The first design path we have been looking into is Design Ethnography. I would describe Design Ethnography is immersing yourself into the culture and world of your user group and crafting insights from your experiences.

Along these lines we have been given access to the research of the Masters of Design Ethnography course in DJCAD ‘Busy Families/Busy Cities’ This research gives unrivalled access to families within Paris, Shanghai and New York that otherwise would be impossible for us to obtain. Beforehand I could only create assumptions about what information these families would benefit from. Now though, with the use of hot reports, field guides, participant profiles and postcard quotes I was able to formulate the beginnings of insights.

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In groups we pulled together our insights, picked them apart and sorted them by scenario, similarities and chronological differences. By bringing our insights together we were able to come to a more focused set of ideas that we could develop at a later stage:

How can we provide families with up to date information about the coupons they have, including expiration dates and locations?

How can we aid communication between nannies and parents in New York who often pass each other quickly as responsibility is passed between them?

How can we help grandparents still manage to be social while being the primary parent to their grandchildren?

How can we develop the online grocery shopping delivery service in Paris to fit in with modern busy schedules?

How can we help those people in new York who value quality over price in their food be able to keep up to date with seasonal and current produce available locally?

If I am being completely honest when we started looking into design ethnography, for a reason I cannot put my finger on, I was not fully on board. I suppose it may have had something to with the fact that the research used was not in fact collected ourselves but instead taken from another source. In some ways it felt like cheating. Yet if we don’t use the information already available to us, we could spend hours treading ground already discovered and documented for us.  Now looking at the five insights above, which were definitely not the only five we discussed I can see how in actual fact this method of insight creation is hugely beneficial.


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