiethoff, Junu Joseph Yang, and Mario Zannone.

Our partners
Amberlight, Design for Lucy, Fecit, Finsa, Flow Interactive, Foviance, Italia 150, Launch Institute, Prospect, Savigny Research, Syzygy, Torino World Design Capital, UPA, URN, Usability Partners International, Usercentric, UserFocus, User Interface Design, and UXnet.

Our friends (insofar not covered by the above)
Nik Baerten, Valerie Bauwens, Toon Berckmoes, Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Daniella Botta, Stefana Broadbent, Francesco Cara, Jan Chipchase, Allan Chochinov, Elizabeth Churchill, Gillian Crampton-Smith, Regine Debatty, Federico De Giuli, Jesse James Garrett, Adam Greenfield, Hubert Guillaud, Wilfried Grommen, Laurent Haug, Bob Jacobson, Marguerite Kahrl, Anna Kirah, Simona Lodi, Peter Merholz, Bill Moggridge, Donald Norman, Nicolas Nova, Bruce Nussbaum, Laura Orestano, Vittorio Pasteris, Gianluigi Perotto, Carlo Ratti, Hans Robertus, Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Joannes Vandermeulen, Lowie Vermeersch, Judy Wert, and Younghee Yung.

Thanks to you all!

Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels
The Experientia partners

PS. We are constantly looking for great talent! We currently have openings for interaction designers, communication designer, information architect, IT staff, usability consultants, etc.

20 May 2008

PSFK conference videos

Interactions
PSFK is a global trends and innovation company that also organises conferences in various parts of the world. Videos of over forty presentations at these conferences are now online. My ten highlights:

Allan Chochinov on the Dumbest Smartest Design Problem
At the PSFK Conference New York 2008, Allan Chochinov (Core77) gives an object lesson in strategy and creative thinking. People often assert that real value isn’t in the answer we provide, but in the question we ask. Well, what happens when we ask a supremely stupid question in the hopes of driving innovation? A lot, actually.

Grant McCracken on Pattern Recognition
At the PSFK Conference New York 2008, Grant McCracken (MIT) explains the importance of inspiration, providing a framework for which to gather, monitor and react to trends and ideas in culture and business.

Hugh MacLeod on Wine 2.0
In this 28 minute video, from the PSFK Conference London 2007, among many other things, Hugh MacLeod describes how a small South African wine company shook up an industry with a web 2.0 approach.

Regine Debatty on What Happens When Artists Mess Around With Technology
In this 28 minute video from the PSFK Conference London 2007, Regine Debatty of We Make Money Not Art describes how today’s artists explore electronics, digital bits and even the so-called “emerging technologies” such as biotechnology or nanotechnology; and explains why it should matter to us?

Jeremy Ettinghausen on How To Build Innovation Into A Brand
At the PSFK Conference London 2007, Jeremy Ettinghausen of Penguin spoke on the challenges of reinventing a traditional brand for a digital age.

Mike Butcher on How Digital Media Screwed the Media Business
This 20 minute video from the PSFK Conference London 2007 presents journalist Mike Butcher as he talks about how media owners are on a race for survival against technology companies that put the power to publish in the hands of the ‘audience.’

Niku Banaie Gives Twenty-Five Signals for Change
At the PSFK Conference London 2007, Niku Banaie from Naked Comminications talks about how an understanding of the basic human needs can keep your employees, customers and friends happier, fresher and healthier.

Timo Veikkola on a Vision Of The Future
This 20 minute video from the PSFK Conference London 2007 shows the presentation given by Timo Veikkola, Future Strategist at Nokia, on a Vision of our Future. As design is the reflection of society, how can we envision the future through trends, observation and informed intuition. What values, attitudes and behaviours of today will shape our future?

George Murphy on Brand Experience
At the PSFK Conference New York 2007, George Murphy (Fitch) spokeon creating environments to develop valuable interaction between consumers and brands.

