While I am down under in Melbourne later in August for UX Australia I’m going to be giving a different talk and hosting a discussion at RMIT’s DESIS Lab in the RMIT Design Hub for Service Design Melbourne.
My talks is titled May The Force Be With You – Service Design for invisible connections and has a great URL. The UX Australia talk and workshop are very much a practical guide to designing for multi-channel experiences, but May The Force Be With You – Service Design for invisible connections is much more of a philosophical look (with some examples) of how we (designers, organisations, humans) tend to spend a long time looking at things and not much time looking at the connections between the things. My argument is that the invisible connections actually form a much larger part of our experiences than the things themselves.
Yoda sums it up well in his description of The Force in The Empire Strikes Back:
“Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.”
The point is, of course, that Luke is so focused on his ambitions and getting his ship out of the swamp that he’s unable to feel the Force between the ship and the land, so he can’t get the ship out of the swamp. Organisations create organisational charts and process diagrams often representing time, context, and connections with innocuous arrows and lines. The focus is on the boxes – who is responsible for what – but the connections are essential to the experiences people have with those organisations, within and without. The problem is that, like Luke with The Force, the arrows and connecting lines are so ubiquitous in diagrams that they seem invisible and are often overlooked.
If you are down that way, do come along. Here are the details:
Date: 29 August 2013 – 6:00pm
Location: Multipurpose room – level 1, RMIT Design Hub
Victoria St, corner of Swanston St
Melbourne, VIC 3001
Snake the Planet! by MPU is a new project in Sydney that takes the classic mobile phone game ‘Snake’ and “adopts it for the urban canvas”.
When ‘Snake the Planet!” is projected onto buildings, each level is generated individually and based on the selected facade. Windows, door frames, pipes and signs all become boundaries and obstacles in the game. Shapes and pixels collide with these boundaries like real objects. The multi player mode lets players intentionally block each other’s path in order to destroy the opponent.
With ‘Snake the Planet’, any facade becomes a screen for urban gaming.
MPU (Mobile Projection Unit) plans to develop the work further towards an iPad application and eventually release the code as open source for other artists and designers to build on. It’s built using the increasingly popular OpenFrameworks
Looks like a nice piece of work and – note to my students – the video does a great job of both documenting, presenting and explaining the piece.
In a nice piece of synchronicity, I just found out that one member of MPU is Rene Christen, an ex-student of mine from COFA (the other MPU members are Lukasz Karluk and Nick Clark). One of the Creative Producers was another friend, Tim Buesing. I didn’t even know they knew each other. Sydney’s a small world.
(Oh, and strictly speaking, Snake was a video game before it made it onto the Nokia. I remember playing the BBC Micro version as a kid).
This time the project, called Collabor8, will see design students and lecturers from Australia and China join forces for eight weeks, with project convenors, teachers and special guests worldwide, to work collaboratively and fully online.
The project theme is about creating awareness about the importance of cross cultural design practice and sustainability in design. It will do this by challenging students to work together to design graphics for contemporary, environmentally friendly and sustainable ceramics, textiles, products and environments.
Participation is free and I believe there is space to squeeze in a couple more people, even though the website says the deadline is mid-April. If you are interested, you can apply here.
If it’s any kind of incentive, I’ll be doing a special guest podcast and hosting a thread called “What good is service and interaction design for saving the planet?” in which I’ll take a look about how ‘network thinking’ – something inherent in interaction and service design – is essential to solving some of the complex problems facing us.
Of course, that might be a disincentive for you, in which case just ignore my part and enjoy the rest of the special guests in there.