A better diagram for design
Fill your pod with...Strategy
Last week IIT held their annual Design Strategy conference in Chicago. The event focused on how design innovation can drive business strategy and you can listen to it here.
Limited Edition - end of year exhibition 2006
The end of year exhibition for the final graduating class of Interaction Design Institue Ivrea features 17 thesis projects including that of ex-RED intern and guest blogger Alex Deschamps-Sonsino. Alex's work titled, Mine, yours, ours: Design for new ownership patterns explores the potential for design in reshaping the our attitudes to ownership and use of high-tech objects. Alex looks at how we might reduce waste and curb obsolescence by extending our acceptance of sharing into this realm. For more details on Alex's work see her site, www.designswarm.com. For more information about the show check out the Interaction Design Institue Ivrea site. It opens on the 7th of June in Milan.
Global Learning Environments Summit
The School Works Global Learning Environments Summit will take place on 19 June 2006 at the Jo Richardson Community School in Dagenham. The summit will aim to explore developing trends and share best practice in teaching and learning worldwide and how these are supported by the design of learning environments.
THE SUMMIT WILL HEAR FROM SPEAKERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD AND THE UK ON WHAT WORKED FOR THEM, WHAT DIDN’T AND WHAT CAN WORK FOR US. IT WILL PROVIDE REAL CASE STUDIES OF HOW LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS CAN HELP TO SUPPORT AND TRANSFORM TEACHING AND LEARNING.
See the GLE website for programme details and to register.
Bolton New Deal on Diabetes Launch
The Bolton Diabetes Network last week launched BoND: Bolton's New Deal on Diabetes, at a meeting of over 100 front-line Diabetes care workers in the city. RED's Nick Morton and Colin Burns joined meeting Chairman, Dr. Stephen Liversedge, and the team from Bolton PCT, led by Dr. Jane Pennington, Nurse Consultant. Jane was one of the co-design team that worked with RED last year on developing new approaches to care for people living with Type II Diabetes.
The BoND team are rolling out the Agenda cards - a tool to help re-frame the Professional / Patient consultation process, and a supporting web site. 1,000 sets of cards will be deployed over the next few months, through a number of the GP practices within the PCT. The RED team are really delighted that this project
has such a strong on-going momentum in Bolton.
Life after work
Looking at my mother who will soon retire and some of my friend's parents who have started retirement, a range of different situations are visible. From someone who has been looking forward to retirement to someone who loved his work but finds himself unable to continue it. This might lead to depression which is a common problem for elderly people as the BBC Health site explains:
"Depression has particular causes and shows certain patterns in the elderly. For example, it's much more common in the years after retirement, when people may struggle to adjust to a new role and routine in life. It's then less likely for the next decade until they're in their mid-70s, when factors such as chronic illness, frequent loss of peers and friends, and increasing restrictions on mobility may be factors."
Can we design then for the post-work years, creating support groups or helping people cope with a new freedom they might not be accustomed to? Might it be the role of design to make the half empty glass look half full again, turning a loss into a gain? I think this is definitely an interesting alley to pursue. If you make someone have a positive outlook on the ageing process and feel supported then there are more chances that if a challenge presents itself, recovery will be swifter.
Do not design "special products".
I really like this RSA commentary which gives guidelines for designing for the elderly:
"1. Do not design 'special' products for elderly people.
2. The conventional approach to design through style or materials is obsolete.
3. Physical independence is the treasure. Design should encourage the body to work in a healthy way.
4. Find the balance between under-support and over-support.
5. Understanding good body use (what we should do) is far more important than data on what we can do'.
I think it's important for designers to realize that hand holding will get you nowhere with the elderly. They have literally "been there, done that" and we should design for their needs in a way that does not talk down to them or make them feel insignificant or that they are behind, especially when dealing with technology.
Humanity and a user-centered approach are essential tools when designing for the needs of that specific target group as it is now no longer acceptable to design from up on high, basing one's self on empirical data: "Ergonomic data may depict an articulated dummy to show what the body is capable of reaching. It is not part of design or ergonomic education to know whether such actions are healthy or natural. Elderly people may be able to reach a certain height, but should they?" A good read for product designers everywhere.
The End of Age
Tom Kirkwood talks in this 2001Reith lecture about his research on longevity and how we are now living longer than at any point in the history of man and what are the challenges we face in trying to extend our lifespan.
