Friday, September 27, 2013

Help needed with my masterclass

In a couple of weeks I will be running a one week design project with some of the brightest Industrial Design students in the world. In Pune, India. The thread running through the project is applied ethnography and insight generation to inform the brief and final concepts. Last year I had five teams of five students running explorations including: understanding and improving signage and flow at Pune bus terminal and, in complete contrast, improving the working of a hairdresser's hut where a father worked with his 12yr old son who also cut hair while standing on a box!

The outputs were all design or service concepts which were physical solutions. The students were under strict instructions NOT to design apps.

This year I want to invite readers of this blog readers of this blog to suggest India relevant briefs for the new batch of students. Do you have any suggestions regarding projects we can run over five days in Pune? I will consider any subject, product, challenge, The output must be a tangible product. And the only constraint is that the subject must be ethnographically rich.

The best five or six suggestions will be briefed and outputs shared on this blog.

Interested? Send me a one paragraph maximum outline of your brief. I need it no later than Thursday 3rd of October.

More about my teaching escapades...

I have taught MBA students at Oxford SAID. Management students at the LSE. Industrial Design students in France. And, for the second time in two years, I have been invited to teach industrial design students at DSK Design School in Pune, India.

What do I teach Industrial Design students? I teach them to disentangle opportunities from mundane events and happenings. If designing a new range of suitcases (Samsonite) I instil in them the importance of watching people in their homes packing; in airports pulling along; lifting into their trunks or simply buying suitcases in a shop.

The emphasis being on observation. Recording behaviour and deconstructing how suitcases fit into people's lives in different moods and modes. Once the observations have been unpacked (pun intended) I let them experience co-discoveries with the subjects. To understand the perspective of the user. And so we continue, as follows:

Video/observations > co-discovery > observations > insights > create a brief > brief design team (another group) and show them ethno-films > design concepts > back to insights/reorientation > final concepts

The above process, including a morning of, 'Ethnographic Research for designers' takes three to five days.

UPDATE 29 Sept. Thank you to all those who have replied with their fantastic ideas. Please keep them coming!