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Mapping out the startup scene

A small team of us have been busy with the InnoViz research project. The InnoViz project tries to visualize the entrepreneurial activity and innovative synergies in the Amsterdam area and as such, Appsterdam is a great place to harvest data. We’re collecting a lot of interesting data from all the major sources (Linkedin, Meetup, Twitter) but we can always use more.

Right now we want to know more about actual digital companies in Amsterdam and how they are related to Appsterdam. That is why we are collaborating with StartupMap, a small webmap that shows where startups are located in the Netherlands.

If you are part of a startup (or even better: the founder of one!) then we encourage you to add your company to the website. Not only will it be good for your company to be listed in the research findings but it will also show how vibrant the tech community is in the Amsterdam Metropolitan area.

So go check out www.startupmap.nl and let your company be known if you haven’t already. If you are interested in knowing more or getting involved click here.

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PICNIC: making technology amplify the human voice

Dune by Daan Roosegaarde

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, CIRCA attended PICNIC, the yearly Amsterdam-based conference for creativity and innovation. As my research project involves researching the various purposes of engagement design at Flight 1337,  I was pleased to come across a couple of speakers who discussed similar topics. 

Luisa Heinrich from Fjord, in her talk I am Superman, addressed the question of how to use the increasing amount of personal data that is out there on the web, to our benefit. She used the example of a smartphone app meant to motivate people to exercise, and stated these apps are designed according to an overly simplified understanding of good and bad behaviour. ‘I don’t want a machine telling me I’ve been bad because I haven’t done my exercise. Perhaps I didn’t exercise because I have had an insanely busy week and I am hungover, and staying in bed eating ice cream is what keeps me from going mental!’ Heinrich said.

Heinrich concluded with some wise words: ‘What if we could analyse the patterns in our data in order to better our lives? Taking ownership of our data means using them to make decisions. We, as designers, should keep in mind that we are human, and that technology is used best to amplify the human voice.’

Artist Daan Roosegaarde turns physical environments into interactive interfaces.  Roosegaarde is inspired by the sharing culture of social media and the fact that our physical world is increasingly inscribed by virtual landscapes. One example of his work is Crystal, an installation of salt crystals which have LED-lights implemented and respond to human action, such as people walking on them. 

I was very interested to hear two very different types of designers discussing ways to use technology in order to influence behaviour in smart ways. This also brings up questions around the psychology of interactivity, play and engagement, such as: would we want to be manipulated if it means bettering our behaviour? How do we design our worlds so that they are best shared? And how do we translate the distinctive human aspect into computerised, interactive, systems? 

Roosegaarde also made mention of the fact that his artistic practice often happened in collaboration with major brands. ‘For me, an autonomous practice and taking ownership of your work, has to do with being self-sufficient. This can be through sponsor- and partnerships, as long as they happen on your own terms. It is really important for an artist to know how to be social, engage your fans, tell them stories,’ Roosegaarde answered to my question, after which he awarded me with a Crystal-crystal. After all, what better way to make technology engaging, then by giving it away? 

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InnoViz has started mining data.
This graph shows information about how technology makers describe themselves on their Appsterdam Meetup profile page.
Each node represents a word that is used, the lines between nodes show how often words co-occur in texts. Each node is color coded. Green stands for a platform, orange stands for a word that is linked to a business, blue indicates a term expected from a developer and red is a term from the design perspective of an app. The thickness of a line shows how often two words occur together in a profile description. 
Join us at PICNIC (17-18 September) for a text analysis and word visualization workshop at the App Ecosystem Tent.
More information will be announced soon.

InnoViz has started mining data.

This graph shows information about how technology makers describe themselves on their Appsterdam Meetup profile page.

Each node represents a word that is used, the lines between nodes show how often words co-occur in texts. Each node is color coded. Green stands for a platform, orange stands for a word that is linked to a business, blue indicates a term expected from a developer and red is a term from the design perspective of an app. The thickness of a line shows how often two words occur together in a profile description. 

Join us at PICNIC (17-18 September) for a text analysis and word visualization workshop at the App Ecosystem Tent.

