Introducing our research partners

Introducing our research partners: Design Innovation Group

“In a ‘smart city’ data is being collected with the intention to organize all sorts of things in the public space in a smarter, better and more efficient way through technology. But what makes a smart city a good city? Which assumptions about efficiency and speed ought to be questioned? Forget about the smart lamppost or underground waste container for a second – in case ánything would be possible, what is it that we would want?Our partner Design Innovation Group provides thought-provoking reflections about smart cities. What is their expertise and main motivation to join this research project? Keep reading and you will find out in the blog post they have written below! 

  • Who we are and what we do

Design Innovation Group (DIG) is a creative consultancy. As researchers and designers, we strategically use creativity and Design Thinking to fuel change and innovation. ‘Design thinking’ means: we are always paying attention to people, to people in their environment, to behavior, values and needs. Humans are central, and context is indispensable – nothing stands on its own. ‘Design thinking’ means: a learning approach in which continuous development is based on feedback, and active co-creation. Instead of talking about people, we talk to people: verifying assumptions, asking questions, listening, and getting to work — together.

  • Why we contribute to this research project

We find the ‘Designing for Controversies in Responsible Smart Cities’ project relevant and interesting  because it deals with the future of urban living, and zooms in on the places where tension and friction arise – with the ultimate goal of designing a toolkit that facilitates a constructive conversation among all parties concerned.

  • What we are wondering in regard to ‘Smart Cities’

In a ‘smart city’ data is being collected with the intention to organize all sorts of things in the public space in a smarter, better and more efficient way through technology. But what makes a smart city a good city? Which assumptions about efficiency and speed ought to be questioned? Forget about the smart lamppost or underground waste container for a second – in case ánything would be possible, what is it that we would want?

A transformation from a city towards a ‘smart’ city leads to potentially fundamental changes for government, entrepreneurs and residents. How do you handle the different, and possibly conflicting, needs and interests of those three parties? Who has a say on what is measured in the public space, and insight into what conclusions are drawn based on that data? How important is transparency? Do you feel more free if you see and know exactly what is happening, or more so if it is not perceptible?

  • What we contribute to this research project

Co-creation is a tested way to begin answering the questions like the above. Together with our consortium partner, the University of Twente, we developed a workshop for a mixed group of participants. Groups of participants devise ideas for their ideal smart city and critically examine the top 3 ideas: what could go wrong there? From the aforementioned ideas and objectives, and the discussions held, insights emerge about controversies in the smart city. These controversies indicate where friction and tension exists, and point to areas that will be further investigated and explored in this project.

The image below shows some impressions of the materials used during the workshop and the participants in action!