Tag Archive | prototyping

Behind the scenes – Tools in innovation designers’ sandbox Part 4/5

2013, New York, The US. 3D printing at New York University. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

2013, New York, The US. 3D printing at New York University. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

The New York University (NYU) students I referred to in my last blog post about virtual work were asked to prepare a 1-minute video to communicate their ideas for the next class. There are so many ways to visualize projects and their components that I can only just begin to grasp the subject in this post. I will now introduce 3D printing and share four data visualization tips from our Design Lead. Nevertheless, I hope this article gives you some interesting ideas to visualize different types of data and processes.

3D printing for prototyping

I guess I had heard about 3D printing before but I didn’t really recognize what it was until here in New York. While preparing a post for our blog I was browsing through our photo database and came across a photo of Chris (Fabian, UNICEF Innovation Unit Co-Lead) throwing in a 3D-printed item he had received from Singularity University up in the air. From that point on I wanted to see a 3D printer because it seemed more like a tool from science fiction movies than a machine invented in the 1980’s. Later on I learned that 3D printers come in many different shapes and sizes.

2013, New York, The US. Chris’ 3D-printed item he got from Singularity University. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

2013, New York, The US. Chris’ 3D-printed item he got from Singularity University. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

From what I know, 3D printing is used at least in our Innovation Lab in Uganda. Also, the Design for UNICEF student team developing modular drones have used 3D printing within their design process. Recently, we got a 3D printer to the New York office: the 3Doodler. Some team members tested it and made cool Christmas trees. All I was able to make was a weird white ball of string (it was supposed to be a snowman). I guess it’s a good tool after some practice.

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How to be a good designer

You need to have the right mindset

Nigel Cross, Emeritus Professor of Design Studies in the UK describes in his book Design Thinking (2011) successful designers as optimists and opportunists, who are exploring uncertainty hopefully and dedicated to the tasks in hand. Unlike engineers who want to test, measure and prove something, designers cope with this uncertainty by analogy-making and intuitive judgements. They also use ethnographic approach in order to dig up tacit knowledge and make new hypothesis of future situation of use.

Cross compared designing to sharing a social process of interaction and to a face-to-face negotiation between different participants of the process. To make a proposal for a solution designers use a wide range of designing techniques, such as sketching, prototyping, mock-ups and scenarios. A successful designer cannot work alone in his studio; being an innovative designer requires capacity to work with a small team that shares the same passion to creative thinking and that is also capable of broad system thinking.

You need to go beneath the surface

Tim Brown, CEO and president of IDEO, an innovation and design firm, points out in his article Design Thinking (2008) that designers have a new role at strategic level in service delivery. He continues that design thinking can radically renew health care services, for instance. Rather than sudden breakthrough, a service innovation process is a systematic creative human-centered process followed by iterative cycles of prototyping and testing. It is hard work at customer interface, not only designing more attractive products, advertising or communication strategies.

You need to have right tools and process

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JamJaming in Barcelona

Global Service Jams are these incredible and really fun events related to service design that are celebrated all over the globe. Twice a year, a bunch of experienced jammers and hosts meet to make them wilder, more fun and even more productive. Its the JamJam. Last time, it happened in Barcelona, on September 27th-29th. And, happily, I was there!

But, what  is a jam?

A jam is a 48 hours event that gathers people for designing and prototyping new services inspired by a shared theme in hundreds of cities simultaneously and… while they have a great time!

This video from the London Sustainability Jam shows the jam experience very accurately. Curious? Play it now!

So, what is jamming about?

Prototyping a video

Prototyping a video to explain the value of sharing

  • Doing (not talking). You complete the whole development process of concrete ideas that have the potential to become real.
  • Learning. You pick new ideas and working practices, you can try approaches you haven’t tested before in a cool safe environment and you get peer feedback.
  • Meeting people. You get to know pretty deeply —working side by side— a lot of people who share your interest in service design.
  • Sharing. You share the experience and you working methods with your team and the end results with the world.

Humm, doesn’t this sound pretty similar to a SID Laurea contact session? Indeed, but less structured and without grades or homework 😉

Which jams are there?

It's jam o'clock

It’s jam o’clock!

There are three jams per year:

  • The Global Service Jam, initiated in March 2011, which was celebrated in 130 cities in 2013.
  • The Global Sustainability Jam, initiated in October 2011, with already 70 cities announced and to be celebrated soon, in November 22nd-24th. Feel like trying it? These are the four venues in Finland:
  • The Global GovJam, prototyped in June 2012 and celebrated for the first time in 2013, in 36 cities.

Since 2011, more that 1,200 projects have been created and shared under a creative commons licence. Browse the latest here:

What is the JamJam, anyway?

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