fredag 29. februar 2008

Workshop till you drop

After having two lectures (StigogStein) about how to plan and arrange a workshop earlier this week, Marianne and me arranged our very first workshop. 

We did not have a specific problem definition of our project yet so we placed our bets on defining it in the workshop. We did however have a main task and a direction we wanted to work within. "We want to improve peoples social life with the use of RFID". 

As an introdution the participants were asked to list up their web-based and their physical networks and to comment positive and negative aspects of those networks. This task was more of a user survey nature that provided us with data on social networks but it also tuned our mindsets in for the workshop. 
Based on the main task we asked the partcipants to formulate possible problem definitions. There were several suggestions that we dicussed but since we noticed an extra interest in a certain direction we ended up with: "How can we make new social settings more comfortable?"

Based on the definition we were now ready to use the creative tools. Starting off with assosiative words , grouping them, giving the groups names: Heartbeat, Home, Play, Wizard, Self-Promoting, Julebord.
Then we took one word from the assosiations and mix it with the group tittle to make new constellations that generates ideas which answers our problem.

It proved to be a really productive session. Lots of good and interesting ideas popped up that we feel can be subjects for iterations.

Some reflections on the practical aspects of a workshop:

-write answers big on the wall. People like to share and se what others have answered. We like to see our own contribution on the wall. Ownership.

-keep one focus. It is enough with only one person taking notes or it will decrees attention. If you write on the wall, all the focus should be on the wall. If you sit around a table, all the focus should be on the table and so on..  

-keep up the speed. The process becomes more productive with a moderate time pressure.

-try to motivate and engage the persons that is not contributing or is lacking focus. Do it in a positive and optimistic way. 

-try to make people elaborate the answers if they are to diffuse or not to the point. Ask them "yes but -why do you think that ... -what is it with...-how did you...etc.

-it is much better to stand than to sit. People tend to get more engaged mentally when they move physically

-remember to take breaks.

-show pictures and make people evaluate them

-sessions tend to last longer than planned

-explain the task carefully so that everyone does the same thing (ex. when generating ideas they should be concrete, because then they will be easier to discuss

Feedback from tutors

-make decisions on what kind of social environment  and social relationship we want to work with (family, strangers, friends, colleagues, classmates etc..) 

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