Posts tagged ‘user-driven innovation’

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.

December 4, 2008

Open innovation in bank service (and some thoughts on design)

While designers are discussing about how they would design services, services are changing by themselves. This is the case of bank and financial services, which of course are not living a happy period. In 2005 a new system of social lending was funded in UK and is now developing in other countries (USA; Italy). The initiative is called Zopa. Social lending is basically a system in which some people lend money directly to other people without the mediation of a bank. The role of the service provider (Zopa) is to create mechanisms of trust and warranties that are very similar to those a bank can offer. In other worlds, it is very close to a bank, but without the bank. Zopa creates a sort of safe exchange place for lenders and borrowers. Lenders will be able to choose the interest rate they want, but Zopa offers statistical data about an average range within which the money will be refunded earlier. Furthermore the money from the lender does not go to only one person, so if there is a case of insolvency (and apparently there are not many), the lender will be protected anyway.

As Paul Artiuch noticed some time ago on the Wikinomics blog, social lending is not new, as people got along without banks for thousands of years. However for all those years social lending was very much a local phenomenon, whereas banks have grown in size and became huge multinational giants. The news is that this new service is extending social lending to a size that makes it competitive against those giants. It is a little bit of what Linux is doing against Microsoft.

Zopa replaces the heavy bureaucratic structure of banks with the logic of open systems of innovation.

Is that interesting for a designer? Yes it is. The designer (and especially a service designer, if we can define one) is now in front of a dilemma: who should a designer work for? For the bank or for the open system? And if the designer decides to go for the open system how can s/he design services in this logic?

Furthermore working in this logic needs a deeper understanding of the mechanisms and the possible development of open innovation in our social and economic systems. For this reason I found the discussion in the Kashklash blog very interesting. A repositioning of designers needs not just a new technical and methodological infrastructure, it also needs Designers to have a clear political view.

I made some considerations about designing in open some time ago, but I think there is a lot to think about in this area.

By the way, while writing this post I also discovered another interesting source of info about Peer to peer lending here. It looks like the US financial system does not like those initiatives.

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.

October 19, 2008

The co-creation spectrum

The co-creation spectrum is an interesting reflection on different form of user involvement in value-coproduction processes, from mass customisation to community product design

Posted using ShareThis

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.