hamburger.svg

Are you heading to OSCON 2014 next week? Even if you're not, keeping current with open source thinking is a good idea.

Jen Wike, tech writer and content manager for Opensource.com caught up with Juhan Sonin, Involution Studios Creative Director, to ask him a few questions about his upcoming talk next week at OSCON in Portland, OR. Sonin explains that, for Involution Studios, open source principles are not just about product design. Rather, he says that "radical transparency" is a core belief for the entire studio, from shared knowledge of the company's financials and collaborative learning and decision making to a strong sense of individual responsibility and personal integrity among the staff and extending to clients. This philosophy underlies Involution's approach to open source design:

"Our open design mission is that our designs (patterns, code, scripts, graphics, ideas, documents) will be available to any designer, to any engineer, to any world citizen, to use and modify without restriction."

Sonin goes on to describe how using the CCv3 Attribution license on designs, photos, and documents to share ideas freely has actually brought more business to the studio. Creating, developing, and licensing Involution's work for the public turns out to be a solid business practice, not just a retro-hippie-sounding core value.

Read the full interview and we hope to see you in Portland next week!

About Involution Studios
Involution designs and builds exceptional software for innovative and visionary companies. We deploy small and experienced teams to create applications that are highly usable and appropriately beautiful. Our client list includes Apple, AstraZeneca, McAfee, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, Shutterfly, and Yahoo. For more information please contact info@goinvo.com or +1 617 803 7043.

yourproblem_DESIGN

Designer Eric Benoit crafted the interface for genetic screening results with input from Juhan Sonin, Adam Pere, and Emily Twaddell.

FastCompany's Co.Exist column today posted Searching For The Hidden Health Heroes Whose DNA Prevents Disease describing an exciting genetic study—for which Involution Studios designed the report interface.

Led by researchers at Sage Bionetworks and New York's Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, The Resilience Project will be looking for the tiny minority of people who, though they have rare genetic changes that would typically cause serious illness in childhood, don't manifest any signs of the disease as adults. The project aims to collect DNA from 1 million healthy adults in the next few years in hopes of discovering what might protect these individuals from the genetic mutations they carry.

Involution designers Eric Benoit, Juhan Sonin, Adam Pere, and Emily Twaddell worked closely with project Principal Investigator Eric Schadt and Co-Investigator Elissa Levin to understand the nature of the project and, in particular, the needs of those who will volunteer to donate their data for research. Involution's prior work with the Personal Genome Project provided the experience and insight to design an interface that personalizes the donor's experience while informing them of their screening results and potential impact on the project's success.

About Involution’s Health Design Practice
For almost 10 years, Involution has been building software for health companies of every shape and size, from household names like AstraZeneca and Walgreens, to research leaders like the Personal Genome Project and Partners HealthCare. We also work with the most exciting and progressive health startups. We’ve made digital healthcare our top focus.

Arlington Visual Budget recognized for innovation, value, and impact.

BOSTON, MAInvolution Studios today announced its Arlington Visual Budget has been selected as a finalist in the Best Doing Good Innovation - Product and Most Insightful: Big Data and Analytics Innovations - Product categories for the MITX What’s Next Awards. This year MITX combined its annual Innovation and Interactive Awards into a single show recognizing Boston’s entire digital ecosystem.

Since 1996 the MITX Award shows have grown to become the largest and most prestigious awards competitions in the country for marketing innovations, celebrating the best creative and technological accomplishments emerging from New England.

“The finalists that emerged from an unprecedented number of submissions received for this year’s MITX What’s Next Awards demonstrate the creativity and innovation of our region’s rich digital ecosystem,” says MITX Board Member and Communispace Chief Operating Officer Howard Kogan, who serves as Chairman of the MITX What’s Next Awards Advisory Committee. “From startups to large corporations and everything in between, the individuals behind this work continue to raise the bar for the entire digital community.”

Arlington Visual Budget

AVB provides the next generation of accessibility in financial information that enables citizens to see, engage, and discuss.

The Visual Budget system converts the town of Arlington's revenues and expenditures to simple graphics and charts that describe Arlington’s finances. It also provides definitions for complex budgeting terminology, and includes a tool where residents can input their yearly property tax bill and find out exactly how the town spends their tax dollars. Taxpayers can learn about town revenues, expenses, and funds displayed in both graphical and tabular formats. What’s more, the system enables users to provide feedback and ideas, an essential component of empowering citizens with both information and a greater voice in decision-making.

