Ash at CIID

Ashwin Rajan's blog while at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

Posts Tagged ‘social innovation

Elevator Buzz Concept for Intel – Rationale

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On the Intel-CIID industry project: based on user research conducted with people in India and South Korea, my team decided to explore the particular idea that came out of brainstorming  – not as a final solution but as a critical exercise to understand the context for design better.

In retrospect, this turned out to be a very useful technique. In the constant challenge of choosing between zooming in or out, (reflecting on created material or designing forward) its nice to take the latter step now and then a little in advance of its time. Simply shifting into a ‘lets just build this out, shall we’ mode, while still in the process of understanding the design context, is a great way to prevent getting too bogged down by highly refined needs, and consequentially a stunted, myopic view of the whole opportunity landscape.

A work in progress - the sudio space while brainstorming

A work in progress - the sudio space while brainstorming

During our user research, we found that young educated professionals were a very appropriate group to work with for this project, mostly because our Indian and Korean subjects seemed to share many similarities in terms of lifestyles and aspirations. We also moved away from the residential context for several reasons. Firstly, there was much more consensus in the view of our research subjects in their office environments than their homes. Then, there really wasn’t too much common among ‘typical’ residential communities across India and South Korea. Also, office spaces seemed to offer much more potential to explore the main theme of the project ‘The Social Collective as an Agent of Behavioral Change”; office goers seemed much more a ‘collective’ of any sort, capable of exploiting existing group dynamics towards common goals. And finally, interventions to spark behavioral change in the office space had the potential to create huge impact on better energy management, as the huge (technology industry) office spaces in India and Korea with thousands of workers were not uncommon.

A work in progress - thought crunching.

A work in progress - me, thought crunching.

The key insight from user research we developed the idea from was:”How might we create opportunities for upwardly-mobile office workers to make visible contributions to sustainable issues?”

The idea was simple: how would a real-time information visualization in the office elevator motivate individuals to make better energy management choices. The concept and sketches to be discussed in a further post …

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Written by Ashwin Rajan

May 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Ezio Manzini on The New Design – 危机: crisis (危: danger; “机: chance)

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Leading design thinker Ezio Manzini spoke at CIID on the theme ‘Next Design – Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability’ in March this year. This is a snippet of his talk from the Service Design Synposium held in Copenhagen in 2008.

I found his views so interesting that I’ve added a full description of his March 2009 talk from the CIID website here, for the benefit of readers as well as my own future reference.

Ezio Manzini is a designer, engineer, architect, educator and author – he is one of the most important thinkers in design today.

危机: crisis (危: danger; “机: chance). In Chinese, as in several other languages, the term “crisis” has the double meaning of “danger and “chance”. Without doubt, we can say that today we are facing a worldwide, deep crisis. Many people are talking about the risks. But it is necessary and timely to talk about opportunities too. This is particularly true if we want to discuss the present and future role of design: by its nature, design has to consider opportunities and to become their active promoter.

However, facing the present crisis, to play this role, design itself must change. A change that could happen if the design community takes at least the following three steps:

  • To adopt an adequate economic model (the emerging idea of social economy)
  • To extend the definition of design (the central role of service design)
  • To generate a new design knowledge (visions, proposals and collaborative tools).

Manzini will present these three steps and introduce the concepts of next economy and next design.

The next economy is, mainly, a service-oriented, social economy. It “produces” services, knowledge and networks of meaningful interactions. Its main fields of action are the ecological re-orientation of the production system, the social production of a new generation of services, and regional eco-development programs: a cluster of activities that, considered as a whole, will be “the industry of the XXI century”.

The next design is, mainly, a design for social innovations and sustainability. It adopts design skills and capabilities to co-create original solutions for the next economy. That is, for the emerging social economy. It refers to socio-technical systems innovation, adopts a service-oriented approach and conceives and develops visions and solutions endowed with sustainable qualities.

Today design for social innovations is still at its early phase. But, around us, in all the region of the contemporary globalised world, the possibility to develop it moves in parallel with the growing wave of social innovation. To link design with social innovation is the main opportunity that we have to give design the role it could play in the transition towards the next economy. That is, also, towards a viable sustainable society.

Written by Ashwin Rajan

May 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm