At the recent CoreNet Paris Summit, the delegates at my session on Rethinking the Design Brief were asked to prepare a three minute response to our presentations using the materials on each of their tables. One table had Lego, another Fuzzy Felt, another plasticine, another coloured paper and scissors and so on. The idea was that using different materials to a flip chart or PowerPoint might facilitate producing a more creative or lateral response.
Preparing a response
My first observation was that some groups were more engaged than others, perhaps some delegates were willing to use the materials but others found it all a bit strange. Some tables, particularly plasticine and Lego, used the materials to make individual models and then bring them together into one joint contribution, where other materials such as pens and paper meant that one person was creating the output. The plasticine groups also found that manipulating (warming up) the clay was tactile and helped them form a response. There was clearly an order to the constraints that the material placed on the output – plasticine was the most free form followed by Lego, the picture cards, magazine pictures and Fuzzy Felt were already preformed to some extent. In terms of the response, the table with the pens and paper opted for a diagram with bullet points and their response was the most traditional/expected, I am not sure whether this was a consequence of the people or the materials.
Picture cards, Fuzzy Felt, Lego, colured card
The groups picked up on a number of key points:
· the importance of recognising cultural and personal differences and how to design for them;
· that some people need order and structure whereas others want chaos and choice;
· a need for individual/solitary space and social/group space;
· places for work requiring focus and concentration not just interaction and collaboration;
· supporting mobility and choice through multiple work-settings;
· bringing nature and fun into the workplace.
Magazines, pen & paper, plasticine x 2