Archive for the ‘Social impact’ Category
Late this past September, Method joined the London techstarup community in supporting TechBikers, an organizat...
Late this past September, Method joined the London techstarup community in supporting TechBikers, an organization dedicated to bringing together designers and entrepreneurs for a transcontinental bike ride to raise money for the Room to Read charity.
We are happy to report that the inaugural event was a huge success! As of October 1st, TechBikers raised over £25,000 – dedicated to building a fully functional library in Nepal stocked with 1,5000 local language children’s books. The 40 riders who joined the journey in support of the charity cycled a combined total of 6,925 miles and climbed a total of 197,702 feet – almost 7 times the height of Mt. Everest!
With such a successful event, the cause has begun to spread to other cities. Tech communities in Manchester as well as Dublin have begun inquiring to bring the TechBikers initiative to their areas. Hopefully TechBikers will soon spread internationally to connect tech communities and bikers, with the aim to affect global change.
Thanks to all those who helped the cause! Method is very proud to have sponsored TechBikers, and we are looking forward to the next event! If you’d like to get involved, stay up-to-date with the latest from TechBikers by following them on Twitter, @TechBikers.
Method is proud to join the London tech startup community in supporting Techbikers!
Between September 21st-23rd, 40 tech professionals – including start-ups, venture capitalists and executives – are cycling 200 miles from Paris to London to raise money for charity.
Techbikers is a collaboration of the London startup community to help children in need by supporting Room to Read – a non-profit organization focused on developing literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children.
We’re proud to support the cause and join them for the ride! Join us in helping Techbickers reach their goal, by donating here.
Whatever you’re looking for on the Internet—entertainment, a product to purchase, a connection to a community—in most cases, you’re likely to receive an overwhelming amount of results to choose from. These relevant search results are valuable to you.
Or are they? More and more commentators are wondering if the tools we create to give us more choices—such as search engines—are delivering less variety, ultimately limiting chance discoveries and exposure to new ideas.
On the BBC’s The Culture Show, Aleks Krotoski recently examined the role of serendipity as an online commodity, questioning whether the Internet is as innovative as we think. She points out that computers have the unique ability to make valuable, unseen connections for us. Instead of maximizing that potential, our search filters keep us focused on only the most relevant information.
Alex explains, “We will never have the opportunity to bump into something truly new, because the machines are predicting our futures based on our past preferences, creating an infinite loop of cultural homogenization.”
The concern over the consequences of homogenized choice is not entirely new. David Byrne noted in his book Bicycle Diaries, that in many urban developments gentrification leads to separation, rather than integration, of different social and cultural groups. This separation leads to less collisions between ideas and the stifling of creativity.
David describes, “I think online communities tend to group like with like, which is fine for some tasks, but sometimes inspiration comes from accidental meetings and encounters with people outside one’s own demographic, and is less likely if you only communicate with your ‘friends’…”
Other commentators also question if recommendations based on a combination of one’s preferences, social profile, and history of consumption really offers new opportunities. In an article for Design Week, Steve Price discussed how the role of media retailers is changing in the age of the “Filter Bubble.”
“Google, as amazing as it is, can only answer the questions you ask it,” he states. “It cannot tell you which questions you should be asking. Search results and news feeds are all now influenced by engines that take as a point of entry all that they know about you and spit back the information they think you’ll want. What is on the screen when you open Spotify? Recommendations on new music based on its knowledge of you. What happens if you visit Rough Trade Records? You often leave with albums and music from artists you’ve never heard of, having heard it played in the store, or from talking to one of the employees who clearly live and breathe music.”
Concerns aside, the tech community seems to be moving in the direction of “smarter” recommendation engines. For example, The Filter founded by Peter Gabriel. These developments suggest we might soon see recommendations for vacuum cleaners based on one’s music tastes. For example, a robotic system called HyperActive Bob has been developed to anticipate customer behaviors in fast food restaurants. This includes correlating a customer’s type of car with what he or she might order, but this particular filter has failed to prove successful so far.
When the self-referential nature of media increases the speed of recycling ideas in film, design, music, fashion and global culture as a whole, what will it take to receive truly original recommendations? What can we design into user experiences that will allow for the unexpected?
Imagine the possibilities of using “dumber” algorithms that will allow us to be pleasantly surprised by serendipity wherever we are…and whenever we “don’t” expect it.
If you liked this article we recommend: http://youtu.be/9ZlBUglE6Hc
At the San Francisco PSFK Conference last week, one of the strongest themes that emerged was that of equitable access…access to content, devices,...
