Digital infrastructures for sustainable urban environments

Digital infrastructures for sustainable urban environments

This autumn, I have the pleasure to be teaching at the Digital Leadership masters programme at the Department of Applied IT. The course that I am involved in is the Digital Infrastructure course where we learn about infrastructures as a socio-technical phenomena. The literature ranges from the seminal work by Susan Lee Star, to intriguing text by Brian Larkin in Cultural studies, to more information systems oriented text from Ole Hanseth, as well as insights from the PD-community with texts by Helena Karasti.

After an initial theory-block course participants move into a design-block where they are exploring how digital infrastructures might be designed to improve sustainability in urban environments. This design challenge is run in collaboration with WHITE, one of Swedens most prominent architect agencies.

The design challenge is super open-ended and the students are therefore adopting design thinking and human centered design in order to explore the problem and identify possible solutions, such as increased democracy in local planning processes, urban farming and hyper local food production, digitally  adjustable streets, safety solutions in the home-sharing economy, incentive driven road-taxes, and several other great ideas.

HCD workshop DL.jpg
Prototype of an autonomous urban farming infrastructure

Using design thinking in an academic course is not without problems. For example, do we have any studies showing that design thinking and its various practical methods work? Thankfully, we have a great study by Micheli, Wilner, Bhatti, Mura & Beverland showing that design thinking is not unproblematic, there is a lack of evidence of its usefulness, along with a not too solid theoretical foundation. The authors highlights the need for more studies of practice and they indicate that the community of practice perspective could be a good foundation for further explorations.

Screenshot 2018-11-02 at 11.36.31

Micheli, P., Wilner, S. J., Bhatti, S. H., Mura, M., & Beverland, M. B. (2018). Doing Design Thinking: Conceptual Review, Synthesis, and Research Agenda. Journal of Product Innovation Management.

Advertisements

Amazing students designing mobile technology to support eduction i emergency contexts

Amazing students designing mobile technology to support eduction i emergency contexts

Since January, twelve brilliant bachelor students have been working on two projects that address how to improve the possibilities of providing eduction in emergencies. Their case has been forced migration and more specifically the challenges caused by the refugee situation in Jordan. The project started based on the experiences of my work with Jamiya in delivering a programming course in a refugee context.

The students has been working in two teams focusing on different aspects of technology support for eduction in a refugee situation. The teams have based their work on Design Thinking and employed Human-Centered Design Methodology in order to ground their designs on the stories and perspectives of people that live as refugees in Amman and in Zaatari. In this work Jesuit Refugee Services in Amman, Jamiya.org and other domain experts have provided valuable input to the teams. Data collection for the inspiration- and evaluation phases has been achieved by interview sessions with individuals in the Swedish asylum system, remote collaboration with individuals in Jordan as well as during field visits in Jordan.

Today the two teams made their final presentations and proved that they are skilled designers and developers able to approach, explore, design and implement solutions that has the potential to make a difference.RemoteClassroomTeamPhotoWide

Each team consists of fantastic individuals with a background in the industrial design programs and computer science. This mix enabled the teams to not only explore innovative design ideas but also to construct clever mechanisms and materialize working solutions.

Team 1: Herman Carlström Erik Jansson Alice Johansson Filip Larsson Magdalena Lindén Oskar Samuelsson

Team 2: Carl Albertsson, Axel Aringskog, Nils Arvidsson, Billy Astorsson, Ajla Cano, Matilda Wikström

The results from the two design studies will be used as input and starting points for follow up interventions and in future development work on a mobile platform for eduction in emergencies.

It has been a pleasure to be the supervisor of these brilliant individuals.

Reports:

Herman Carlström Erik Jansson Alice Johansson Filip Larsson Magdalena Lindén Oskar Samuelsson (2017) Education in Emergencies – Designing a mobile solution to improve access to tertiary education in Jordan. Bachelor thesis, Chalmers University of Technology [pdf]

Carl Albertsson, Axel Aringskog, Nils Arvidsson, Billy Astorsson, Ajla Cano, Matilda Wikström (2017) Remote Classroom : A Mobile Learning Platform for Education in Emergencies. Bachelor thesis, Chalmers University of Technology [pdf]

ISCRAM Summerschool phd-students innovate crisis response work

During this week, 10 phd-students have participated at the ISCRAM SUMMERSCHOOL organised by prof Caroline Rizza at Telecom Paris Tech. Today the different groups presented their work. Inspiring, fun and provocative ideas.

It was fun to see that the Design-camp that I held yesterday gave lots of input for their work.