AIGA GAIN: Redesigning Commerce / Funding to the Pitch

Is your idea best suited for seed and angel funding, or should you launch on Indiegogo first?

What about the values of bootstrapping?

What’s a social venture, and if you think you have one, are you better structured as a for-profit, or not-for-profit, or B-Corp?

Or, perhaps your freelance design practice is ready to scale—what kind of structure works best, and when is fundraising appropriate?

How you choose to launch will determine your destiny.

And if you’re founding an organization, you’ll spend much of your time fundraising—and fundraising can be fun. 

Thanks all that attended the professional development workshop at AIGA’s GAIN conference – Redesigning Commerce – Fundraising.

 

 

Government Stats at Strata Hadoop

Tomorrow I look forward to a fireside chat conversation with Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs Mark Doms at Strata Hadoop’s Data Driven Business Day.

Government Statistics in the Era of Big Data
Mark Doms (United States Department of Commerce), Jen van der Meer (Reason Street)
9:25am Wednesday, 10/15/2014
Data-Driven Business Day

Location: E 20/ E 21

The US Department of Commerce has long been the powerhouse of government data, trailblazing the use of government statistics and analysis for all of us to make more informed decisions. Now that the era of big data is upon us, with large volumes of data collected and analyzed by the private sector, by citizens themselves, and sensors, how is the agency adapting to this new data environment? During this conversation with Dr. Mark Doms, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs for the Department of Commerce, we will discuss the value of data in the economy at a macro level and how data collection, aggregation and analysis methods are adapting in response to technological change. What does this mean for you and your company? Come to this fireside chat at Data Driven Business Day to learn more.

And on PR Newswire.

 

 

Bodies and Buildings Class 5: Ebola outbreak, the power to change the rules

The past two weeks in class we spent time first paying attention to the Ebola crisis, then trying to map out the system as we understand it.

While much of health technology has come to focus on in hospital systems, electronic health records, and chronic disease management, we wanted to see what we could envision for an acute and rapidly growing outbreak.

Students presented ideas for what to do about the crisis using their skills as creative technologists at ITP. It was a humbling reminder of how hard it is to be helpful when the core underlying technologies are not present – available internet, handheld devices.

Here are two sources students found that were hard to read and watch but gave more context than TV news sources:

VICE News: Monrovia in Chaos

WSJ: For Want of Gloves Doctors Die

We then shifted to talk about the power to change the rules in a system, and began the shift to “buildings” and how a much the less threatening but still pervasive problem of sick building syndrome was addressed through rule changes.

For midterms, students will write an OpEd – considering the format as if it were an interaction design to get you to do something, or change your mind.

 

 

 

Bodies and Buildings Class 3: Health Systems and Open Data

We mapped the obesity systems of Japan, Mongolia, Korea, Columbia, and the NJ Path Conductors.

Last week students not born in the US were surprised that the obesity epidemic “snuck up” on Americans. So students looked at other countries, and those that focused on their home countries were surprised to find the epidemic at its roots.

Global trends in non US countries:

  • Japan is the least obese country, but not uniformly. In Okinawa, were Western lifestyle was introduced, obesity rates are at 50%.
  • Peer pressure keeps women at low BMI rates in Bogota, Columbia and the rest of Japan among women, but the reverse is true for men.
  • Depression and Korea and Japan are a growing problem, but not correlated to obesity the way this happens in the US.
  • In Columbia and Mongolia, governments have introduced efforts to discourage malnourishment – yet only a few years later the problem shifts to an increase in obesity.
  • Ethnographic observation of American work conditions vs. other countries reveals a profound difference in respect, dignity, and life experience. We compared the PATH train conductor to the Russian museum security guard with the Japanese shinkansen train conductor, and the connections between work, dignity, and obesity.

Here are class notes:

 

And next week’s assignment:

Write a one-page essay to be presented in class.

Assume someone you love has been prescribed a wearable device to track their glucose levels, heart rate, and emotional state, and the doctor is at a research organization asking for the data to be donated to a larger research effort.

What do you advise and why?

Would this change if the research study was also measuring the quality and quantity of interactions between caregivers (yourself) and your loved one?

 

Bodies and Buildings Class 2: Bodies and the Obesity Epidemic

Tracking the global 20-30 something at ITP.

No students have a TV.
No students use Foursquare (abandoned), or Swarm (never downloaded) but most still tethered to Facebook.
Half of students have paid money for in game purchases, up to $800 to keep up with virtual friends.
No one is actively wearing a fitness wearable.

Wow.

For next week:

When developing ideas and concepts for our student projects, and future projects, business ideas, and save-the-world ideas, we often start by designing for ourselves.

For this assignment, research a part of the world at a local level (city, state, province, county) that has a problem with obesity.