Allan Chochinov on The Perfect Storm
At the PSFK Conference New York 2007, Allan Chochinov (Core77) speaks on whether the ability of the web to share ideas forced a sudden shift towards the consumption of the idea of a product rather than a product itself? How does this impact design and product development?

12 February 2008

Videos of Interaction 08 presentations now online

IxDA
Most of the presentations of the recent Interaction 08 conference are now online. 

Here they are in alphabetical order of the speaker’s last name:

There is also a Sunday recap video.

5 December 2007

Urban computing and its discontents

Urban Computing
A conversation between the authors Adam Greenfield and Mark Shepard provides an overview of the key issues, historical precedents, and contemporary approaches to designing situated technologies and inhabiting cities populated by them.

“The Situated Technologies Pamphlet series explores the implications of ubiquitous computing for architecture and urbanism: How is our experience of the city and the choices we make in it affected by mobile communications, pervasive media, ambient informatics, and other “situated” technologies? How will the ability to design increasingly responsive environments alter the way architects conceive of space? What do architects need to know about urban computing and what do technologists need to know about cities? Situated Technologies Pamphlets will be published in nine issues and will be edited by a rotating list of leading researchers and practitioners from architecture, art, philosophy of technology, comparative media study, performance studies, and engineering.”

Read pamphlet

(via Régine Debatty)

4 September 2007

People regularly featured on this blog

In alphabetical order:

A
Marko Ahtisaari
Ken Anderson

B
Nik Baerten
Genevieve Bell
Chris Bernard
Tim Berners-Lee
Ralf Beuker
Nina Boesch
Danah Boyd
Stefana Broadbent
Tyler Brûlé
Bill Buxton

C
Jan Chipchase
Hilary Cottam
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Alistair Curtis

D
Uday Dandavate
Liz Danzico
Regine Debatty
Paul Dourish

E
Jyri Engeström
Richard Eisermann

G
Jesse James Garrett
Fabien Girardin
Anand Giridharadas
Bruno Giussani
Adam Greenfield

H
Laurent Haug

I
Mizuko Ito

J
Bob Jacobson
Matt Jones

K
Jonathan Kestenbaum
Anne Kirah
Dirk Knemeyer
Jon Kolko
Mike Kuniavsky

L
Loïc Lemeur
Dan Lockton
Victor Lombardi

M
Nico Macdonald
John Maeda
Ranjit Makkuni
Ezio Manzini
Roger Martin
Stefano Marzano
Simona Maschi
Bruce Mau
Grant McCracken
Jess McMullin
Peter Merholz
Crysta Metcalf
Bill Moggridge
Peter Morville
Ulla-Maaria Mutanen

N
Jakob Nielsen
Donald Norman
Nicolas Nova
Bruce Nussbaum

P
Steve Portigal

R
Carlo Ratti
Howard Rheingold
Louis Rosenfeld
Stephen Rustow

S
Dan Saffer
Nathan Shedroff
Jared Spool
Yaniv Steiner
Bruce Sterling

T
John Thackara

V
Marco van Hout
Rob van Kranenburg
Mark Vanderbeeken
Joannes Vandermeulen
Jeffrey Veen
Timo Veikkola
Michele Visciola
Eric von Hippel

W
Tricia Wang
Luke Wroblewski

Z
Paola Zini
Jan-Christoph Zoels

6 May 2007

LIFT conference video selection

LIFT 07
I found some time today to watch the videos of the 2007 LIFT conference presentations. Here are my preferred ones:

  • Panel discussion on technological overload with Stefana Broadbent of Swisscom Innovations (14:25);
  • Daniela Cerqui, anthropologist at University of Lausanne, about “Towards a society of cyborgs?”;
  • Jan Chipchase, principal scientist at Nokia Research Center, about “Literacy, Communication & Design” or how illiterate people are lead users for people who want simplicity;
  • Régine Debatty (we-make-money-not-art.com) and France Cadet (french artist) about “do biologists dream of robotic art?”;
  • Nathan Eagle, research scientist at MIT, about “Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control”;
  • Fabien Girardin, researcher at the Pompeu Fabra University, about “Embracing the real world’s messiness”;
  • Adam Greenfield, principal at Studies and Observations NYC, about “Everyware: Further down the rabbit hole”;
  • Sampo Karjalainen, chief creative officer at Sulake Corporation, about “Open-ended play in Habbo”; and
  • Jan-Christoph Zoels, director of user experience design at Experientia, about “Jumping jack flash – new forms of interactions”.
4 April 2007

Experientia interviews Paola Zini, director of Torino 2008 World Design Capital

Paola Zini
Core77, the online design magazine, published today an interview with Paola Zini, the director of Torino 2008 World Design Capital, conducted by Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken.

