How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next

A thought provoking piece by William Davies in today’s Guardian discusses the role of “big data” in the societal change which has lead to the current negative public mood in relation to statistics, experts and governments.

The piece traces the history of statistics as a vehicle for liberal debate and as a tool for governmental policy from the enlightenment to the present day. It highlights how the limitations associated with data categories and data averaging are providing opportunities for today’s anti-expert and anti-liberal rhetoric.

The piece further highlights the challenges created by a world where the most useful pattern identifying and trend identifying tools are the commercial property of private companies, which have little or no incentive to share the societal insights and persona definitions with the press of with public bodies.

Opportunities: Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship

Brunel University has just announced top-up support for applicants who wish to apply for a Leverhulme Trust Early Stage Career Fellowship. The funding for early career researchers can permit the development of a significant programme of research which assists the individual to launch their academic career. Multiple opportunities are available for innovative new research in areas of Human Centred Design for individuals who qualify for the funding. The university submission deadline is November 25th 2016.

For further innovation regarding the university submission process see:

And for further information regarding the Leverhulme eligibility criteria see:

AutoHabLab: a new approach to automotive co-design

UXPA Giacomin

Like most human habitats the automobile is characterised by multiple perceptions, emotions and social interactions. Drivers and passengers “live” and “socially interact” in their vehicles and thanks to mobile telephony and big-data they increasingly interact in a complex way with machines and with other people across both space and time. Given the sophistication of the context, it would be simplistic to continue to consider the motor vehicle as an environment characterised mostly by the performance of the driving task.

The recent UXPA event “The Changing Nature of Automotive UX” addressed automotive design from a human centred design perspective, and discussed a set of issues and techniques whose focus is firmly on the human needs, desires and experiences which are critical to current and future vehicles. The speakers were Joseph Giacomin of Brunel University HCDI, Rhodri Jones of Bentley and Farnaz Nickpour of Brunel University HCDI.




Automotive Habitat Laboratory Published


The first academic paper describing the new Automotive Habitat Laboratory has now been published and is downloadable from:

AutoHabLab is a large and ambitious project which is creating a technologically mediated co-design tool for motor industry professionals.

Key characteristics of the AutoHabLab include the ability to run “virtual workshops” with drivers and passengers on the road in real time, and a total focus on the events and scenarios which stimulate people’s emotional responses.

The ability to circumvent the difficulties of human long term memory which cloud and distort nearly all current design activities, and the ability to isolate the emotion stimulating characteristics of the vehicle and of the environment, render the AutoHabLab an exciting new way of co-designing with the public.






Syria Post-War Housing: Winners

matterbetter initiated the “Syria: Post-War Housing” competition for architectural students and professionals. Participants were asked to propose a solution for the housing crisis which will affect the country as refugees return.
The International Jury consisted of Urko Sanchez, Dick van Gameren, Felix Madrazo, Riccardo Luca Conti, Laurens Bekemans, Rune Asholt, Cristina Cassandra Murphy and Daria Polozkova.
matterbetter received 245 submissions.
The list of winners and the jury statements have now been released.


Dyslexic Design

The designjunction exhibition will play host to the inaugural Dyslexic Design, which explores the connection between dyslexia and the creative industries. The project, in support of the British Dyslexia Association, is to celebrate dyslexic designers’ work over five days during the London Design Festival.

More than 10 leading designers from multiple design disciplines including product, fashion, illustration, home decor and fine art – all of whom are dyslexic – will showcase their work in a stunning temporary curated exhibition at designjunction. Confirmed designers include: Sebastian Bergne, Terence Woodgate, Kristjana S Williams, Tom Raffield, Tina Crawford, Rohan Chhabra, Vitamin, and Jim Rokos.

European Academy of Design Conference 2017: Design for Next

The European Academy of Design (EAD) is calling for proposals for its 12th conference, “Design for Next.” Hosted by Sapienza University of Rome in Italy, the conference aims to foster discussion among designers, academics and experts about the articulated scenario of contemporary design and its perspectives, with intent to nurture diversity and interdisciplinarity. The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2016.