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In the spring of 2017 the Danish Business Authority and MindLab, a Danish policy lab, developed a methodology to quickly identify costly regulations and how they could be improved, by combining the Standard Cost Model (SCM) method (a quantitative methodology that can measure the compliance costs of laws and legislation) with design anthropology, which takes in situ interaction as the starting point for policy design. This strategy was honed in a rapid, iterative process in the Danish road freight industry, focusing on safety regulations.

The combination of SCM and design anthropology has three main strengths. Firstly, the combination makes for a cheap and fast way to identify costly regulation. Instead of laboriously mapping the costs of all relevant laws with the SCM, it specifically identifies laws that are costly in practice and could be improved. Secondly, looking at the compliance process from the company’s perspective gave us new ideas for how to improve regulation – not from a distance, but from within the context where the regulation is intended to work efficiently. And finally, the SCM let us quantify both the cost associated with a given regulation, and any potential savings an adjustment to it could make.

The article describes two pivotal – and potentially transformative – actions to take if civil servants are serious about designing better regulation.

The post Want to craft better policy? Hire an anthropologist appeared first on Putting people first.

The healthcare industry has long relied on traditional, linear models of innovation – basic and applied research followed by development and commercialization. While this “lab-bench to bedside” approach has improved healthcare globally, it can take years, even decades, for an innovation to get to market, often with limited input from patients themselves. The results can be technically sound, but sub-optimal from the patient’s standpoint (as any woman who has endured a painful mammogram understands).

An alternative emerging at healthcare institutions worldwide is human-centered design and co-creation, a set of approaches that can accelerate and humanize healthcare innovation, report researchers Yasser Bhatti, Jacqueline del Castillo, Kristian Olson and Ara Darzi in the Harvard Business Review. This model isn’t just about getting greater patient feedback during the innovation process. Patients are co-designers, co-developers, and increasingly more responsible for their own and collective health outcomes.

The post Putting humans at the center of health care innovation appeared first on Putting people first.

Technology is radically changing the world of healthcare and acts at different levels in support of different stakeholders. There are several digital tools on the market (e.g. wearables, virtual reality, robotics, etc.), many of which work in integration with each other, for example, wearables connected to IOT applications.

Experientia’s report provide an overview of some of the most relevant cases of use of technology in Healthcare.

Get your copy of the report: EXP_Digital_Heathcare_Report


The post Designing Patient Solutions with Meaning: Review of technology and health apps for a better patient experience appeared first on Putting people first.

The Intuitive Appeal of Explainable Machines
by Andrew D. Selbst (Data & Society Research Institute; Yale Information Society Project) and Solon Barocas (Cornell University)
February 19, 2018, 59 pages


As algorithmic decision-making has become synonymous with inexplicable decision-making, we have become obsessed with opening the black box. This Article responds to a growing chorus of legal scholars and policymakers demanding explainable machines. Their instinct makes sense; what is unexplainable is usually unaccountable. But the calls for explanation are a reaction to two distinct but often conflated properties of machine-learning models: inscrutability and non intuitiveness. Inscrutability makes one unable to fully grasp the model, while non intuitiveness means one cannot understand why the model’s rules are what they are. Solving inscrutability alone will not resolve law and policy concerns; accountability relates not merely to how models work, but whether they are justified.

In this Article, we first explain what makes models inscrutable as a technical matter. We then explore two important examples of existing regulation-by-explanation and techniques within machine learning for explaining inscrutable decisions. We show that while these techniques might allow machine learning to comply with existing laws, compliance will rarely be enough to assess whether decision-making rests on a justifiable basis.

We argue that calls for explainable machines have failed to recognize the connection between intuition and evaluation and the limitations of such an approach. A belief in the value of explanation for justification assumes that if only a model is explained, problems will reveal themselves intuitively. Machine learning, however,...

Design and anthropology have been seen together with increasing frequency over the last few years, but how do design and anthropology fit together in relation to industry? And, how does this pairing create insight? The team of This Anthro Life is joined by Dr. Natalie Hanson to explore these questions and more.

Dr. Hanson is anthropology who has worked at the intersection of business strategy, technology, social sciences, and design for nearly for about 20 years. She has worked at SAP, is currently at ZS Associates, and is the famous founder of the Anthrodesign community, which started as a list serve and now has its own Slack channel.

The conversation is about how software is a product of culture, the state of enterprise UX today, how she goes about selling research in the enterprise space, how that research may not always be perfect or live up to your expectations or desires of how a research project should go, and in the end how you really need to learn the language and needs of all stakeholders involved, be that the project sponsor, end-users, or whoever may be, to really build trust and create a successful project.

