An element of envisioning the future is inherently part of the design process. This forward-thinking spirit was a component of many of the entries we received this year. Several designers avoided instant gratification and present-focused strategies in their entries, instead shifting their attention to designs that would continue to pay dividends far into the future. They focused on more substantial concerns and issues that have been insufficiently addressed and sought long term impact. These designers acknowledged the future, speculated about its possibilities, considered potential improvements and prepared for the road ahead.
IDEO worked together with MassMutual to develop what is essentially a master's program for adulthood. The curriculum covers a wide variety of essential skills, from investing in a 401K to learning how to devise a personal budget to how to pick good, cheap wine. The organization's goals are outlined in the picture above. "When it came time to launch, we designed a marketing strategy and awareness campaign, which included video spots, print media, posters and guerrilla tactics. Last but certainly not least, we designed a digital system of financial tools for helping people manage their finances that is more sophisticated, useful and elegant than anything the financial services industry has ever seen."
If you've ever felt even the slightest bit of panic about how to balance "adult" tasks, the Society of Grownups was designed with you in mind. The Society emerged as a sort of Master's program for adulthood, with both an online platform and brick and mortar location providing a host of classes and services to cultivate knowledge on any number of topics, from investment basics to how to organize a cheap wedding. "The health of the financial services industry depends on an engaged and financially literate population of "grownups," but no one else in the industry was working to educate this audience of 20s, 30s, 40- somethings and develop a relationship of trust in this way—with a rich combination of meaningful in-person exchanges and classes, and a suite of digital, personal financial planning tools unlike anything out there," explain the designers.
The project emerged out of intensive research and has taken on a life of it's own with "the potential to inspire a movement." Our jury lauded the comprehensive solution. "Not only is this a needed service but also the process went through all the aspects of good service design from designing a brand identity, digital platform, physical location and the teaching content itself," said jury member Cathy Huang.
Ultimately, the resolution of Society of Grownups is more than a design solution, but also an attempt to resolve an extensive cultural problem. "Seeing a complete delivery of a new concept/new venture that's designed for our time tuning into the nature of the culture as it exists now just shows the power of the human centered design approach to business strategy and to the development of new business models," remarked jury member Hugh Evans.
"Through questioning their environment, collaborating with their classmates, iterating on their ideas and communicating with the client, we took students through the design process that we go through every day. We invited students into this process, because they have lived the better part of their life in the classroom – and they face the problems the products should solve for everyday. So, if they use these products in the classroom, why should they not design them?" "We used a set of ranking criteria to determine success. First, the product must be exciting, generating emotional appeal and creating delight. Second, the product must be feasible, and have the ability to deliver on the features and functions the design promises. Finally, the product must be innovative, utilizing new forms and functions that are original and highly differentiated."
Aruliden collaborated with Staples and invited middle school students to learn about the design thinking process while developing a set of products for Back to School 2015. The students formed an integral role of the design process, learning problem solving skills that allowed them to develop a series of distinct products relating to their unique needs. The team led the students all the way from initial research to iterative prototyping and the final results will culminate in seven actual products that will be available at Staples nationwide in the summer of 2015. "This is an initiative where everybody wins," said jury Captain Mike Weikert. The positive influence of this success story is infectious, as jury member Sarah Hemminger commented: "It excited us as a jury. We engaged in a dialogue about ways the initiative could be improved upon, sustained, and scaled. We wanted to be a part of it." Through the design process, the students were able to gauge the significant real world impact of the abstract skills they learn in the classroom, and gain a sense of how to "make more happen."
The Museum of Future Government explores the future of government in the UAE through exhibitions centered around 5 main themes: Future of International Travel, Future of Healthcare, Future of Education, Smart City and Digital Public Services. An augmented sand table with projections allows visitors to explore concepts of topography, weather and flow principles in a very direct, tactile experience.
Tellart was comissioned to design and direct an exhibition that would explore and inspire the future of government services in the United Arab Emirates. The project culminated in an exhibition at the 2014 Government Summit in Dubai, a gathering of thousands of leaders from the Middle East. With guidance from partners such as Institute for the Future, Fabrica, Superflux and Near Future Laboratory, a high-tech, interactive exhibition was mounted. The success of the show has led to plans for a permanent Museum of the Future, meant to serve as a permanent space where prototypes of government services will be explored. Given its far-ranging scope, our judges in the Speculative Design category unanimously declared this project the winner. "This goes back to the idea of projects that are speculative and do deal with the imagination, but also have real world implications. This to us was a super exciting kind of avenue for where speculative design can really make an impact on the world," explains jury member Cher Potter. "A great thing about this project was that it involved a number of designers. The concept of the project itself was directed by one company, but within the speculative space a number of designers have been represented. It was a collaborative future space which plants it quite firmly in the world of professional practice and speculative design."
SimPlay was developed over the course of 4 months as part of designer Valeria Gaitan Vallejo's diploma project at the Oslo School or Architecture and Design. Her passion for Medical Industry design led her to collaborate with Laerdal Medical on this project. Laerdal Medical is working to further develop the solid concept into an fully implementable design. "Most of the existent simulation tools are focused on improving technical skills (Ex. better ways to simulate surgery, ventilation, etc). However, there are almost no existent tools in the market which focus on improving non-technical skills (Ex. communication and behavior change), which are one of the most important needs that medical teams face in the daily basis. Improving the latter is almost the only way to reduce human error during the clinical performance," explains Vallejo.
Simulation is an invaluable tool for learning how to handle emergency scenarios, but if there was a way to track the impact of this common practice, it could really be streamlined for maximum benefit. That's where SimPlay comes in. The project develops a two-pronged approach: it's both a video debrief system that allows practitioners to track simulations and provide feedback, and an online platform for easy dissemination of best practice findings with other hospitals. "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 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."