Reflections

Report writing

Here I am, sitting in front of the computer once more (like every single day), dedicated to write my report! Instead I start reading Zenhabits, not just because I am a procrastinator, but because I know there always comes something to help. Funny enough, the latest post is called “How I Tackle a Big Writing Project“. Perfect!! Reading through it, I realized once more, how things are actually in flow and that it is my fears, my worries and future predictions that block me from acting.

I have struggled about the subject first: ” Maybe I am the only one that feels the need to slow down? Am I making a project out of my incapabilities of focusing and producing in a high rate?”. I started talking to people, asking them about their paces, their balances in life, rhythms, what makes them fast, what makes them slow. I realized I wasn’t the only one feeling “rushed” but at the same time most people did not want to slow down. Slow had bad connotations: Lazy, stupid, inefficient, late.. Especially in work situations, slowing down meant risking your work, risking to be perceived unwilling. Business was after all busyness. Being busy meant being important, so busyness became a way to prove how good you were in your work. “Oh I was at work/school until 3:00am yesterday” became a phrase to be used to tell how dedicated you were. But then people opened up slowly, someone that was compaining that her collegue was not fast enough, later told me “I do the same task 3 times, because I always have to make it fast, so it always have some mistakes that I need to correct on the next version”.  Another person working with sales underlined how he liked the fast lifestyle then confessed that he is having panic attacks due to this fastness created by his job.

So, I got over the insecurities about the subject. There was a deep down need to take a step back and ask “where or what are we running to?”. At this point of the project I was also trying to slow down myself, so I also tried to get a good understanding of different methods that could be used in design. Slow design was one of the most popular topics I

Slowing down in itself required mindfulness and focusing. For the longest time I had believed that focusing would take away the spontaneity of the process, what good is creative process if you don’t do exploration, right?? Close to the end of my project I realized (albeit a bit late) that exploration is nice when not done in a 20 week project with dedicated time slots. Exploration apperantly is better done when looking for a topic and not when trying to fit into a schedule.. Hmm wait, that didn’t work either. I am still trying to figure out the balance of focusing vs being spontaneous.

Focusing and letting go: Don’t put the plans, don’t put the goals. But when you are doing something, focus on doing that thing. Bring all your attention to that single task. And when another task arises (that is not due to your distractedness or fears) see if you are more excited about doing that task. Check with yourself regularly, are you excited about what you are doing still. Continue with the task until you are tired or you can’t avoid the distractions any more. Take a break to enjoy your satisfaction :)) Repeat every day. Set aside time to do it everyday. Have a “quite own zone”. Aside from that zone of yours, be open to new experiences, enjoy each moments as they come. These feel still contradicting to me, but try and see how they actually go hand in hand.

Report writing: Start with the intro, continue to use your research report and move on the the rest. One step at a time.

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Workshop: Fast Virus

We had a fun workshop today! The participants were asked to first identify the symptoms and how the virus may have spread. They were then split in 3 groups; two representing slow activists and one representing the fast system. They were all asked to create kits to promote their values (the activists to cure the fastness disease and the system to spread it).  Funnily enough the behaviour of the groups was interestingly parallel to the roles they were assigned to. The system group loudly stated how they were enjoying the activity and started producing various tools very fast, whereas the activist groups brainstormed for possible solutions before taking action to produce.

The fast kits aimed at emotional behavior and included a “holy book of fastness”, herbal mixture for “premature ejacuation as a fashion statement” and slogans/posters with the hidden threat of exclusion from the society if you are not fast enough. Targetting of emotions made me realize the invisible fastness choices we make everyday without reflecting because it was more “acceptable” and triggered the ideas of making them visible.

The slow kits included tunnel vision glasses to avoid multitasking, booster break boxes that hide the computer mouse or motion limitation objects. “Bringing limitations to slow down” fuelled up interesting discussions on choosing your own pace vs being forces to slow down and the findings from these discussions paved the path to my later concepts.

Key Findings and questions:

Fastness is the norm and more accepted – How to make slowing down more attractive?
Fast choices kill the opportunity of reflection – How can we make the choices visible?
Fast is fun! – How can we make slow more fun?
Limitations make you slow down – How to balance the choice and the force?

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Research objectives and plan

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My aim is for this project to be experimental and iterative in nature. This unknown territory scares me as well as it excites me, but I believe school should be the place to explore and learn. So regardless of its final outcome, I trust this project will give me a wider perspective and help me to understand interaction design better and uncover design fields that I haven’t set foot on such as participatory design, slow design and generative design research.

The secondary research about slow movement, sociology, time perception as well as slow design, participatory design and technology has been going on since the beginning of the project. It is now followed by primary research with a focus on the indications and inspirations to understand better the feelings, thoughts and habits of the people through interviews, cultural probes and workshops.

Even though the project is divided into three main parts, research, ideation and design, the line between these parts will get blurry due to the experimental approach taken. All the phases will be feeding each other throughout the project, though the focus will shift depending on the desired outcome. 

bubblessResearch Areas

The initial area of research is kept wide spread to understand the field of opportunities. With time and further research, the interest areas will be identified and some areas will be eliminated.
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Reflection:

Determining the steps for your own process is harder than working in a group and following a more or less structured design process. I know that I need to improve my prioritizing and structuring systems, since I tend to ask too many questions and blur my focus. Having this in mind, I will try to understand my main direction during the research phase and structure my process accordingly.