Services

Smart Crowds offers support services to public institutions, companies, and research centers interested in doing research and innovation adopting the Living Lab methodology. We manage the involvement of specific groups of users (lead, primary, secondary...) in R&D projects owned by our partners to the extent of carrying out participatory design actions, technology testing & evaluation, service market validation, market launch & follow up.

 

We take care of all the necessary activities to engage users: researching and training people, defining the legal frame required to involve them, defining the incentives to be given to them, managing  data collection operations, managing technology testing and evaluation.

 

Services are available to public & private organizations, third sector & non-profit, project consortia and public-private-partnerships, in Italy and abroad.

 

1

Socio-technical analysis of the needs of specific groups of users

Smart Crowds deploys qualitative and quantitative rapid research actions aimed at raising dense data on the context of use of ICT technologies and services. Smart Crowds staff is specialized in both qualitative (ethnographic observation, in depth interviews, focus groups) and quantitative research methods. We prefer crowdsourced data collection techniques.

 

Research methods and actions are designed along with our partners (PA, research centres, enterprises), who are entitled to own strategic decisions. We normally carry out such action in real-life environments (at users’ home, at work).

 

Research actions are normally feasible in a 2 or 3 month time frame, depending on the type of output required by the partner (raw data, analysis, consultancy in decision making within innovation processes).

 

As an example, please visit the page of the Suitcase project!

3

Usability and user experience evaluation of new technologies

Smart Crowds selects groups of profiled users (socio-demographic, ICT usage) to be involved in usability tests and user experience evaluation studies of ICT technology and service prototypes.

 

Objectives, methods and techniques used in the studies are defined together with our partners. We normally carry out qualitative studies in real-life contexts: this allows us not only to grasp technology usage patterns, but also reciprocal adaptation practices amongst human and non-human actors within socio technical contexts. Studies are overall aimed at measuring the user’s satisfaction. Outputs are meant to help developers improve the technology/service added value to users and stakeholders.

 

Evaluation actions are normally feasible in a 2 or 3 month time frame, depending on the type of output required by the client (raw data, analysis, consultancy in decision making within innovation processes).

 

As an example, please visit the pages of the Explora MUSE and All Yours projects!

 

2

Facilitation of co-creation activities with groups of users and stakeholders

Smart Crowds help ICT service R&D teams in engaging with relevant user groups for co-design purposes. We set up and facilitate co-creation workshops and working groups aimed at service design and requirements building.

 

Co-design actions can involve various types of service stakeholders (end users, secondary users, project partners, funders, buyers and clients). We make use of various types of co-design methods (user-centred, user driven)  and techniques (scenarios, personas) according to our partners’ needs.

 

We pay great attention to ensure an overall positive users’ experience in the participation of participatory-design processes (from their recruitment, to the communication of results, and follow up actions); these are leveraged with the purposes of user empowerment purposes (particularly in the case of frail users) as well as project/service value network creation amongst stakeholders.

 

As an example, please visit the page of the Suitcase project!

 

4

Management of crowdsourced data collection in the long run

Smart Crowds outreaches and selects large panels of citizens (100+) to be involved in long-term (6 months+) ubiquitous data sensing actions.

 

These actions are normally carried out for research and data mining purposes by making use of sensing applications & technologies provided by our partners. Staff from Smart Crowds may provide basic ICT infrastructures for data collection (smartphones, home gateways).

 

We take care of monitoring and supporting users during the data collection period. Sensed data can either be hosted by our servers or directly uploaded to the partners' ones.

 

As an example, please visit the page of the FriendsNet project!