Week 2: Let your research begin!

As you prepare to meet as a team to decide on research activities, keep these key mindsets in mind: 

  • Be curious

  • Listen well

  • Observe and take note

Here are a few activity ideas that your teams can conduct during your meeting to help align on research activities and focus:

  • Consider “who do you need / want to listen to” (from Activity 01 last week)

  • Consider “who do you want to listen to” and “where do you want to observe” (from Activity 02 last week)

  • Consider what behaviors or industries that are analogous to your project’s design challenge

  • Consider what questions you have for your team or project sponsor

  • Review the onboarding pages available in the Team Huddle (your project sponsors have lots of great ideas about who to speak to and what to do!)

And, finally, a few tips:

  • Decide on how you collect your own “research findings” — As your team performs research activities, make sure you commit to having one shared space where these notes will be reported and stored (e.g. Google Drive/Docs, Slack or something like Box/Dropbox would likely work best)

    • For interviews, consider providing the following:

      • Use audio recordings — with people’s permission!

      • Typed up transcripts (of key quotes only vs. the entire interview)

    • For observations, consider providing the following:

      • Photos (e.g. spaces / places, items, objects, etc.)

      • Notes about things that stuck out (e.g. behaviors, patterns, items, objects, etc.)

  • Stay focused on research, not solutions (NOT providing solutions or ideas for the design challenge — yet) — This may be difficult with this amazing group of change makers, but the goal for Phase 1 is to hold space for questions, curiosity, and listening. Leaving the research activities (whether they are observations or first-hand interviews) with more questions is okay — and will ultimately help you craft good insights to facilitate the design phase!

  • Collaborate! Each team will be deciding on how they will best collaborate together, but don't forget to post updates about your progress or even your questions about research into the Social Impact Lab PDX Slack channel. We can learn a lot from each other!

Lab Challenge: Interviewing with Empathy

Total time: 1.5 hours 

  • PREP: (30 min)

    • Align with your team on who you will be interviewing. Work with your team lead to get in touch with key stakeholders from the project.

    • Work with one teammate to determine the three top questions you have going into this interview. (Note: Do not have more than two interviewers at a time unless you are interviewing a larger group of four or more.)      

      • Decide on logistics. Coordinate with your teammate's schedule before asking for an interview. Work as a pair to have one clear, informative ask.

        Example email: I am participating in the Social Impact Lab PDX, an eight-week marathon that pairs teams of professionals with local social impact projects. To learn more about design research, we’re conducting interviews with key stakeholders for the project and we were wondering if [insert interviewee request] would be available for a 15-20 minute phone conversation over the next couple weeks?

  • INTERVIEW (30 min)

    • Keep your interview brief. We’re asking people for their time. A lot can be learned in 20 minutes!

    • During the interview session, have one partner ask questions and the other taking notes:

      • If you are the question asker, be sure you are listening and prompting deeper questions. Remember, a great default question to ask is “Why” or “How”. Have your questions in mind but follow-up with thoughtful questions to dig deeper.

      • If you are the notetaker, write down or draw things that are addressing your questions or might be relevant to your inquiry.

  • DEBRIEF (45 min)

    • Immediately after the interview session, take 5-10 minutes to independently organize your notes and thoughts.

    • Share your notes and observations with your partner. Consider discussing:

      • What was surprising? 

      • What was confirmed?

      • What did you get answers to?

      • What do you have questions about?

      • What stories or quotes stuck out (if any)?

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