Bottom-up innovation

Rob van Kranenburg presented his thoughts on the increasingly strained relationship between formal and informal networks. He showed a rich collection of examples of bottom-up online and sensor-based innovations (wikipedia, commons-based peer production, thinglink) that create their own informal networks, running parallel to top-down systems auch as nation states and the EU. This talk was part of the Organisation, Strategy & Design Seminar Series held at the London School of Economics. After the talk Rob invited us to brainstorm in small break out groups about sustainable bottom-up innovations. My group came up with an idea for local recycle stations that extract raw materials from our disposable goods and produce new stuff on demand in replicators.…

Who wants tomorrow’s papers?

The launch event of the Innovation Forum London was themed ‘Who wants tomorrow’s papers?’. It addressed the synergy between online and offline newspapers and asked the question what we can¬† learn from best practice in research, design, technology, journalism, editorial and business strategy.
Khoi Vinh on the New York Times described how there has been a significant change in the way the online news is perceived within the company. It is not longer considered to be just on online version of the hard copy newspaper that gives the news away for free. The website has so much more functionality. It caters to the conversational character of the news experience of today. He did agree though that they should probably do more contextual inquiry into the news experience. The current user testing is in reality more ‘executive testing’, aiming to please the management.…

Innovation processes

Jeremy Myerson, the director of InnovationRCA, presented his views on innovation processes during a talk organised by the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre. He described three phases in this process: the discovery phase, the creation phase and the delivery phase. The dynamics of these phases develop from very fuzzy and chaotic to more and more structured and planned. It crossed my mind that he forgot to include the phase of the actual use of innovations. In this phase the dynamic tend to be quite fuzzy and chaotic again. People often surprise designers and developers with the creative usages they find for devices and services. You cannot control in a top-down delivery process. Real innovations frequently have a strong bottom-up component.…

Innovation Reading Circle 02

The second meeting of the Innovation Reading Circle was again very interesting. This time the theme was User-Led Innovation.¬†The books we read and discussed were: ‘Democratising Innovation‘ by Eric Von Hippel, ‘We-think: The power of mass creativity‘ by Charles Leadbeater and ‘The Ten Faces of Innovation‘ by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman.¬†The keywords that bridge these publications are open source design, multi-disciplinary¬†collaboration and user participation.¬†The styles of publications were very different: research-based academic (Von Hippel), practice-based reflection (Kelley) and journalistic experiment (Leadbeater). The Innovation Reading Circle is organised by¬†Nico Macdonald.…

User-driven innovation

Just finished a chapter for a book on knowledge sharing in the creative industry. The book ‘Uncommon Ground: Creative Encounters between Sectors and Disciplines’ will be published by Bis Publishers in April 2007 as a spin off of the Uncommon Ground workshop in September in Amsterdam.

My chapter addresses the complexity, and fun, of inter-disciplinary collaboration in the era of Service Design. It elaborates specifically on the need for consumer research during the development of new concepts for innovative services. Download ServiceDesign_GvD_210207.pdf

Independents Christmas Lunch

For the second year Gill Wildman and Nick Durrant from Plot organised a Christmas lunch for independents working in the creative industry. And again it was a lovely event. It is a joy to spend an afternoon with peers and share some ideas and dreams. The idea came up to organise an independents picnic in the spring, and also to fly to the Californian desert this summer: London does Burning Man! Who knows. Watch this space.…

Convivio workshop

On 4-5 December the Technical University Eindhoven hosted a workshop organised by the European Convivio Network to discuss the big issues for interaction design during the coming 5 years, as well as the consequences of these issues for the various domains. The results of the workshop are meant to inform the future policy of the EU on design and innovation. An international selection of participants from both industry and academia took part, including STBY. Before the workshop started we had to sent in the big issues we thought will be important for interaction design in the coming years. The template the organisers provided for this was very interesting. It prompted us to provide short and illustrated statements.…

Innovation Reading Circle 01

Initiated by Nico Macdonald, the Innovation Reading Circle convenes on a bi-monthly basis to discuss recent books on innovation. For the first session we read Shaping Things by Bruce Sterling and In the Bubble by John Thackara. The first being a vision-driven manifesto for the internet of things. The second a rich collection of pointers to interesting people, projects and organisations.

 

Both authors are committed to the issue of sustainability and the ways how design can contribute to this.…

Thrill Laboratory

Just spent a thrilling evening at the Dana Centre in London. The theme was Fairground – Thrill Laboratory. A full evening programme about the pleasures of thrill seeking behaviour. Some serious talks, but also very entertaining performances and even a live fairground ride in the garden! The coming weeks will feature two more of these programmes, exploring the themes anxiety and bodily arousal. Each session with different talks and different rides. Check it out.

The Dana Centre is a place to watch anyway. They often organise interesting programmes on the cross roads of art, science and technology.…

Food for Thought

InnovationRCA has just published an interesting book by Toke Barter and R√© Dubhthaigh from Radarstation. This book, ‘Food for Thought: A service based approach to embedding innovation‘, addresses innovation processes in corporate organisations.¬†Given the current importance of design-led innovation, the authors have explored the ways that design can play a role in everyday innovation processes. They have come up synthesised the results of their research in a proposal for an in-house, cross-organisational innovation support service. They have chosen the restaurant as the metaphor for this service, and suggest three levels of service: Snacking, Fast Food and Gourmet.…

Uncommon Ground

During the Crossmedia Week PICNIC06 in Amsterdam, an interesting workshop on knowledge sharing between academia and industry took place, organised by The Virtual Platform and the Utrecht School of the Arts. The title of the workshop was Uncommon Ground, as a reference to the importance of being open minded and¬† prepared to venture into unknown territories when collaborating across domains. Participants from various countries and various types of organisations (universities, large corporations, SMEs, art, non-profit organisations) presented case studies of successful multi-disciplinary projects. STBY was involved as an adviser in the run up to the workshop and participated during the event as the chair in one the break out groups.…

Design and Innovation

A seminar on Creativity Technology & Design, organised by the Tanaka Business School of Imperial College during London Design Festival, clearly showed that business strategist are warming up to the fact that design is a integral part of innovation. All three speakers, Nick Leon (Imperial),¬† Jennifer Whyte (Imperial) and Isabel Pollock (Audi Design Foundation) stressed the importance of close collaborations between business consultants and designers. They frequently referred to the Cox review as a key source to have pointed out that design thinking is a crucial driver of innovation processes.…

Imagining More Walkable Cities

What does ‘walkability’ mean? Exploring more walkable cities could help us envision streets that can be used and enjoyed by everyone. Much…

What Design Can Do For The Climate

How can designers tackle a problem as complex as climate change? That was the question we were faced with when we partnered with What Design Can Do…

Lead… and let go

In our projects we often help clients to innovate by doing design research together. This usually includes qualitative research and co-creation…

Pushing the Boundaries

The following is an excerpt from our forthcoming publication Viewfinders: Thoughts on Visual Design Research (2016). Visual design research…