Social Money : Finding social value in transaction through design research

University essay from Umeå universitet/Designhögskolan vid Umeå universitet

Abstract: This is a question-driven project where it seeks to find social connections in monetary transactions. Disruptive experiments have been conducted to understand the complex relationship between money and social connections. A design concept, developed through a service blueprint, has been used to investigate a hypothesis. Screen-based mobile app prototypes have been used to engage users to dialogue into the issue of social connections in transactions. By basing purchasing decisions on economic value, consumers are neglecting to take social values into consideration. As a result, it has led to social disconnection between the consumers and the producers. By research through design, this project aims to identify the attributes in monetary transaction that led to this disconnection. It also aims to image a new transaction system highlighting social connections. The result is a payment platform concept as a case study of for the restaurant industry. By tracing and visualizing the flow of money in a purchase, the payment platform allows the consumers to see the connections they have with the producers. By making the social connections visible, consumers can begin to balance their purchasing decision based on social and monetary values. Through the dialogues generated in the user tests, the project encounters the social issue in the increasing dependence on imported food and its effect on the local economy. The dialogues also shed light on the fact that the dependence on money as a medium of exchange deepens the interdependency between individuals as today’s food production requires global collaboration. By making social connections visible in transaction, instead of social disconnection, money is in fact social. 

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