8 August 2018
Blockchain will change everything ... it’s the dawn of the second internet, it will usher us into the trustless economy … OR … blockchain is a fad, "crappy technology and a bad vision for the future." The conflicting hype around blockchain is confusing and endless, requiring us to learn a new vocabulary … cryptocurrencies, distributed ledgers, cryptographic hash functions, dApps, ICOs...
But what is blockchain, exactly?
And why does understanding blockchain matter for designers, product managers and other creative problem solvers trying to improve the way we connect, transact, and communicate with each other?
"Part of the hype of blockchain is its decentralization and democratization potential. However, without a diverse set of people designing with it and developing it, exclusion will be built into the base of many blockchain applications."
— Carissa Carter, Director of Teaching + Learning at Stanford d.School
In a three-part series for blockchain beginners, let’s draw from the designer’s toolkit of empathy and experimentation to tackle how teams can evaluate and apply complex, emerging technologies like blockchain to solve challenges and create new opportunities for business while never losing sight of the human impact of what’s being created.
Let’s also consider how we can bring more diverse perspectives and have a voice in these new technology standards while they are being built.
Session 1: Understand & Empathize (New Session Added - Aug 9th, 2018)
Review foundational blockchain concepts through visual explanations and real-world examples. Share our hopes and fears as well as current UX and service design challenges around blockchain. Develop personas and journey maps to identify needs, priorities and pain points in current centralized systems (e.g. finance, health and insurance, logistics etc.,)
Session 2: Define and Ideate (August 28th, 2018)
In groups, deep dive into a business domain and identify decentralization opportunities and use cases using design thinking tools. Discover the moments of trust in existing systems – how it is ensured and what could go wrong. Identify potential blockchain application, or just as valid, explore whether blockchain is actually a technology in search of a problem with little practical application to any actual user needs.
Session 3: Prototype and Test (September 25th, 2018)
Build low fidelity prototypes of a business solution that uses blockchain
(Note: blockchain is most useful when what you’re building requires a decentralized system for managing provenance, smart contracts, verifying data, protecting user security, or dealing with financial assets). Test your ideas across teams, get feedback and share ideas to iterate.