Data and AI Service design

Baidu’s Artificial Intelligence Lab Unveils Synthetic Speech System

Communicating with computers by natural speech is a dream which goes back to Star Trek and 2001 (and well beyond, but this is not a history of science fiction). Recently, there have been clear advances in how computers understand humans – Alexa, Siri and their friends, as well as the new levels of call centre hell. But computers speaking to humans still sound robotic, because they are chaining words together and the intonation never sounds quite right. But now that’s changing too, with speech being constructed on the computationally intensive fly. And that may be important not just in its own right but as a step towards more fundamental changes in how people and machines interact with each other.

MIT Technology Review

Service design

Adventures in policy land

A digital strategist and service designer casts an almost anthropological eye on how things get done in government. Drawing on experience in the NHS and DWP, there are some particularly good insights into why the early formative stages of policy making should be agile but definitely not Agile and (towards the end) into the relationship between policy and service design.

Sophie Dennis

Data and AI Service design

Data and service design

A great set of slides  on the need for data-driven service design – a set of pithy one liners, but adding up to a powerful manifesto for doing things differently.

Kit Collingwood – Service Design in Government

Organisational change Service design

Policy v5.127: Could government make services like Dyson makes vacuum cleaners?

A good summary of the people and methods bringing design thinking into government, with mini case studies of where it’s starting to make a difference. The provocative question in the title never quite gets answered, but there is a bit of a flavour that while there’s been a lot of progress in some areas, the vacuum cleaner of government itself hasn’t moved far beyond version 1.0.

John Lapping – Pieria

Data and AI Service design

In praise of cash

Does paying for things by card (and phone and watch and…) represent liberation from the need to carry coins around and enable faster, simpler transactions? Or is it a dangerous slide towards the privatisation of money and the advent of universal financial surveillance? And, most importantly it seems, can you get a coke from a machine when you want one?

Brett Scott – Aeon

Service design

A view from the other side: perspectives on an emergent design culture in Whitehall

An academic case study of the first year of the Cabinet Office Policy Lab, reflecting on how civil servants see design thinking and the emergence of a design culture for policy. That leads to some interesting reflections on the traditonal model (and culture) of policy making, the power of words (particularly when elegantly assembled), and the difficulty of introducing what may appear to be frivolity to the policy making process.

Jocelyn Bailey and Peter Lloyd – Uscreates/University of Brighton

Behavioural science Service design

The new science of designing for humans

Behavioural science meets service design meets engineering. Some interesting ideas (though the experimental guinea pigs are, as so often, students – that might, or might not, tell us much about the wider population.

Piyush Tantia – Stanford Social Innovation Review