At the San Francisco PSFK Conference last week, one of the strongest themes that emerged was that of equitable access…access to content, devices, to the global community, affordable lodging, even to outer space. As a result of advancements in technology and the recent proliferation of social media, people who have historically been on the fringe of trends in the developed world are now actively contributing to – and thereby shifting – the conversation. Where the “Western” perspective once dominated the globe, a more diverse story is now emerging, adding a rich texture to what may have become familiar tales for many.
These stories are the underpinning of what may be considered an emerging discipline in the design world – Emotional Design. Donald Norman wrote a book on the subject, positing that attractive products work better because they make people feel good and put them in a creative frame of mind where they are more apt to solve problems independently. The concept of Emotional Design goes one step further when we consider the power of infusing emotion into products through storytelling – inspiring brand loyalty, ambassadorship, and ultimately, brand love.
Chris Riley, founder of Studioriley, cited Majority World as a powerful example of an innovative new business that gives a voice to talented photographers in developing countries by providing an alternative to traditional photo stock houses. This organization fosters a more inclusive dialogue by nurturing talent and ultimately helping its partners build successful creative enterprises.
Patagonia is one company that has successfully embraced storytelling as a core tenet of product design. The Footprint Chronicles document the good, the bad, and the ugly realities of certain products for their sustainably-minded consumers. Infused with images and photos documenting the people and places of the supply chain, the company makes it easy for people to forge emotional connections with the brand.
As content becomes more ubiquitous across a steadily increasing array of devices across the globe, we can expect to see the more innovative brands leverage this unparalleled access in creative ways. Emotional design applied to product development is a nascent space that will be interesting to watch in the coming weeks and months.
Over the last couple months, Method has been closely collaborating with Adobe to launch ThRead, a new cross-tablet application that focuses on enhancing the online reading experience by enabling content to be easily organizable and sharable.
Today at 1:30pm PDT, we will be demoing ThRead live on-stage at Adobe’s design and technology conference, Adobe MAX 2011! For those of you that can’t be there to watch the demo, here’s a sneak peak of the application.
As our content consumption habits become increasingly fragmented, we are constantly skimming digital and social channels, building a thread between all of the disassociated articles, posts, snippets or papers that we read. When we annotate, share, or use a piece of content, it assigns greater value to that thought.
The concept for ThRead stemmed from the realization that the value of digital content is selective. Blogs can contain content that is both useful and completely useless to a reader. Finding the valuable pieces of content within a blog can be daunting, hindering the reading experience.
In contrast, when designers and developers read code, they read and organize information at once. Hiding, revealing, or tabulating information creates a legible and clear sequence.
ThRead takes the way developers read code and applies it to everything – enabling anyone to organize and annotate anything that’s interesting or useful. It allows readers to transform what they’re reading into a more digestible, and inherently more valuable, piece of information that can be easily shared with everyone.
ThRead makes reading a truly valuable social experience.
Now this is really interesting: Facebook is rumored to be talking to Skype about either a buyout or a joint venture. Skype has already recently sho...
Now this is really interesting: Facebook is rumored to be talking to Skype about either a buyout or a joint venture. Skype has already recently shown social interest with their latest software upgrade (Skype 5.0) for Windows, which allows users to chat or call Facebook friends directly through Skype.
According to this Mashable article, Google is reportedly also in early talks with Skype about a joint venture.
Could social + video conferencing be another huge shift in behavior?
Compost Modern, an AIGA conference with a focus on “Sustainable Design” was recently held in San Francisco. The conference was split in...
Compost Modern, an AIGA conference with a focus on “Sustainable Design” was recently held in San Francisco. The conference was split into one day of lectures (5 and 20 minute) and one day of participant generated group discussions. Speakers included a broad spectrum of design practitioners – from storytellers to home builders to educators. The lectures presented an optimistic glimpse into design that is currently making a very real difference in peoples lives around the world.
Director of User Experience, Raphael Grignani, joins AIGA’s Y16 Conference speaker line-up. ...
Director of User Experience, Raphael Grignani, joins AIGA’s Y16 Conference speaker line-up.
For his talk, Raphael will be discussing the expectation for brands to be “social,” and what this means for companies.
Today’s OSX update brings us a Mac App Store for desk...
Today’s OSX update brings us a Mac App Store for desktop apps. I’ve already fallen in love with it because it provides a centralized source for all of my app purchase / download history from here on out.