Serious Fun? The Question of the Experience Economy in Industrial Environments
I've recently concluded a six month multi-partner applied research project that has, from a business design perspective, explored the potential for a large Swedish infrastructure firm of moving towards a more experience-based offer in how they define, design and develop their large-scale technical systems.
In my last post, I attempted to introduce a discussion about the intangibility of a lot of the work conducted in the name of experience economy and express my concerns that a lot of the work, and outputs that are occurring in the name of design in this area are in danger of being nothing more than 'psychosocial apparitions', not in anyway grounded in meaningful, relatable concrete experience. In short, it expressed my concern that a lot of design is getting too far a
*How* are you designing immaterial experiences, and creating intangible value?
It's been too long since I last blogged, that is a fact for which I apologise. As a result there is a good chance that this blog post will also be too long, but bear with me, chances are if you found this page, this will interest you.
30.6.13 - I updated this post, removing a lot of the late night ramble, and, I hope making this post easier to engage with.
I offer two quotations from widely disparate sources, but that both, I fear, which highlight a concern that has been growing in my mind for a couple of years now about the increasing invisibility of physical design (and I suppose, physical human factors and ergonomics) and physical experience within 1) the discourse of design research 2) the practice of modern day design (transformation design / service design / social design / marketing 2.0 / business design / tech startup / interaction design / experience design) consultancy:
The first is from the
Why Totnes’ Opposition of Costa Coffee Misses the Point of the Service Economy
There has been something of a "hoo-ha" of late in the otherwise 'chilled-out' South-West town of Totnes, that has even made the national papers, about the town's opposition to the opening of a new branch of the UK's ubiquitous Costa Coffee. The essential opposition point being, in a town that prides itself on being somewhat bohemian and alternative, the opening of a franchised coffee chain will fundamentally disrupt the flow of custom and affect the viability of many of the towns independent food and drink establishments, "changing the face of Totnes' unique high street". In a town with many other high street chains (albeit not purveying coffee) this argument and the associated anti-competitiveness and negativity is at risk, I believe, of the town missing a huge opportunity for fu
Marking Out The Process of Design
Over the past twenty years there have been many discussions about the definition of design, and with the growth of design philosophies such as Design Thinking and Service Design there has been much naval gazing about the role of designers and the scale of the problems that it is possible for design to remedy. These are often framed as recent problems as a result of, for example, the increasing democratisation of design as a result of the internet and social media for example. Or alternatively these challenges and opportunities for designers are often framed as a product of the increasing technologisation of the world around us, leading to greater complexity but also a greater range of possibilities for designers to innovate or assert their influence (the growth of multiple physical and virtual interfaces within individual products or the growth of service eco-systems around physical products for example). I have always been drawn (no pun intended) to this philosophising and visualisati
The Motivational Design Dilemma
I was very interested to read an article dealing with the perennial challenges associated with striking the optimum balance between organisational control and individual empowerment or motivation a few weeks ago. Hat tip to Carl Haggerty for the link.
This dilemma, within the context of design and design practice is something that I have spent a lot of the past four years thinking about in the course of my part-time MPhil in Design Research studies, which I successfully concluded in November last year.
The article from Tetradian proposed a 'pseudo mathematical equation' building on Dan Pink's interpretation of Deci and Ryan's Self Determination Theory - both of which posit (usin
How Digital Technologies Can Add Value to the Craft Production Process in Cornwall
Last week, I presented to some of the individuals from University College Falmouth and BT who are collaborating on the Superfast Cornwall Project about the role of digital technology and the internet to crafts people.
For those who might not be aware Superfast Cornwall is a pioneering project in the South West of England to explore the impact of 'superfast' fibre-optic broadband on rural economies. For more information about the project as a whole you can click here.
The Arts and Craft Department at Falmouth is interested in exploring the benefits for individuals working within the craft industry of this new technology, and BT as the chief funder of the Superfast project is particularly interested in measuring the finan
Reflections from Servdes
Last week I spent an enjoyable few days in the company of some of Northern Europe's leading service design practitioners and researchers, the excuse, the ServDes Conference in Linkoping, Sweden which followed last year's conference in Oslo, thoughts from which I blogged about here.
There are myriad possible forms a summarising post from these three days of structured and unstructured workshop and discussions on the practice and process of designing for services could take. Rather than attempt to cram too many thoughts and observations into one post I will structure my reflections across a few posts that I hope will do justice to the pertinent themes and challenges of last week.
