The (re)human touch — optimising services for relational contact

Why (and how) we need to put meaningful relationships at the centre of service design solutions — for public wellbeing, for business success and for the mindset shift we all need to make for a sustainable future on planet Earth.

Everton Vila on Unsplash
“This is a genuinely brilliant piece of work” Dan Sutch, Director of CAST

As we systemise we dehumanise

The manifesto Deeper Everyday Connection below is the result of two years research and development, looking at the systems and services we all use every day, online and offline. It looks at the ways in which transport, work, social media, retail and others restrict us from having meaningful connections with each other. It outlines the negative impact this has on wellbeing and social cohesion as it reinforces the dominant (yet unsustainable) mindset of separation.

I found that small meaningful connections, or empathic interactions, which are viewed as ‘negative friction’ in many services we use, are celebrated and encouraged for economic benefit by a range of new services, including billion dollar businesses like Airbnb.

Deeper Everyday Connection unpicks the science behind empathic interaction and the economic, user and social value we can achieve if we optimise for meaningful connections across all manner of services and systems.

It outlines the new service design approach, Deepr, necessary to enable this and launches a peer design community dedicated to developing Deepr across sectors. Here it is:

DOWNLOAD THE PAPER HERE

Here’s what others are saying….

“The ideas underpinning Deepr represent a fundamental challenge to many efficiency-driven approaches to service design or system reform.” Tim Hobbs PhD, Director of the Dartington Service Design Lab
“I see Empathic Interaction — and Deepr — as having the potential to reach a deep leverage point, with many possible use cases and wide beneficial impacts.” David Bent, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity
“I love this” Helen Goulden, CEO of the Young Foundation
“Matthew is instigating the much needed dialogue that we, as designers and as humans, need to have about our clear responsibility to consciously design in empathy into our experiences of products and services.” Holly May Mahoney, Head of Design, Design Thinkers Academy
“Matthew’s ambitious initiative “Deeper Everyday Connection” is very timely. I hope that this leads to the design of great new services and systems in the sharing economy (and beyond) that can bring people together and combat a burgeoning problem of loneliness and isolation.” Rowan Conway, Director of Innovation and Development at the RSA
“I am impressed and inspired by Matt’s work. He is visionary in his thinking, understanding the fine interplay of technology and humanity.” Olivia Sibony, Head of SeedTribe Crowdfunding
“Seriously smart thinking” Jon Alexander, Co-founder of the New Citizenship Project