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22 March 12:00 - 15:30The Main Hall at DOGA

Join us at DOGA for an afternoon of inspiration and debate.

Registration and coffee

Opening remarks

Rachel Abrams: First people, then policy, then technology

Talk details forthcoming. In this talk, you’ll learn why the smartest cities are those that pay attention to people and policy, as well as embrace technology.

Balder Onarheim: Designing focus

The world around us is designed to steal our attention, making our brains lazy and our attention span shorter. Balder will talk about the concept of constraints and creativity, and how we can use neuroscience to design solutions that are not stealing, but enhancing, the attention of our users.


Coffee, refreshments and a chance to try the PlatoWork Headset yourself

Chris Atherton: Cognitive Fables for the Digital Age

Are we really better informed than previous generations? To what extent can we usefully interpret science for our own ends? Should we be worried about our attention dwindling? Chris will talk about some ways we as designers and as citizens can think more clearly and declutter our conversations.

14:00—14:30 :: Via video from New York
Justin Smith: It's all over

The old world is crumbling. Pre-internet institutions are struggling to make their presence felt in social media. Aspiring politicians from the left and the right are voted into office as a result of their social-media activity, and their interest in gaining office at all can easily seem like little more than part of a broader strategy to expand their social-media following. Even the Pope has taken to Tweeting, in what may be variously interpreted as a hip updating of a dusty old institution, or as a desperate bid to stay relevant in a world that equates an absence of online metrics, of clicks and likes and follows, with non-existence itself.

At the same time, even if some of the legislators and pontiffs of the world do succeed in making the move online, for all those who do not represent institutions —all the citizens, all the free and irreducible human subjects— the online world as it has been built up until now is a confining, disfiguring, compromising place. The same algorithms that keep extremely-online politicians afloat on their clicks, that enable them to project their platforms directly to the people, in turn force citizens and subjects to think of their individual lives, and to present themselves in the public space (which is now identical to the internet), as if they themselves had platforms, as if individual human beings were clusters of talking points.

This is yet another down-side, among very many such down-sides, of the newly emergent surveillance capitalism that is shaping up to be the basic structure of our social life in the 21st century: as the algorithms break our behaviour and opinions down into data-points and repackage human beings as clusters of such data-points, they are threatening to destroy the basic model of human subjectivity as it has developed over the past several centuries: one that allows for uncertainty in the form of wonder and doubt, one that can accommodate incongruous or even incompatible elements in the same person’s vision of the world, one that, as has been said of love, ‘has no measure’.

Is there a silver lining? Or is there any hope of disrupting these dire trends? We’ll try to answer these questions in today’s discussion.

Jeff Sussna: Beyond the Designer As Auteur

In this age of complexity and wicked problems, unintended consequences are inescapable. It’s not possible to truly know how our designs will behave until people use them for real. We create affordances, but can’t guarantee those affordances will keep the promises we intend. As a result, we need to go beyond the notion of the designer as auteur.

This talk will explore design as a continuous process of making and repairing promises. It will describe the inspiration designers can take from DevOps and industrial safety about seeking out and learning from failure rather than trying to ban it.

It will present the view that operations needs to be an input to design and not just its output, and that organizations must continuously redesign themselves as part of redesigning the services they operate.

Closing remarks

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Location: DOGA's Main Hall

IxDA Oslo is pleased to present our March meetup at the Main Hall at DOGA – the same great space where we held our sold-out Design Systems Meetup back in February.

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Rachel Abrams
Associate Principal in Foresight and Design Strategy, Arup

London born and raised, Rachel Abrams is Associate Principal in Foresight and Design Strategy at the leading global consultancy for the built environment, Arup

Based in New York since 2000, she worked at IBM as an information architect for, for experience designers, Imagination, and, in 2006, founded Turnstone Consulting, which she ran for over a decade. Turnstone’s practice was focused on placemaking, design strategy and visual storytelling.

Since her 2013 visit to IxDA Oslo to talk about Walk NYC, Rachel has helped to define virtual reality, live-illustrated at the UN General Assembly and has recently started to redesign the design of airports.

 She will present on Friday, exploring why we should care less about technology and more about people and policy: riffing on and flipping John F. Kennedy’s call to action, she asks not what we can do for technology but what it should be doing for us.

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Balder Onarheim
Co-founder and CEO, PlatoScience NeuroStimulation

Balder Onarheim is a serial entrepreneur and former associate professor in creativity at the Technical University of Denmark. He is the founder of the Copenhagen Institute of NeuroCreativity and CEO at PlatoScience: making the world’s first headset for boosting brain activity. 

Balder’s expertise lies within a neurologically based understanding of creativity, and methods to use this understanding to make people better problem solvers. He is a popular speaker with talks at prestigious conferences and universities around the world, and more than 450 000 people have seen his TEDx talk 3 tools to become more creative.

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Chris Atherton
Designer & Cognitive Neuroscientist

Chris Atherton works with interaction design, service design, and structured content. She has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience, and a very short attention span. She has worked in academia and as a software consultant, getting paid to to ask questions, learn things, and solve the right problems. Chris is currently a designer at

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Justin E. H. Smith
Professor of Philosophy, Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7

Justin E. H. Smith is a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Paris 7 - Denis Diderot.

His books include Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of ReasonThe Philosopher: A History in Six Types, and more. An editor at large of Cabinet Magazine, he also writes frequently for the New York TimesHarper’s Magazine, and other publications.

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Jeff Sussna
Founder, Sussna Associates

Jeff Sussna is an internationally recognized IT coach and design thinking practitioner.  He specializes in helping digital organizations build continuous learning cultures. His career spans thirty years of building systems and leading organizations across the entire product development and operations spectrum. 

Jeff provides Agile, DevOps, and Design Thinking coaching and workshops for leading enterprises, technology companies, and software services.

Jeff is a highly respected teacher, writer, and speaker. His keynote talks and workshops are in demand at design and IT conferences throughout the U.S. and Europe.

He is especially known for introducing the global DevOps community to the importance of empathy, and is the author of Designing Delivery: Rethinking IT In the Digital Service Economy

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Organized by

IxDA Oslo

IxDA Oslo is generously supported by

Image shows the logos of IxDA Oslo's 20 sponsors