The interview is the first of many as Mark is pleased to announce that he will be editing the monthly online magazine of Torino 2008.

In the interview, the young Torino 2008 director talks about why Turin was chosen for this initiative and how she wants to use the opportunity to broaden the concept of design: “We want to focus on design as a process that can be applied to products, communication, public policy, education and services. Torino World Design Capital wants to broaden the concept of design as much as possible, emphasising innovation that starts from our society’s needs.”

She presents the overall theme of flexibility and the year’s four thematic phases.

Zini is convinced that the initiative can strengthen the position of Turin and Piedmont on the international map of design, and spread a design culture with our citizens and within companies, within schools and institutions.

Yet the organisers also think further and want to start creating a debate on what a national strategic design policy in Italy could be like.

The interview features some highlights of the programme, which will be announced in more detail on 18 April.

Questions were also contributed by Régine Debatty of we-make-money-not-art and Chiara Somajni of Il Sole 24 Ore/Ventiquattro – (Many thanks to both of course!).

An Italian article based on the interview was recently published in the cultural supplement of Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

A copy of the (English) interview can also be found below, without however all the photos that liven up the Core77 version.

***

Paola Zini is the face of a new and dynamic Italy. Driven, warm, reflective, convincing and humble enough to admit every so often that she has no answer to a particular question. It took the popular Mayor of Turin, Sergio Chiamparino, quite some convincing to get her to take on the job of leading Torino 2008 World Design Capital, but in the end he prevailed and I am more than happy he did. With Paola new ideas will be nourished and old ideas will be renewed.

The interview took place in February 2007, and was conducted by Mark Vanderbeeken, senior partner of the Turin-based international user experience design consultancy Experientia, and author of the people-focused innovation blog Putting People First, with valuable support from both Régine Debatty (famous arts and technology blogger at we-make-money-not-art.com, and former Turin resident) and Chiara Somajni (a journalist of the Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore and its associated magazine Ventiquattro

Core77, the online design magazine, published this interview as an article on its website. This is a copy of the interview as it was published by Core77.

* * * * *

You are a new face for many people, so let’s start with you introducing yourself and telling us how you became the director of this initiative.

I am Paola Zini, 32 years old and for the past five months have been the director of Torino 2008 World Design Capital. I actually have an economics background, and worked before mainly on the topic of urban economic development–particularly Turin’s development. Up till recently, I was involved with the implementation of the first strategic plan of the city, which by the way was the first strategic plan of any Italian city, and this has definitely been a crucial factor in me now being able to coordinate this design year.

You worked for an organisation called Torino Internazionale.

Yes, it is a mixed public-private agency that is in charge of the city’s strategic plan. Working on economic development also meant promoting design in Turin and in Piedmont, and that was the origin of what I am doing now. So the relationship with ICSID–the international design organisation–grew out of our activities within Torino Internazionale. It was a gradual process that eventually lead to the nomination of Turin as the first World Design Capital, with its own organisational committee.

* * * * *

THE TURIN NOMINATION WITH ZINI AS DIRECTOR

Why did ICSID choose Turin?