I'll aim to cover the unconference workshop that myself and George Julian ran
Visualising Performance; What can Designers and Olympians learn from each other?
I immensely enjoyed (late) last night's first episode of Olympic Dreams, which you can catch on BBC iPlayer here and follows a number of young British athletes and former and future Olympians as they prepare for London 2012. The documentary gives a fascinating insight into the balancing act that is the life of an elite athlete, particularly an upcoming elite athlete. I've talked often on this blog about some of my own experiences performing this balancing act and a big part of my role as Young Ambassador for the Youth Olympic Games is assisting the members of TeamGB with this balancing act of juggling training and a social life with the demands of education.
These challenges are far from unique to elite athletes however, I'm sure all of us are familiar with the pressur
Interview with Dan Pink on Motivation
As part of the ongoing promotion of his new book Drive, Dan Pink gives an interview discussing some of the underlying theories an
Introduction to the Fundamentals of Motivation
I am currently writing a short chapter for the forthcoming Service Design textbook This is Service Design Thinking. In the spirit of co-creation and participatory design which this publication is attempting to embody I would be very interested to hear what you think about my introduction and the scope of the chapter I am writing. I would really welcome your feedback and suggestions. Presently, it reads as follows:
Motivation has been described as the “energisation and direction of human behaviour” (Reeve, 2005). A fundamental concept in the understanding, regulation and support of human behaviour, Motivation has been debated and discussed for time immemorial. From Confucian and Sanskrit philosophy in the East to that of the Greek political philosophers and Christian biblical scholars in the West: The symbiotic relationship of the individual and their environment and attempts to understand
Modelling Motivation in the Design of Products, Systems and Services
Motivational Design Framework v.0.1
Apologies for the recent blogging hiatus, in large part due to the launch last week of The Ergonomics Real Design Exhibition at the Design Museum which I have been working on over the last year and half. I'm also recently back from the excellent Nordic Service Design Conference in Oslo. I will post more on both of those things in due course. In the meantime, I've also been working on my MPhil in Intrinsically Motivating Design and recently developed a model that I hope to validate as a tool to help designers design Intrinsically Motivating and behaviourally self sustaining systems, services and products. I've posted this on
Theories of Planned Behaviour
Thanks to Andy Polaine for sharing this tremendous insight in response to my post yesterday. It's fair to say that those students studying Service Design at Luzern are in great hands. :-)
In his comments he wrapped up a lot of the wider tensions within the Service Design community about the relationship between academia and practice that I know are hot topics of discussion at London events such as Service Design drinks and Service Design thinks at the moment, as well as clearly the
User Needs are Outdated, We Should Be Designing User Goals…
As I have reported elsewhere I have never truly been comfortable with the concept of User Needs, as a justification or hypothesis for why any designer should be designing something. I get really uncomfortable when otherwise perfectly valid design decisions get glossed with the immeasurable concept of "user need fulfilment". I get annoyed when otherwise perfectly unjustified design decisions get accepted on account of 'user need fulfilment'.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Greatest Goal II by Scottwills on Flickr (CC)"][/caption]
These concerns have come to the fore,
Framework of Motivated Behaviour
As I've reported here before I'm in the middle of an MPhil researching the role of motivation in design and how designers can identify and design to encourage motivated behaviour of a suitable nature. I use the term 'designer' loosely as I'm not for one minute proposing that Motivation is something that can be prescribed or even should be. At this stage I am in the process of articulating and visualising from my research to date, what motivation looks like or how people might recognise motivation. Some of you may have seen the Motivational Personas I put up a week or so back - thank you so much to all who commented and contributed their thoughts ideas and experience - I'm very grateful! I'm continuing to develop those.
[caption id="attachment_105" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Motivational Framework v0.1 cc Fergus Bisset (click for large
Museums, User Empowerment and Defining Service Value
Nina Simon responded yesterday to my recent post on visualising participatory processes. What she said has been rattling around in my head for the past day and certainly resonates with my own experience of working with museums and cultural institutions. You can read her kind words and insight in this link: here. But Nina's point as I interpret it is that:
The institution maintains and always seeks to assert its didactic, aesthetic or intellectual superiority on the user, because ultimately that is its business, in the industrial era sense of the word.
