We’re delighted to share this post from guest blogger Paula White, who is a Software Architect with IBM. Paula lives in London and has a special interest in cities. Here, Paula shares her experience of ‘Innovation in the City,’ the first in a series of future-planning events which took place last week – you can find details of the next event towards the end of this post.
Last week I attended an Innovation in the City event with Urban Design London. I had been really looking forward to the event and my team and I arrived with the supplies for the workshop to define challenges for housing, transport, planning and streets. The event was attended mostly by local authorities, housing associations, charities and TfL employees.
We heard initially from Steve Haskey, IBM’s Design Studio lead about IBM Design Thinking. The key idea with Design Thinking is to think about people rather than things, and to consider peoples’ needs. It requires empathy. Design thinking can be used in the design of anything, and part of the approach is to put aside constraints and assumptions.
This helps in creating something that is not only functional, but also makes a significant difference to the person using it. Even more vitally it can create real step changes in innovation. Tim Brown, an authority on design thinking, gives the example of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who with his vision of the train gliding through the landscape, being part of an integrated transport system and of real service to society, was a design thinker. Watch Tim Brown’s Ted talk on design thinking here.
In London, as most people will be aware, we are growing at unprecedented rates, with a population of 10 million estimated for 2030. The workshop was to be centred around questions of how our infrastructure will cope, and are there different ways to think about how we will adapt?
The Empathy Map and scenarios for ‘Amy,’ our fictional character, which got the group thinking about ways to improve her experience of transport in the city