ICSID was looking for a city to host its headquarters, and Turin was one of the candidate cities. (The organisation ultimately took up residence in Montreal.) We participated because we thought it would be good for Turin to host another international organisation [in addition to several United Nations offices], and in particular one that dealt with the topic of design. Our proposal was more than a mere political one: we had the support of important foundations and of ADI, the Italian Association of Industrial Design. With our proposal we created strong international relationships, got to know players in the field of design worldwide, and were able to share the history of our city that is now reinventing itself. We just had the Winter Olympics, one of the events in this carefully prepared transformation trajectory. All this provoked a process whereby ICSID started focusing not just on the move of its headquarters, but also on its communication strategy. So our proposal and our changing city became a very interesting European reference point for ICSID. That’s why our city has been chosen as World Design Capital.

You then became the director of this initiative, which is not an obvious choice in this country where power positions are often in the hands of older, well-connected men. You are instead a young woman who is not originally from this city. Why did they choose you?

I think the organisers wanted to give a strong signal by making an unconventional choice. I have to thank the Mayor, Sergio Chiamparino, and the people of our Board for insisting on me accepting this offer.

* * * * *

A CITY IN TRANSFORMATION

The project has very high-level support and comes after a series of major events, including the Winter Olympics, through which Turin is trying to reposition itself on the global map. What is the impact you are trying to achieve?

There are many events now–not just in Turin, but also in the wider region–that aim to reposition this territory. The Winter Olympics were of course crucial in making people understand how committed the city administration was to the development of its future. The Games were not a goal in itself, but a first step in a process. The design year will be very different from the Winter Olympics; we want to stimulate a large number of activities all over the region. It will not be a curated festival, but a collective one, made by all those who live here, by our citizens and by students, but also by those who come to visit us professionally or as tourists.

What image do you want to leave behind? How would you like Turin to be perceived in 2009?

We would like to position Turin throughout Europe and throughout the world as a city that is renewing itself, as a city in transformation. Turin has always been seen as the city of FIAT, maybe also as the city of Juventus, but there are other and newer facets of the city that we cherish and are now being embraced by the citizens. We would like to share these concepts with all those who don’t know Turin yet.

How does Turin want to use design in its transformation and what is the role of Torino 2008 in that?

The title of World Design Capital is not awarded to cities that are already design capitals and that are already known as such, but to those places where design is used for the social, cultural and economic transformation of the city. Turin has already made big steps forward in its transformation process. Ten years ago, Turin was a very different city from what it is now. Its economic make-up has changed fundamentally. The cultural industries have diversified our region and there is now a strong service sector. So a lot of transformation has actually taken place already. I think that the title of World Design Capital can help people realise that design, as a process of qualitative change, can further improve many things.

So are these the main goals: change the image of the city and change the mindset of the people?

Those are indeed two important goals: strengthen the position of Turin and Piedmont on the international map of design, and spread a design culture with our citizens and within companies, within schools and institutions. We also want to leave some legacy behind. This year should be more than a thought-through, qualitative event, but the start of a wider change process. Everything we do should have an effect after 2008, and all activities should leave something behind, physically or culturally.

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FLEXIBILITY

What issues are you trying to address?

Cities today are in constant change, and these changes affect all aspects of the social, cultural and economic life of a city. Think about the radically changing composition of the population, and what that means for social integration and our public services. Think about our changing living habits and what that means for mobility and our transport infrastructure. Think about how the concept of work is changing and what that means for companies. These are just a few examples. We citizens are changing our own behaviour constantly to adapt to these changes. Our design and research activities have to take on a flexible approach as well to adapt to the changing nature of things. Design can be a very valid tool in continually confronting these changes.

Flexibility is the “fil rouge” of the year.

The theme builds upon the very idea of what a World Design Capital means for ICSID. What can design do to help a city in transformation? We think that flexibility is the answer. To be “adaptive” or “responsive” means finding answers to the many changes. Because these changes often happen very fast, it is crucial to be able to adapt to this evolving context with appropriate tools, and design is one of them.

The year is divided in four thematic phases.

Yes there are four phases, each of roughly three months, and each phase has a focus. The first one is called public design, so it is about making people aware of the power of design, of the value it can have in improving our daily lives. The second phase is more connected to the business world and the focus is here on understanding how design can transform the economy of our region and of our planet. Then there is the phase dedicated to education and design. This third phase will also overlap with the time when Turin will host the World Congress of Architecture, so there will be many young people in town. The last phase is a crucial one because it closes and summarises the year, and is about design policy. We want to invite national design institutes from all over the world: centres that are responsible for policy development, for making their countries more competitive, and for raising the level of quality.