Motivational Design Personas
As I've mentioned a few times this blog is in part a platform from which to share my experiences and progress as I complete my MPhil in Design Research at Brunel University in West London. Things have been progressing well on that front recently. I've just completed a paper with Nicola Combe that's been provisionally accepted for the UK Ergonomics Society Conference next year on improved visualisation of Ergonomic tools to support Inclusive Design. More on that in due course. In the meantime, and after a year of mostly reading, I've also begun the first phase of synthesising some of my research into Mot
Experience Service Design
This past week I have been in Finland attending the Experience Service Design conference and workshop in Kuopio Finland. I'd like to take this opportunity straight off the bat to thank Satu Miettinen and all those at Savonia University of Applied Sciences who helped organise this hugely enjoyable week. It was also fantastic to meet Twitter friends Lauren Currie, Arne Van Oosterom and Marc Stickdorn as well as numerous other new friends and faces - thank you a
Designers as Coaches
In response to my last post, Jonathan Baldwin asked the following question:
The idea of designers who are interested in the ideas rather than the finished artefact raises interesting pedagogical issues. How are they encouraged and rewarded in current educational environments?
His own thoughts can be seen in the comments page and ask some probing questions of the way that design is currently taught and communicated. My own answer to this question is central to my current MPhil research and indeed current day job. Thus I've reposted and rephrased some of what I wrote by way of response. Having had my annual review this week it fits in quite nicely with an update on some of my lates
Competitive Anxiety – Are Service Design Competitions a Paradox?
This weeks call to boycott the Service Design Network's (SDN) recently announced competition and general grumblings within the service design community provide a fascinating insight into what makes service designers tick (and seemingly what doesn't).
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="471" caption="Rybinsk 2007 Podium - Photo: Pete Vordenberg - www.teamtoday.org"]
Making Design a Concrete Experience
"Design uses the whole person's mind & body..."
This as I interpret it in my own recent contribution to the 'Design Thinking debate is framing Design from a situated-cognition perspective. Again, saying that the activity of Design is inherently bound to it's context of activity and therefore it is impossible to completely rely on empirical definitions of what design is or how to practice it. This is a controversial statement and one that can undoubtedly take a bit of time to come to terms with. I'd like to briefly use this post to elaborate how this idea has evolved in my mind and through my recent research into skill acquisition - as such it can be considered the full fat version of my previous post. It contains about 700 words and will therefore
Expectancy for success?
Our ATTENTION to and RELEVANCE of a message, determine people's perceptions of its VALUE whilst an individual's CONFIDENCE will determine their expectancy for success and their perceptions of CONTROL and SATISFACTION.
Whilst the emotionally charged sharing of news and updates is critical for raising AWARENESS or generating ATTENTION amongst potential supporters, in order to induce motivated behaviour parallel strategies need to be introduced to support both those sending the messages and guiding the individuals responses towards a specific short or long term goal. In it's simplest manifestation this could include feedback on the number of times a particular piece of news has been linked to / read / retweeted, thus through feedback, motivating users that their voice is being heard.
Indeed, this has had a more literal and physical manifestation in the recent Iranian situation as this haunting and beautiful video demonstrates:
Design for Change
Thus far on this blog I've shared thoughts and observations from my research into Intrinsically Motivating Design and supported Skill Acquisition in the design of products and services. I've also volunteered some of the thinking from my experiences in designing for public engagement.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="432"] Ever been left frustrated by a system, product or service that didn't work the way you wanted it to? Photo from: Maryam Kh[/caption]
This week I'm going to try and do it in mo
Is Design a Skilled or Procedural Process? Or Both?
Following on from recent posts on the nature of design thinking I want to clarify two things. I am not opposed to design thinking or even thinking about design as this blog demonstrates! Simply, my thoughts as expressed here were that if you want people to better understand design thinking, just get on with it an involve them in it or at the very least provide them with a concrete example rather than an abstract diagram of the process you are trying to sell them. This could perhaps be considered a Constructivist viewpoint as opposed to a Cognitivist world view.
The Logic of Design Thinking
In an attempt to better disentangle the continued discussion on the role of systems thinking or 'logical processing' in 'design thinking', as continued here and here yesterday. I've had a crack at boiling it down to basic principles - in true systems fashion!
Phrased in Aristotelian terms 'design thinking' or more generally any problem solving exercise, consists of three cyclical phases. Depending on the view to which you subscribe, these three phases are not mutually exclusive, but the overall process could be initiated by beginning with any one of the following processes: