Tracy Ross from Loughborough University has been watching the posted ideas with keen interest. She is part of the Ideas in Transit project team which is supporting the GeoVation Challenge and Loughborough will be one of the Universities working with the winners. Ideas in Transit is studying how grass-roots innovations could have a positive impact on sustainable transport behaviours. The expertise of the Ideas in Transit team at Loughborough is in user-centred design and their skills will be available to the winners. Tracy says ‘We have had contact with many established ‘grass-roots’ innovators over the course of the project and have learnt a lot about what motivates them, enables success, and what barriers they have come across. GeoVation is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with innovators at the start of the process and bring our knowledge of how to engage with, and respond to, end users and their requirements. We found that many of the established innovators we spoke to had a good grasp of end user needs and that was a key to their success.’
Tracy is a Research Fellow at Loughborough Design School and works in the area of ‘connected futures’, making sure that applications enabled in this always-connected, always-located era, actually do what users want them to. Recent advances in digital technologies and networks, in particular web applications that facilitate information sharing, interoperability and collaboration via the world wide web (Web 2.0), have opened up new possibilities for innovative individuals. Applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Flickr, OpenStreetMap (as well as opened-up software development kits and open-source software) enable new ways (and new people) to innovate, collaborate and distribute ideas. Adding the skills from user-centred design to these new possibilities offers significant opportunities for new ways to tackle the challenges of transport in the UK.
You can see some of Tracy’s comments on the ideas on the GeoVation Challenge Forum.