Week 3: Research Reminders!

Reminders for the Research Phase:

  • Take action -- One of the common phrases in design thinking is "bias towards action." This simply means -- get going! It's easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the largeness of your project design challenge or the pressure of crafting the perfect research activity or question. But the lab format is meant to be a place to practice and implement. If you're stuck or need some help, don't hesitate to reach out -- we're in your corner!

  • Be flexible -- Whether you are interviewing as part of your research or observing, here are a few ways to have a flexible mindset:

    • Gather stories not information -- Remember, getting to a story about why or how is a great way to practice listening and get some good take-aways that will help you later on. What your top three questions? What would you say to get people to share a story or show you something related to your inquiry?

    • Use the power of creative observation -- You can learn a lot from simply observing. What is an analogous experience relevant to your inquiry? What could you learn from a seemingly unrelated environment or occupation?

  • Stay curious -- This applies not just to observing and interviewing, but synthesizing and analyzing as well. As you begin to collect the take-aways from your research activities and compare them with your teammates, you may begin to find patterns or commonalities. Perhaps this is a phrase, something that someone said and was repeated again in another way by someone else; a habit, that you observed or heard about and then saw supported or replicated elsewhere; or just an anomaly -- a pink elephant that seems to appear in a few different contexts across the people you've listened to or places you've visited. Don't let these go unnoticed. Flag them and call attention to them. They may become important during the design phase. We'll be providing some tools for synthesizing your team's insights early next week.


Lab Challenge: Dynamic Duo Observation
Total time: 1.5 hours

  • PREP (15 min)

    • Ask a teammate to join you for an observation session at a specified location. Decide on the top three questions you have going into this observation.

    • Share your questions over email, but they do not need to be the same.

    • Decide on your plan. For example, arrive at the same location at the same time, but perhaps different areas. Decide if you will be in the same spot, different spots, etc. Make sure you decide on a place to meet after.

  • ACTIVITY (30 min)

    • Commit to observation for 30 minutes during the same time frame as your partner.

    • During the observation session, take notes. Write down or draw things that are addressing your questions or might be relevant to your inquiry.

  • DEBRIEF (45 min)

    • Immediately after the observation session, take 15 minutes to independently organize your notes and thoughts. Are there any patterns or commonalities that emerged?

    • Share your notes and observations with your partner. Between your two observations, what similarities were there? What differences? How does that inform your original inquiry (your initial three questions)?

Share your experience with your teammates or on the #research channel in Slack.