Entries tagged with “design games”.
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Fri 14 Jan 2011
"Prototyping with Junk" at UC Berkeley
Award for Junk
Did you catch the New York Times word of the year (WOTY) for 2010? It’s junk! The editors of the “On Language” column chose this word as representative of the zeitgeist of the past year. The honor acknowledges the basic meaning of rubbish or trash, debris or detritus, as well as extended meanings: From junk bonds (devalued securities) to junk food (nutritionally empty), to junk shot (stuffing debris and mud into BP’s leaking gusher in the Gulf). Their award called out one euphemistic sense, the male genitalia. The TSA started full body pat-downs in 2010, as an alternative to scanning, and air travelers gave warning, “Don’t touch my junk.”
Next month I’ll be hosting the activity “Prototyping with Junk” at Interaction Design 2011 (IxD11) in Boulder, Colorado. As I’ve previously written, I occasionally get pushback from people who feel junk is not appropriate language for professional settings. Or, perhaps their reaction is that junk — the actual stuff — is not for the workplace. Now I can respond to those objections with the citation of WOTY2010. I’m hip!
And I’m in good company: Bernie DeKoven, author of Junkyard Games, and funsmith extraordinaire, recently shared a video from 2007 celebrating Junkyard Sports. Here’s an news report from JunkFest in Redondo Beach [warning: narration lacks captions]
Kinetic sculpture with junk
Another wonderful example of how using apparent junk (PVC pipes plus a bunch empty plastic bottles, and other stuff) can turn into something magical: see how kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen simulates animals walking, powered by the wind near the sea.
[warning: narration lacks captions]
Read more at Talking Science: Dance of the Strandbeests, the BBC article about this project.
Jansen’s example shows how prototypes evolve into working “products” or art, depending on your perspective. His process of successive refinements suggest agility: at each juncture, he stops and tests his creatures, from human-propulsion of walking machines to wind-propulsion (which simulates self-propulsion), and all from vernacular materials with clever engineering.
Learning with junk
We used Prototyping with Junk at ACM CHI2004 (in Vienna, Austria), when we challenged the participants in the pre-conference design collaboration to create a product for elders. As I’ve written for interactions magazine special issue on prototyping, this is an opportunity for creativity and fun in a social context. And, it’s yet-another communication tool for your collaborative design kit.
More recently, students at UC Berkeley’s iSchool engaged in Prototyping with Junk as one among many prototyping techniques they experimented with this past fall. You can see still images and a few short movies. Notice all those smiles!
Eager to meet the group in Boulder. I’ll bring one of the several design challenges I’m currently mulling over, …and plenty of junk.
Wed 5 May 2010
Poster announcing Course 27 at CHI2010
What can you do in 90 minutes to introduce a professional audience to the set of practices which are Innovation Games®? Quite a bit! But not all of what we had planned.
The course announcement
Here’s what people saw on the web when they considered whether to enroll in this course “Innovation Games® for User Research in an Agile Environment”, which competed against about 10 other sessions in the same time slot.
This course describes a set of qualitative research methods that will be attractive to user researchers, customer satisfaction specialists, Chief Happiness Officers, marketing professionals, among others. People who participate on Agile teams and those who are considering making a change to Agile practices will enjoy learning new techniques that fit into an Agile framework. Designers, engineers, and others with limited research background are welcome to join in the fun. (more…)
Sat 27 Jun 2009
Long before I became an advocate and trained facilitator of Innovation Games®, I was an enthusiastic practitioner of other design games and playful exercises. (more…)
Mon 21 Apr 2008
My spoken French is more or less limited to menu items and courtesy phrases. I’m better at comprehension, but unable to express myself to my own satisfaction in a business setting. One of the challenges of the managing the tutorial at WIF 2008, was that this session was held in Limoges, France.
As a tutorial leader, I might have been out of luck, but I was ably assisted by two professional interpreters. In a room of about 35 people, I estimate that there were 6-8 French speakers; the remainder were willing to work in English. Among them were native speakers of perhaps 4-5 additional languages, but English was the lingua franca for most.
After a brief introduction about design games in the product development process, and Innovation Games® in particular, we broke into groups to create “Product Boxes.” I said, but perhaps not forcefully enough, that people could work alone or in small groups. When Product Box starts, people dig into the materials and start making their sketches and notes. They probably weren’t paying close attention to me (nor, in this case, the interpreter).
In the midst of the game play one participant approached me through the interpreter, identifying himself as a game designer. He announced that “teams are the enemy of freedom.” Either this was very deep and philosophical statement, or there was a simpler interpretation that I was overlooking. Asking for clarification, I realized that he didn’t want to work with the people he happened to share a table and language community with: he wanted to create on his own.
I encouraged him to go ahead and work solo. Although this exchange prevented him from completing the full design he had envisioned, he did realize at least one good idea as shown in this photo
- ideas filling or spilling from head
The ideas fly freely (into?) out of the head!
Are teams the enemy of freedom? I might agree that teams constrain individual freedom, but I’m also a subscriber to the aphorism “many hands make light work” (there must be French for this one!). There’s more to say about games as focused toward individuals, groups or teams, but I’ll save that for another occasion.