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Intelligence on Efficiency is an attempt to give ‘efficiency’ a face. We want to make it tangible and discussable. It explores different aspects and directions across different fields and from different angles. It is an ongoing research project – seemingly asynchronous and fragmented. Yet it follows but one distinct question: What is efficiency about?

Efficiency seems to be a pervasive concept, deeply rooted in our day-to-day activities and generally understood as a virtue. Once a concept to increase productivity, economic efficiency has been adapted by engineering, architecture, design, politics and society. It started to subtly shape our surroundings and is enabling a world that reaches peaks of (economic) efficiency previously been thought to be impossible in any other time in human history. Due to developments in information technology the impact of efficiency becomes gradually more graspable. We believe, the key to understand what makes us more efficient lies in the vast amount of traces we leave behind: data.

Data has become the driving force behind almost every interaction between individuals, businesses and governments. It is a by-product of the information society and socialisation. The traces we leave behind in digital space is data, this data is currency and pre-eminently it tells a story. A story of the impact of a more and more connected world on working habits, productivity and personal life. Data is able to tell us quite a bit about its context. It is linked to a place and a time through digital media. The user finds himself left with the capability to transform his environment. Data on weather, traffic, the availability of goods or the proximity of friends alter the way we decide what to do, when and how to do it. It allows us to be much more efficient in achieving our goals but it also determines the way we perceive and use our environment. Eventually, the border between virtual reality and something we might call “actual reality” becomes so diffuse that it is no longer useful to regard them as two distinct entities.

We have come to live in an age obsessed with efficiency. To grow and to identify and eradicate waste became a high priority objective in all aspects of life. But is this a tendency that has always been there? Is there an origin of efficiency? And lastly, how does efficiency affect us and our lives today? These questions and more are part of the decision to create a blog and to share the knowledge we gained throughout the research. Consequently, you will find articles on our findings, projects and people that inspired us and documentations of the insights we gained through our experiments.

We would like to invite you to be part of this community. Do you have an idea that should be mentioned? Did we miss something or did you successfully increase efficiency in a surprising way? Don´t be shy and let us know!