Archive for ‘user-driven innovation’

March 4, 2012

Life 2.0 supporting elderly people’s independent life

The Life 2.0 project is a EU funded project that aims at supporting elderly people’s independent life through a platform of geographical positioning and social networking services. The project started in November 2010 and is now starting a pilot phase in which such applications will be tested in 4 pilot locations in Denmark, Italy, Spain and Finland.

The project is also involving elderly people in training centers (such as Kastanjegaarden in Aalborg, Denmark) community centers (such as  Agora in Barcelona) and local library (as in Joensuu, Finland and Milano, Italy).

In this blog I extracted a synthesis of the first results of the ethnographic analysis, the scenarios and the use cases the full deliverables and more information about the project are available at


April 6, 2009

Help finding scenarios

I’m organising a project on tracking systems for elderly people. The scenario is as follow:

Elderly people, their relatives, friends and assistance personnel living in a specific area can carry a GPS device (it maybe their own mobile phone) which make it possible to visualise their position on a map (maybe google maps). They can also send short messages as in Twitter or Google Latitude. The visualisation may be possible both on a mobile phone screen or on a computer at home, possibly using applications like facebook (or any other application that support any kind of social interaction).

I’m trying to figure out how this scenario could define new services for 

  • functional use (i.e. telemedicine, assistance services, ask for help)
  • Persona use (i.e. reassurance when living alone)
  • Social networking (i.e. inviting people for lunch, going out for a walk)


So, this is a call for contribution: any idea about how to use this opportunity?

I promise that I will publish a list of all the possible scenarios on this blog. We may also think of an award for the best idea, but if I promise for instance a trip to Aalborg I’m not sure I will have too many contributions.

November 19, 2008

Wiki page on public services

I’ve just finished updating the page on Public Services of the service design wiki. I’ve included some cases of public service design (those in which service design was a planned or explicit activity, at least) and all the main bibliographic resources I know of.system150

November 18, 2008

On service design in the public sector

 A podcast of a presentation of Sophia Parker, from Demos, illustrates the challenges of service design in the public sector. The presentation introduces a publication “the Journey to the Interface”. In this publication a new perspective on is proposed, which tries to understand services as people do. The publication consider strategies for collaboration between professionals involved in public services, sets criteria to measure success and argues for service design as a new way of planning and organising public services.

Sophia Parker is the deputy director of Demos, and has been involved in several interesting projects on public services, working with Hilary Cottam and other members of Participle  in several project, including Southwark circle project, on ageing people.

November 13, 2008

Saying Hello – design for ageing


A project called “saying hello” was funded in Wigan Borough UK and developed at the university of Salford, with the aim of working in partnership with elderly people, healthcare authoroties and voluntary agencies on investigating ways in which ageing people manage potential and actual loneliness and isolation and strategies to prevent and reduce loneliness.

I found several innovative good things in this project:

  1. The project used voluntary researchers for interviewing ageing people. The nice things is that voluntary researchers were themselves in the same age range of those who have been interviewed. This made the relationship between people and researchers much tighter. It was much easier for those researchers to capture tacit knowledge from the ageing people and interpret/translate this knowledge for the researchers; furthermore the familiarity between voluntary researchers and ageing people involved in the project will increase the possibility of keeping this relationship even after the end of the research project
  2. The outcome of the project was not (or perhaps not only) a report or tables with data, but a radio-play, in which six actors played a script written by the ageing people themselves. The use of this medium was very interesting. As the researchers say in the video, ageing people are not used to reports or tables of data, but they are much more familiar with television programs or radio programs. It is much easier for them to relate to this medium.
  3. In orther to create the script for the video, people were asked to write down sentences about their life, their routines and their feeling, thus having one more opportunity to reflect about what really matters in their life and for the problems related to their loneliness and isolation.

Info about the project, including an interesting video and the radio play developed in the project can be found At the project website


October 21, 2008

Design of the healthcare system

In an article on the Health Service Journal Deborah Szebeko talks about her experience of service designer in the public sector, an issue I’ve been working in the past (also in this blog). Deborah describes how she worked on service design in the healthcare sector and why are designers important in developing innovation in those sectors.

