Innovation Interface: Technology on a Human Scale

Join us as Simon Blyth of IDEO, London discusses User-less Design: Multidisciplinary Design, Boundary Objects and the Possibilities of Practice

Throughout the year, the INNOVATION INTERFACE SERIES aims to gather academics, policy makers, entrepreneurs and business people to kick start the debate between social science and innovation and to forge alliances leading to action.

Social Science and Innovation- could these seemingly strange bedfellows be the answer to connecting the need of the user to the innovation and creativity of the technology industry?

Many of the world’s leading technology companies and science institutions have already discovered the way forward for innovation has as much to do with the intangibles of the human experience as it does with algorithms, chips and design. Using both sociologists and anthropologists, corporations are increasingly turning to designers who combine the insights of social scientists with scientific knowledge to transform creativity and research into innovation. Will emo-engineers and anthro-technologists be the buzzwords of the twenty-first century? We invite you to join the debate and listen as this line-up of world leading thinkers and practitioners discuss their international experiences and practices of innovation, design and social science.

Dr Simon Blyth, IDEO, London

Lecture Brief: Design is often considered to be a master at multi-disciplinarity.  In this paper I consider how ‘the user’ is central to design’s ability to manage ‘multidisciplinary working’ so very well.   I want to argue that ‘the user’, as a boundary object, affords multidisciplinarity in design.  Put another way, I want to explore how ‘the user’ as a device is capable of gathering and gluing together many different disciplines. I am critical, however, of the hegemony of the ‘user’ within design.  In its place I want to explore the possibility of materialized social practice as a new boundary object and consider what this might mean for design’s multi-disciplinary claim.  I will draw on the emergent design field of ‘social innovation’ in making this argument.

Dr Simon Blyth co-leads the Consumer Experience Design Practice (CXd) at IDEO the design and innovation consultancy. Before IDEO he worked at Unilever and before Unilever he lectured at The University of Southampton.

Follow us on Twitter @innovinterface

  • Date: 
  • Time: 
  • Where: Paccar Theatre
  • Price: €4

What’s On