A few months ago, I wrote a post about five technologies in need of design makeovers in 2014. I’m happy to report my colleagues at IDEO.org, working with a group of NGOs and health and tech industry collaborators, have taken a shot at redesigning the most newsworthy item on that list, and the one with the worst reputation: drones.
The newly launched Drones for Health site focuses on the positive aspects of the remote aerial devices, asking the question, “How can drones improve global health?”
Rather than creepy privacy invaders or weapons of war, the team (Behrouz Hariri, Adam Reineck, and John Won) saw past the technology’s bad reputation and repositioned drones as “flying helpers,” coming up with scenarios in which unmanned aerial vehicles are uniquely suited to address big global health challenges.
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, for example, when the land is impassable, a drone could collect data from the sky; or what if they traveled the last-mile of the transportation infrastructure, delivering life-saving medicine and immunizations to the world’s hardest-to-reach corners?
The team’s vision, along with a set of design guidelines, are meant to inspire potential drone builders to create future flying helpers that look and act more human, contributing to the social good.
I’m inspired by this thoughtful, optimistic approach. In three short months, they were able to transform drones from dreadful to delightful. It made me wonder:
How might we inspire new collaborations and create more human-centered solutions to other maligned technologies like big data or email?
(Posted also on my LinkedIn Thought Leader blog)