This Anthro Life is an official collaborator with the American Anthropological Association, The Society for Applied Anthropology, SAPIENS, and EPIC.

The post Anthropology in...

The Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA) published some months ago a three-part podcast series on the intersection of ethnography and design.

The series, produced by Tariq Rahman and Katherine Sacco, was based on the conference “Ethnography and Design: Mutual Provocations,” which was hosted by the University of California Collaboratory for Ethnographic Design (CoLED) at the University of California, San Diego in the fall of 2016 and features conversations with three conference participants about what the theme of ethnography and design means in their work and for anthropology more broadly.

The first episode features an interview with Cassandra Hartblay, who is a postdoctoral fellow in Russian studies at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, with a joint appointment in Anthropology. As a postdoctoral fellow with CoLED from 2015 to 2017, Hartblay helped organize the “Ethnography and Design” conference that this series of episodes takes as its launchpad.

In the second episode, the AnthroPod team talks with Keith Murphy, Associate Professor at the University of California, Irvine, about the anthropology of design. Murphy discusses how he developed an interest in design as a linguistic and sociocultural anthropologist. Our conversation touches on Murphy’s work on Swedish design, as well as the role of anthropology of design in public anthropology. Murphy also discusses ethnocharrettes, which are an experimental design methodology for anthropology that he has been developing with George Marcus.

In the...

Many public services, from welfare to healthcare, are mainly intended for the elderly. One of the challenges of designing digital services is to create simple and effective public services for older users.

Designers Italia, the Italian community of public service designers affiliated with the Italian Government’s Digital Transformation Team, asked Erin O’Loughlin of Experientia to explain what this means in practice, telling us about one of the most interesting international projects the Experientia team has worked on in recent years.

The resulting story – available in English and in Italian – delves into the methodological approach but also describes some of the challenges of working with public agencies.

The post Designing better elderly healthcare with with Singapore’s public services appeared first on Putting people first.

This Is Service Design Doing: Applying Service Design Thinking in the Real World
by Marc Stickdorn,‎ Markus Edgar Hormess,‎ Adam Lawrence,‎ and Jakob Schneider
O’Reilly Media; 1 edition
January 12, 2018, 568 pages
> Video presentation

How can you establish a customer-centric culture in an organization? This is the first comprehensive book on how to actually do service design to improve the quality and the interaction between service providers and customers. You’ll learn specific facilitation guidelines on how to run workshops, perform all of the main service design methods, implement concepts in reality, and embed service design successfully in an organization.
Great customer experience needs a common language across disciplines to break down silos within an organization. This book provides a consistent model for accomplishing this and offers hands-on descriptions of every single step, tool, and method used.You’ll be able to focus on your customers and iteratively improve their experience.
Move from theory to practice and build sustainable business success.
The book features 33 case studies and a free 180-page method library is available for download.

Marc Stickdorn is a trainer and consultant for service design thinking from Germany. With a background in strategic management and information systems, he supports organizations to build up knowledge in the field of service design and helps them to sustainably integrate service design into their structures. Marc guest lectures at various business...

As was the case with the mobile revolution, and the web before that, machine learning will cause us to rethink, restructure, and reconsider what’s possible in virtually every experience we build, writes Josh Lovejoy, UX Designer at Google.

The Google UX community has started an effort called “human-centered machine learning” to help focus and guide that conversation. Using this lens, they look across products to see how machine learning (ML) can stay grounded in human needs while solving for them—in ways that are uniquely possible through ML. The team works across the company to bring UXers up to speed on core ML concepts, understand how to best integrate ML into the UX utility belt, and ensure they are building ML and AI in inclusive ways.

Using Google Clips as a case study, Lovejoy walks us through the core takeaways after three years of building the on-device models, industrial design, and user interface—including what it means in practice to take a human-centered approach to designing an AI-powered product.

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The hospital intensive care unit (ICU) has traditionally been a closed environment, where patient, nurse, doctor and family stories are lost.

Christiane Job McIntosh, Sean Bagshaw and Tom Stelfox are Canadian researchers in intensive care. They have found that the sharing of stories brings humanity into the daily business of providing care. It also has the potential to transform health-care policy and delivery [see research paper: “Reconciling patient and provider priorities for improving the care of critically ill patients: A consensus method and qualitative analysis of decision making“]

Opportunities to share stories about care, in settings away from the hospital, serve to bridge the gap between the experiences of patients and those of doctors and nurses.

The 21st century re-orientation of health care towards patient-centered care — respectful and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values — involves listening to, and integrating, patient perspectives.

Rarely are there opportunities for former patients, family members and clinicians to meet face-to-face in public and have candid conversations about how to improve the giving and receiving of hospital care.

