We need to solve problems for both individuals and organizations to make this happen.
What problems does the hi:project aim to solve for people?
Today, people are unsure of and uneasy about the information organizations hold on them, or what sort of monitoring is going on in the background. We have a privacy crisis. Clarity and comprehension are thwarted by multiple, inconsistent and too often poor user interfaces, none of which are tailored to our specific digital, numerical, information and visual literacy. And very few adapt to more than a narrow range of disabilities.
What’s more, with the advent of the Internet of Things, there are ever increasing things to interface with. And last but by no means least, there’s no way to visualize or understand information spanning organizations. It’s as if your life can only be viewed as a collection of brand oriented siloes.
What problems does the hi:project aim to solve for organizations?
Organizations view UI as a costly risk encompassing different devices and different users with different expectations and abilities, yet they must also build brand trust by being more open, more accessible, and more helpful, particularly as trust correlates to customer loyalty and future revenues.
They’re wondering how to deploy new technologies without effecting hyper-surveillance. Those operating in the EU are concerned with compliance with the pending General Data Protection Regulation.
When greater simplicity is offered to organizations today it’s typically accompanied by intermediation – an entity getting between the organization and the people that matter to it, and probably one that puts its own motivations first.
Here are six primary motivators for direct corporate participation.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The EU citizen cannot be best served by a panoply of enterprise IT solutions for her side of things (the clue is in the name, “enterprise IT”). The response to the regulation is non-differentiating, requiring the formation of an open community and the development of open technology. More on the hi:project and the GDPR here.
Internet of things
The hi:project enables the Internet of Things to realise its potential as a marvellous instrumentation of the planet, and a fantastic sensory network, by reducing the risk of it being, or being perceived as, an Orwellian dystopia. Everything gets an interface because the citizen brings her own. By putting power in everyone’s hands, those organizations with a vested interest in all things #IoT can contribute and derive the value more quickly.
Competitive motivations may play a role. The hi:project will likely challenge the dynamics of some markets where a few dominant players have centralized the action to their advantage.
Attracted to the potential to forge disintermediated relationships with customers and citizens.
Design and accessibility
Companies for whom design is a core competence – not so much UI in the narrow but design in its broadest gamut. And when it comes to accessibility, here’s what the UK Business Disability Forum has to say:
We believe the hi:project has the potential to dramatically improve interaction in the digital space for the many millions of people who are already disabled and the millions more who will become disabled as they age. For some people in this group the benefits could literally be life changing.
The hi:project empowers people and how can enlightened corporates fail to take a shining to that? Corporate support of the hi:project may then be perfectly aligned with your company’s mission, vision and values, perhaps from a CSR perspective.
The ideas and goals of the hi:project have been bubbling away for several years – more than a few harking way back into the last century – and went public in its current form September 10th 2014. We know we’ve come a long way based on the immediate and enthusiastic reactions people have to the synthesis here.
In some respects we’ve done a lot of work already getting to grips with the social and the technical, understanding market mechanics and motivations, identifying key trends and joining more than a few dots. Critically, we have the shoulders of giants to stand on in fields spanning Internet architecture, Web architecture, human-computer interaction, sociology and organizational design, social business and digital transformation, cybernetics, vendor relationship management, public relations excellence model, and more besides.
We have quite a few people in emotional states ranging from the quietly lurking to the ** OMG this is awesome **. And of course the news in the media and too often about the media is doing us proud by constantly highlighting the flaws in the current system.
But it remains early days. We don’t yet have a massive, global community of developers and designers doing the do – only you can help us make that happen, one person at a time. The rather wide gap between here and there will be crossed by a band of incredibly determined people who would rather see the future we’ve started to scope here come to fruition than live with the status quo.
Given the emphasis on building a team where the sum of the parts does one of those things that surprises everyone, we don’t intend to bang on about founders much. However, we’re aware that people usually want to know who’s behind initiatives like this and who’s doing everything possible to get this off the ground and heading in the right direction.
The hi:project’s main champion is Philip Sheldrake (@sheldrake). A chartered engineer, Philip is a consultant and author in the fields of social business, marketing and public relations, specifically focused on the behaviors, qualities and values encompassed in the hi:project’s ambition. He’s also a director of techUK, a non-profit that “represents the companies and technologies that are defining today the world that we will live in tomorrow.” He has been involved in a number of Internet and Web related things over the years including a stint as a UK champion for the new Internet protocol, IPv6.
Rob Macredie, Nic Hinton, Gabbi Cahane, Jay O’Connor, Hector Arthur, David Orban, Dame Wendy Hall, Ian Brown, Steve Taylor, Christina Bowen and Jeremy Ruston deserve mention here for their early and continued support and critical eye.