In summer 2014 I was invited to give a presentation at the New Mobility Design Congress in Esslingen. The title of my presentation was “Building Blocks of Future Mobility”. The individual building blocks show the contribution that design can make to the engineering of future mobility systems. My focus here is on design methods and values that can help in the design of complex, networked mobility services. In this post, I would like to summarize and share the main ideas of the presentation.
With every smart phone, with every networked vehicle and with every mobility platform, the range of possibilities for future mobility is growing exponentially. How can we develop innovative, simple products and services within such a complex mesh of relations of networked objects? During our work in the field of urbanity and mobility, we at Intuity have collected values that guide us in the development of new products:
We divide complex problems into smaller questions and answer them individually. We structure the answers so that they can be combined with other modules. We design open interfaces for our answers. Openness can manifest itself in various forms; for example, as open APIs for software applications, or as freely combinable elements for product systems.
Freely combinable modules make it possible to put together larger systems quickly and easily. Alongside this systematic perspective of simplicity, also the user’s perspective lies close to our heart. We are convinced that only simple products that are intuitive to understand can be successful on the market!
The simplicity with which the modules can be combined allows us to approach difficult challenges playfully and creatively. In this way many different variants can quickly be played out. Those which look most promising are then tested and selected in an evolutionary process.
The values described above largely derive from software development. Software developers already have a wealth of experience in dealing with complex systems. We should use this experience and transfer it to the development of innovative services in the area of mobility and beyond. These values make it possible within a complex environment to develop simple, valid services and products that help companies to master the future.
„This is the Unix philosophy: Write programs that do one thing and do it well. Write programs to work together. Write programs to handle text streams, because that is a universal interface.”