Embedding passion as product attribute on This happened #8

It is almost 1 am as I returned from Utrecht, together with a bunch of other visitors from Amsterdam. The 8th edition of the This happened event took place in the Akademie Theater again, a location that fits the event very well. Just like the other editions I had a great experience; the combination of people and interesting talks to think about are a great mix. This time I needed to chew a bit more however on the review of the presentations.
this happened

Almost all speakers lacked time to present the complete story. 10 minutes is a short time and forces you to make choices in the things you can share. One of the reasons Rainer Kohlberger was not able to explain how the presented work (Theseus) fit his own mantra’s. It was nice to see how Rainer got taken away on the quality of the white of the beamer. Too bad the most interesting part of the coding and designing in one fluent flow was only touched a bit. The result is really striking nevertheless.

Before Rainer, the evening was kicked off by Helma van Rijn, PhD student of StudioLab-ID in Delft. She did a warming project for dementing elderly. Starting as investigation on the behavior the project turned into a product for sharing memories. Interesting to notice the fluent process of transition from research to product. A grey area where it tipped. In the talk I couldn’t really hear this interesting process, just at the end of the question round it reveals to me.

In her case the format of This happened with a 10 minute talks and 10 minutes of questions proved to work out very well. Something that holds also in a different way for the third speaker, Lotte Meijer. She managed to put some last topics of her presentation in the question round which surely contributed to the completion of the story. Lotte did a very charming presentation, what compensates for me the somewhat basic interaction design story she told.

Lotte Meijer showed how you can change a poor weblog into a Webby Award-winning website starting by personal drive. Something that strikes me before in presentations on This happened. The road to a good result is paved with the passionate intentions more than with solid design methods. Making things in order to think has turned out to be an overall theme of This happened. Something I can applaud for sure.

The last presentation of the evening by Fourcelabs is almost the blueprint of this believe. The making of Wip’n’Kip was very contagious and the result is great. Putting the making in front is not only the guarantee for creating something that appeals a lot to everyone, and could be built in a very tight schedule. Besides that in this project the documentation of the making seems to got as much attention. What transforms the art of making into a repetitive proces.

You maybe can discuss the solution of connecting Wip’n’Kip to the other Playpilots games, one of the two high level goals (however hard to say because not really presented), but it does not matter because of the end result. For me this is what is the important message of this edition of This Happened: one of the attributes of a good product is embedding the passion that is put in the making. Something that is more important than steering on the bare set project goals.

Looking forward to the next This happened on February 7!

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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