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BROADENING DESIGN

Let’s discuss some of these four focus areas a bit more in depth. First, what do you mean by “design”? What are its boundaries? What do you want to focus on? Do you consider the redesign of work flows and social relationships within the public administration or the industry to be part of your focus?

Many still think of design as styling. We want to focus instead on design as a process that can be applied to products, communication, public policy, education and services. Torino World Design Capital wants to broaden the concept of design as much as possible, emphasising innovation that starts from our society’s needs. Conveying this contemporary interpretation of the word “design” implies a cultural challenge that will require extensive communication and education.

Indeed, many still see a designer as somebody who creates shapes and forms. How will you change that way of thinking?

This is one of the missions of Torino World Design Capital. Nowadays, it is impossible to speak about form as a goal in itself, disconnected from its function and its economic repercussions. That’s why the first part of the year is aimed at the general public, not at a professional audience, because we want to reach out broadly about what design can be and how it can affect our daily lives. Norman Potter wrote in his seminal 1968 book “What is a designer” that all people are in fact designers, because we all create something. I think it is very important to focus on our basic education: we are setting up an initiative aimed at primary schools, to share with children what a design project is and what the word designer means.

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DESIGN FOR INNOVATION

You spoke about innovation earlier on. “Design” and “innovation” are on everybody’s lips. Design is seen as a tool for business innovation and this thinking is getting a hold in Italy too. Do you think Italy is indeed going through a cultural shift? If so, how is this happening? How will Turin 2008 contribute to it? What, for instance, can companies expect from you in this sense? What is your vision on design and innovation?

Innovation is still often seen as something that happens in research centres. Obviously this is part of the story, but there is more. Design can act as an innovation tool as well, and we need to support that. To stimulate this type of innovation, the Regional Government of Piedmont will soon launch an initiative to create better synergies between designers and companies–not just companies that are already using designers, but also those that are not yet convinced of the benefits of a design approach, or those that need to become more acquainted with the design process.

How else do you plan to structure the collaboration with companies?

Most of that planning is now in the making. There is great interest from companies, and also from abroad. I think it is because we are the first World Design Capital, because Italy is seen as an interesting design context, and because we recently hosted the Winter Olympics. Not just local, but also foreign companies are now planning to be present here in 2008.

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THE ROLE OF ITALY IN THE GLOBAL DESIGN CONTEXT

Italy has played a leading role in design in the past. Today all eyes are turned towards the more edgy and innovative British and Dutch designers. Who do you think is showing the most stunning creativity in Italian design? Or do you think that these geographical boundaries are no longer relevant today?

Geographic boundaries are not so relevant anymore; innovation can be Italian, British, German or Dutch. I don’t believe that Italy or any other country possesses a magical creative or design formula. What matters is dialogue and where that dialogue takes place. Next year one of the meeting points will be here in Turin, so it will be about Italian culture dialoguing with other design cultures. The last part of the year, which is devoted to design policy, is all about that dialogue. We will invite Design Centres from all over the world and give them their own spaces, much like the national pavilions during the Olympic Games. The goal is to have each of them share their design culture with us and with each other. At the end of the year, Turin will then inaugurate its own Design Centre.

Are you thinking about a national design policy for Italy?

There is no national public entity in Italy that implements and promotes a strategic design policy. There is however ADI, the Italian Association of Industrial Design, that has been promoting the Italian design culture for over fifty years, with internationally known initiatives such as the “Compasso d’Oro” award.

Which countries are you planning to involve?

During the last part of the year, we want to focus with these international design centres on exchanging international experiences, creating a network of relationships, and starting a debate on best practices in national design policies worldwide. We have already initiated relations with Hong Kong, Montreal, Nagoya, Taipei, Budapest, Copenhagen and Singapore.