"With our longer life spans we are entering uncharted territory in which the challenges for individuals and societies are formidable. They are formidable not least because we cherish extraordinarily negative stereotypes of the ageing process. The stereotypes have, if anything, grown more negative as life expectancy has increased. Survival to old age is less of an achievement and as life has become more secure, the inevitability of eventual ageing seems more of an affront."
Fill you pod with Service Design
Jennie and I recently spoke at the International Service Design Conference in Newcastle. Now you can download the podcast. But before you listen to us try out - Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO talking about design thinking, Chris Downs of Live|Work on pioneering Service Design and Oliver King of Engine talking about their approach to service innovation.
SEE THE FUTURE YOU IN SECONDS
Computer software is now available to show how individuals might look when they reach 65.
The software, developed by the University of St Andrews, artificially ages people's faces. Simply by providing a photograph and email address, people can be 'ageified' to see how they might look in later life.
It is being used to encourage people to think about their future and add their views to the Executive's consultation on the Strategy for a Scotland with an Ageing Population.
Rethinking end of life - more...
Turning nursing homes into green houses
A nursing home where you can create a life worth living
Where you can drive and not just survive
And where small is beautiful
Dr Dill Thomas author of "What Are Old People For: How Elders Will Save the World"
talks about his 'Green House' nursing homes.Audio here (after the video ad)
Package design for the elderly
This is a very funny description of Tetra pak's attitude towards their packaging and the elderly.
"When designing a new package for elderly people, you need to think along these lines: clear colours, good contrast, simplicity and no unnecessary frills. If you succeed, your designs will appeal to a large and growing target group."
"By fully understanding how the target group sees the world around them, you can then use good design and graphics to compensate for the deteriorating functions of the older consumer’s body"
I must be obsessed with Japan these days, but as one of the fastest ageing population, how could i not? This very good NY Times article talks about the disappearing villages of Japan.
The small village of Ogama, made up of 8 ageing residents, actually sold their village to an industrial waste company and with the proceeds will pack up everything and leave. They realized that they could no longer support themselves and had no future within the abandoned community. Although a drastic move, this is sure to be the first of many abandoned communities with the lack of proper care and support from the community or the government.
I find this disturbing in the way that culture will need to be addressed, what happens to people's stories and a place's history when they become transient? The habitants of Ogama are actually taking their tombstones with them! How can we prevent this from happening, from places to lose their trace in history and people to lose their sense of home and culture by being so nomadic. Isn't part of growing old to feel that you have contributed to the growth of your environment? that you have built up to something? What could be done to avoid "villages that have reached their limits"?
Got a good idea you can't build?
The great people at mySociety, creators of online democracy tools hearfromyoump, pledgebank, notapathetic have put out a call for proposals for a website that will have "Real world impact on democratic and community aspects of people's lives".
If your ideas up to their standards and you win, they'll build it - can't say fairer than that! Dust off those notepads, recall those moments of shower inspirations and pub idealism and put them here. Good luck.
Ageing Project update
On Tuesday we were joined for lunch by Julia Huber, co-author of Demos' 'The New Old' and 'Eternal Youths' reports, who came to share her work and ideas on ageing. Julia discussed the implications of an ageing population of Baby Boomers and stressed the need for consideration of the social, cultural and polictical challenges (not just the economic dimensions) of catering for the needs of the 'new old', as well as increasing their potential contribution to society. Much of what Julia said about the changing aspirational aspects to growing older had resonance with our user research findings. Here's what we have learnt:
- Quality of life for older people is no different to quality of life for younger people.
- Age is not as important as life stage. People become old at different ages.
- Elderly people are as diverse as any other group in society. There is no such thing as 'the elderly'. Moreover old age comprises different life stages. In particular: 3rd Age and 4th Age.
- Quality of life in old age combines how we approach life and how we approach death. Furthermore, hope is essential in both life and death.
- Most spending on the elderly funds services to tackle physical illness and financial need and neglect the social and emotional aspects of well being.
- Most of the money is concentrated in institutions while services fail to mobilise the resources in families and communities.
- 'Care' is an emotional relationship not a transactional relationship. As a result the 'care' industry succeeds in providing services to support physical and health needs but fails to meet emotional and social needs.
- To understand the aspirations and needs of older people we need to understand their relationships within their families, households and with their friends and neighbours.
Building on this learning we have come up with 10 potential project ideas - I'll be posting shortly.