ROUNDTABLE

ROUNDTABLE

A Collaborative Tool for Multidisciplinary Stakeholders
Social Innovation | Social design, entrepreneurship, design theories
Stakeholder: Brabant Outcome Fund (BOF)
Team: Jing-cai Liu,  Sacha Prudon, Nick Voskuil

Background

The main challenge of this project was to design a tool that can be used by the Brabant Outcomes Fund (BOF). They are a social investment fund dedicated to guiding the growth of several different startups in the social domain. The BOF is an organization providing a connection in shared beliefs and values between investors and social ventures. Often, the stakeholders have completely different disciplines and backgrounds which result in challenges concerning collaboration. Consequently, we see the opportunity to design for the enhancement of initiating transdisciplinary collaboration [1] within the BOF organization.

Iterative designs

Among techniques such as sketching, mapping, and regular discussion in order to communicate, we did an embodied sketching [2] session to explore our meaning of collaboration. Through this technique, we experienced what could be valuable elements in transdisciplinary collaboration within a transformative practice [3]. The iterative designs of the collaboration tool arose from this embodied experience. We want to accomplish a similar goal by connecting stakeholders and enhance engagement by embodied “doing” processes. With these tools, we strive to stimulate a bodily and sensing approach with the intention to let stakeholders open up, learn, and find meaning through interaction in the physical.

Exploration with a square board with nails along the edges. Each stakeholder could write down their needs and skills and use colored wires to connect these on the board. Through using this, each stakeholder could find each other's skills and interested in withing a collaboration project. Also, the embodied sketch allows collaborators to interact and engage in a fun way to connect to one an other.
The second iteration is improved with a round shape. This version could be used with either wire, as previously done, or by drawing lines with markers on paper. A test is done with a group of participants who don't know each other and a fictional project is set for the group. This first user test sparked several interesting insights concerning the use and value of our concept. The participants noted that they felt invited and free to speak about their possible contribution to this fictive project. It seems that the setting of the test and the use of the tool sparked quite a lively conversation.
In the final design, another layer is added to this previous concept. The added layer enabling meta-analyses is transparent and enables stakeholders to write on it with markers above the layer with the connection wire connections. This layer aims to make the discussed topics concreter. Stakeholders could draw and place a concrete plan on top.

User Tests

Insights User Tests

This first user test sparked several interesting insights concerning the use and value of our concept. First off, the participants noted that they felt invited and free to speak about their possible contribution to this fictive project. It seems that the setting of the test and the use of the tool sparked quite a lively conversation. Furthermore, since all participants were invited to write down four relevant skills, all the people involved were “forced” to contribute. This resulted in a level playing field throughout the further use of the tool. However, after each session of discussion, the challenge is how the stakeholder could continue within a collaboration. The tool was a little bit abstract to them. Hence in the final iteration, the design is improved with adding meaning to this conversation. By adding a transparent layer on top, stakeholders could summarize the conversation that they have visualized and made concrete plans on this layer. This final result is tested during the final exhibition of the course.

 

Conclusion

The final design, ROUNDTABLE, is the result of several iterations, feedback sessions, and user tests. Reflecting back on the design question, how can we catalyze the initiation of collaboration among transdisciplinary stakeholders of the BOF, we can carefully conclude that the current prototype seems to serve the purpose of kickstarting collaboration and creating a sense of mutual trust and respect. At the same time, we believe there are strides to be made in terms of sense-making by participants, explorations in form and interaction, and the practical properties of the tool. This project can serve as an initial step for future work in the realms of embodied interaction and sense-making between stakeholders, and further development of the proposed prototype and related meanings attached to it by users.

Reflection

The explorations of embodied sketches and the underlying theories have improved my skills in designing for a social context. This project was multidimensional, from making infographics of theories in the first weeks to quick designing and user testing to setting up a final expo for gathering insights from experts. This way of quick adaption has also improved my skills to make quick decisions in design and to learn things by doing.
+ User & Society
+ Creativity & Aesthetics
This project has increased my broad understanding of collaboration with multidisciplinary stakeholders. Throughout this project, I have explored different theories to understand what design means within the approach of transformative practice. The TP framework consists of multiple aspects of design that are related to designing towards the transformative paradigm in which sustainability, societal challenges, social inclusion, etc. are involved [4]. Another framework I have experienced in this elective is Deconstruction which enables me to understand the roles of different stakeholders within a project [5]. Through the inclusion of these frameworks, I could reflect on the expertise of User & Society differently. Also, this project consists of different small assignments that allowed me to implement my Creativity & Aesthetics skills, such as creating infographics and making quick prototypes.

References

1. Irwin, T., Tonkinwise, C., & Kossoff, G. (2015). Transition design: An educational framework for advancing the study and design of sustainable transitions. Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios en Diseño y Comunicación Nº105, 23, 31-65.
2. Márquez Segura, E., Turmo Vidal, L., Rostami, A., & Waern, A. (2016, May). Embodied sketching. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 6014-6027).
3. Hummels, C., Trotto, A., Peeters, J., Levy, P., Alves Lino, J., & Klooster, S. (2018). Design research and innovation framework for transformative practices.
4. Mertens, D. M. (2010). Philosophy in mixed methods teaching: The transformative paradigm as illustration. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 4(1), 9–18. doi:10.5172/mra.2010.4.1.009
5. Norris, C. (2002). Deconstruction: Theory and practice. Presbyterian Publishing Corp.
Theme: Overlay by Kaira