Posts tagged “workshop”

Recap of Steve and Julie’s URF10 synthesis workshop

Our friends at Bolt | Peters hosted their (mostly) annual User Research Friday event last week, bringing together practitioners from the client-side as well as consultants to share stories and discuss best practices. Some of our takeaways from the day are here.

The day before the conference, Steve and Julie co-led a sold-out workshop titled “We’ve Done All This Research- Now What?” for a group of 20 enthusiastic researchers and designers.


Julie and Steve in action

The purpose of the workshop was to practice the process of moving from the data and observations we gather in fieldwork toward opportunities and ultimately to ideas.

We framed this as a research project to inform a neighborhood redevelopment/gentrification effort. Before the workshop, participants first wandered their own neighborhoods…


Thanks to Nick Leggett from Zazz for this aerial shot from their Seattle offices


Noe Valley scene (a San Francisco neighborhood) captured by Julie

…and then when we got together, they the explored neighborhood surrounding Bolt | Peters for more data.


This machine shop just down the street from Bolt | Peters has been there for decades


6th street buzzes, about two blocks from the conference

Break-out groups took the synthesis tasks to heart and, in a very short period of time, collaboratively surfaced promising opportunities and strategies and solutions to address them.

We were humbled by the gentle empathy and creativity of the folks in the room. The morning served as an inspiring reminder of just how much progress a handful of smart, dedicated people can make on seemingly-intractable problems in a very short period of time.

More amazing photos, observations, output, and thoughtful commentary can be seen on the blog we created for the workshop.

The workshop slides are below.

See previously: Steve Portigal’s presentation from User Research Friday 2008

Steve speaking at User Experience Hong Kong

I’m thrilled to be invited to speak at the first User Experience Hong Kong, taking place next February. Organized by my good friends at Apogee, the event also features a number of super smart (and super nice!) folks: Steve Baty, Janna DeVylder, Rachel Hinman, and Gerry Gaffney.

I’ll be leading a workshop entitled “Well, we’ve done all this research, now what?”

One of the most persistent factors limiting the impact of user research in business is that projects often stop with a cataloging findings and implications rather than generating opportunities that directly enable the findings. As designers increasingly become involved in using contextual research to inform their design work, they may find themselves holding onto a trove of raw data but with little awareness of how to turn it into design. How can designers and researchers work with user research data to create new things for business to do?

Almost related: Pictures from my last Hong Kong trip (2006)

Sign up for “Well, we did all this research- now what?” at Interaction10

I’ll be leading my Well, we did all this research- now what? workshop at Interaction10 in Savannah, GA, in February. (Check out audio and slides from an abbreviated form the workshop here).

If you’re going to sign up before the end of the year, you can use my discount code: IxD10Special and save $50 off the conference registration.

One of the most persistent factors limiting the impact of design research is that research projects often stop with a cataloging findings and implications rather than generating opportunities that directly enable the findings. As designers increasingly become involved in using contextual research to inform their design work, they may find themselves holding onto a trove of raw data but with little awareness of how to turn it into design.

Participants in this workshop (a sell-out at last year’s conference), collaborating in teams, will learn an effective framework for synthesizing raw data (to be gathered before and during the workshop) into insights, and then creatively using those insights to develop a range of business concepts that respond to those insights. While the framework includes a step to identify key filters that will ultimately prioritize across all generated concepts, the emphasis in this workshop will be to think as broadly as possible during ideation, truly strengthening the creative link between “data” and “action.” By the end of the workshop, participants will have developed a range of high-level concepts that respond to a business problem and integrate a fresh, contextual understanding of that problem.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Branding the Ideal Experience: Participatory Design Research Lecture and Workshop – Looks like this would've been fun and interesting: For this installment of the series design research expert and consultant JooYoung Oh will offer a lecture and workshop on the techniques of her industry. Participatory design research is a combination of psychology and design. It is about understanding people and their ideal experiences in order to inform and inspire design (of products, systems, environments, and brands). How do you know your brand will resonate with your target audience? JooYoung will discuss design research theory, and will present a hands-on exercise that will demonstrate methodologies for capturing the current and ideal experience. Come prepared to participate!
  • The Hipstery! Mystery T-Shirts – Liberating you from the burden of choice! – (via Springwise) – Similar to the Heaven's Dog "Freedom From Choice" cocktail we blogged about a few months back, here's another product that offers the experience of "surprise" with the reassurance of a semi-curated result.

3 spots remaining for Moving from Data to Insights to Opportunities

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As of this writing there are only 3 1 spots remaining for my EPIC 2009 workshop Moving from Data to Insights to Opportunities, September 1 in Chicago.

One of the most persistent factors limiting the impact of ethnography in business is that research projects often stop with a cataloging findings and implications rather than generating opportunities that directly enable the findings. How can designers and researchers work with ethnographic data to create new things for business to do?