In a one page essay, describe the social, cultural, technological, economic, and other conditions of this region that may be contributing to a growth in the prevalence of obesity. Map the system of obesity in this country. What is the one recommendation you would make to government, business, or the citizens of this country to slow the growth of obesity.

 

Better by Measure Class at SVA’s Products of Design

Rebecca Silver and I are evolving our Products of Design experiment. From… teaching sustainable design as a silo… to teaching social, civic, and environmental design into startups and entrepreneurship.

Manifesto:

 

Syllabus below:

Better by Measure 

FALL 2014, SVA, PRODUCTS OF DESIGN

Shaping new business models to address environmental outcomes, social justice, and civil society

TEACHERS

  • Jen van der Meer: @jenvandermeer
  • Rebecca Silver: @rgsilver

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Bodies and Buildings Class 1: Intro to Systems Thinking

Have we reached the limits of growth:

 

Bodies are in trouble right now – despite reaching the peak of productivity the US now leads the world in the rampant growth of chronic diseases that lower life expectancy, and reduce life quality.

“People are living longer than projected in 1990 — on average, 10.7 more years for men, and 12.6 more years for women. But for many of them, the quality of life during those years is not good. On average, people are plagued by illness or pain during the last 14 years of life.”

Buildings account for the largest source of both electricity consumption (68% of global use) and greenhouse gas emissions (48% of global emissions) in the world. –UNEP.

Purpose of this course:

You are better equipped than MBAs to envision and build our way out of this trap, but often lack an understanding of the mega forces of business, regulation, and bad cultural habits that keep us from saving ourselves.

What we will cover in this course:

  • Meta view
  • Focus on points of intervention
  • Conceptual scaffolding

“Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in ‘leverage points.’ These are places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big change in everything .”

Introduction to Donella Meadows, and learning about stocks, flows, and hands on the faucets.

 

 

 

Bodies and Buildings NYU ITP Syllabus for 2014

Bodies and Buildings
Fall 2014 Syllabus
NYU ITP
Instructor: Jen van der Meer
jd1159 at nyu dot edu
Mondays 6:30 – 9:25 PM 721 Broadway at Waverly

Generative Spiral

Why is it so hard to care for our planet and ourselves? We seem hungover from a century of prosperity and ingenuity, unable to invent economic models that create jobs, improve health, and restore the earth. Eager ITP students are better equipped than MBAs to envision and hack our way out of this trap, but often lack an understanding of the mega forces of business, regulation, and bad cultural habits that keep us from saving ourselves. But don’t despair! We’ll get busy, and make things again – but also provide you with conceptual scaffolding upon which to build your world changing ideas.

Our tools of understanding include deep design thinking, and systems thinking. By focusing on two systems in particular: human bodies, and the buildings that humans make, we will examine the environmental and social impacts of the economic systems. Bodies are in trouble right now – despite reaching the peak of productivity the US now leads the world in the rampant growth of chronic diseases that lower life expectancy, and reduced life quality. Buildings are not in enough trouble – they account for the largest source of both electricity consumption (68% of global use) and greenhouse gas emissions (48% of global emissions) in the world.

In this course we will discover what Dana Meadows calls “leverage points” as places to intervene that would transform the system as a whole.

Goals:

This is a lecture course, and the syllabus is built to provide students with a systems thinking approach to problem solving. The objective for the final presentations is for students to generate a concept that can be applied to improve human health, building health, or both. The goal is for students to articulate a solution, and argue persuasively for ideas to become reality (vs. moving straight to working prototype in usual ITP fashion). Assignments will involve in person class presentation, and class participation is required. The course is structured to provide iterative opportunities to build and strengthen ideas – rooted in user-centered design, grounded in the realities of sustainable cost models and growth plans, validated by lean and iterative solution development, and strengthened by students’ ability to stand up and tell their stories.

dna

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When N = All

Open Data and the Future for Startups

I’m at Startupfest Montreal today – come join me to talk about The Future of Open Data:

The rise of open data sets released onto the public commons has accelerated the birth of new industries, and new companies. Emerging as a government activity, now private sector companies are joining the movement to publicly source data, and contribute previously hidden data sets to open science activities. While huge stores of data remain locked away for reasons of inertia, cost, or competitive advantage, every day we are confronted with new data sets that can change the shape of how we see industry, culture, and our future.

What opportunities for startups exist when the data available to learn about everything that we do approaches a sample size of N = all? When we no longer have to sample a small set of data, because we are able to access the firehose of everything, and everybody? What is possible? What is terrifying? What will matter. When data is abundant, accessible, and free, served to us a public utility, will we still have a winner-take-all technology culture?

After all nobody but a few of us data nerds actually want data. What we all crave are answers, and wisdom. How will your startup contribute?