social innovation & design

Of politics and Pimms

A Pimms-enhanced party at Demos, in London, was held to launch a new strategy for the organization called Building Everyday Democracy. According to the think tank’s director, Tom Bentley, “politics is fighting a losing battle against forms of theatre and spectacle that are more entertaining, and forms of conversation and social exchange that are more […]

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Edda scissorhands

A wondferful profile by Lynn Barber in Sundays’s (UK) Observer features the career of ‘The Scissor Sister’ or ‘human Google’ Edda Tasiemka who, after 55 years, is selling her amazing cuttings library and retiring. ‘Whizzy management types are fond of telling us that nowadays you can find everything on the internet’ writes Barber, ‘but actually […]

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Markets for “slivers of time”

Online auctions are booming. The phenomenon has been been labelled the ‘march of the micro-sellers’. But could sites like eBay, with its 105 million users, be harbingers of a more important transformation, when individuals start to exchange time and services online? Wingham Rowan in the UK is developing the technical and institutional infrastructure for Neighbourhood […]

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Project Clinics at Doors 8

A core element will be Project Clinics (on the Wednesday and Friday). In these clinics, experts gathered together for Doors will evaluate real world projects and, we hope, help teams refocus their work in light of the lessons learned in the rest of the event. We organised a similar event in Amsterdam in November and […]

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Uxorious design

Speaking of glossaries, I found another one in a British report about People Centered Design (PCD). This glossary, which is much shorter than the CHI one I mention below, runs briskly from AHRB (Arts and Humanities Research Board) to UX. The latter stands here for User Experience – although UX also reminds my married scrabble-playing […]

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All together now

There’s renewed interest in ensemble theatre as a form of organisation. A meeting of theatre directors and producers in the UK last month opened with this quote from Joan Littlewood, in 1961: ‘I do not believe in the supremacy of the director, designer, actor – or even of the writer. It is through collaboration that […]

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Civil Communities of Practice

Back to the soft stuff. “Might social problems that communities confront be structured as the kind of knowledge creation and/or problem solving that the open source software community has found new ways to solve?”. So asks Pekka Himanen (author of “The Hacker Ethic”) and colleagues in a recent report. An essential component of such an […]

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How much does a project cost?

What is the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a design research project? If we knew, we’d probably make more realistic budgets for things like co-ordination, and communication, that often don’t get paid for, even though we do the work. Or else, if we knew the true time costs, but could not get them included […]

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Health as service design at Doors 8

Will health systems bankrupt the west, drive medical staff to despair, and dissatify their users in perpetuity? The National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (Nesta), together with the Health Modernisation Agency, both from the UK, are supporting a series of projects to do with service design for health care, whose results will be […]

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