Archive for June, 2009

Reboot11 round up!

June 27, 2009

Here is our full documentation for CIID‘s activities at the Reboot11 conference

Reboot11…day 2

June 26, 2009



An update from todays activities at reboot11 so far…….

Day two started slightly more slowly but by mid-morning we hit the ground running with Olf, a German product manager in a large tech company and also a father of 3. He is interested in building a platform to help communication in his childrens’ kindergarten. They often use email haphazardly to organise things like BBQs and events and he thinks this can be improved. Tobias & Kevin went through a brain storming session with him, discussing current collaboration tools, social decision making processes and how to test ideas iteratively. Later on, he came back to chat to Marcin to learn a little bit about Ruby on Rails to gain some more technical information about building a system himself.

Erlend, Tobias, Francesco and Sid were asked to make Ami from TwitterJobSearch’s nametag the biggest attention grabber at Reboot 11. The students equipped the tag with bigger text and two red, pulsating, ultrabright leds to make sure that nobody could miss it.

Two ladies from a publishing company approached us with the challenge of how to scale their their writerclub website into something that could support building a writer community, connecting users, finding texts and personalising profiles. Erlend, Sid and Francesco took up the gauntlet and the first part of the brainstorm was used to find the core “selling points” and values. Then we discussed sites that are already doing something within the same domain as the “writes club”. The session ended with a look through the current writer clubs while the students gave them tips and directions on what to change.

While all of this was going on, Mellis gave a talk about making money from open-source hardware. CIID students turned out to support him, and a few other people showed up, too. The talk discussed Mellis’s experience from Arduino: who makes money on it, how, and how much.  He also suggested some alternative business models and posed some broader questions about open-source hardware.  There was good discussion throughout and lots of interesting suggestions.

CIID@Reboot 11

June 25, 2009

Today was the first  day of Reboot11, and the students of CIID were there ready to take action! We were acting as a design consultancy giving advice to people on hoe to develop their ideas forward. Here is a Video from the day that Adam made and a write up of what we have done so far (i had the fun job of documenting all we were doing for the Reboot book!)

some initial photos her too!

DAY 1 at Reboot 11
Designers for Action

The Interaction Design Pilot Year  hosted an open lab for the 2-day Reboot conference. The idea was for students to act as consultants//designers/prototyping gurus/partners on any random ideas that conference participants wanted to share. Any ideas produced are open source and were displayed on a big wall at the venue and published in the Reboot book and on the website.

This was the first time Reboot tried this open lab approach. It was an experiment but almost immediately a good synergy was struck and a dialogue between the conference participants and the students evolved naturally. The lab was located smack-bang in the middle of the venue, so in line with the theme for this years conference – it was action stations from the word go.

The day started off with some pre-planning, putting up our profiles and setting up the lab. Armed with markers, post-its (every interaction designers favourite tool) and a team of 19 interaction designers, the lab worked non-stop to help people drive their ideas forward. Over the course of the day, the diversity of people we worked with was really broad. People had brilliant starting points within a wide variety of industries and it was great to pool our knowledge together to help them. We discussed ideas ranging from multi-touch surfaces to solar powered wifi bikes; rapid prototyping for children to video concepts for a Danish language consultant.

The first group of people to get snapped up were Erlend, Eline, Francesco  and Nunzia  who had a two hour session, working for Thomas Antvorskov Krag who has developed a bike with a solar powered wireless internet connection attached. During the session they generated and developed concepts for new services connected to the idea. Why have a wifi connection on a bike? Where could it be used?…and what would be some interesting service design concepts? The final idea was ‘Park = free wifi’ – which works a bit like an ice-cream van in that it rings a bell to generate interest and followers. This creates a natural but mobile meeting point, encouraging small ad-hoc communities to form in public spaces. The students briefed Thomas to come up with a theme tune so they can build an experience prototype on day 2. Thinking about initial stakeholders, the library would be a good partner as it would be an excellent way to expand the library to an outdoor space.

Next up were Marcin, Adam and Kevin who worked with Espen Fjord, Head of Development at Gladsaxe Public Libraries. He was interested in creating touch screen interfaces to enable foreigners  and immigrants to access news from their home country.  They discussed ways to prototype the ideas and drive the project further.

Also connected to ideas surrounding transportation…we worked with Chris from Meadow Networks. Chris is  an MIT alumni working on concepts to submit to the USA government. The goal of her project is to develop frameworks and concepts surrounding the future of transport. During the session we created sketches that focused on the user experience. We also discussed how specific scenarios and how video prototyping can be used as tools to address her design challenge.

