Methods: Some tools to communicate in entertaining ways with individuals

April 26, 2010 at 4:52 am 2 comments

Figure 1: Project carried at Procorp , including neighbors in a urban planning project.

As mentioned before: Multivocality is vital for design and community projects. But not only in the social sector but also business-wise. It is important that we treat social projects with the same quality standards as we do with business projects. This is why I commonly test research methods and information displays in both kind of projects. Figure 2: Diverse student’s approaches [Piwonka, Puyalto, Prieto, Castro]

In my experience as a professor and researcher [social+private projects],  I’ve realized that people “like” to play. Engaging research as a designer has a good side and a bad one. The good side: designers are skilled to “create” tangible and visual ways of researching that can be great to communicate with individuals. We can “make it”. The bad thing is that the discipline lacks, at the moment, some kind of rigor in research. And this is, because as I frequently indicate, design is shifting from a craft to a discipline [Poggenpohl & Sato, 2009]. So it is not just how you apply the techniques and tools, we should think about how we “make sense” of the information we are looking at. And in this we need to work to be comparable to other sciences. So not willing to make an assertion that “these tools I’m about to show are rigorous enough”, I present some tools for participation [I wouldn’t say full collaboration, as they were made in rapid applied research cycles] in visual ways. My students have been really creative in engaging these approaches. Figure 3: Project carried at Procorp , with Maite Otondo. Game & Display.
In the same line that Liz Sanders, PhD in psychology with her “Make Tools” has developed, I’ve worked  with methods that help elicit some of the needs, desires or ideas that are not “articulated” when doing a project with a community that is not your own. It is important that, when creating these engaging experiences with individuals, they are planned interactions yet flexible to adapt to different situations or individuals. On the other hand, is important to identify protocols that help us in the further stages of analysis [as Miles & Huberman have stated, these stages are intertwined] of the information, “how we make sense of it”. And, most important of all, is to maintain an “ethical” stance towards the individuals and towards the research conveyed.


Entry filed under: Design Research, Methods, Social Design.

Giving the space for people to talk, don´t confuse participation and collaboration Tools: Democratizing visualization

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MIK  |  May 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    hey Coni!

    just read your post. I totally agree about taking a more distanced perspective on why we do things an dhow people make sense of what they create. I have been reading this book you might find interesting: Kegan, Robert. in over out heads. I am actually writing a paper on this theory, after taking a class with the author of the book. So, read it and tell me what do you think…I say it because as the theory proposes, people make meaning of reality in different ways…

    Ah! I am sending you a short article as appetizer!


  • 2. constanzamiranda  |  May 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you MIK,

    BTW [MIK is a Chilean graduate student in Education @ Harvard]. Theoretically, yes, when indicating: “theory proposes, people make meaning of reality in different ways”, we are standing upon a constructionist point of view. These appreciation will help us to elucidate decisions regarding on how we look to education, health and other systems or public policies.
    I am interested in looking at the book: In over our heads: the mental demands of modern life By Robert Kegan.

    For anyone that wants to check on it is in Google Books:

    Thanks for the comment!


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contact + citing (CC license)

Constanza Miranda PhD(c) design.anthro
* Currently @ DILAB
* Ex.VR @ Stanford's Center for Design Research [DesignXLab]
* Ex.Instructor @ PUC Chile [Design+Engineering]
Use citations ¡Citar es ético!
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Design for Social Innovation initiative by Constanza Miranda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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