What happens when you gather 10 designers from all over the globe, make them fly to three different continents in seven days, to focus on one complex social problem in the world?
Humanitarian work is rapidly evolving. As crises emerge and unfold, digital technologies and networked communities are changing the way information is collected, distributed, analyzed, and acted upon. The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a comprehensive report on the impact of these technologies and made a powerful statement calling for “more diverse and bottom-up forms of decision-making – something that most Governments and humanitarian organizations are not designed for." With an abundance of information being produced around crisis events, there is a need to rethink how technology is used in support of humanitarian action.
Perhaps the greatest challenge designers face when creating new products intended to improve a person’s health is ensuring proper use and adherence. A user may adopt the product initially with optimism or even enthusiasm, but over time, we often see waning engagement and inconsistent use. This is a big problem when the efficacy of the product depends on long-term use.
This time last year, drones were a hot topic of conversation. The discussion focused on the military use of drones, which lead to widespread negative sentiment among the general public. It was also around this time that frog started exploring the positive potential of drones as a personal device for everyday people.
Sharing. Entrepreneurism. Coding.
What do these traits have in common? They belong to the designer of the future, according to a panel of experts gathered at frog Amsterdam in February to discuss the future designer.
We’ve all experienced the frustration of running late in the morning. Despite best efforts, there are days when you simply can’t get yourself out of the house in time, and you leave knowing that the long commute will end with you walking into work fifteen minutes late.
Humans are built to process complexity. Indeed, we are faced with unprecedented levels of complexity practically every moment of every day. While this flow can be potentially overwhelming, humans are evolved to make sense of the deluge. Our capacity to process complexity is the result of the unified sum of our senses; each sense, working in harmony, pulls in loads of information that our brain pieces together to help us interpret the endlessly intricate narrative unfolding around us.
Data in the City
You have a front row seat. Unfortunately it is the driver’s seat of your family car and a multi-vehicle accident just unfolded before your eyes. People are almost certainly injured. Traffic is backing up in all directions. As you take out your smartphone to report an emergency, you notice that first responders are already on the scene. Small aerial drones have honed in on your location and incident information is being streamed to a control center. Traffic management and dashboard navigation systems across the city have been updated and rerouting has begun. Have the victim’s medical records been accessed using their personal digital identifiers?
In the Field
“Even when the computer starts using me as a human sensor for its research, in my mind, we’ll still be a team.”
— Hammans Stallings, frog Principal Strategist