While this was all going on, Alice was make lots of children happy, by putting her skills as a product designer to good use by helping them create rapid prototypes of drawings they had produced. There should be some 3D bugs running around the conference very soon!

In the kindergarten Siddharth was also entertaining some children (and adults!) by  demoing his final project he is working on CIID. The game he has designed allows children to run about talking photographs as part of set challenges.

Throughout the day Mimi and Tobias worked on a few projects together. The first one was with a Danish Language consultant who wanted advice on re-designing an online platform she uses to show elements of her work in video format. They gave advice on how to make the graphic design and layout fun and engaging for people to use. The second team they worked with was very different…they helped one of the organisers from Palomas to organise a space they are using for a 2 week camp in Berlin. During the camp they will conduct creative workshops and brainstorm new ideas to take action. They also gave some tips on how to use video prototypes as a promotional tool to promote the camp in the run up towards it.

Kevin had the opportunity to consult Joao from Portugal who is currently changing jobs and moving into a new role where he was planning and improving user flows on a large commercial site. Kevin & Joao had an interesting discussion about wireframing techniques, how to use questionnaires as part of the design process to communicate with the client and about design communication. They especially focused on what language to use when talking to clients so that you’re talking about goals and aims and not personal taste.

Just before lunch, Ujjval and Eilidh took a break from documenting the Open Lab at Reboot and spent time working with Adam to generate ideas for Ole Høegh Hansen who is developing web based concepts aimed at improving work flow, motivation and achieving goals within a work place. During the session they facilitated a brainstorming session and came up with some practical solutions, as well as some crazy ones!

The final session to happen before a well earned lunch break was with Martin from and Martin from The Royal Academy of Architecture in Copenhagen. The two Martins came with us to build an iPhone app to encourage silence, but we suggested to that we go back to the root question and brainstorm that. We asked ‘how might we encourage people to be more silent?’ and held a 1 minute silence together before engaging in a rapid brainstorming session with ideas around silence booths, social contracts, silent areas in airports and lots of other ideas. We left them with a big bunch of ideas and challenged them to take action by creating a silent experiment later in the day.

After lunch Adam & Mimi worked with Andreas Lloyd who has a food coop called KFAX. Andreas wanted to find ways to communicate his concept. Video prototyping was the focus of interest and they demonstrated how video can be a excellent tool to express service design concepts. Andreas was concerned that his editing skills were not up to making a film but even if this is too complex for some non-interaction designers, making a storyboard really helps work out what the important aspects of the service are.

The final session for day one of Reboot was run by Nina, Siddharth and Eilidh. They worked with Søren Ejlersen from to visualise the core value of an idea he was presenting to the Climate and Energy Ministry the next day. The core of the idea was to demonstrate the values of train travel over personal care usage. After creating a series of diagrams for Søren to present, the team went armed with a video camera to do live voxpops  and asked the question “what qualities would you like to experience when travelling by train” This provided additional material to support the idea we had visualised!

To sum up…Day one at Reboot has been fantastic. It has been great how willing and open people are with their ideas and the variety of projects we have got to work on is super. Everyone has shown so much respect for our work and have been really enthusiastic about what we have done…..We are all looking forward to tomorrow!

Summer Solstice

June 24, 2009

Midsummer is Scandinavia’s most popular festival right along with Christmas. A traditional celebration of the Summer solstice, Midsummer is the longest day of the year. Last night in Copenhagen we also celebrated Sankt Hans aften (St. John’s Eve) which is also very popular among the Danes.  On that day, Danes sing their traditional “We Love Our Land” and burn straw witches on bonfires. This is done in Denmark in memory of the Church’s witchburnings of the 16th and 17th century.

It was a really amazing evening, spent on the beach watching the sun come up, swimming in the sea and a lot of laughing with great friends! the evening/morning ended with breakfast at the Christianshavn Lakes in the beautiful sunshine!







Midway Review@CIID

June 23, 2009

Yesterday at CIID we started our midway reviews for our final projects. Instead of having open presentations like we normally do, this time we are having 2 hour working sessions with our adviser and an external faculty member. The first 20 minutes was spent presenting our research, design challenge and concepts so far and the rest of the time was to discuss next steps and iterations. My presentation was yesterday with Heather Martin (my adviser) and Jozeph Forakis. The session was really valuable and gave me a lot of fresh perspectives on my idea. The presentation below shows what i presented along with a scenario for my concept.



The rest of the scenario photos can be found here.

At the end of the day we enjoyed some Copenhagen sun and a beer…


Using design thinking to revitalize school lesson plans

June 23, 2009

Picture 2

A few weeks ago i came across a really nice project that IDEO did with non profit organization RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) in San Hose, California.