Town Management Analyst Michael Bouton said he was happy to work with Involution’s creative team on the project. “It was a blank canvas,” Bouton said. “We came in with an idea and the conceptualization of it was them.” Involution designers Roger Zhu and Ivan Dilernia donated their time, and the company has made the code for the project available online for other town governments to use. An Arlington resident, Involution’s Creative Director Juhan Sonin was excited about the collaboration, saying “It’s a part of our civic responsibility as designers to get involved in the design of policy.”

Involution Studios will be recognized with the other finalists in the Best Doing Good Innovation - Product and Most Insightful: Big Data and Analytics Innovations - Product categories at a gala awards ceremony traditionally attended by over 1,000 of the region’s top interactive marketing and technology professionals. Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Westin Waterfront Hotel on May 29th.
Purchase tickets for the Awards Ceremony

About Involution Studios
Involution designs and builds exceptional software for innovative and visionary companies. We deploy small and experienced teams to create applications that are highly usable and appropriately beautiful. Our client list includes Apple, AstraZeneca, McAfee, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, Shutterfly, and Yahoo. For more information please contact info@goinvo.com or +1 617 803 7043.

About MITX
Established in 1996, MITX — the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange — is the leading industry organization focused on the web and mobile, bringing together the digital marketing, media and technology community to engage in what's next and how it will impact the marketing and business worlds. Connecting more than 7,500 professionals in New England, MITX is a dynamic community of thought leaders and collaborators in search of insight, education and opportunity. Creator of FutureM, MITX is headquartered in Boston, MA.

37 Million Mile Data Challenge

Involution Principal Jon Follett has recently been selected to judge entries in the 37 Billion Mile Data Challenge, sponsored by The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Using data from the Massachusetts Vehicle Census, contest participants will have six weeks to determine why Massachusetts drivers burn up 37 billion miles each year, with the goal of discovering insights that can help the Commonwealth build a more efficient and sustainable transportation system.

“Particularly in the open government movement, information visualization has become an important method for making big data sets understandable, and stimulating discussion about critical issues,” says Follett. “Making data accessible helps people to spot patterns and trends and to approach problems in new ways — even getting answers to questions they hadn’t thought about before. Interactive designs make it possible to gain deeper insights that can lead to better decision making and more innovative solutions.” A seasoned designer, Follett has created data visualizations for AstraZeneca, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Survey Sampling International, among others.

Designers, researchers, analysts, and developers will work individually or in teams to come up with interactive visualizations, maps, infographics, and even games that reveal actionable information from the vehicle-use dataset. Data Challenge entries are due April 19 and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on May 1.

About Jon Follett
For nearly two decades Jon has been leading or contributing to Web application design and development for organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Jon is a recognized thought leader and internationally published author on the topics of user experience and information design. He recently contributed a chapter, “The Beautiful People: Keeping Users in Mind When Designing Data Collection Methods” to Beautiful Data published by O’Reilly Media, Inc. He has written over 25 articles for industry publications such as UXmatters, Digital Web and A List Apart, and his work has been translated into a variety of languages.

For Immediate Release
if logo

ARLINGTON, MA (U.S.) – February 7, 2014 - Online Budget Visualization Tool, Designed by Involution Studios with Town of Arlington, MA Offers Financial Transparency to Taxpayers

Arlington Visual Budget has been selected as a winner of the 2014 iF Communication Design award.

Since its introduction in 2004, the iF Communication Design award has been among the top national and international awards. Designs from advertising agencies, communication designers and their clients, manufacturers, designers, architects and interior architects face the jury judgment.

More than 1,000 entries were assessed according to criteria such as target audience-specific communication and content, design quality and creativity, customer relevance, cost effectiveness, originality and innovation. Of the 311 iF Communication Design award winners, Arlington Visual Budget was among only 20 that received the iF gold award in recognition for an outstanding work of communication design. They will be announced on 28 February 2014 during the awards ceremony in Munich (Germany).

In the fall of 2013, Involution Studios of Arlington, MA, along with the Town of Arlington and Finance Committee members Annie Lacourt and Alan Jones, conceptualized a web application that provides an easier way to communicate complex municipal financial information. Involution donated all development services for this project, the first known municipal budget visual representation of its kind.

