Steven KYFFIN: Lessons learnt from LIVING MEMORY @ 1:3 - listening to and developing technology for ordinary people.

This was written end of 90s, beginning of 2000 in the context of the first Future and Emergent Techology (FET) programs on Ambient Intelligence. The program started in 1996. That is now 22 years ago. Imagine Europe, leading at that time in AmI could have integrated this in the hardware and infrastructure programs!

"USEFUL ...listening to and developing technology for ordinary people sums up what we might refer to as Co-Creative design. Involving the end user in a core and proactive manner at all stages in the product or system creation process. Through Living Memory we research and understand a considerable amount more of why this is relevant, how to do it in both a synthetical and analytical way, how to analyse and measure the results within the project and above all how to begin to integrate what we learnt into our every day "design consulting" services, which we offer to our clients. In the future of course we are particulary interested in how to involve the end user in the business creation and in the product and system evolution (after purchase) process, which are now becoming so important in a commercial world where products, systems, services are merging more and more and now evolving as a result of the user intervention (use) over time.

RELEVANT ...listening to and developing technology for ordinary people is so relevant because the 'ordinary...ness' is the issue. Much of what we concentrated on in Living Memory was the means by which people interact with each other (the technology) and the interfaces to that technology, which we offer. It became obvious and apparent from, even before the start, that these interaction mechanisms and interfaces had to be, if nothing else, intuitive, non WORK oriented, adaptive, intelligent and embedded in the natural surroundings of our every day ordinary lives. We called it: The Territory as Interface. A measure of the success of these was to what extent people were positively aware and able to experience the "free flow" of meaningful and relevant context driven content across the landscape between themselves (people), the places and the events which connected them. We called this the Connective Tissue, which held the community together.

IMPORTANT ...listening to and developing technology for ordinary people. The world of stuff is not enough... the design discipline is changing fast. As a commercial discipline, design was born into a world whose corporate attributes included the production of stand-alone products and services, a world in which differentiation was achieved through innovation and brand communications culminating in large and complex brand architectures. Design must now respond to an economic model which supports the provision of converged and connected solutions, such as LIME, combining products and services to suit individual needs. Here, differentiation is achieved by providing the right customer experience. Traditionally, design was exploited to create or reinforce product distinctiveness; now, distinction is created through the declaration of values, aligning all enterprise's activities on many levels. The results place design in a position to extract and embrace true customer insights gained across all points of contact.
SUCCESSFUL ...listening to and developing technology for ordinary people. The extent to which the project was sucessful is the subject of the complete review and validation process, which we conducted. Each of the Partners will have found many points of sucess. The aspects, which were particulary successfull for Philips Design included: The Prototypes: the resolution of all our collective inspiration and insights into the issues of "the role of memory in building social cohesion through open communities" into a connected collection of realised instantiations of the interactive mechanisms, interfaces, information architechtures, intelligent agents and associated software, ...called LIME, which could be fully experienced by ordinary people in a real, natural and every day spectrum of environments. The comprehensive
Community Analysis processes, which we developed with Queen Margaret University College...and also very importantly the project, among others has helped us to understand more fully what the conjunction of DESIGN and RESEARCH can bring to a creative agency such as ours. Design is often seen as an applied discipline, where fine art may be regarded as the pure discipline. We believe that this is not the case and that it is possible to: research the 'pure' Design discipline in order to develop its future role in differing contexts; to use Design as a research tool to help us better understand and contribute to the changing nature of People, Culture and Society and in turn assist in the integration of emerging and future technologies into the lives of 'ordinary people'; to find more effective tools and research areas for Design to consult and investigate in order to provide more holistic and relevant propositions within our commercial practice.
INSPIRATIONAL ....listening to and developing technology for ordinary people. Certainly, ... in all the ways mentioned above...inspired us to find NEW KNOWLEDGE: NEW ROLES FOR DESIGN: ways to integrate SYNTHETICAL and ANALYTICAL research: NEW IP: seeds for NEW OPEN PRODUCTS-SYSTEMS-SERVICES...
DIFFERENT ... Research is by definition, DIFFERENT, especially when it is this trans disciplinary, collaborative, human focused, artistic and scientific driven end results in such enriched experiences for people...


Philips Design

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I think the merit of i3 was to have demonstrated that innovation cannot sccessfully go ahead without the capability of generating scenarios of human experiences to make sense of the technological development. This capability is nowadays still a rare quality of the IT research and far from becoming a practice.

My single most significant realisation was that many researchers in technology (and society) don't share my own conviction that people develop new capability in interaction with technology to aspire to new activities, but instead expect us (the research community) to adapt technology to existing needs and capacities.

The bootstrap for multidisciplinary research has been done with i3, the sensitivity to interaction design and social study has been nurtured and sustained. Now the initiatives can be more focussed and all of that will not be lost."


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