I also found interesting the description of the stage of the process, because I suppose it could be a step towards a sort of a “blueprint of the blueprint” of a service: she mentiones the following stages [the text in square brakets is my interpretation or the way I would qualify each stage]:

  • Observing to understand [I would describe this as the analytical phase]
  • Capturing patient and staff experience [interpretation of the analysis]
  • Mapping the service process and experience [towards a design concept]
  • Bringing people together to share experience and identify challenges [ concept solution co-creation]
  • Generating ideas and opportunity mapping [similar to concept selection?]
  • Prototyping [Prototyping, just that]
  • Testing and gaining feedback on prototypes [still on user’s co-creation]
  • Designing final output [Detailing]
  • Implementation and social marketing
  • Evaluation

I wouldn’t say this is the perfect process, but I would be curious to see whether this process could be compared with other service design interventions in the public sector.

October 21, 2008

Acting use cases

In the last few days my students have been developing use-cases for their service design semester. We are trying something new: acting the use cases. Use cases are supposed to support the dialogue between people with different backgrounds, working on a common project. We are using use-cases in our service design semester, but the students do not have too many chances to get more participation of other actors, such as service providers or final users. Therefore they are trying to act the use case: each student from a group is “wearing a hat” of one of the actors involved in the use case. This implies that the student, who has previously made an analysis of the various actors, should try to bring the actor’s interest into the use case and make the same actions and take the same decision the real actor would take. (Of course this is very close to De Bono’s work, even if I’m not a big fan of it).

The result is that the use case becomes much clearer to the group, although I would not use this technique to present the use case to people who are not familiar with the project, as the analysis of what happens in the use case goes too much into the details, they would not be able to understand it.

September 27, 2008

Final considerations on video sketching

At the end of the Ludinno worksop I would like to add some final considerations on how videos have been used in a user-centred design activity

ANALYSIS: Video has been used for analyse users in their own working/life environment (an example of this will be added soon).

INTERPRETATION: the videocard game has been used to interpret the video analysis together with users/clients and to identify direction for the concept development phase

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT: instead of pencil and paper students have represented the concept by acting it. Here the process have been slowed down by the time spent in learning the video software and in planning the video, even for quick and dirty videos

TESTING HYPOTHESES: videos have been used to test users behaviour in special conditions

PROPOSING CRITICAL VIEWS ABOUT A CONCEPT: In those cases the use of the video emphasised emotional or social implications of certain concepts, thus proposing a discussion or opening a problematic perspective

PROVIDING NON VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS. This is the case of using videos instead of written or spoken communication, for users who are not able to understand them.

PROVIDING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION THAT CANNOT BE PROVIDED IN OTHER FORMS OF COMMUNICATION. Video are able to provide the emotional involvement of the spectator, creating empatic links between the designer and the user

…and, of course, videos have also been used for the PRESENTATION OF THE FINAL CONCEPT

September 20, 2008

Video Sketching

Video Sketching is a very effettive technique to support communication between designers and customers during the concept development process, rather than at the end. Here videos are used instead of paper and pencil sketches, to give customers and clients a clearer idea of the concept to develop. This technique may prove particularly useful in service design and in any cases in which users are involved in the co-production of value.

Instead of drawing sketches students are acting their ideas and recording them on videos.

Videos are used also for testing hypothesis and simulating behaviours.

Video sketching does not necessarily imply sophysticated video techniques,. Even stop motion techniques, using drawings or simple objects can give a very good idea of the concept.

Video Sketches of the workshop are available at the LUDINNO wiki. Any comment to the students is more than welcome and can help them improving their project

September 17, 2008

Video for User Driven Innovation

In this period I’m quite busy, working in the Ludinno workshop, a workshop on user driven innovation. The workshop is part of the project funded by the Nordic Innovation Centre (NICe).

The first week of this workshop was on using video to get information and involve users in the analytical part of the design process. Users have been observed, filmed in their own working/life context, and interviewed. At the end of the week students and companies (some of the companies were in fact organisations representing the users themselves) discussed the video and generated a patterns of relevant themes for the following design phase.

The second week is about developing a concept. However, unlike usual design processes, here paper and pens are banned. Students have to express and develop their concept through videos. They can use any kind of video technique (from stop motion to chroma key, from 3d animation to simulation using lego briks) and they must shoot videos until they define a concept that can be presented to the industry partners. On Friday they will discuss the video and the followin week they will have the chance to refine the concept in a final video.