Unpacking the Journey from Farm to Fork in Nairobi

STBY recently went to Nairobi to work with local design research partners on the preparations for the latest Global Design Challenge on Clean Energy. Through workshops with creatives and energy experts we explored local energy issues and developed a better understanding of the Kenyan perspectives on climate change.

A glance into MyFutures

Imagine you are 80 years old. You think you are nearing the end of your life, so you wind down activities, and live day-to-day. Then you discover that you could live for another 50 years. Suddenly, you have to think about how you will fill that time. Do you feel anxious, or excited?

‘Listening’ to Big Data

Every company will agree that listening to the voice of their customers is highly important. There are obviously multiple ways to do this. A good mix of these approaches is usually the most successful, as they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Update on WDCD Climate Action Challenge: The knowledge is there, and it’s time to share it

Many people feel helpless when it comes to climate change. The consequences are coming at us thick and fast, outstripping both scientific predictions and a lacklustre policy response. So it’s quite empowering to realise that we can make a difference with the knowledge that is already out there — if we start sharing it and connecting the right people together.

The ethnographic interview: preparing clients to be observers

It’s important to prepare client-observers who have no previous experience with these kinds of interviews, to let them know what to expect, and to avoid pitfalls that can diminish the quality of the research process and results. Here are some guidelines researchers can share and discuss beforehand in order to ensure the process is equally fruitful for researcher and observer.

New frontiers for Service Design

The ubiquity of service design tools and artefacts is also a cue for pioneers in the field to move on and focus on new frontiers. At the Service Design Global Conference in Madrid, Jamin Hegeman of Capital One pointed to one of these frontiers. He argued that it is time for service design to move beyond projects that just create new service concepts, and to focus more on ways to effectively contribute to the long-term, sustainable management of service delivery and ongoing improvement of customer experiences.

Where do people fit into the Internet of Things?

There are now more things connected to the internet than the number of people in the world. Many of these devices are inside our home, from Bluetooth speakers to smart coffee machines and fridges. In the future, even our plates and curtains might be hooked up to the internet. The house will then resemble a lab, in which we are the studied subjects. How much alcohol do we drink? How often do we wash our hair, or cut our nails? Are we snacking more than usual? Spending longer in front of the mirror? Maybe the homes of the future will know.

MozFest workshop: Connecting citizens, not only devices

What is a city without its people? Not much. But sometimes, in all the technology talk around cities, the focus on people gets lost. How can we foster a citizen-led approach to smart city development, and how might that change how smart cities are defined and realised?

That was the question we posed during another walking workshop we were recently invited to conduct, this time in the context of the open Internet movement. MozFest, Mozilla’s annual festival, returned to London to host an international community of educators, technologists, artists, journalists and activists, as well as anyone else engaged with the challenges arising within online privacy, web literacy, and the realisation of a healthy, open Internet.

In our ‘walkshop’, we wanted to explore the future of the connected, online city. Specifically, we wanted to explore and champion a bottom-up, emergent city…

Designing for predictive public spaces

While working on a series of projects aimed at improving the experience of pedestrians and bicyclists, I was reading Andy Clark’s book Surfing Uncertainty: Prediction, Action and the Embodied Mind. This proved an unusually fruitful combination, even though the book is about perception, not about design. But in the context of these design problems, Clark’s explanations became interesting points of departure which often reshaped my perspective.

His phrase: ‘a web of humans and machines, each of which are now busily anticipating the other’ seems to me a perfect description of what our busiest urban public spaces are becoming. As ‘smart’ systems become more prevalent, physical touchpoints are being minimised or disappearing altogether, from whole cashier-operated checkout counters to familiar everyday features like taps, handles…

How to orchestrate systemic change?

In September STBY was involved in three events that all seemed to trigger a similar discussion. In Amsterdam we co-organised an explorative workshop with our partner What Design Can Do, to discuss Gender Based Violence with experts in the field, mainly from NGOs. In London, as part of London Design Festival,  we co-organised a full day workshop with the department for Global Innovation Design at the Royal College of Art to ponder the question “Where next for humanitarian innovation?” with an international group of academics, designers and experts from NGOs. And we also participated in a London Design Festival panel of fellow designers and researchers working in public administration, organised by Policy Lab at the Cabinet Office.

Across these three events we engaged with a mixed bunch of people, backgrounds, expertises and topics. Yet a common pattern in the discussions…

Beyond Human Centred Design

COVID19 has given the world the time to rest, and the opportunity for us to rethink the way we live. It has also revealed how inseparable we are with…

Let’s Talk Maps and Mapping

Interested in mapping services, ecosystems, stakeholders and beyond? Join us as we explore how other disciplines approach mapping and what we can take away as design researchers and service designers.

The Subspecies of Design Researcher

As a design research agency, STBY has worked with design researchers of many shapes and sizes. While the role of ‘design researcher’ becomes more common and recognised as a formal position in many different types of organisations, it’s worth reflecting on how we all work and the unique skills and attitudes needed in different settings.

GOOD is coming to London again!

As the founder and partner of REACH network, STBY is happy to announce that following on the success of previous related events around the world,…

A New Breed of Design Research Tools

Gone are the days of lugging around clunky recorders, hefty cameras and brick-like hard drives to interviews and observation sites. The design researchers of today need only bring along a smartphone hooked up to a few complementary gadgets and software to capture and save quality audio, video and images.