Service Design + Participatory Design

For our recent service design project, my team and I decided to try our hand at public participatory design. This is a technique that was employed by artist Candy Chang, who fuses public art with civic engagement to change neighborhoods for the better, like through her I wish this was work in New Orleans.

We created a series of large posters and "stickers" asking students, staff, and various passersbys to let us know what they would want added to Umeå University.

 

We got all sorts of responses, ranging from silly to serious and personal to political. 

 

"More computers in the library + should be real computer, not cheap version!"

"More computers in the library + should be real computer, not cheap version!"

"IKEA"

"IKEA"

"Fridges"

"Fridges"

 
"Only vegan food served to save the planet"

"Only vegan food served to save the planet"

"Plz add a computer in the study room, thanks!"

"More people on tinder"

"More people on tinder"

 
"Asian Food!!!!"

"Asian Food!!!!"

"Warmer study spaces and classrooms!"

"Warmer study spaces and classrooms!"

 

Tips for future iterations:

1. Place your posters in semi-hidden areas - some people might feel self conscious about writing in very public areas

2. Check back regularly - weather and people tend to move things around (we found one poster in the woods!)

3. Find the latent need behind the surface.

What is the actual need behind "More People on Tinder"? Just more people on a dating app or maybe the need for more opportunities to socialize?

Good workshop props go a long way

In the Industrial Design Intensive course, we've started on a new module - Service Design. Our task is to make the Umeå University campus more vibrant and sustainable.

To jump start this project, my team and I have been conducting interviews and asked participants to create a map of their movements across campus. 

In preparation for this mapping exercise, we laser cut a few quick icons of buildings and key landmarks around campus. Each map was prepped with a icon set and we were ready to go find our participants.

The goal of using these icons was to make the mapping workshop as easy as possible.

We wanted to ease any apprehension about drawing and to match the speed of the interviewee's thought process with their ability to make a map. While pen and paper works great, using additional physical props allows people to think with their hands and to go back and make edits. Even putting a quick 2x2 grid on the paper ahead of time makes a "blank" paper less intimidating. 

We generally found that people were not as intimidated to start creating a map down and each map took about 5 minutes each. Making pre-made kits mean you can hand out these exercises faster!

Having been a participant in many of the masters students' workshops at UID, I always appreciated it when a workshop was well run and prepared. One particularly memorable workshop had the us build various types of cameras, make an Amazon review on our product, and a little photoshoot to show off our final results.

Tip: participating in other people's workshops is a great way to... borrow... other workshop techniques! Would highly recommend participating if you ever get the chance!