Participants in this workshop will learn an effective framework for synthesizing raw data into insights, and then creatively using those insights to develop a range of business concepts that respond to those insights. While the framework includes a step to identify key filters that will ultimately prioritize across all generated concepts, the emphasis in this workshop will be to think as broadly as possible during ideation, truly strengthening the creative link between “data” and “action.” By the end of the workshop, participants will have developed a range of high-level concepts that respond to a business problem and integrate a fresh, contextual understanding of that problem.

You can check out slides and audio from an abbreviated version at BayCHI or come to the abbreviated version at Web 2.0 New York, November 17.

Upcoming Speaking Gigs

It looks to be a busy time between now and the end of the year, with a lot of exciting opportunities. Some details still TBD; I’ll update with links when we get ’em. Meanwhile, if you’re going to be at any of these presentations, please let me know!

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Steve Portigal presenting "We've Done All This Research: Now What?" at Web 2.0 Expo New York on 11/17 – As designers increasingly are themselves conducting contextual research to inform their design work, they may find they are holding onto a trove of raw data but with little awareness of how to turn it into design. How can designers and researchers work with this type of data to have the most impact on design and business?

    Participants in this workshop, collaborating in teams, will learn an effective framework for synthesizing raw data (to be gathered before and/or during the workshop) into insights, and then creatively using those insights to develop a range of business concepts that respond to those insights.

Now online: summary of “Well, we did all this research – now what?” at BayCHI

Keith Rayner (krayner@kemarra.com) has put together a detailed summary of last month’s BayCHI presentation featuring Kate Rutter and I each sharing our approaches for going from research to design. Hit the link for the whole review, but here’s an excerpt:

In a fascinating, interactive pair of presentations on product and services design, the audience gained valuable insights into design thinking and the design process. Both presenting companies, Adaptive Path and Portigal Consulting, help companies with the design process for product and services creation and improvement. The session dispelled any notion that these companies work in an intellectual ivory tower, remote from their clients. We saw how their methodologies effectively engage a client in the process, and how the design concepts get pushed through to final product creation. As an added bonus the audience got to join in, be creative and become part of the design process ourselves.

Steve is often asked by clients to help designers determine what’s going on with their products and services and find out what the future holds. For Steve, conducting research and turning field data into insights consists of two main aspects:

  • Synthesis – turning field data into insights
  • Ideation – turning insights into solutions

I’ll be running a half-day version of this workshop at EPIC later this summer as well a shorter version to be held in an East Coast city late fall (TBA).

Workshop open for registration: Moving from Data to Insights to Opportunities

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My EPIC 2009 workshop Moving from Data to Insights to Opportunities is now open for registration. It takes place September 1 in Chicago.

One of the most persistent factors limiting the impact of ethnography in business is that research projects often stop with a cataloging findings and implications rather than generating opportunities that directly enable the findings. How can designers and researchers work with ethnographic data to create new things for business to do?

Participants in this workshop will learn an effective framework for synthesizing raw data into insights, and then creatively using those insights to develop a range of business concepts that respond to those insights. While the framework includes a step to identify key filters that will ultimately prioritize across all generated concepts, the emphasis in this workshop will be to think as broadly as possible during ideation, truly strengthening the creative link between “data” and “action.” By the end of the workshop, participants will have developed a range of high-level concepts that respond to a business problem and integrate a fresh, contextual understanding of that problem.

This workshop is a lot of fun to lead and, as we’ve heard, fun and informative to participate in. Earlier this year it sold out at Interaction 09, and was enthusiastically received in its abbreviated format at San Francisco’s Interaction09 Redux and BayCHI.

Hope to see you there!

Only a few spots remain for Steve’s interaction ’09 workshop: Well, we did all this research – now what?

My workshop at interaction ’09 (with the chatty title of Well, we did all this research – now what?) is almost sold out. It’s happening very soon, February 5, in Vancouver. I’m really looking forward to the workshop (attendees are already off doing their pre-conference homework assignment) and the conference and being in Vancouver as well.

Many designers and other people who “make stuff” agree that talking to people is essential at many points throughout the process. But even with that agreement it's not always clear what to do with the “data” that comes from those conversations.

Through exercises, examples, and discussion, Steve will share some best practices before going out in the field, while out in the field, and after being in the field that help transform questions into answers, answers into insights, and insights into actions.

If you’re interested in attending the workshop, you should sign up quickly for one of the last few spots. Hope to see you there!

DRC08 Workshop: Tapping into super-noticing power

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Last weekend was my workshop (“Did you see that? Tapping into your super-noticing power”) at the Institute of Design’s Design Research Conference. Most of the folks in the workshop completed a homework assignment where they went out and took photos of something they noticed (similar to the assignment I had given to the students I taught at CCA, discussed here). During the workshop itself, people presented their photos and stories, while I asked both speakers and listeners to think about the noticing process more than the details of the specific examples (all of which were interesting and enjoyable).

