Susan Cox-Smith

Partner at Changeist

Fri 26 May, 2017, 14:00

Thingclash Workshop

Millions of new devices are being connected to the Internet each year—toasters, home hubs, cars, even sex toys. The IoT is a designer's wonderland, offering endless possibilities for connected "Things." It's expected that by 2020 there will be upwards of 50 billion connected nodes in use worldwide. 

It shouldn't be surprising that once these shiny devices have been unboxed, they will be pushed beyond the imagined perfection of their pristine primary use case. Things change. When a delicately constructed user experience meets an unanticipated use case, frictions emerge. Things break down.

Every day we see new stories of IoT products breaking down because of these frictions: 

  • Lost Amazon Dash buttons ordering unneeded products
  • Self-driving cars hacked with laser pointers and a little cash
  • Smart TVs listening to, and sharing, intimate conversations
  • Electronic locks responding to personal assistants though non-owner voice commands
  • Personal devices gathering and sharing aggregated data without user permissions

Thingclash is a project of Changeist, designed to allow critical exploration of scenarios around the ever-expanding IoT, with a view to making these products and services better, safer, and more secure for everyone. 

During the workshop:

  • Teams will be prompted to selectively examine several types of Things (Know Your Thing) 
  • Imagine where, and by whom they will be used (Put Your Thing In the World)
  • Explore why assumptions about these Things can create unforeseen frictions which diminish their usefulness and value (Thingclash)

To close the workshop, each team devises a fictional story, using a scenario generated during their process, to share their findings, and to prompt discussion around why it's important to anticipate and consider these possible frictions early (and often) in the design process. 

Target Audience:
Participants should take away a better understanding of how to design experiences for our diverse, messy, and complicated, increasingly connected world.

About Susan Cox-Smith

Susan is a partner and Creative Strategist at Changeist. She brings over 25 years’ experience creating and managing delivery of knowledge and information products to guide decision making. She manages Changeist’s design, trend, and strategy engagements. Susan also leads Changeist’s design for immersive experiences about the future, and oversees experience design for new futures tools for workshops, education and group collaboration.

She also manages the How to Future project, from material to curriculum design and delivery with global clients. Susan also co-designs and delivers workshops for Thingclash, Changeist’s project to bring critical thinking to design in the Internet of Things, including co-design and facilitation for senior executives from global financial institutions at the annual Sibos global financial conference in Geneva. She is also co-facilitating a workshop on the future of European citizenship for the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. 

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