[Yet] collective storytelling has been embraced by counsellors and psychologists as therapeutic.

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The Age of Surge: A Human Centered Framework for Scaling Company Wide Agility and Navigating the Tsunami of Digital
By Brad Murphy and Carol Mase
Reinvent Press
January 2018, 272 pages
> Q&A on the book

The global forces of digital are putting traditional companies at risk of irrelevance. In their place is an emerging, more complex organizational species, one built to thrive amidst volatility and uncertainty. These new digital native companies embrace complexity and ambiguity. What traditional companies see as impending disaster, digital native companies see as opportunities—and as a result, they are growing exponentially. In order to compete in this new world, traditional companies must transform their organizations, but this transformation is not just technical. In fact, the transformation that matters most now is human, cultural, and structural.

Surge offers a provocative alternative to those espousing shiny new tools, technology and cut-and-paste formulas borrowed from the digital elite. Built on the science surrounding the influence of social systems, neuroscience, and complexity, Surge provides a pragmatic framework for exploiting these social forces for rapid, profound, and continuous digital innovation and Enterprise transformation.

Brad Murphy is a serial entrepreneur, speaker and author helping pioneer new digital Enterprise innovations in product, service, and software development. Since 2000, he has helped over 50 Global 2000 companies successfully transition to modern, digitally centric business and execution models proven to radically improve customer engagement, top line...

The Human Workplace: People-Centred Organizational Development
By Andy Swann
Kogan Page Publishing
October 2017, 232 pages

Companies spend time and effort developing their employees – their most important asset – but they often forget to consider the company structure, culture, environment and processes required to help the newly upskilled individuals thrive. The Human Workplace is a practical guide which shows how this can be achieved by taking a truly people-centric approach to organizational development. Exploring how people-centred organizations behave and evolve, the book covers how to use design thinking to create optimal organizational structures, how to make a business a community, how to use communication to inform and empower people and how to use technology to allow employees to work more efficiently.

Packed with interviews and case studies from Microsoft, Schneider Electric, CGI, Universal, Lego, SAP, BBC Worldwide and other global companies that have benefited from a people-centred approach, The Human Workplace redefines our view of the organization, its relationship with people and how we interact with it. It is an essential guide for all HR and OD professionals seeking to get the right people in the right places doing the right things at the right time.

Andy Swann leads the development and delivery of people-focused transition management for organizations undergoing change at BDG Architecture + Design in the UK. He is also the founder of Simple Better Human, a creative...

Rethinking The Smart City – Democratizing Urban Technology
By Evgeny Morozov and Francesca Bria
Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York Office
January 2018
Download pdf: English versionGerman version

Following the celebration of the “creative city” (as described by Richard Florida), the “smart city” has become the new flavor of the month—and a brand. It makes clever use of resources, and it attracts money, corporate power, and private industries. Offering us cheap, effective solutions to social and political problems, the smart city is functional, optimized, and safe rather than participatory, sustainable, and fair.

As Evgeny Morozov and Francesca Bria point out, however, the problem is not merely the regulatory impulse of smart technologies. Coming from a political-economic rather than a purely technical perspective, the authors argue that the smart city can only be understood within the context of neoliberalism. In order to remain competitive in the era of austerity politics, cities hand over the management of public infrastructure and services to private companies, both de-centralizing and de-personalizing the political sphere.

How can cities regain control not only over technology, data, and infrastructure, but also over the services that are mediated by smart technologies—such as utilities, transportation, education, and health? Offering a wealth of examples and case studies from across the globe, the authors discuss alternative smart city models, which rely on democratic data ownership regimes, grassroots innovation,...

EPIC is the premier international gathering on ethnography in the business world. Its latest edition, EPIC2017, took place in Montreal in October 2017 and had the theme of “Perspectives”: perspectives explores the vantage points that create and constrain ethnographic practices. What comes of widening or narrowing scope? Shifting positions? Subverting norms?

The conference proceedings (pdf, 15mb) are now available for all. Watching the conference videos requires an EPIC membership.

See page 493 for the Experientia contribution “Aging Gracefully in Singapore: An Interactive Journey” by Gabriella Piccolo and Michele Visciola.

The post Proceedings and videos of EPIC 2017 conference now available appeared first on Putting people first.

Driverless Cars: On A Road to Nowhere
Christian Wolmar
London Publishing Partnership
Jan 2018, 136 pages

Driverless cars are the future. That is what the tech giants, the auto industry and even the government want us to think. Almost daily there are media stories about how we will soon all be able to rip up our driving licences, sit in the back seat and let the car take us around.

But is this really going to happen?

