Spark Talks

February 6, 2017 5:15 PM - 5:45 PM

Spark talks kindle new perspective on our work. These three talks offer big ideas in a small package: eight minutes on a concentrated topic that will change your thinking.

Metropolitan Pavilion
125 W. 18th Street, New York, NY 10011

Steven Bai
Redesigning Urban Interactions: City as a Service
Steven Bai, Co-founder and Designer, Sencity Corp

The talk will raise awareness about new design opportunities for improving urban lives using computing technologies.

In 2014, the United Nations reported that more than half the global population of approximately 6.7 billion people were living in cities and this figure continues to grow. The increasing human density in urban areas has resulted in more frequent use of public urban services and products, and more human interactions with urban infrastructure. Steven believes that the city will become a platform upon which the innovative yet functional inventions of a new metropolis will be designed, and designers play an important role in creating not just meaningful but also livable experiences for the everyday citizen.

This presentation calls to re-envision the city as a service to alleviate the issues of mass global urbanization, reinforcing the important roles of embedded technologies and intelligent infrastructures in designing our lives in cities of the future.

Chelsey Wickmark
Shruti KNR
Socially Driven Smart Objects
Chelsey Wickmark, Design Researcher and Strategist
Shruti KNR, UX Specialist, UNICEF, United Nations

How can we design smart objects not just for individual benefits, but towards common societal goals and help solve real world problems. Designing networked objects that are for social good, can create a behavioural impact on a large community of users.

Shruti & Chelsey discuss how designing smart connected objects, embraced by millions of users can become a large enabler towards a global sustainable future, citing an example Eco- a smart faucet that was designed to be adopted by a globally omnipresent brand. Harnessing the power of millions, if we can design one sustainable system which can be adopted by a million users, the global impact could save 150 billion litres of water each year.

Melissa Martin
Final Destination: Creating a Better Afterlife for Our Digital Treasures
Melissa Martin, Design Lead, Collective Health

Products have a perspective problem. Their views of typical user journeys are too narrow and fail to account for one of our most basic human qualities - mortality.
Many services, like Facebook and Instagram, generate rich personal content that people increasingly view as invaluable records of their life experiences. When someone dies, these services provide, at best, profile deactivation or memorial options. While this supports access control or profile removal it leaves us with little ability to collect, preserve and pass on these valuable heirlooms to our relatives in any meaningful way. Instead, we are left with significant parts of our personal heritage floating in a digital purgatory, just out of reach to those who treasure it most.
Highly personal and social products have an obligation to address their users’ needs before and beyond death. “Final Destination: Creating a better afterlife for our digital treasures” will present the social and business benefits, along with some practical considerations, of supporting needs within this most universal of human contexts.