We did just a first pass at synthesizing the observations, and some of the things that came out may or may not be obvious to others. Here’s a sampling:

  • To notice, we filter on our previous experiences, our personal backgrounds, and our professional experiences
  • We react to something that evokes an emotion in us
  • Rather than noticing details, we may simply grasp the gestalt of the details in the moment
  • Taking the picture helps you notice, even if you go back to the picture later and notice things in that picture
  • The importance of slowing down, relaxation, being calm/still, having a time of contemplation (in contrast to “trying” to do a noticing activity…several people reported that they couldn’t do the exercise when they tried to do it, but then later on they noticed all sorts of stuff
  • In contrast, for some, there is no on/off button for their design research way of thinking/being
  • There’s a need to give ourselves permission to look silly by stopping to pay attention to something seemingly trivial
  • Notice similarities when you expect differences
  • Notice differences when you expect similarities
  • Most importantly to me, was that it’s okay not to know the “why” of something; this was tough during the workshop when some people had a strong urge to try and explain what others had noticed; to rationalize, clarify, or even solve it

I look forward to the next opportunity to lead this workshop again.

See also: Ever notice? by Steve Portigal and Dan Soltzberg at AIGA Gain

From Here to There: Design Research Symposium

Recently I was invited to ASU in Tempe, AZ, to participate in a Design Research Symposium called From Here To There, a reference (I think) to moving from questions to answers (or, perhaps, more questions).

I was pleased to be part of such a great lineup of speakers:

  • Dennis Doordan, Editor, Design Issues
  • Laura DeWitt, Research Director, laga Innovation Group
  • Dan Formosa, Smart Design Worldwide
  • Matthew Jordan, Director of Research and Interaction Design, Insight Product Development
  • David Alan Kopec – “DAK”, Associate Professor of Design, Newschool of Architecture and Design
  • Steve Portigal, Principal, Portigal Consulting
  • Meg Portillo, Chair of the Department of Interior Design, University of Florida
  • Altay Sendil, Design Researcher, IDEO
  • Jason Severs, Principal Designer, frog design
  • Susan Winchip, Professor of Interior and Environmental Design, Illinois State University
  • Matt Zabel, Human Factors and Design Research Manager, Brooks Stevens

We heard from people in academia and people in consulting practices, and we learned about culture, education, methodology, a day-in-the-life of a professional design researcher, quantitative approaches, and a lot more.

I gave a plenary address that built on Practicing Noticing Stuff and Telling Stories. The bulk of the talk was different examples of cultural norms and/or design requirements revealed through observations and photographs. Some of those pictures have appeared on this All This ChittahChattah. In a great bit of small-worldness, one of the students in attendance was the very person who had explained (in a previous blog post here) just what was going on in one of my Hong Kong pictures.

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Steve talks about poo

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About

I also ran an in-depth workshop on interviewing techniques. In our training work, we’re often using this same material in professional settings where our clients have a little or a lot of experience in using interviewing and observation as a method for gathering insights so it made for a point of contrast to have the discussion with people who are in student mode and who have had very few applied experiences with design research. I’m appreciative of these opportunities to teach a range of people with different skills levels and backgrounds as I think it keeps the material sharp and our approach always fresh.

A smattering of other conference images:
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Questions, answers, and dialog

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The Incredible Jason Severs

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DAK

It was a great event, a good group, well organized, and good interactions. There’s a rumor that the talks may be podcast eventually. I’ll update this post if that happens.

T.O.

I’ll be in Toronto tomorrow to give a talk about user research and cultural insight to a group of people working in the food industry (primarily) as sensory scientists; smell-and-taste researchers who I think work on groovy stuff like “mouth feel” and so on. Sounds like a great group; they’ve got a lot of registrants for our workshop and we’re going to do a bit of an observational walk-around exercise in some different neighborhoods in Toronto. I’m looking forward to it, despite taking a red-eye flight tonight.

Workshop at EPIC2005

I will be doing a workshop at the EPIC2005 conference next month in Seattle.

The Sociality of Fieldwork (or Personal Experiences with Interpersonal Connections)
Workshop Facilitator: Steve Portigal, Portigal Consulting

In the activity of fieldwork, the ethnographer creates and facilitates a series of powerful interpersonal connections including (but not limited to):

* ethnographer and respondent
* ethnographer and fellow ethnographer/researcher/designer
* ethnographer and ‘client’
* ‘client’ and respondent

We leverage these connections to accomplish our most basic purposes: creating empathy and gathering data through establishing rapport. But perhaps there is more going on here. The goal of this workshop is to explore and consider these closely-felt connections and collectively begin to build a deeper understanding of the roots, power, impact and further potential for these interpersonal connections.

Through the workshop we will share our respective experiences, looking both for common themes that emerge, but also unique perspectives that the workshop participants may have, drawing those out and ideally building specific techniques that we can employ in the future, looking towards fieldwork that is more stimulating, impactful, and satisfying for each of the different stakeholders.

Series

About Steve