Innovation Interface - David Frohlich, Digital World Research Centre

Séamus T. Byrne
Event date: 
June 17, 2010 - 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Science Gallery, Trinity College
IxDA Dublin
Event description: 

Crossing the digital divide in the other direction: Community-based innovation on the Bespoke Project

The digital divide refers to the gap between technology rich and technology poor communities. The usual method of closing the divide is to make the poor richer through better provision and accessibility of existing technology, and training programmes to increase technology awareness and literacy. On the Bespoke project we are exploring an alternative approach which acknowledges differences in lifestyle and technology use across communities, and asks what communities might want to enhance their lives. This leads to a form of community-based innovation in which some of the traditional methods of user-centred design do not apply, and the relationships between ethnographers, designers and users is changed.

In this talk, I'll report on the first year of the project focused on a housing estate in Preston, England, in which four design interventions have been created and deployed back into the community, and a community newspaper has been established as a vehicle for expressing user requirements, feedback and debate. Interventions include a busking box for promoting local music, a family hedge for sharing stories, community CCTV for capturing highlights of local football matches, and a blogging pad for commenting on the newspaper. In the second year of the project, we intend to evolve the existing interventions and generate new ones, as well as reflecting on the design process and the role of design interventions in everyday life.

The Bespoke project is funded for two years from April 2009 by the Digital Economy Programme in the UK. It has 12 staff from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including anthropology, journalism, interaction design, computer science and product design.

A little more about David:

David Frohlich is Director of Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey, Professor of Interaction Design and Principle Investigator on the Bespoke project. He joined the Centre in January 2005 to establish a new research agenda on user-centred innovation in digital media technology. Current work includes a mixture of PhD, Industrial and Research Council projects exploring a variety of new media futures relating to photography, literacy and communication. Prior to joining Digital World, David worked for 14 years as a senior research scientist at HP Labs, conducting user studies to identify requirements and test new concepts for mobile, domestic and photographic products. This allowed him to pursue ongoing research interests in tangible interfaces to computing, new media design and the digital divide.


17 Jun 2010 - 3:54am
Simon Roberts

This is actually at 6.30pm tonight, not 12.30pm!

Hope to see as many of you there as can make it


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