The initiative exemplifies the nation’s commitment to the international Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global effort to encourage transparent, effective, and accountable governance. President Obama has challenged agencies to “harness new technologies” and “solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public” and emphasizes a “bottom-up” philosophy that taps citizen expertise to make government smarter and more responsive to private sector demands.

AVB screen
AVB provides the next generation of accessibility in financial information that enables citizens to see, engage, and discuss.

The Visual Budget system converts the town’s revenues and expenditures to simple graphics and charts that describe Arlington’s finances. It also provides definitions for complex budgeting terminology, and includes a tool where residents can input their yearly property tax bill and find out exactly how the town spends their tax dollars. Taxpayers can learn about town revenues, expenses, and funds displayed in both graphical and tabular formats. What’s more, the system enables users to provide feedback and ideas, an essential component of empowering citizens with both information and a greater voice in decision-making.

Town Management Analyst Michael Bouton said he was happy to work with Involution’s creative team on the project. “It was a blank canvas,” Bouton said. “We came in with an idea and the conceptualization of it was them.” Involution designers Roger Zhu and Ivan Dilernia donated their time, and the company has made the code for the project available online for other town governments to use. An Arlington resident, Involution’s Creative Director Juhan Sonin was excited about the collaboration, saying “It’s a part of our civic responsibility as designers to get involved in the design of policy.”

Read what the Sunlight Foundation says about how the Arlington Visual Budget will be used in 2014.

About Involution Studios
Involution designs and builds exceptional software for innovative and visionary companies. We deploy small and experienced teams to create applications that are highly usable and appropriately beautiful. Our client list includes Apple, AstraZeneca, McAfee, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, Shutterfly, and Yahoo. For more information please contact info@goinvo.com or +1 617 803 7043.

For Immediate Release

ARLINGTON, MA (U.S.) – February 14, 2014 – Involution Studios Health Axioms: Mantras for patients to change themselves, their clinicians, and the new digital healthcare system.

A pocket-sized deck of 32 illustrated cards, Involution’s Health Axioms are intended to provide practical support for good health habits. Each card features a specific action that can help move people in the direction of better health. On the back of each card are essential insights and tips for establishing the habit as a part of daily life.

The Health Axioms start off by asking, “What is one health action you can do now that you can do again tomorrow?” Some suggestions include drinking water, talking a walk, or even reaching out to a trusted friend. From there, the axioms can be used as part of a plan to reach one’s health goals.

Health Axioms box cover

The Health Axioms were conceived by Juhan Sonin and Harry Sleeper, researched and edited by Jane Kokernak, and illustrated by Sarah Kaiser and Kelly Mansfield. Learn more about how the Health Axioms were created.

Involution Studios is participating in a global movement to shift the health care system to one of:

  • Non-invasive personal diagnostics
  • Highly specialized clinicians that work closely with patients and their families
  • Self-monitoring, self-empowered patients

Medical practitioners, teachers, and individuals alike can use the Health Axioms to promote health education and awareness. According to Susannah Fox, Digital Health Strategist, “People are thirsty for health advice. They read, search online, and wonder: Am I doing OK? Am I doing the right things for my health? What if, when someone asks the universe (read: the Internet), for health advice, they got back a quick tip, backed by evidence?”

Learn more and order Health Axioms decks.

About Involution Studios
For almost 10 years, Involution Studios has been building software for health companies of every shape and size, from household names like AstraZeneca and Walgreens, to research leaders like the Personal Genome Project and Partners Healthcare, making digital healthcare top focus. For more information please contact info@goinvo.com or +1 617 803 7043.

How did a workshop with Involution take the Personal Genome Project from “a bunch of ideas” to the creation of the award-winning Open Humans Network?

The Knight News Challenge: Health asked innovators to present solutions that harness the power of data for the health of communities, with a strong focus on civic participation and solution building. Among the seven projects that will share more than $2 million is the Open Humans Network.

The Open Humans Network proposes an online system that helps match people willing to share their health data with researchers who would benefit from access to more information, all with a focus on exploring new standards for open health data.

According to Madeleine Ball PhD, of the Harvard Personal Genome Project (PGP), the Open Humans portal will comprise three components: a personal page that will allow participants to set up their data profile, a public data explorer enabling people to explore and use data compiled from participant profiles, and a set of design guidelines for researchers looking to use a collaborative data sharing model.

Jason Bobe, PGP Executive Director, envisions “health discovery as a collaborative effort through the creation of a portal populated with research studies pre-screened for data-sharing practices, participants willing to share their data, and public data results.” Since its inception in 2005, the PGP has promoted a research and discovery model that selects participants who are comfortable with public sharing and the potential for re-identifiability—a practice called “open consent.”