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MILAN

It is however the city of Milan which is seen as Italy’s design capital. How do you plan to articulate the relationship with Milan during (and possibly after) 2008?

When you read about cities and regions nowadays, you hear a lot about competition, but also about exchange. Turin has looked at Barcelona a lot to compare its own development over the last ten years. It is of fundamental importance for us to collaborate with Milan. We cannot be in competition. Turin is working hard to become a design capital but it is not yet one. It still has a lot to learn from Milan. Having more than one design-oriented city can only be an advantage for our country. If ten Italian cities would be known internationally as design cities, it would only increase the international credibility of Italian design and of the role of design in our culture. I view our relationship with Milan as one of mutual exchange, rather than one of competition.

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COME VISIT US

I heard that you are eager to have many young creative people from all over Italy and all over the world come visit Turin during 2008. What can they expect? Why should they come?

We would really like to involve creative and young designers, as visitors, as a critical audience, as contributors in the events, or as active participants that help to shape this event. Hence the relevance of the initiative of the Piedmont regional administration that I told you earlier about: foreign design students working with local companies will provide the former with new professional experiences and the latter with fresh and creative design ideas, developed by people who come from very different contexts. The World Congress of Architecture provides us with another opportunity to bring together the worlds of education and design straining with the international stars of design and architecture.

So the summer is the liveliest period of the year?

For sure it will be the time when we organise many activities for students, and will involve design schools from all over the world.

How can people participate?

The wider public will be immersed in a city that will host a large number of initiatives: exhibitions, conferences and events that are conceived with the aim of connecting ordinary citizens with design. There will also be a number of installations that will be set up in very popular squares and locations. People who are professionally involved with design will be treated to many debates, meetings and discussions. But they will also be involved in actual creation: at New Year’s Eve for example, when Torino 2008 will be inaugurated, we will invite some designers to dress up the city with ad hoc projects to provide visibility to the event and to strengthen its identity. In the summer we will focus on students who can join training projects specifically created for 2008: summer schools, workshops, and the World Congress of Architects are some of the key events for them.

What are some of the highlights of the year?

We cannot disclose everything yet, but definitely New Year’s Eve which will be the event that will launch the entire year: we are working on a big celebration that will involve the entire city, with specific events in the various historical squares of Turin. In May we will host some major activities devoted to graphic design, publishing and advertising. The Design Houses, which will host the world’s main Design Centres, will provide an opportunity for learning and sharing, but also for involving all the citizens.

Thank you.

7 February 2007

Jumping jack flash – new forms of interactions

LIFT 07
My Experientia business partner and friend, Jan-Christoph Zoels, is one of the main speakers at LIFT 07, a conference that starts today in Geneva, focused on the “challenges and opportunities of technology in our society”.

In his talk tomorrow entitled “Jumping jack flash – new forms of interactions“, Jan-Christoph will present “some key trends and design ideas for our interactions with devices, services or applications”.

“As more and more devices support location-aware, contextual or rich media, how will we interact with them, choose content, navigate or connect multiple sources of information? The presentation explores gestural, haptic and other sensorial interfaces for a variety of applications. The success of Nintendo’s Wii game controller exemplifies the migration of traditional task-based interfaces into the realm of explorative and entertaining interactions. What will the poetic interfaces of tomorrow be?”

Other speakers include Robert Scobble, vice president of media development at Podtech; Régine Debatty of we-make-money-not-art; Stefana Broadbent, head of User Adaption Lab at Swisscom; Jan Chipchase, principal scientist at Nokia Research Center; Bruno Giussani, writer; and Sister Judith Zoebelein, editorial director of the Internet Office of the Holy See; to name just a few.

UPDATE:
- Tom Hume’s notes on Jan-Christoph’s talk
- Jan-Christoph Zoels : quelles nouvelles formes d’interaction ? French summary by Daniel Kaplan
- Audio interview of Jan-Christoph Zoels by Nicole Simon

23 January 2007

Interview with Adam Greenfield on the user experience of ubiquitous computing

Adam Greenfield
Régine Debatty (of we-make-money-not-art) and Nicolas Nova (co-organiser of the upcoming LIFT conference) have together interviewed Adam Greenfield in which he focuses on the user experience of ubiquitous computing.

