Friday, September 28, 2012

Developing standards of trust across share-based services

This article by Paul Davis outlines the current challenges in creating trust across today's share-based services. With a mix of face-to-face and digital technologies, there’s a chance for a significant upgrade in our capacity to judge trustworthiness — and make that new capacity broadly available. The problem, he states, is that currently services each have their own methods and metrics for identifying the trustiworthiness of a participant. If we are to build a new economy based on share-based services and activities though we need methods and standards that can serve as an umbrella across those services. In today's wild west, the fact that each service uses its own system acts a disincentive for individuals because for every new service they engage with, they must jump through a unique set of hoops, pay another fee and release additional pieces of information in order to get to the prize. Over time, participants burn out and feel the pinch of proving their reputation before they even get to the service itself.

Reputation-based data aggregaters such as Trust Cloud and Legit Reputation Group are each taking this issue head on. In one combination or another they use verification of existence, transactional history, criminal histories, and social activity as their building blocks for defining reputation.

Critical questions for the group become how in any way do these data miners redefine a civic and democratic society? What conformity is mandatory in order to participate? What trade-off comes with that conformity?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

OurGoods: A barter network for the creative community

I have the good fortune of being on a panel this weekend at the ICEA Conference with one of the founders of OurGoods--a public service platform to support bartering within and among a community of creative makers and doers. In their words, "OurGoods exists so that creative people can help each other produce independent projects. More work gets done in networks of shared respect and shared resources than in competitive isolation. By honoring agreements and working hard, members of OurGoods will build lasting ties in a community of enormous potential."

I love these folks. The emphasis here is on honor, collaboration, and mutual respect. Driven by social and human values, they speak to the idea of industry, hard work and improvement. It's a brilliant service using a thorough and thoughtful process to bring talent together in an open, negotiable and mutually respectful way. What I'm particularly drawn to is their careful consideration on explaining how the process works, so people can confidently engage in new practices. Bartering may seem like a familiar idea because of it's informal nature. But OurGoods is very clear in explaining that bartering is very different than gifting. Bartering is a process of negotiation and expectation setting. There are rules involved that support trustworthy and satisfying transactions and interactions. 

I appreciate too the tone they use throughout their whole service: one that is clear, convivial, and inclusive. There is clear thought that has gone into their values and how they play out throughout and across their service. This service is a real inspiration and important case study for anyone interested in putting together a similar service or project centered around negotiation and resource sharing.

The Drawing Board: Lyrical Travel

At Cooper, where I work, we find that looking at the world from the perspective of people and their goals causes us to notice a lot of bad interactions in our daily lives. We can’t help but pick up a whiteboard marker to scribble out a better idea. We put together "The Drawing Board", a series of narrated videos, to showcase some of this thinking. These aren’t meant to be slick, highly-produced demos—just some ideas we’ve thrown up on the board to stimulate thought and discussion. So enjoy. Discuss. Design.
This Drawing Board was inspired by Experimental Travel, also called Latourex, in which travelers play “games” that determine what they do and how they might do it while on the road. We are enamored of this idea, and wondered how it would translate to a service design with a mobile experience.
Nobody likes to feel like a tourist. When we look for guidance from typical sources, it can feel like we're all working off the same script and we're still not connecting to the real place. In this episode, we explore how people can use chance to find inspiration and authentic experiences when they travel.

Credits: Chris Noessel, Greg Schuler, Christina Worsing