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!