Drew Cogbill | Thesis Blog

works in progress.

Jan Chipchase, “Our cell phones, ourselves”

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I’ve been interested in Chipchase and his work for some time now.  His blog is available at www.janchipchase.comThis talk sums up lots of his work.

The most important thing that Chipchase talks about, for me, is how a cell phone becomes a source of identity in a mobile world.  I’ve certainly have always felt a connection to those that matter to me carrying different phones with the same phone number since I was 15.  I think it has certainly allowed me to travel more freely and with less worry.  I wonder if mobile phones enable people or kids to travel outside of their village with more confidence than they would have before.  In St. Lucia I was told kids get their cell phones during their early teen years.  I think this is less prevalent in Belize, but I want to do some asking around about it.

Chipchase also brings up mobile banking and emphasizes the idea of every phone as an ATM.  This, he says, is particularly important for people who may not have enough money to be considered a viable customer for a bank.  Banks are extremely tedious to use here in Belize in my experience.  Lines are long and there’s lots of checking with higher-ups for approval.  I wonder how the immediacy and connivence of using a phone as a source of money will change accepted banking practices.

Lastly, Chipchase talks about how the things we carry are designed to meet our most basic needs and desires; we carry keys, money, and phones giving us access to shelter, food, and “an ability to transcend space and time” or to be able to communicate with people that are far away.  Keeping in mind these basic needs seems will be an important litmus test in prototyping.

planet earth: 6.3 billion
cell phone connected: 3.3 billion

- “What do you carry?”
- keys, money, and mobile phones are the big ones
- Why keys, money and mobile phones?
- for survival for us and our cell phone
- these are at the bottom rungs of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- phones help you transcend space and time
- but a mobile phone is personal and convenient
- but humans forget
- point of reflection- the pocket tap moment
- center of gravity- where you keep these objects
- 799 million illiterate in 2004
- if you can’t read and write you need a way to manage contact information
- illiterate people are masters of delegation, they ask others to do it
- Ugana- sente, means ‘money’ or ‘to send money as air time’ - buy a prepaid card, read number to village phone operator, operator takes commission and then passes the rest in cash to another person
- this turns everyone’s phone into an ATM
- this is very elegantly designed and in tune with local need
- difference here from grameen, etc., is that there is no central authority
-phone numbers written above a house instead of house numbers
- people’s identities are mobile with a mobile phone.
- What will it be like when everyone is connected?
1. The immediacy of ideas.
2. The immediacy of objects.
3. The street will innovate beyond intention
4. Conversations and our ability to listen.  With more people connected more people want to be a part of the conversation.

Written by drewcogbill

June 24th, 2008 at 8:32 pm

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