Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy

[PUBLICATION] Innovation and design need not be about the search for a killer app. Innovation and design can start in people’s everyday activities. The stories collected in ‘Making Futures’ challenge the dominant perception of what constitutes successful innovations. They recount efforts at social innovation, opening the production process, challenging the creative class, and expanding the public sphere. MIT Press, 2014.

Making Commons: Attempts at Composing Prospects in the Opening of Production

[PUBLICATION] This thesis accounts for a designerly inquiry into the swamp of the opening of production. The “opening of production” refers to the rising of openness, collaboration and sharing in processes through which things are made and services delivered. It is defined as a swamp, because it represents a complex landscape where theory and practice meet and where diverse views and understanding of what openness, collaboration and sharing may entail are intertwined. Author: Anna Seravalli.

Designing For Homo Explorens: Open Social Play in Performative Frames

[PUBLICATIONS] Designing for Homo Explorens is a compositional design perspective within interaction design academia. It extends the Homo Ludens view of humans as playful creatures with the perspective of exploratory interaction. It focuses on socially exploratory interaction between participants mediated through designed artifacts. In the form of a Manifesto, four aspects are introduced which highlight important design dimensions to consider in Designing for Homo Explorens. The four aspects of the Manifesto are concerned with creating exploration through internal complexity, experiential exploration through full-body interaction, social playfulness through distortions of situated norms and a frame for performative interactions. The insights in the four aspects come from knowledge gained through experimenting with twelve working prototypes in real-life contexts, combined with contemporary streams of theory regarding ambiguity, somaesthetics, norms, situatedness and performativity.

Collaborative Media: Production, Consumption, and Design Interventions

“Collaborative Media” is fundamentally a book about how we design, satirize, reappropriate, and invent over again. It demonstrates why we should focus not so much on the user in the singular, but in the plural. The book is a necessary and warmly recommended scholarly intervention if you want to understand design and collaborative media – but also collaborative media research. (Jussi Parikka).

OVERVIEW – With many new forms of digital media – including such popular social media as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr – the people formerly known as the audience no longer only consume but also produce and even design media. Jonas Löwgren and Bo Reimer term this phenomenon collaborative media, and in this book they investigate the qualities and characteristics of these forms of media in terms of what they enable people to do. They do so through an interdisciplinary research approach that combines the social sciences and humanities traditions of empirical and theoretical work with practice-based, design-oriented interventions.

Löwgren and Reimer offer analysis and a series of illuminating case studies – examples of projects in collaborative media that range from small multidisciplinary research experiments to commercial projects used by millions of people. Löwgren and Reimer discuss the case studies at three levels of analysis: society and the role of collaborative media in societal change; institutions and the relationship of collaborative media with established media structures; and tribes, the nurturing of small communities within a large technical infrastructure. They conclude by advocating an interventionist turn within social analysis and media design.

Matryoshka dolls and boundary infrastructuring: navigating among innovation policies and practices

Matryoshka Doll Copyright Flickr user Nicola since 1972 CC:BY

In several present discourses and practices that are involved in innovation and development projects, it seems like there is a strong emphasis on management and planning with agreements and clear goals as the crucial components. In this paper we propose another approach that more acknowledge the complexity and messiness of innovation. We will discuss how we, through Malmö Living Labs, have navigated across an ecology of ongoing projects and innovation policies that we try to merge into something coherent and meaningful in multiple ways.

Designing social play through interpersonal touch: an annotated portfolio

Open Access:

Hobye, Mads, and Jonas Löwgren & Nicolas Padfield. 2013. “Designing social play through interpersonal touch: an annotated portfolio”. Paper presented at the Nordic Design Research Conference, Copenhagen/Malmö, June 9-12.

ABSTRACT – We present five design cases as an annotated portfolio, exploring ways to design for intimate, interpersonal touch and social intimacy in interaction design. Five key qualities are elicited from the cases, including novel connotations sparking curiosity; providing an excuse to interact; unfolding internal complexity; social ambiguity; norm-bending intimacy. The work highlights novel interaction design approaches fostering social play, turning participants into performers of their own narratives.

Can design go beyond critique? Trying to compose together in opening production

This Nordes 2013 paper by Anna Seravalli aims at contributing to the emerging field of design for social innovation by discussing the insights from the author’s long-term involvement as a design researcher in a social innovation project. In order to discuss this experience a particular perspective is introduced as an attempt of design to go beyond critique, and, specifically, of “composing together”. In this understanding, design for social innovation can be considered as a collective effort towards the construction and exploration of alternative ways of living and working.