In our video we show our solution to the following problem: “How might we reduce the noise level for workers in a coworking space?”
In open spaces there are a lot of different noises that disrupt the employees’ concentration. Pen-clicking, moving chairs, people typing on keyboards, phone calls, music and loud conversations are just a few of them.
It was on the basis of these problems that we launched the “Leaf” project.
Leaf is an artificial intelligence which looks like a real houseplant. It provides a quiet and pleasant working environment by moving to the touch points in the room where the noise level is highest. From there, Leaf absorbs the extra sound. This allows employees in the vicinity to concentrate and work undisturbed.
In addition, Leaf’s color-changing ability is intended to draw attention to rising noise levels. At higher levels, the leaves change color from green to yellow and red. This feature is designed to help employees realize that they are too loud and should speak more quietly in order to return the plant to its original state and not disturb their colleagues.
A further advantage of Leaf is that it converts the absorbed sound into energy to supply itself and therefore requires no further power connection.
Leaf – the noise behind.
Another idea, which we could not cover due to the limited time frame, would have been the detection of odors. Just like a real plant, Leaf could provide fresh air by absorbing disturbing smells from certain food or drinks.
Based on the insights we gained from our interviews, we came to the following conclusion: “Too many people in an office massively reduce productivity and concentration”.
Employees are often distracted from their current task by a variety of background noises. Conversations only one table further away already lead to a reduced ability to concentrate and therefore interrupt a focused work environment. (Fig. 1). Our prototype in the form of an ordinary houseplant should help to solve this problem. Based on previously defined touch points, the plant moves to the largest source of disturbance in the room (Fig. 2). The resulting sound is absorbed by the plant and ensures that employees can concentrate again in their surroundings (Fig. 3). The sound is converted into energy so that no additional power source is required (Fig. 5).
Another feature is that the leaves can change their color. Depending on the volume, the leaves turn from green to yellow and then to red to inform employees of the current noise level (Fig. 6). This level is displayed in dB on the pot of the houseplant (Fig. 4).
“I don’t want to measure by 9-to-5, but by tasks that are done and goals that are achieved”. This thought by a young founder from a marketing agency shows that current developments in the labor market are moving away from the traditional job with eight-hour compulsory attendance. Employees want to work more flexibly. They want to work more flexibly instead of marking time in the office even though they have successfully completed their tasks.
Our focus with the user researches laid on how the different persons would describe their perfect job and how it might look in ten years. We were also very interested in the challenges digital workers are facing:
– the distribution of tasks internally,
– productivity and efficiency and
– the communication with colleagues working on the other side of the world.
The interviews show that rigid working models are outdated and that the digital industry is looking for alternative solutions.
In our research, we observed that the sense of community has played a big role in why customers visit the store. That is why we conclude that customers have the need for social interaction and community. We asked ourselves how we might create a sense of community in every type of store. That’s how we came up with our Concept which is in this case for a bookstore. But it is also easy to translate that into other types of stores.
The bookseller creates a book exchange event in his shop on a platform. The customers get a notification through the app. The special feature is that the app displays which books the other customers offer for exchange. You can scan your own books and also offer them for exchange. If the offer appeals to you, you can participate in the event. For this you pay a certain amount of money for which you get a coupon. In the store you can now exchange your books and look for new books and buy them with the coupon. Customers have the advantage that they can see which books are offered and only participate in the event if they are interested in the offer. In addition, they can meet other book lovers in the bookshop and talk with them. For the bookseller, the advantage is that people will become aware of the store through the book exchange event and buy something from the coupon if they participate in it. The next step would be to introduce this concept to the user group to see how they like the idea. If a few retailers are interested, we can create a prototype and test it. Through interviews and evaluations, we can get feedback on the prototype and implement the feedback. This is an iterative process and can be repeated often.
After some User Research our team agreed that the sense of community is a good opportunity for retailers. We have developed some ideas on how to create such a sense of community. With some Design Thinking methods, we developed an idea that met our requirements.
With our app, booksellers can organize book exchange events. People who no longer want to read their old books can offer their books on the app, browsing through the available books from other customers. If you are happy with the book selection, then you can take part in the book exchange events for a certain fee. For the fee you get a voucher from the respective bookstore. You can exchange your old book in the bookstore and buy a new one with the voucher. During all this process you can meet new or old people and talk about the books.
While online shopping is growing in the market, retailers had to improve or change their concepts to attract customers to come and visit their stores. Our user research is all be about retail experiences and their opportunities and challenges.
Through five observations and interviews with different retail staff and manager we had a great insight in their working process and interactions with the customers. We wanted to know why people come to their stores and if there is something that can be improved in order to make a special shopping experience. There are always new challenges for the retail stores because there is much competition in this industry. As a retailer, you should be able to keep up with trends and the customer expectations. But people still value the personal support and advice that they get from the retail staff. Moreover, finding a good technology for the retail industry is not always easy and challenging, too.
We are really looking forward to the results of our project.
EVA is a programming environment for every teacher, who is unable to find the right teaching materials for his or her lessons in the huge amount of materials available. The main goals are to let students write good tools for efficient learning, using the programmed tools for education, and to give the students an understanding of basic programming.
EVA is intuitive: First you select your target group, then your subject. With plugins from the ministry of education the correctness of the provided contents is guaranteed. Particular emphasis was given to intuitive usability allowing for easy access to the tool regardless of the user’s skill. The user can choose between a fully fledged IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for advanced users and sandbox mode in which younger and inexperienced pupils can arrange predefined blocks of code via drag and drop.
EVA has many benefits: The teacher is freed from the extensive research for teaching material and at the same time his classes’ content is guaranteed to comply with the guidelines from the ministry of education. Also, the classes will be more fascinating by interdisciplinary educational methods. That leads to more motivated students who can also actively take part in the arrangement of class. And of course the students learn how to program in a very early state.
For making EVA ready for the market there must be taken a few steps: First, the idea has to be refined. Then, there should be feasibility studies. After this, if there is a need for EVA, we can start a collaboration with different schools and the ministry of education, to bring EVA into schools.