Walker, Steve; Bell, Simon; Jackson, Adrian and Heery, Daniel
Imagine real avatars and flying shepherds: involvement and engagement in innovative ICT.
In: 12th Participatory Design Conference, 14-16 Aug 2012, Roskilde, Denmark (forthcoming).
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This paper takes as its starting point Kyng’s (2010) challenges for future participatory design practices in the context of a technology landscape which has changed enormously since the emergence of both ‘Scandinavian’ PD and the participatory politics of 1960s US radicalism. We describe the Infinite Bandwidth, Zero Latency (IBZL)) project, from its use of the ‘Imagine’ workshop method to envisage potential technological futures, through to its involvement of stakeholder representatives and potential users in assessing one such vision of potential technological ‘futures’, the ‘real avatar’’. IBZL was originally conceived as an intervention in policy debates in the UK about the significance and potential of ‘next generation’ or ‘superfast’ broadband networks, and as a way of mobilizing wider audiences to consider the possibility of innovative applications of them. By their very nature, the significance of these networks transcends particular workplaces. This case study describes responses to several of the challenges for PD practice raised by Kyng, including the roles of companies, intellectual property, funding, the involvement of social actors as users, the engagement of users in multiple roles.
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