Christian Wolmar has dug behind the hype and found a very different story. We are nowhere near this driverless utopia. Indeed it may prove to be impossible to reach. And even if it were achievable, does anyone want it? Far from reducing traffic and pollution, millions of zombie cars on the roads would make them worse.

Wolmar looks at the technical and other difficulties that make this driverless future a very uncertain proposition. He finds that it is the tech companies and the auto manufacturers who are desperate to get us out of the driving seat, and argues that far from making the roads safer, driverless cars may well make them more dangerous.

This entertaining polemic sets out the many technical, legal and moral problems that obstruct the path to a driverless future, and debunks many of the myths around that future’s purported benefits.

Christian Wolmar is an award-winning writer and broadcaster and is...

In this paper, Julia Katherine Haines, user experience researcher at Google, argues for the value of multi-dimensional ethnography. She explores the potential for ethnography to venture beyond sites, into different dimensions.

As an example of work moving in this direction, she present a new approach, dubbed TRACES, which emphasizes the assemblages that constitute our lives, interweaving digital, embodied, and internal experiences. Various data streams and sources provide different vantage points for analysis and synthesis.

She illustrates how her team has used these to gain greater insight into the human lives it studies, with different data sources providing different perspectives on a world, then delve into our use of tools, data sources, and methods from other traditions and other fields, which, combined, give the team not only a more holistic picture, but a truer one, which refutes the false dichotomy of the digital and the real.

Julia argues that we must continue to adapt and extend ethnography today into such spaces, and that reformulating the sites of ethnography as dimensions enables us to envision future subjects and objects of study in different ways.

The post Towards multi-dimensional ethnography appeared first on Putting people first.

Traditionally the notion of ‘business’ is perceived incongruent with the values of think tanks, writes Melanie Rayment. Those in academia, the third sector, and government policy makers often distinguish themselves in their pursuit of knowledge and positive social change from corporations, where values can be reinterpreted at the sight of poor economic performance.

As a think tanker, the reports you provide might appear like your product. However, what people are ‘investing in’ is your knowledge, answers to policymakers’ questions, public events, monitoring and evaluation of policy, and the constant development of knowledge and skills of your audiences in a cycle of co-creating value.

Therefore, as people’s overall service expectations rise collectively in both our interactions with governments and business, so does the need for think tanks to address and analyse their level of ‘service’ to their audiences.

Read her analysis

The post The business of service: why think tanks need service design appeared first on Putting people first.

The theme of this year’s Service Design Global Conference (November 2-3, Madrid) was Service Design at Scale.

Through continued practice, widespread capability building, and successful implementation of service strategy and execution, the face of organisations is changing to deliver great experiences for customers and employees, and business impact for the organisations that deliver them.

The videos of all keynotes and plenary presentation are now available. They are listed here in the order of the programme.


Scaling Service Design in government – A new approach to service design in large organisations [30:32]
Opening keynote by Louise Downe, Head of Design at the UK Government
Like in many countries, the UK government is the nation’s oldest and largest service provider. Most people who work in government are involved, in some way, in delivering services. Everyone wants to help make the best service they can. But the very structure of government often works against them. Government is vast – and old. It is set up in siloes. It isn’t set up to deliver services. The challenge in government isn’t in convincing people of the value of service design. Or the value of building things for users. The challenge is linking people up so that they can work together and deliver joined-up end-to-end services that can be sustained over time. In this talk we’ll show how the approach of...

This Anthro Life is a round-table, open format discussion of an anthropological take on the people, objects, ideas, and possibilities of everyday life around the world. They are hosted by Adam Gamwell and Ryan Collins and there are nearly 100 to chose from. Here are three:

The Yin and Yang of Design Anthropology with Dr. Elizabeth Dori Tunstall
October 11, 2017 – 01:04:37
In this Conversations episode of This Anthro Life, Adam Gamwell and guest host/TAL correspondent Matt Artz explore the world of Design Anthropology with the help of Dr. Elizabeth “Dori” Tunstall. Design Anthropology is a subject near and dear to our hosts, who have been excited to devote an entire episode to the subject. But, what is Design Anthropology? If you’re scratching your head, no worries. Adam, Matt, and Dr. Tunstall have it covered and describe the five iterations of design anthropology using examples of their use in the field. Over the course of the episode Adam, Matt, and Dr. Tunstall briefly cover issues of ethics within design anthropology as well as a touching upon how to find jobs in design.

Is Corporate Anthropology Selling Out? A Conversation on Consulting with Vyjayanthi Vadrevu
July 19, 2016 – 00:54:22
What is anthropology like in the business world? Vyjayanthi runs an anthropological consulting company ( that draws on social science and design to...

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