#FjordKitchen – Living Services

Ida Jensen

We live in the age of digital, and in the future everything we do will be linked, connected and digitized. This means the services we use are all about how we live, connect, share and make sense of the world around us. We call this Living Services.

Living Services was the theme of the Fjord Kitchen event held in London on the 9th of July 2014.

The event was held in an East London venue, The Pickle Factory, which did indeed use to serve as a pickle factory in its previous life.

On this occasion though the food was rather more elaborate. The amazing team from Rare Food served a quirky three-course dinner in between talks, based around the concept of Living Services, with a gourmet barbeque, an edible vegetable patch and living garden (including the mould!) and a lawn with cakepop flowers ready to be picked.

 “In 10 years time, design will be very different from what we know today” – Mark Curtis, Fjord

Mark Curtis, CCO and Co-Founder of Fjord, introduced the evening by giving an overview of the concept of Living Services and introducing the speakers who approached the topic from different angles.

Context is vital

First up was Will Sansom, Head of Strategy and Content at Contagious. Will spoke about how context is essential when brands communicate with consumers and that contextual integration is an important part of the Living Services puzzle. According to Will we are starting to see brands wielding context and redefining how they communicate with the consumer, while figuring out how to design around people, rather than around products. This will be a challenge for brands, as no one lives their lives according to media silos. Time, place, platforms, habits, intent, persona and external issues are all areas to consider when talking about contextual integration. There is a shift from trying to connect with people based on the idea of media silos, to connecting with them in real time with a sense of personal context.

Inattentional blindness – does data blindness exist?

Carl Holmquist, CEO of Freespee, was our second speaker. Carl spoke of the Nobel-prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s system one and two, and how focusing only on the data in front of us can lead to an inaccurate business model, flawed design, and erroneous decisions. Carl outlined how system one applies to us all, as the quick, pre-made cognitive decision within us, that hates to lose. Carl illustrated how one failure will dominate over several successes in our minds, using an example of his local café that is always out of croissants by 8.30am every day. The owner most likely on one occasion ordered too many croissants and ended up wasting some. This occasion drives his ordering decisions for all the other days, when he could have made a higher profit if he had more croissants available. But because the loss outweighs the wins, he is blind to the opportunity. Although a data driven decision, it is highly irrational.  As humans we are occupied by the data available to us, rather than the data we actually need to consider, leading back to the concept of inattentional blindness.

 The future of cities

 “The best way to predict the future is to design it” Buckminster Fuller

Closing the evening was Dan Hill, Executive Director of Future Cities Catapult. Dan talked about urban prototyping and the concept of smart cities, where technology is used to generate data and see through the infrastructure of a city. He showed us examples of collection of information of air quality, best practice examples from the Netherlands, and also told us about his pet-hate – planning notices displayed on lampposts. Dan also pointed out that one of the current issues about city planning is that we don’t collect and analyze enough data to guide us in planning the future of our cities. We need to ensure that we take a  step back and look at the implications of our decisions, and use design to sketch out possible futures. Dan ended his presentation by reminding participants of the a quote by the late English architect Cedric Price:

 “Technology is the answer, but what is the question?”

We would like to say a huge thank you to the speakers and guests, the team at The Pickle Factory and at Rare Foods, for a fantastic evening with inspirational conversations, incredible food, and great company.

Ida Jensen

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