Tales from ThingsCon Berlin 2015

Ricardo Brito • Service Design LeadPaul Houghton • Director, Wizardry and Development

ThingsCon Berlin in one word? Brilliant! We saw shining eyes, brilliant IoT ideas and people introducing themselves with passion, love and purity. The speakers and workshops curation was really solid and current. Some common threads were ethical ways to work on IoT, open participation, design for manufacturing and the million ways to hack things.

Strangely, everything fit together. The opening speech from author Warren Ellis set the tone of the conference. He poetically described the worst IoT horror user: Warren Ellis. He opened everyone's eyes to what we are actually building, for whom, and issues of our integrity as creators. 

Warren Ellis opening keynote​ Warren Ellis opening keynote

The venue, Kulturbrauerei, was a fitting host for 2 days in a cosy and familiar atmosphere. The main talks in the cinema included science fiction authors Warren Ellis and Bruce Sterling plus leaders like Marcel Schouwenaar from the IoT Manifesto and many more.

So what have we been doing there besides listen to amazing people, having nerdy conversations and discussing how bad are IoT politics at the moment? Ricardo and Paul went to ThingsCon to present our latest work: The IoT Service Kit. The kit brings designers, developers and business developers out of their digital silos to play with IoT concepts in the real world. The IoT Service Kit is a co-creative board game for exploring user-centric interactive scenarios where the goal is to let user experience drive the process of merging the physical and digital realities into successful digital services. 


The idea of The IoT Service Kit was inspired by our customer work together. Ricardo is a service/UX designer and Paul is “the engineer”. We are both tech fanatics, but realistically look at it from different perspectives. Our visions clash many times. That makes it fun. Somewhere between the crazy ideas for services and features, and technical reality, there’s a lot of discussion sprinkled with violent moments and a lot of swearing.

This is representative of a big common problem: communication between stakeholders. The reason is due in part to the background that each stakeholder has (Tech, Design, Business…) and the different goals each one wants to achieve within the project. The IoT Service Kit tears down the walls between participants so they can iterate rapidly to level everyone up to the same mindset to avoid blocking great ideas.

Here you can see happy Kit users, from different backgrounds and different goals getting along and creating cool and realistic IoT services.





Soon we will have this kit available as an open-source project, where people can contribute, share opinions, and iterate on top of it. We will share with all of you pretty soon, stay tuned!

If you are still curious about ThingsCon, Ricardo and Paul recorded a ThingCast podcast on site with some of the speakers. You can tune in here: 

With <3 from Berlin

Paul Houghton & Ricardo Brito

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