Seeing some old friends at Ixd13!

Here are some of the programs Cooperistas attended on Monday at Interaction13.

Follow all of Interaction13 through daily recaps on the Cooper Journal. Here's Day 2, Day 3, Day 4.

Smart & Beautiful: Designing Robots & Intelligent Machines

By Dr. Matthew Powers (Carnegie Mellon University)

We make robots that mimic human bodies to do the 3D jobs (dirty, dull, and dangerous – ex. strip mining), but there is so much more potential in intelligent machines than just this. As designers, we need to take a step back and think about the design implications of robots and intelligent machines working in our world.

We already have robots in our houses.

Nest learning thermostat is a robot. This product is a perfect example of cooperation between robotics and designers. it is intelligent and well designed so the user isn't obligated to manually input data.

Call for action for Designers:

We need to move from solving robotics problems to solving problems with robotics.
Robotics provides tools. Design grounds robotics into practical problem and brings a more human approach to a field that is by definition inhuman

At the end of the talk, Dr. Powers threw out this doozy:

Will it be the role of designers, engineers, and/or policy-makers to decide the “ethics” of robots? Who decides how an automated car would make the choice between hitting a bus full of children or a pedestrian?

Lean Startup In Design Consulting: Lessons Learned

By Johanna Kollman (Sidekick Studios) + Martina Schell (Method)

A Lean Startup is a “human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”
– Eric Ries
Author, The Lean Startup

    3 Principles of Lean Startup:

  • Minimize waste
  • Culture of continuous improvement
  • Measure the big picture
  • – Salim Virani
    Founder, Leancamp

EXAMPLE: Toyota and Lean Manufacturing.

Build a car when customer wants it – don’t keep a warehouse full of them (just think about the cost of overhead involved).
Managers aren't allowed to tell the person in charge of manufacturing in the plant what to do, unless he’s been in the plant.

Process to introduce companies to Lean Startup

~ Sell a process, not a solution because you can’t predict the outcome ~

    Plan: How to choose who to do Lean Startup with
  • Problem/solution fit
  • Market fit
  • Founder or funder available? (have them help you find and come to interviews with you)
  • Business + technology + design skills reflected in the team.
Build > Measure > Learn (> Repeat). Test hypothesis through experiment.

Driving Impact not Serving Shareholders: Lessons from the Non-Profit World

By Gretchen Anderson (GreatSchool)

Think about the impact of our companies and projects.

There is a big difference between working as a design consultant for for-profit companies and being a VP of product for a non-profit.

Using a Logic Model:

Instead of focusing on the return-on-investment and profit-and-loss, the nonprofit world uses a logic model to set goals. In this model, the non-profit focuses on the behavior they want to instill in people 20 years out. For instance, the mission of GreatSchool is to send kids to better schools. The logic model focuses on activities that promote a certain action to produce outcomes that are measurable – it's all about what kind of impact they can make.

User needs + goals = impact.

It’s not just the user's needs, but also the organization having a perspective on how they want to impact people.

Innovation, Investment, Influence, and Impact: design that fosters change

By Franco Papeschi (World Wide Web Foundation)

Theory of change:

What impact do you want to have? How do you get there?
Model: Action > Output > Outcomes > Impact
Now work backwards by basing your model on creating the minimum viable intervention to cause your desired impact.

    EXAMPLE: MwangBora Lamps (Solar lamps made out of scraps)

  • Impact: improve the economic condition of new generations of Africans
  • Outcome: help them learn (education affects economics)
  • Outputs: They study after sunset (findings: they have too many responsibilities during day)
  • Action: Provide cheap solar lamps to kids (so they can study after sunset)

Afterwards, they did a study to test the assumption that if kids have a solar lamp then they will study more and found 50% increase in study time.

How to do this:

    Behavior mapping: Like a scenario, but include all the different actors that will be impacted by your product or service.
  • Teachers (teach physics using the lamps as an example)
  • Parents (allow kids to keep lamp)
  • Kids (build lamps at a community center)
  • Include key unknowns (will kids learn better?)

    Monitoring & evaluation logic: Impact > expected result > indicator > measure > baseline > target
  • Impact: economic conditions
  • Expected result: learning in school
  • Indicator: change in performance in school results
  • Measure: before/after
  • Tech probes: See what new platforms/technology can give you in a new context.

    Minimum viable intervention & frugal innovation: You’re likely to have more impact.

    Follow new paths of money: Crowd-funding, impact investment, CSR funds. Design team can produce new resources for income for their company.

    KEYNOTE - Social Prosthetics: Technology and the Human Form

    By Kate Hartman (OCAD University)

    Our bodies are our primary interface with the world. All other interfaces built upon that. This is the starting point.

    Devices that help us communicate (email, phone, facebook) are social prosthetics.
    How are they helping?
    What are they missing?

    Here are some of the amazing projects that use bodies as the #1 interface:

    The Talk to Yourself Hat: transmits sounds from one’s mouth directly into one’s ears via a conspicuous, trunk-like tube. As such, it playfully encourages a user to speak out, without worrying about privacy, when in conversation with herself. (description via

    Botanicalls: A better life for our potted pals (houseplants). When a plant needs light or water, you get a phone call. Then team decided to have plants send out tweets – could reach more people at one time for help, i.e. if you go on vacation, your plant could tweet your friends.

    Nudgeables: Wearable sensors to give a digital nudge to someone across the room (instead of the “look” you give your honey)

    Glacier Embracing Suit: explores body language and non-verbal communication

    We'll leave you with the most talked about social prosthetic of the talk - The Kegel Organ: we bet you can figure out how this works.

    Check back tomorrow and through out the week for more updates from Interaction13! You can find pictures from Sunday here.

    Related Reading

    Here's the full recap of each day at Ixd13:
    Interaction13 - Day 2 recap
    Interaction13 - Day 3 recap
    Interaction13 - Day 4 recap