Several of the entries this year successfully addressed needs and criteria across multiple categories, and were rewarded with recognition from two or more panels of judges. These are the entries that effectively spanned multiple design concepts and reminded us of the far-reaching impact of thoughtful design practice.
ANNA explores the potential of light and sound as problem solving tools in the healthcare industry through it's simple, approachable design.
ANNA fills a void in the anesthesia process by creating a friendly tool for simultaneously calming children undergoing sedation and helping them achieve optimal breathing techniques to make the process as quick and painless as possible. Across the board, our juries in the Interaction and Commercial Equipment categories were impressed by it's minimal, subtle design that can so easily enter the hospital setting and benefit patients, technicians and doctors alike.
IDEO's Avocado is a ready-to-use design toolbox, allowing designers to quickly create interactive prototypes without the need to know coding.
Catering to Interaction Designers who don't have a robust background in coding, Avocado's easy to use platform is a toolbox of interactive elements which create a simple, accessible path to developing digital tools. "It's a nice, elegant design, very simple with some fairly sophisticated types of actions that would actually take quite a bit of coding to make happen," noted Open Design jury member Mark Hatch. "It solves a real problem for designers that don't have clean experience but still want to be able to something better than just a wireframe. I thought they did a good job understanding what the problem was and a good job with the interface itself. I think for those that care in this particular space, it would be a very useful tool."
Project development is grounded in thorough research: the team conducted 38 user interviews with 28 participants over a period of seven months and completed three rounds of co-design with ER physicians, ER nurses, ER nurse administrators, primary care physicians and caregivers of children with asthma.
Asthma is a pervasive and potentially deadly condition—especially among minority populations. In this context, educational tools that are given out when a patient is discharged after an asthma attack are critical in ensuring proper after care. However, current discharge protocols deliver complex information in up to 15 pages of content written in inaccessible medical terminology. Through exhaustive research and co-design sessions with five stakeholder groups, Bridging the Communication Gap sought a simpler service for disseminating this vital information. "This was very well thought through and it was great to see a real world application of a student project," noted Strategy & Research jury Captain Dr. Melis Senova. "There was a very beautiful collaboration between the medical staff and the service design student body to co-create solutions together." The project's inclusive use of research has the potential to improve other healthcare scenarios, where communication between doctors and patients is key yet often misunderstood. "The experience and the solution coming out of it can really inspire many other similar experiences," explained Service Design jury member Luis Arnal. "It was very gratifying to see such a high quality of work."
Since LED's don't need a protective layer of glass like traditional bulbs, designer Renaud Defrancesco created a series of bulbs that double as lampshades.
Bulb LMP's sleek design and elevated approach to technology, "adds value to a very mechanical solution," as our Furniture & Lighting jury remarked. "This project allowed me to reconsider and redefine an object of current consumption, explained designer Renaud Defrancesco. "The bulb is not only a source of light anymore but a source of atmosphere."
The Museum of Future Government featured a series of high-tech, interactive exhibition spaces that engaged visitors in a very hands-on discovery of the concepts explored. Pictured above, visitors designed 3D plants which then competed in simulated environments.
Commissioned by the Prime Minister's Office of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) The Museum of Future Government Services exhibition inspired and forecast the future of government in the UAE, the surrounding countries, and beyond. Through a series of highly interactive spaces exploring concepts like Healthcare and Education, thousands of high-level government officials visited as "students." For its engagement with forward-thinking concepts, immersive design, and sophisticated use of interactive technologies, the project was honored across three categories. "This was a unanimous decision," said Speculative Concepts jury member Cher Potter. "This to us was a super exciting kind of avenue for where speculative design can really make an impact on the world."
SimPlay's interface allows simulation instructors to easily compare scenarios and provide relevant, concrete feedback.
SimPlay—a diploma project by Valeria Gaitan Vallejo—seeks to fill a void in medical education where simulation is frequently used to develop technical skills, but doesn't yet focus on improving non-technical skills like communication and behavior changes among the medical team. With it's easy-to-use interface, the project sets up a system for facilitating the learning process in hospital settings. "This is a really audacious and ambitious project. We really admired the impact and the value this might bring when it's brought to maturity," said Interaction jury member Matt Jones. "We were really impressed by both the range of data it captured and the range of ways it visualized data to really hopefully bring some improvements to the situation."
The Society's brick-and-mortar location in Massachusetts is where many people begin their personal adventure of finding their inner adult.
The thought of a master's program-like course for adulthood might seem gratuitous, but through research and development, the IDEO design team uncovered a pretty extensive cultural problem. "What they realized in doing this research was that it wasn't about trying to inform to sell better but perhaps to solve a more profound problem concerning financial literacy," noted Strategy & Research jury Captain Dr. Melis Senova. "They basically addressed a cultural problem and unmet needs completely with the creation of a new venture in its entirety." Through a combined solution of classes, one-on-one financial coaching, digital tools, and a community space, the program seeks a simple goal: "We're all here to help each other become a little smarter. And a little more grown-up."
"Synchrony eliminates that technical barrier using an approachable and universally understood form language of a hand drum. Its 20 keys are tuned to the pentatonic scale, which, having no dissonant intervals, allows any combination of keys to sound good together, enabling parent and child to create harmonious melodies regardless of musical ability," explains designer Kenneth Tay.
Synchrony is a platform for helping parents and children with Autism foster intimacy and mutual understanding. "Designed to sound harmonious regardless of musical ability, it facilitates a mutually enjoyable music making process," explains designer Kenneth Tay. "Parent and child can both coexist in a shared space, communicate nonverbally through music, and engage in interpersonal play while working towards therapeutic goals." Our jury responded to the beautiful design and strong social element. "The historical drum like semantic and the new digital semantic has got book ends of history in there," said Commercial Equipment jury member Mike Gallagher, "and I think that it has more use than for autism."
Silvia Neretti, the self-proclaimed Unhappiness Repairer, travels with her pop-up office searching for people who could benefit from her intimate, low-tech approach to channeling happiness through design.
Through this project, designer Silvia Neretti creates what she refers to as "behavioral artifacts," simple interventions created in response to one-on-one consultations that attempt to heal bad habits and bring "design happiness" into everyday life. "It combined psychology and the design method to improve people's daily happiness levels," said Service Design jury Captain Cathy Huang. "It's a really clever way to get rid of their bad habits and help them change their behavior for the better." Our jury also responded to the simple, low-tech approach of the project. "The Unhappiness Recorder talks about different roles for designers and an expanded view of design where we're not just creating these glossy products that satisfy simple needs, but really delving into what happiness means and exploring how we use existing products to make interventions in quite creative and interesting ways," said Speculative Concepts jury member James Auger.
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TiLT emerged from a series of questions: What is the value of play? How is it perceived in different countries? How does play affect a developing child, a school, a community? How can design be integrated into research to maximize use of limited materials within a playscape? To begin finding out some of the answers. Marie-Catherine Dube immersed herself in the Nepales landscape, living there for the duration of the project and using her observations and experiences to drive the final project which ended up being a "beautiful collision of two worlds, design, and a creative impact platform in the form a playground," as she describes. "What most moved us was the openness to local realities that came across so strongly in the story of this project," explains Social Impact jury member John Thackara. "The student was able to see it wasn't just about creating a playground—it was actually a platform to shift mindsets and open up new possibilities of interaction in the community," remarked Strategy & Research jury Captian Dr. Melis Senova. "It's really rare to see a student actually take themselves across the world and immerse themselves in the culture that they're studying."