The Open Humans Network project will involve collaboration of several studies including:

  • Harvard Personal Genome Project (George Church, Harvard Medical School)
  • American Gut (Rob Knight, University of Colorado, Boulder / HHMI)
  • Flu Near You Research Participants (Rumi Chunara, Boston Children’s Hospital / HMS)
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study, (Eric Schadt, Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

Mapping the PGP Ecosystem
To reach a goal like the Open Humans Network, the PGP first had to have a clear view of its own organizational functioning. To gain a better focus, they called upon Involution Studios’ expertise and objectivity.

In a daylong exploratory workshop, Invo designers helped the PGP staff to map their organization, roles, and objectives. They were able to completely re-conceive their organizational model to separate their member recruitment efforts from the data collection and sequencing, and keeping the focus on their member relationships.

Involution Studios designers mapped the PGP organization and constituencies.

From this work came the idea for OpenHumans.org, a service and website that facilitates third-party researchers and others who can access the PGP database of genomes and medical histories. Members will be able to see how their data is being used to contribute to the advancement of science and medicine. By providing the PGP with the tools and expertise, Involution was able to serve as the catalyst for a new, organizational model that has now garnered the Knight Foundation’s recognition.

Learn more about the winners of the Knight News Challenge: Health awards.

About Involution’s Health Design Practice
For almost 10 years, Involution has been building software for health companies of every shape and size, from household names like AstraZeneca and Walgreens, to research leaders like the Personal Genome Project and Partners HealthCare. We also work with the most exciting and progressive health startups. We’ve made digital healthcare our top focus.

For Immediate Release

ARLINGTON, MA (U.S.) - January 17, 2014 - Online Budget Visualization Tool, Designed by Involution Studios with Town of Arlington, MA Offers Financial Transparency to Taxpayers

Arlington Visual Budget has been selected to receive the Massachusetts Municipal Association Innovation Award at the MMA Annual Meeting on January 25th in Boston.

Sponsored each year by the Massachusetts Municipal Association, the Kenneth E. Pickard Municipal Innovation Award recognizes unique and creative projects and programs that increase the effectiveness of local government. Judged by former municipal officials, consultants, and professors, an innovation must address a problem that is common to municipalities across the Commonwealth in an original, cost-effective, and efficient way. Winning innovations must improve a municipal service, administration, or performance, while adaptability to other communities is also a consideration. This award lets municipalities recognize successfully established innovative programs or projects and to share these new, unique, and effective solutions with other cities and towns.

Last fall, Involution Studios of Arlington, MA, along with the Town of Arlington and Finance Committee members Annie Lacourt and Alan Jones, conceptualized a web application that provides an easier way to communicate complex municipal financial information. Involution donated all development services for this project, the first known municipal budget visual representation of its kind.

The initiative exemplifies the nation’s commitment to the international Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global effort to encourage transparent, effective, and accountable governance. President Obama has challenged agencies to “harness new technologies” and “solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public” and emphasizes a “bottom-up” philosophy that taps citizen expertise to make government smarter and more responsive to private sector demands.

Arlington Visual Budget

AVB provides the next generation of accessibility in financial information that enables citizens to see, engage, and discuss.

The Visual Budget system converts the town’s revenues and expenditures to simple graphics and charts that describe Arlington’s finances. It also provides definitions for complex budgeting terminology, and includes a tool where residents can input their yearly property tax bill and find out exactly how the town spends their tax dollars. Taxpayers can learn about town revenues, expenses, and funds displayed in both graphical and tabular formats. What’s more, the system enables users to provide feedback and ideas, an essential component of empowering citizens with both information and a greater voice in decision-making.

Town Management Analyst Michael Bouton said he was happy to work with Involution’s creative team on the project. “It was a blank canvas,” Bouton said. “We came in with an idea and the conceptualization of it was them.” Involution designers Roger Zhu and Ivan Dilernia donated their time, and the company has made the code for the project available online for other town governments to use. An Arlington resident, Involution’s Creative Director Juhan Sonin was excited about the collaboration, saying “It’s a part of our civic responsibility as designers to get involved in the design of policy.”

Read what the Sunlight Foundation says about how the Arlington Visual Budget will be used in 2014.

