Little Brinkland explores the way we might work in 2012 when emerging technologies rethink the rhythms of working life against a backdrop of a rapidly ageing workforce and growing environmental fears. The research began in 2006, when the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre and the design and manufacturing company Colebrook Bosson Saunders asked interaction designer Anab Jain to investigate the ‘future of work and the work place’.
Based on interviews and ‘flickr dialogues’ with people who posted images of their workplaces and obsessions online, Anab created scenarios of three protagonists. “I did a massive search and found loads of photographs of people who are obsessed with their ‘work-desks’ and post online images of their laptops and several geeky gadgetry around their home,” said Anab. “I emailed several of them based on their images… and some really sweet people mailed back, saying they’d be happy to be interviewed! From these interviews I kind of created ‘workscapes” of my three protagonists.”
Alice is a cyber junkie, data neurotic person who spends about 15-17 hours working and living inside her screen. Andrew is a nomadic city worker, network king, aspiring entrepreneur and occasional hacker. Elizabeth is a librarian on the verge of retirement and eager to discover new work opportunities and learn new skills.
The Avatar Insurer
Based on research around new and emerging technologies and impact of demographics and environmental risks on our future lives, and being informed by insights from futurists, Anab projected the three protagonists into the future and began to invent new jobs for them.
“The three characters Alice, Andrew and Elizabeth are kind of created
personnas or protagonists – based on real people,” explained Anab when i joked that Alice was me. “They represent the three kind of people who work in different ways and all of us tend to identify with one of them hopefully. As you said, you identified with Alice, I do to an extend and I know several of my friends who do!”
Pet Implant Consultancy’s billboard and a remote to control the information pet
In 2012, Andrew owns the ‘Pet Implant Consultancy’ that augments the functionality of real pets and makes them more useful and appealing.
Network Catcher and Coldzone sticker
Alice now often visits one of the coldzones in Little Brinkland to work and meet people. Coldzones are physical, transient spaces where the digitally exhausted Brinklanders can go offline, and stay away from surveillance and constant tracking.
Elizabeth has found a new job as the Data Bank Archivist in Little Brinkland. She visits people’s houses, archives their data, asseses their unique data needs and suggests the best account for them in the newly opened data bank.
Image on the left: Data Bank Billboard advertises their new service for the data-neurotic Brinklanders.