Greenfield is the principal of design consultancy Studies and Observations, and author of Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing. According to Wikipedia, Greenfield is generally considered to be a thought leader in the information architecture and user experience professions.

Here is Régine Debatty’s introduction:

“His latest book, Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing tells about what we can read in all the tech mags: computing without computers, everywhere, all the time and whithout us noticing it. For the first time however, someone who has observed the “ubicomp’d” life on several continents has put into a social, spatial, design and human context the consequences of this recent technology. I should also add that the book translates the working, meanings and implications of ubicomp into a very accessible language.

I still had a series of questions for Adam though. To be sure that i wouldn’t leave too many stones unturned, i asked Nicolas Nova to come to my rescue. Well… that’s the best excuse i could find to convince the guy who writes the only blog i would bring to a desert island to come and use wmmna space. Nicolas and i have both published the interview yet you’ll have to read the both of them to get the full picture: i posted some of his questions but not all of them and god knows what he’s done with mine ;-)”

I personally liked reading his answer to why designers should be involved with ubiquitous computing:

“If ubiquitous systems, products, and services are developed in the absence of careful, sensitive interaction design they fail. And they fail in a way that poses particular challenges and risks to the user’s sense of calm and equanimity, because by and large the interaction landscape of everyday life is very robust, very well-assimilated. We simply don’t expect the constituents of everyday experience to crash, lock up, or perform perversely or incoherently the way digital information technologies manifestly do. [...]

Someone with a commitment to the human being at the focus of these technologies, who’s been trained to weigh that person’s prerogatives heavily in the design of transactions, who has the experience to recognize and account for not merely this single system but the entire context in which it’s operating – that’s the person you want to include on your team if you expect your intervention to succeed. I can’t imagine why anybody serious about satisfying their users and customers would want it any other way.”

- Read interview on Régine’s site
- Read interview section on Nicolas’ site

18 January 2007

Interview with LIFT 07 conference organisers

LIFT 07
Convivio, the European network for human-centred design of interactive technologies, has published an interview with Laurent Haug and Nicolas Nova, two of the organisers of LIFT 07, a conference that will be held in Geneva on February 7-9 2007, focused on the “challenges and opportunities of technology in our society”.

My Experientia business partner and friend, Jan-Christoph Zoels, is one of the main speakers. Others include Robert Scobble, vice president of media development at Podtech; Régine Debatty of we-make-money-not-art; Stefana Broadbent, head of User Adaption Lab at Swisscom; Jan Chipchase, principal scientist at Nokia Research Center; Bruno Giussani, writer; and Sister Judith Zoebelein, editorial director of the Internet Office of the Holy See; to name just a few.

In the interview, they discuss how the design of the conference last year, almost accidentally, became deeply human-centred and how they have added even more opportunities (LIFT +, Open Stage) this year for attendees to act like active contributors rather than passive recipients of somebody else’s messages.

Read interview

17 November 2006

Yaniv Steiner speaking on rapid prototyping at World Usability Day Italy

Michele Visciola introducing Yaniv Steiner
Last Tuesday people across the globe attended World Usability Day gatherings and events, an initiative promoted by a professional association called the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA).

Experientia partner Michele Visciola is the president of UPA-Italy, and in that capacity he organised the World Usability Day in Italy at the Bicocca University in Milan.

One of the speakers was Yaniv Steiner, Experientia’s director of R&D and the founder of Nastypixel which is a “prototyping sweatshop”. He has been teaching at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea and currently also lectures at the University of Architecture in Venezia and the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.

The audio of Yaniv’s presentation on rapid prototyping is online (in English, with a short Italian introduction by Michele Visciola in Italian) and so are his slides and a number of links.

Régine Debatty, who was also a speaker at the Milan event, has a nice profile of Yaniv on her blog we-make-money-not-art.