25 September 2007

Universities, design, user experience and innovation

Be the first to share

UIAH
Finland plans to merge their three leading universities in business, design and technology into ONE innovation university by 2009.

An article on Finnfacts states that “the aim is a world-class university that would be able to compete with the best foreign universities and be an interesting co-partner for them.”

The initiative for combining the expertise at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration and Helsinki University of Technology was taken by Yrjö Sotamaa, the principal of the art and design university, in the autumn of 2005.

“I firmly believe that Finland’s competitiveness in the future could be built on the ability to combine in a superior way the expertise in various fields in order to create innovations and successful corporate activity,” Sotamaa emphasises.

“Mere technical pre-eminence is not enough for creating successful innovations. Top-class design and business skills are also needed. The significance of experiencing and usability of technology will be given greater emphasis.” [My emphasis]

A keynote speech by Sotamaa at an innovation conference organised by the very forward looking “Better by Design” initiative in New Zealand can be downloaded here (pdf, 3.8 mb, 101 slides). In the speech Sotamaa discussed the fundamental change in thinking required for companies to really benefit from a design-led approach, and what is required to move design from being perceived as “beautiful, but not useful” or “rounding the corners”, to being deeply embedded in everyday business life and bringing substantial economic benefits when applied strategically.

Sotamaa’s design school organised last month the conference “User Experience Plus – Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces 2007“, with five thoughtful themes:

  • Skilled action, focussed on rich interactions and design for human dexterity;
  • New luxury, on innovative products and services that create an Emotion plus – effect;
  • The aesthetics of interaction, on how the interaction design itself can shape engaging experiences, through providing e.g. intriguing invitations, constructive disturbances, pleasant surprises, remarkable experiences etc.;
  • Illusion in interaction: If interaction is the ground in which the experience is constituted, then the question is how to design this ground for the experience so that the experience becomes pleasurable;
  • Social interaction about designs and their short or long term interpersonal effects.

Some conferences videos are also available.

Finally, January 2007 saw the start of the Helsinki School of Creative Entrepreneurship (HSCE), which is being looked on as the first step in the innovation university. According to the website, HSCE delivers tailor made programs to stimulate creative thinking as a basis for developing new and innovative product, service and experience offerings for customers.

In the UK meanwhile, NESTA is also exploring the issue of universities and innovation and just published a short paper on how to ensure that research funding encourages innovation.

(in part via Niti Bhan)

Be the first to share
30 March 2015
MIT Technology Review special report on persuasive technology
The MIT Technology Review has just published a special business report on persuasive technology, i.e. how technologies from smartphones to social media are used to influence our tastes, behavior, and even habits. Free registration is …
27 March 2015
Sharp methodological critiques on current Big Data practices
Two methodological critiques on Big Data that caught our attention: In the Financial Times, economist and journalist Tim Harford points out that sampling bias and statistical errors are, if anything, magnified in Big Data research, …
26 March 2015
Gov.uk’s open policy making toolkit – practical guidance on ethnography and more
The Gov.uk open policy making toolkit is a practical guide to techniques that can help you make better policy. The toolkit, which brings together the latest techniques to improve making and delivering policy, is based on …
24 March 2015
Ethnographic research drives IKEA’s global success
In a long Fortune Magazine article on IKEA's successful global expansion, author Beth Kowitt devotes quite a few paragraphs to the importance of qualitative, ethnographic research: "Today research is at the heart of Ikea’s expansion. “The …
23 March 2015
Design fiction personas illustrate possible impact of educational tech
People talk about the future of technology in education as though it’s right around the corner, but most of us get to that corner and see it disappearing around the next. This innovation-obsessed cycle continues …
16 March 2015
EPIC conference calls for papers and tutorials
EPIC, the premier international gathering on the current and future practice of ethnography and design in the business world, will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil this year. The EPIC 2015 program committee is now calling …
12 March 2015
Nudging and Choice Architecture: Ethical Considerations
Nudging and Choice Architecture: Ethical Considerations by Cass R. Sunstein Yale Journal on Regulation January 17, 2015 50 pages Is nudging unethical? Is choice architecture a problem for a free society? This essay defends seven propositions: It is pointless to …
11 March 2015
From design thinking to ethnographic thinking
In the broader business world, writes social anthropologist Jay Hasbrouck, design thinking "is already a stale buzzword — a concept that spread widely as a panacea for dull and slow-moving corporate cultures." "Some say it’s now …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles