Throughout the two day Design Research Conference the frog design team wandered around interviewing attendees and encouraging them to fill out the cards they received at registration check-in. The top card stated, "As you listen to the speakers, engage with other conference attendees, and think about what you hear, we'd like you to capture some notes. Please fill out these cards and bring them to Monday's 3:30pm interactive session." The other cards had questions such as "What are the biggest challenges facing design research today", "What superpower do you wish you had when conducting research", and "What problems in the world should design researchers tackle". Attendees had no idea what the frog team had up their sleeve, but attendees played along anyway. The frog team planned two activities for the end of each day of the conference, which required attendees to put their design thinking hats on, to interact with other attendees, teamwork, and of course fun.
Attendees gathered at 3:30pm on Monday ready to find out what role the cards would play in the first interactive frog activity. Everyone was asked to split up into groups of five people and to grab a worksheet. I joined a group of people, took a look at the worksheet and was really excited to find out that we were being asked to put together a Design Research Super Team! The worksheet had questions that matched the cards so we could collectively jot down the answer to the questions in one place as a team. It also had a space for the group to draw characters on the super team as well as name the group's super team.
It was a great group exercise because the group was able to discuss their personal answers to each question and choose from those to add to the worksheet. Our group had a lot of fun working on our super team and deciding what characters the team would consist of. The three members of our super team were Marshall M. with his penetrating analysis, Al Gorlock (Morgan Spurlock + Al Gore) bringing his socially conscious storytelling skills to the table, and Disco Oprah as the empathetic interviewer. These three super team members were in charge of solving the problem of reality television. The finishing touch was adding the name of our design research super team: "The Spin-Offs". To wrap up the interactive session, the frog team asked everyone to hand in their worksheets and attach each attendee's set of cards to the worksheet so they could synthesize everyone's work. The frog team asked everyone to make sure to stick around until the end of the second day to learn about the frog team's findings and for a second interactive session.
After such a fun activity on day one, I anticipated what the second interactive session would entail. Are you familiar with the game Family Feud? It was a family game show in the mid 1970s in which two families would battle each other to guess the top ten answers to a survey question. On day two, the frog team introduced Froggy Feud which is similar to Family Feud in that the game is designed to encourage the same family fun and friendly competition, but the top ten lists were relevant to the design research field. The survey questions were questions the frog team asked attendees, during the breaks, on the first day of the conference. The two pre-selected teams had to battle to guess things like "top ten tools used by a design researcher" or "top ten things people do at a conference." You would be surprised by some of the answers. Some of the tools on the list were conversation, ears, recorder, notebook, computer, camera and phone apps. Froggy Feud was yet another fun interactive session with insights for attendees.
The frog team spent the conference working hard to coordinate these two interactive sessions and provide attendees with insights based off everyone's participation. The team closed with research synthesis while sharing the design super teams the different groups came up with. The most popular super powers that design researchers wish they had is mind reading ability and the ability to be invisible. What super powers do you wish you had?
Ciara studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a BFA with an emphasis in Designed Objects. She is a conceptual designer whose interests include user interaction and social behavior in online gaming, and how they can inform the physical world and the design of tangible objects. Her work focuses on identity, human interaction, and virtual environments, exploring the relationship that people develop with the real world and the virtual.