Workshops are valuable in design reseach, not only as a way understaing user experiences, but as a forum for encouraging collaboration, exploration and experimentation with new ideas.
I have designed and run workshops for design teams, students, and professionals in the media, law and medicine. These groups typically include a mix of operations, management and executive-level participants.
What is a physical news story?
As the internet of things becomes more widespread there is an opportunity to tell public interest stories using sensors, 3D printing, projections, and other physical computing technologies. A workshop designed for the Brisbane chapter of Hacks/Hackers—an international group for journalists and developers interested in technology and storytelling—encouraged participants to imagine stories using tangible user interfaces.
For this workshop, I developed a set of design thinking cards. The 48 cards are organised into four categories: story, technology, constraint, and frame. Participants draw cards to develop ideas for telling a story using one of the physical technologies. Then, they rethink their ideas in light of a journalistic constraint. The frame card proposes an alternative way to think about the story. In the workshop, participants used the cards to develop scenarios and storyboards.
I designed a led a storytelling workshop for researchers from UQ’s Diamantina Institute and innovation brokers from the Global Change Institute. The workshop was designed to equip participants with strategies for telling stories about their current and future research. Using methods from design research and creative writing practice, participants first developed characters based on stakeholders then developed a range of scenarios for communicating with those characters in various situations, using a range of media.
Common law process
A series of workshops was a key tool in helping WorkCover Queensland rethink its operating model for common law claims. The workplace insurer wanted to improve the experience of injured workers who pursue legal action against employers following a workplace injury. I and colleagues ran several sessions in which WorkCover representatives, lawyers, and employers engaged with the experiences of injured workers and responded to speculative scenarios for change. A final workshop was designed to build thinking capacity within the organisation.
As a result of the project WorkCover advocated for changes to state legislation to protect apologies made by employers to workers so that an apology would not be considered an admission of liability.