People-focused solutions for the public

Creating a writeable society by “writing the web”, is the profound message coming from Mozilla Festival, one of the largest digital culture conferences! It is organized by the global non-profit dedicated to open web and its tools, as creating a generation of web-makers. Obviously, digital literacy is an important asset nowadays. Technology has changed our lives and behaviors in every aspect even offline, facilitating public spaces, measuring and improving our quality of life e.g. health services, energy consumption, education etc. and establishing new accessible ecosystems.

It’s a fact that technology as such is not a solution by itself, but it can help by providing sustainable solutions to improve our lives on multiple levels and several sectors e.g. public space, air quality, health, energy etc., from bottom-up and top-down and vice versa. In order to measure if and how these solutions may have impact we need a toolkit of sensors that will facilitate also the dialogue between public and private sphere, interconnecting them and achieving their whole potential. This is the challenge Louisa Heinrich and Martin Spindler, addressed in their Design Challenge called “Me and My City” during Mozilla Festival. Our challenge was to find an answer to the following question:

How can sensors improve the quality of urban life, creating a stronger connection between “Me and My City?

During this challenge the team I was participating in, selected to work on a proactive solution to offer access to health services, rather than reactive, which was much more applicable with the current status quo of our case, which I proposed to cope with a less privileged area of a metropolitan city e.g. an area where there is only one doctor and where the population are mostly elderly people.

During the session all working groups came up with interesting solutions. The group I was part of, “designed” a bracelet for elderly people that would transfer through the post service on a daily basis, data that are measuring various indicators of health e.g. flat temperature without the need to educate elderly people to a manner, like using a mobile phone if there are not familiar to. We addressed a very specific context of the problem, which lead us to think about already existing and public infrastructures.

Innovation: The process of improving, adapting or developing a product, system or service to deliver better results and create value for people.

Despite the fact that technology could only be a part of the solution rather the solution on its own, we had to admit that it is the public sphere, or even the social space where we need those solutions mostly and this at one of the largest meeting points of digital culture.

Originally published on Storytelling Notes, December 6, 2012

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