new york times

Let's Pizza Service

In Italy, the vending machine even makes pizza! Over the last decade, Mr. Torghele, 56, an entrepreneur in this northern Italian city who first made money selling pasta in California, has developed a vending machine that cooks pizza. The machine does not just slip a frozen pizza into a microwave. It actually whips up flour, water, tomato sauce and fresh ingredients to produce a piping hot pizza in about three minutes. 65948_5479

Tomato paste is squirted onto the dough and cheese is added before it is lifted into a small infrared oven. The baked pizza then slips onto a cardboard tray and out into the customer’s waiting hands. Mr. Torghele says the pizza will cost as little $4.50, depending on the variety.

Sounds wonderful in some ways, yet in designing this service they have removed people, conversation and patience...

Emerging breed: Service and Social

Alice Hawthorn discusses Creative Solutions in Tough Times in the International Herald Tribune "...the recession will also create opportunities for designers to help us to adjust to economic austerity. Consumers will still want to score sustainability points, but to save money while doing so. The new cadre of "service designers," who apply design thinking to help organizations structure themselves more efficiently and behave differently, will be called upon to develop new business models to address this.

The economic crisis has also squashed any lingering doubts about the urgency of finding new ways to address acute social problems more efficiently - from caring for the expanding elderly population, to improving the management of over-stretched health care services. This newfound realism is already benefiting the emerging breed of "social designers."

Another question is whether designers are ready to respond to these challenges, as "service" and "social" design involve very different skills to conventional design practice..."

Thanks Nick!

Talking family

This article from the NewYork Times is written by a mother who is hurt her children won't friend her on facebook. The author receives mixed feedback, I was really surprised by the number of parents who have joined facebook purely to keep tabs on their kids. I can't help thinking this is another example of technology eating away at our relationships and fundamental social skills. Surely if you have a good relationship with your children and frequent conversations...facebook should be the least of parents worry?

The comments got me thinking about family life: a core aspect of life which is being explored at Participle. I often think about how tough it must be to be a parent and a friend at the same time. Trust is developed over years and a cherished part of any relationship...parents shouldn't be spying on thier kids online?!

However, my thoughts trail to the positive when I discover a reader is friends with his 87 year old grandfather on facebook...

Another interesting one "Not on Call", the author, Lisa Belkin, discussing one of the many disconcerting parts of raising a teen, is that your home phone doesn’t ring. In my teens, the phone ringing and mum getting to chat to the caller for the four seconds it took me to fly downstairs was important. It was an insight into my social circle.

Boys in their twenty-somethings are the last generation who will have to call a house phone to talk to a girl, coping with the fear that her dad may answer...when my dad was younger the phone box across from their house rang and the 'picker-upper' chapped their front door. Back then, everyone in the street could monitor your social life.

With all this in mind I am alarmed at the autors revelation:

"My children talk with their fingers."

A great blog overall!