More information will be announced soon.

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Innovation Farm blog
"Innovation is the process of injecting ‘new-ness’ into something"

Innovation Farm blog

"Innovation is the process of injecting ‘new-ness’ into something"

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Ideation session at frog Munich

Ideation session at frog Munich

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Ideation sessions at frog Munich

Ideation sessions at frog Munich

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frog Ideation

In early July the value proposition of the embedded research at frog starting taking shape:

To research method that lends rich insights into the emotions of consumers globally and delivers a meaningful contribution to the design process. 


Since bedding this down, I was able to develop a series of ideation sessions at the frog offices. The first one took place at frog Munich on 27 July.  It consisted of 13 frogs and lasted 90 minutes.

In this session I introduced the research topic, thereafter the frogs (designers, researchers, project managers) were tasked with developing concepts that solves the problem of capturing emotion.  The ideation session followed a format of:

  • Coming up with a set of Assumptions about human emotion  (eg. Everyone has emotions)
  • Creating Provocations based on those (e.g what if we glowed in the colour of our emotions?)
  • Developing Concepts (eg. Let’s create a camera app with emo filters)

 The ideas were then distilled and applied to certain scenarios. Thereafter the ideas were then further embroidered by myself and two senior interaction designers at frog (Niels Clausen-Stuck and Vivid Savitri). The ideas were finalized and tested against the criteria for the research method.

The session in Munich was incredibly productive and insightful – the team really contributed to solving the research problem. I am currently researching models of measuring emotion to test/compare against. 

Next step is evaluating which of these concepts warrants building, if any.

The current research tools at frog for capturing emotional charge from respondents during diary-style research yields limited results. The embedded research project at frog is now building internal momentum towards exploring new ways of capturing emotion.

Although the practical implications of this tool have obvious advantages for frog it becomes equally interesting from a research perspective to zoom out of the specific task of building tool and ask more general (and fundamental) questions: What are emotions? How is emotion made and measured?

In the paper component of this project these kinds of questions will lead to discussions around the concept of ‘emotion as experience’* – one that is culturally and socially constructed and mediated – in opposition to the view that it is an objective, ‘external, measureable unit.’ Considering this, what do the existing models for measuring emotions contribute to our understanding of the emotional landscape of product and experience research? This leads to a broader discussion outside of the frog context, into the seemingly illusive, perhaps absurdist challenge faced by affect researchers: Is this hunt for an emotional charge an exercise in utter futility?

* Boehner, K, et al., “How Emotion is Made and Measured” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies Vol 65 Issue 4 (Philadelphia: Elsevier, 2007) 280.

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Adding location to your tweets.

Your tweets say a lot about Appsterdam and what is going on behind the tech community. That is why they are important for the InnoViz project.

By adding location when you tweet, you add one more powerful dimension to what you say. You make your trajectory visible, the one that brought you to Appsterdam.

As Mike mentioned some while ago, “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen”. That’s why Appsterdam is fueling the InnoViz project and asking you to bring your data and prove that Appsterdam is happening.

With our debut at PICNIC we will illustrate the power of community data and prove that data tells stories, stories that need to be heard to bring change.

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How about starting with something like this?
The NY City shows us a great example of how important and useful it is to make information about the tech scene visible and accessible.
Along these lines, the InnoViz project aims in shedding light in the App Makers scene in Amsterdam.
Helps us collect and collate data that will bring forward the people that make technology and their role in the ecosystem.
The project is developed under the the Creative Industries Research Center of Amsterdam and is powered by the UvA, Appsterdam and AIM. 

How about starting with something like this?

The NY City shows us a great example of how important and useful it is to make information about the tech scene visible and accessible.

Along these lines, the InnoViz project aims in shedding light in the App Makers scene in Amsterdam.

Helps us collect and collate data that will bring forward the people that make technology and their role in the ecosystem.

The project is developed under the the Creative Industries Research Center of Amsterdam and is powered by the UvA, Appsterdam and AIM

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Visualizing tweets about and around Appsterdam.

Visualizing tweets about and around Appsterdam.