Thursday, July 31, 2003


Got kickass news yesterday - I'm off to Rome at the end of August for two weeks to attend the Convivio summer school. Special thanks go to Alan Munro for his generous support - Cheers!

The community culture, on which the vision of Convivio is rooted, is founded on radical innovation based on the union of design, technology and people. In the future, we will see it growing and becoming diverse enough to act as a Europe-centred catalytic structure for those designing, implementing and evaluating new products and services that will impact on people's everyday work and domestic lives in significant ways. With the increase in both the size and the diversity of the community, it is time for a new network infrastructure to be put in place. The community needs to be involved in visionary anticipation, research and prototype demonstration, stakeholder community integration, and open discussion of perspectives and implications. The openness of the new Network will stretch beyond the community itself and include all actors targeted by the Network or attracted to it through shared interests - though not necessarily through shared opinions.

Interaction Design is still a dynamic research field where new concepts and new ideas are continuously proposed and discussed to cope with technological innovation and with the emerging needs of both social and professional communities. We think that it is now time to offer to young designers, educated in computer science and engineering, social science and ethnography, and industrial design, working in both universities and private companies, the occasion to develop their interaction design competence. The Interaction Design Summer School promoted by the Convivio network has this aim.

The theme chosen for the 2003 Interaction Design Summer School is Mixed Realities. Its main focus will be, on one hand, on new approaches to user-centred design capable to develop cooperation between diverse cultures in the design process, on the other, on the creation of new mixed, virtual or augmented places where (communities of) people living at a distance can share experiences, interact and cooperate.

We think that the emphasis on the user aspects of the design process is an important point for educating interaction designers who will be capable to design and develop useful and successful applications. This initiative promotes convergence in the IT world and stimulate creativeness with a bottom-up approach. The future of the technology relies on the multidisciplinary approach and on the direct involvement of the users. Information and communication technologies shape space and reality, so Mixed Realities is one of the most relevant themes in the design of new appliances.

Innovation does not simply mean to follow a technology-driven design to cope with the introduction of new technologies, but just the opposite: to tailor technological development to its needed use by communities through multidisciplinary design.

What a stunning city in which to explore virtual and augmented places ...

Not only am I looking forward to the people I will meet there, but I get to see my friends Fabio and Molly. Yay!

And of potential interest to other tech researchers and designers, Convivio is part of the EC's Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) initiative - which allows you to submit your ideas for new multidisciplinary research. Cool.


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