Jax Wechsler

Co-design Workshop Method

I have been attending PDC 2010 the last few days i.e. a conference about participatory design in Sydney.

It has been very interesting so far…both the lectures as well as the hall way conversations between a well represented international audience.

I wanted to post about a workshop I did about innovative participatory design practices held by Peter Dalsgaard and Kim Halskov from Aarhus University in Denmark.

Within this workshop, we did a design challenge using  a method they call Inspiration Cards workshops. (A PDF on their method is available).

These workshops are participatory design workshops whereby a group of designers, potential users and subject matter experts can get together to brainstorm design ideas. In these workshops a problem is first identified, for example in the example workshop we did; how can we bring the feeling of the city of Sydney to the interior of a hotel?

Subject/domain cards are first researched and then created and provided to participants. These are tangible cards like business cards with images on them. These cards represented three areas: domain knowledge, locations /contexts for the design solutions and possible technologies.

In this example workshop we were provided with some pictures of the sites of Syndney, including the Botanic Gardens, Sydney aquarium, Opera House etc.

The next set of cards were of hotel spaces eg, restaurant, lobby, hallway, lift.

The third set of cards were “technology cards”. First corresponding videos were shown of mainly interactive art to show some possibilities for technology which corresponded to these cards. For example, the drum head by an interactive artist Murat n Konar:

http://www.muratnkonar.com/id/drumhead/ was displayed as a springboard for ideas about interactive technology.

Participants were then asked to create solutions to the design challenge. Two groups competed during a fixed time period to create pressure.

It was really fun and we came u with some cool ideas… the feasibility of which was debatable but cool ideas nonetheless.

Meet Bar Mate…

Bar Mate hangs out in the bar. When you sit down it says “gday mate!”

You can change it’s avatar by shaking it.

It will give you suggestions of things to do in the city.

If you like what it tells you, you hug it or pat it and if not you slap it.

It uses an algorithm which acts as a recommendation engine  using related slap so hug data – so it should be able to give you suggestions about things you might like to do in the city.

So that was one idea…not so serious!

Kim and Peter  hypothesised that participatory design workshops have the following key elements some of which they have discussed in their previous academic papers:

+ convergence/divergence

+ tradition/transcendence

+ sources of inspiration

+ degree of structure

+ performance/enactment

+ creation/crafting

+ authenticity/fiction

+ simulation/absraction

+ roles/status

+ money

If you are academically inclined check out their work on PD innovation methods and the PDF about these types of workshops.

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