May was a busy time here for some of us at Harella House. To the west we had Clerkenwell Design Week, and to the east Digital Shoreditch.
Focussed on architecture, interior design and furniture, Clerkenwell Design Week was back for its fourth year. The highlight for me was the opening of the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery just a stone’s throw from our office. It was great to see how their model making process has evolved from their first paper and plastic models through to the impact of 3D modelling and printing.
Digital Shoreditch has been growing since its debut in 2011. It ran for four days with talks and workshops at Shoreditch Town Hall, with a Make and Do weekend to follow. The format was innovative with a long series of lightening talks in the main hall. I particularly enjoyed the talk by Simon Ruda of the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Team. Unfairly, in my view, called the ‘nudge unit’ they seem to be an excellent example of rapid innovation in service delivery based on real evidence from randomised controlled trials.
For Digital Shoreditch, I was lucky enough to give a talk on the Tomorrow’s World day and run a workshop on the Behavioural Design day.
My talk was titled Mujicomp or Ryanaircomp: what is the future of the Internet of Things? It was deliberately contrarian, reviewing our fears about the growing presence of smart technology in our lives and questioning our appetite for more. And in a great moment of serendipity, I referenced Richard Barbrook’s Californian Ideology just after Richard sat down in the front row.
The workshop had a different tone and pace. In Getting out of the building I gave a basic introduction to design research interview techniques with a chance for the participants to practice on each other.
The talk went down well, producing some laughs, gasps and tweets from the audience. And the participants seemed to get a lot out of the workshop. Which is good, as I’m doing a shorter version of the same workshop at UX Bristol in July. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Author: John Waterworth