About Involution Studios

Involution designs and builds exceptional software for innovative and visionary companies. We deploy small and experienced teams to create applications that are highly usable and appropriately beautiful. Our client list includes Apple, AstraZeneca, McAfee, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, Shutterfly, and Yahoo. For more information please contact info@goinvo.com or +1 617 803 7043.

Erik Dahl, Creative Director and Principal at Involution Studio Columbus has recently been selected to be on the IxDA (Interaction Design Association) Board of Directors for 2014-2016.

Erik has been a practicing interaction designer for 10+ years and actively involved in community development for the last 5 years.

"I'm honored and excited to be serving as a board member for the organization that has been instrumental in shaping my career," said Dahl. "I hope to bring to the IxDA board my passion for community building, my professional perspective — which includes the design of software, hardware, and services — and my belief that interaction design has a critical role to play in shaping the development of emerging technologies."

IxDA Retreat

The IxDA leadership, including current and new board members, along with the Interaction14 and Interaction Awards leads, at the annual strategic planning retreat in Amsterdam this August.

"We're extremely pleased to welcome three new members to the Interaction Design Association's Board of Directors," said Steve Baty, IxDA President. "In addition to Danielle Malik and Massimo Scognamiglio, Erik Dahl, Creative Director and Principal at Involution Studios steps onto the Board in the role of Secretary. Erik has been a strong contributor to the IxDA over recent years, founding the highly-successful Midwest UX conference and turning it in very short order into a highlight of the international conference calendar. Erik is a leader of his local IxDA group, helping to build that community from its infancy. The continued vibrancy of the interaction design community is in excellent hands."

The IxDA is now 10 years old and is facing some key growing pains that need to be addressed for the community to remain healthy and vibrant. The board is working to unify several of the key community events, reignite and strengthen the virtual community that was the cornerstone of the organization from day one, as well as strengthen and support the creation and growth of local groups around the world.

Premiered on January 30, 2013 at IxDA's Interaction13 conference in Toronto, Canada, this video celebrates ten years since the founding of what is now known as the Interaction Design Association (IxDA).

IxDA is a novel kind of “un-organization” in that there is no cost for membership. IxDA relies on its passionate members to help serve the needs of the international Interaction Design community. With more than 50,000 members and over 140 local groups around the world, the IxDA network actively focuses on interaction design issues for the practitioner, no matter their level of experience.

The mission of the IxDA: "We believe that the human condition is increasingly challenged by poor experiences. IxDA intends to improve the human condition by advancing the discipline of Interaction Design. To do this, we foster a community of people that choose to come together to support this intention. IxDA relies on individual initiative, contribution, sharing and self-organization as the primary means for us to achieve our goals."

Please join us in congratulating Erik on his new position as he continues with work to promote and empower interaction designers worldwide.

As part of the Town’s continuing effort to improve transparency, Arlington is announcing the launch of Arlington Visual Budget (AVB). AVB is a new online tool intended to provide the public with a visual representation of the Town’s financial history and outlook, as well as illustrate key trends. AVB allows users to dive into the budget like never before using graphics to more easily understand how tax dollars are spent.

“Increasing transparency and accessibility to financial information has long been a goal for the Town,” said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine. “We hope this new feature will encourage users to learn more about Town finances and be more engaged in the annual budget discourse.”

Last year the Town conducted a public survey on how it communicates financial information. Residents overwhelmingly desired more concise, online information. In response, the Town and members of the Finance Committee worked with Involution Studios of Arlington, MA to conceptualize a web application that creates an easier way to communicate complex municipal financial information. Involution donated all development services of this project to the Town, the first known municipal budget visual representation of its kind.

Arlington Visual Budget

AVB allows users to dive into the budget like never before using graphics to more easily understand how tax dollars are spent.

“We were intrigued by the challenge of this project and, being from Arlington, very excited to work with the Town,” said Involution Studios Creative Director, Juhan Sonin, who is also personally a long-time Arlington resident. “We’re pleased with the results so far and look forward to how residents use the feature.”

AVB not only gives residents a fresh way to consider Arlington’s budget, but it provides definitions and explanations for some of the more complex municipal budgetary concepts such as “Override Stabilization Fund” and “MWRA Debt Shift.” Arlington Visual Budget will continue to develop over time and the Town welcomes feedback from users. To view the AVB and provide feedback please visit arlingtonvisualbudget.org and for more Town financial information visit arlingtonma.gov/budget.

Click here to show more articles.