🏆 Gold Winner of the Creative Conscience Awards 🎉
Motivation

This project was an opportunity to delve deep into speculative design and design for social progress, an area of personal interest. This project was in-fact a competiton submission aimed at addressing conscious consumerism to reduce our environmental impact as individual consumers. Through a complex and thorough research journey, it was established that the true barrier towards impactful conscious consumerism lies within our political structure itself. Which the proposal of LoudVoices aimes to tackle and provoke a discussion.

Is it time for a new type of democracy?

LoudVoices

A speculative design project aimed at envisioning what the future of democracy could look like in the digital age. LoudVoices leverages theories of Liquid democracy, Blockchain and AI in order to re-establish trust and effectiveness.
Duration
1 Year


Key Skills
Speculative Design
Interaction Design
Visual Design
Research
Insights

Project type
Individual Uni project

The Problem


In the midst of the climate crisis, citizens are consuming at unsustainable rates. Yet those who are mindful of their consumption result in little impact.

Expecting the private sector to voluntary shift towards a sustainable industry is ineffective.

What is needed is government action and legislation. Yet our current system is broken. Trust has been erroded between citizens and leaders. Whereby money, power and popularity presides over what is best for the community and nation.

Research Journey


This project was one of the most thorough research journeys I have undertaken. I approached it with a mindset of attempting to truly understand the core motivations of the problem and why the consumer industry has long struggled to deal with addressing climate change. A mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods helped uncover the human values and user needs in order to better engage individuals with this cause.

Progression to primary research

Key stages in my secondary research highlighted assumptions and gaps in insights and knowledge. This was then used identify what I wanted to obtain in my primary research:

Research excercises from IDEO's method cards

I then identified which research methods were most appropriate for primary research:

- An interview: Used to understand qualitatively the motivations and values of consumers, their priorities and what influences their behaviours.

- A personal inventory: This would provide an insight to the values of consumers.

- A card sorting exercise: which provides a more interactive approach to answering interview questions and enables me to assess the thought process of consumers.

I selected 4 students aged between 20-26 and conducted a 1 hour interview with semi-structured questions and a 30 minute card sorting exercise. The exercise evaluated the consumer’s thoughts on relative impact, personal impact and preparedness to implement.

Insights

Ideas explored

LoudVoices development

LoudVoices experienced several design developments, each iteration was placed in front of users to evaluate key functionalities and information architecture. A "Living the interface" workshop was conducted at the final iteration aimed at simulating the whole concept experience without the need for a digital prototype. The objective of the workshop was to understand whether or not the concepts of liquid democracy were easily comprehensible enough by new users.

The Outcome
LoudVoices is a a modern interface for a new type of democracy leveraging AI and theories of Liquid Democracy in order to re-establish trust, effectiveness and engagemnent within our community. This system change will enable us to make better decisions on the most pressing concern facing upcoming generations, climate change.

Blockchain will be leveraged to ensure that a secure platform built on trust is enabled. Whilst Artificial Intelligence will be used to support an objective decision making process when delegating votes.

Liquid Democracy

A hybrid between representational democracy and direct democracy. Engaging those who wish to be engaged and trusts those who represent us.


Delegates instead of representatives

Assign and change delegates at any time

Any citizen can be delegated

Users can override delegates and vote directly

Artificial Intelligence

"All the traits that make politicians human also make them questionable decision-makers and legislators in the eyes of the public." - Kim Nilsson : Forbes

In this proposal, a personalised AI algorithm is used to support the citizen with an objective perspective. The AI then recommends you the best vote and combines this with your personal biases.

This helps reduce effort and time, whilst also ensuring that an educated choice is made. A high level of user control over the AI is ensured to maintain security.

An AI Model optimised for Recall (Classifies all true positives but captures some false positives)

Conclusion

This project has been a insightful opportunity to delve in a domain I am both passionate about, and desperately need of attention. It was a wonderful opportunity to leverage new research methods to uncover insights in a challenging, human-psychology domain. I let the project flow naturally and was myself surprised by the outcome. And please to have approached this challenge through a speculative proposal with the aim of getting people to think differently.

I would love to have had more time to further prototype and test this proposal. One challnge I faced doing this, is making sure the user is able to conceptualise the idea in a simple, intuitive manner. More could be done to achieve this.
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gillard.arnaud@gmail.com
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Scatter Chart

I then processed the data into a scatter chart. It allowed me to understand the correlations between what people are prepared to do and how direct the secondary impacts are to them.

The main insight generated from this is that actions perceived to be low in effort, but directly affecting consumers tend to be the most easily adopted. Whereas level of relative impact doesn’t seem to be a significant consideration.

This project is part of a competition submission to the 2020 Creative Conscience Awards
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