Trust Is Not An Algorithm: Big Data Are Hot, But They Also Miss A Lot


[Illustration from http://www.hhs.gov/open/initiatives/hdi/] By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years. This impressive if unprovable fact has got many people wondering: what to do with it? Many big brands hope that the analysis of Big Data will give them a ‘360 degree view’ of customers: Who they’re interacting with, where they shop, how […]

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Diseñando Para un mundo complejo. Acciones para lograr la sustentabilidad

  I’m totally thrilled that my book has just been published in Spanish by my fabulous friends at Editorial Disegnio in Mexico City. Please tell everyone you know, once met, or vaguely heard of, who is Spanish-speaking, and who might be interested. Health warning: the “$” price shown means Mexican pesos, not US$. Oh, and did […]

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Cycle Commerce As An Ecosystem

(Illustration: Sameer Kulavoor Ghoda Bicycle Project) At a workshop in Delhi a few weeks back, during the UnBox Festival, Arjun Mehta and myself posed the following question to a group of 20 professionals from diverse backgrounds: What new products, services or ingredients are needed to help a cycle commerce ecosystem flourish in India’s cities, towns and […]

Posted in development & design, mobility & design, most read | 1 Response

Paranoid But Pretty

In his new show at the German Architecture Center (DAZ) Matthias Megyeri has developed a design language for the artefacts of protection and security in public space. Megyeri poses the question: does protection have to be inconsistent with harmony and beauty? His answer is a family of padlocks, chains, fences, and razor wire that he […]

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What Makes A Change Lab Successful?


The UK government’s digital services platform, gov.uk, has won the Design of the Year award – and if I were running a big IT consulting firm grown fat on big government contracts, I’d be worried. Gov.uk is a revolutionary web operation that governments around the world are beginning to notice. Twenty four UK government departments […]

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The Ecozoic City

Over the ages we’ve invested huge amounts of effort and energy to keep cities and nature separate. What would it mean if that were about to change?  The writer Thomas Berry described as the ecozoic the “reintegration of human endeavours into a larger ecological consciousness”. The ecozoic, Berry believed, would supplant the Anthropocene age, that […]

Posted in infrastructure & design, most read, place & bioregion | 2 Responses

Artefact as Campfire: Where People and Living Systems Meet

(Photo: Mapping a bioregion with plants – Joachim Robert Cyanotype workshop at FuturePerfect 2012) In what ways can design help people interact with living systems in ways that help both of them thrive? And, what small practical steps might one take to test the effect of small actions on the system as a whole?

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Cycle Commerce: The Red Blood Cells of a Smart City

[The chart above is from the online catalogue of cargo bikes at Nutzrad] India’s many millions of bicycle and rickshaw vendors embody the entrepreneurship, sustainable mobility, social innovation, and thriving local economies, that a sustainable city needs. As an ecosystem, they’re also part of the metabolism that makes a city smart. That said, cycle commerce […]

Posted in mobility & design | 2 Responses

An Open Design School for India

(Image from http://openwear.org/) In recent months a working party in India, chaired by Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovation, has been developing the plan for a nationwide network of 20 Design Innovation Centres, an Open Design School, and a National Design Innovation Network. The latest public version of the plan is here: Download pdf    During this process, I was invited by Abhimanyu […]

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