Raft “delivers ‘classroom magic’ by providing teachers with ideas for creative experiments and hands-on activities and the donated materials to build them—from cardboard tubes to rubber washers to film canisters. The materials come from hundreds of local businesses, diverting more than 10,000 cubic feet of reusable items away from city landfills monthly.

Sharing a belief in the value of hands-on education, IDEO and RAFT collaborated on several strategic and tactical projects, including a visioning session and a transformation workshop, in addition to ongoing brainstorming and prototyping sessions for turning donated materials into classroom activities aligned to the California State teaching standards” Via

To read the full case study see here.

Quick experience prototype

June 18, 2009

This week i carried out a quick experience prototype with some of the guys from CIID. On a map of Copenhagen i got them to plot their weekends activities, after giving them step by step instructions to follow. These were:

Step 1: Write a list of priorities you like to do on (i) a daily basis (ii) a weekly basis.

Step 2: On different coloured post-its categorize these priorities, how do you divide up your time.

Step 3: On the map of Copenhagen mark out where you live and work.

Step 4: Plot out your weekend activities by writing individual activities you did, at what time and with who. Write these activities on coloured post-its corresponding to one of the categories you already defined. (use the color code you set)

Step 5: Place the post-it on the map at the location of where the activity took place

Step 6: Give the activity a rating out of 5, of how satisfying it was (writing on the post it as well)

102_0522Alie’s List of priorities

102_0541Ujjval starting to map his activities

102_0539Patterns starting to show….

102_0548Ujjval drawing a path to show the order of his activities

102_0558Nunzia’s Map, she has categorized her time into ‘shared’ and ‘private’

102_0571Sid’s Map!

102_0563Comparing peoples maps on the Wall!

The rest of the photos can be seen here.

Some of my key findings so far for the exercise were:

-People are unaware of how much they actually do, and how busy they are until they actually sit down and think about it.

-People have very different views about how they categorize their time.

-Using colour to show different categories, very quickly enables you to see patterns in behaviour especially related to the home and workplace.

-Putting priorities into categories allows you to what areas you spend most time on in your life, and then you can go to a deeper layer of data to find out specific activities. etc.

-The people who you are with often has a huge influence on the satisfaction of the activity your doing.

To learn more about these patterns and behaviours i am testing this experience prototype on myself as well. But instead of putting a few days on a map, I am recording everything i do each day on a new map. This way i can compare each day individually, see if any patterns or routines appear, and look back easily on which day was my ‘happiest/satisfied’ and then see what activities i was doing that day and who with.

At the end of this week i’l post my maps and findings!

Clustering Brainstorming Ideas

June 17, 2009


The brainstorming festival we had this week was a huge success, lots of creative ideas were generated that proved to be great inspiration to be developed further or to trigger new thinking. After completing the brainstorm i spent a little time to cluster my ideas before going through them. Some the clusters that formed were goal orientated tracking, tracking with sensors and tangible objects for visualisation.

After spending time sketching out initial thoughts and ideas after the brainstorming i have decided to focus on an idea that uses GPS and direct reporting (inputting data) in its simplest form to make a happiness map for the user… by tracking when and how long you spend on certain activities, who you are with and how satisfied it makes you, relative to what your priorities are.  At the moment this idea sounds very fluffy but it is clearer in my head!! i am currently mapping out scenarios and how the service could potentially work. We have a review next week so i will post my presentation then when things will be clearer!

RFID and GPS put to good use!

June 17, 2009

The City of Copenhagen has just launched an innovative program aimed at tracking down stolen bicycles. Using RFID tags you will be able to track where your bike is if it is stolen. Read the full story on Adam’s Blog.

For me this is a really interesting idea….as using GPS and RFID as a means of tracking is heavily related to my final year project at CIID. It is great to see how these innovative technologies can be put to good use to tackle some of the social problems that exist today.

Brainstorming Festival

June 14, 2009

During our Service Design Block we had a brainstorming festival that was super effective  so we decided to arrange another one for our final projects. Friday was the first of three days….. Armed with post-its, markers, design challenges and goodies everyone came up with wild and wonderful ideas. In the session that i facilitated i chose two areas to brainstorm….these were:

How might people track and visualise the different types of communication and contact they have with different members of their family and friends, to become more aware of their behaviour, and understand where to make active changes?

How might we create a platform that will help people to prioritize in their lives by keeping track of and reminding them of past experiences that they can then use as a reference point to make decisions in the future?




Some more photos here.