I am a researching designer. In October 2010, I embarked on an adventure in which I hope to follow my passion: design, invent and build the things I deem worth building. Along the way I intend to create shareable insights, i.e. knowledge embodied in tangible results.
In the process I intend to fulfill the requirements for a PhD title from the Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden.
My initial proposal (submitted may 2010):
‘Unleashing human social potential’
Picture yourself in the middle of a ‘mexican wave’ in a stadium.
As you are rising up and throwing your hands in the air, you cannot see the wave itself.
The effect of your action combined with those of all around you, can only be seen when viewed from ‘outside’. Your individual action, and the actions of others in the crowd, is of another scale then the effect.
Such emergent behavior is inherent in complex systems, and I am fascinated by it, on a technical level, on a social level, on a phenomenological level and on a physical level.
Products that mediate the contact between people influence the way we interact with our social environment and thus shape society and the processes within.
How do we design for such systems, i.e. how do we design for the emergent behavior of ecologies of human-product(-human) interactions?
Furthermore, how do we design products (media, systems) that give the user a grip on the role that he plays in his social context and how his social context influences him?
What do these products (media, systems) look and feel like? How do they behave?
(And what about the ethical implications, on an individual as well as on a population level?)
As a medium between an individual and his/her social context, the product might be intimate, personal and always with you. As a system, it mediates between physically collocated people, and it may bridge both distances and time. It could bring the virtual, intangible, into the physical, tangible, realm.
On one hand it implies a portable, possibly wearable, product, on the other hand it may be always on and networked, hence it may (in part) be of the environment (ubiquitous).
On an individual level it is about natural capacities and needs of the individual, on a systems level it is about unleashing the potential – the needs and capacities – of groups of people.
(the initial inklings for this research project date back to april 2000, while I was working on my masters’ thesis)
I have been asked about the title of the blog:
a starling murmuration is the awe-inspiringly beautiful phenomenon of huge flocks of starlings flying in undulating formations at dusk before they settle down for the night. I am driven to find out if it is possible to design products that can inspire and seduce people to behave in similar ways.)