Engaging workshop

December 21, 2008

How do you engage with people in a creative way that are not from the creative industry, reluctant to participate or have little understanding of the design process?

The Dance Base Workshop

The Dance Base Workshop

As the investigative design relationship with Dance Base (DB) in Edinburgh develops into understanding such issues as loyalty, reward and charity I have begun to develop some workshops. These workshops are about trying to engage with the different stake holders within the organisation – all with different viewpoints, aspirations and opinions.

I asked some of the employees of DB to create a short 3 minute video of “their perceptions of Dance Base“. These turned out to be terrifically insightful and amazingly professional! I wanted to use these videos at the workshop to get the participants to think deeper about DB and the issues surrounding it. To help them open up and approach things differently I started the workshop with an Alexander Technique (AT) class. This Technique is often used by actors and musicians to help them with such things as posture, projection of voice, relaxation, awareness of self and composure. It is an interesting way to start a workshop as straight away the participants know something different is taking place. As part of the class they were all asked to lie on their back and watch the 3 minute videos. While they were doing this they were asked a series of probing questions to get them to think deeper about where they worked, the value of the place and how it should engage with people as a charity.

This was the first workshop and many lessons have been learned. Using the AT was certainly successful in facilitating the engagement with the participants. The discussion afterwards was very insightful for myself . The videos worked especially well, not only was it something tangible that the board of directors could see but it inspired more of the employees to participate in further activities.

When I am creating workshops I always try and  consider what I am wanting out of them, who are the people participating and design the workshop to be fun, stimulating and importantly productive.


Experience Prototyping

November 3, 2008

To really understand the market | community | environment you are designing for it is important to immerse, observe and participate in their world – walk a mile in their shoes..

experience prototyping

Working on a collaborative research and design project with a national dance school meant I had to join a dance class…Thankfully there was a wide range of classes available and I thought I would opt for the strangely titled Alexander Technique. It was described to me as a ‘movement-based way of thinking’. As it turns out it was a very relaxing class, we spend most of it on our backs!

Alexander Technique class

The class helped me gain an understanding of how people use and interact with the space, who goes to the classes and why. This is the initial stages of an on-going design exercise. Approaching the project in this way will allow me to create a product that satisfies all the users needs and importantly lets the varied stakeholders be part of the design process.