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From chromatophore to pixel, to person. Seeking the human side of cybersecurity? A community and schools workshop approach.

Both human and animal species behave cryptically, what can we learn from an animal's ability to creatively encipher, decipher and protect?

Photo of Si Pattenden
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Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

In biology camouflage or 'crypsis' is an organism's ability to reflect external patterns textures and shapes throughout their morphology to conceal, secure and protect. With this in mind, I wanted to explore the human need for privacy and confidentiality in more depth to begin visualising alternatives to the stereotypically ‘lock and key’ imagery usually attributed to cybersecurity and data encryption. This concept meets the area of Digital Privacy and Encryption and provides a novel opportunity to communicate cybersecurity to a broader audience through, for example, interactive gameplay, prototyping and group learning. I'm inspired by creative and biological processes but also how folk engage with each other to puzzle and problem solve. For example, data in numerical form and the concept of cybersecurity can be complex and intimidating, however, if data security interfaces were more tactile would we be more prepared to interact, understand and personalise data security processes at the individual-user level? To take this concept further, I'd like to work with a data specialist to develop game and play strategies for audiences to better understand data encryption and cybersecurity, such as the behaviour of data to mirror, morph, change frequency, location or sequence as a protective strategy and how safely playing with concepts of data protection and privacy can help audiences attribute greater meaning to the protection of digital information.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

Inspired by the seemingly limitless colour changes of chromatophores (colour pigments utilised by organisms during protective strategies), I was inspired to explore the possibility of developing a series of workshops called 'borderless pixels' investigating ways user groups interact with and understand cyber-policy and principles of cybersecurity. This concept falls into the area of Digital Privacy and Encryption and provides an opportunity to communicate the value of data encryption to a broader audience through gameplay, youth workshops and group learning, for example asking secondary school children what data might look like expressed purely by colour? Taking this idea further and working alongside a data specialist I'd like to meet with social groups such as schools, elder communities and social service providers to better understand what digital privacy means, and the potential problems encountered when navigating complex cyber-language. The project outcome would enable user-groups to begin rethinking cyber communications and encourage greater personal involvement and sense of responsibility when interacting, selecting, managing and understanding cybersecurity tech and policy, and consequently reevaluate the way cybersecurity is visually depicted.

What have you learned through this sketching process? (1,000 characters)

I've enjoyed developing ideas from speculative thinking and then building upon research to create something visually abstract with levels of meaning and application.

Tell us more about you. (1,000 characters)

I'm a Creative Practitioner with experience of delivering creative projects in schools, academia and communities.

Why are you participating in this Challenge? (750 characters)

I'm inspired by opportunities to find creative solutions to social/envionmental/tech problems.

What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have never worked in cybersecurity before but am excited to learn more and get involved.

What best describes you?

  • I’m a visual creator by hobby.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO email / social media

Location: City


Location: Country

  • United Kingdom


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dima Boulad

Hello Si Pattenden  Great to see you joining the Challenge! We noticed your submission is currently unpublished. We'd love to have your submission included in the Challenge, and the earlier you publish it the more you'll benefit from feedback from the community and our experts. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. We're looking forward to seeing your submission in this challenge, and don't forget to check out Hewlett's tip of the week on the brief page!

Photo of Si Pattenden

Thank you Dima, visuals are on the way...