Archive for ‘Participatory’

February 13, 2012

Lots of pushpins, More Conversation & Accountability

Lots of Pushpins…

This map began as a way for me to understand possible functions or “roles” of the tool I would design and the feedback loops within each part. (*1*) It was a weak attempt to begin thinking about “what it is I am making” and “what it is all about” but it was a start. See the key to explain details. High resolution photo to come.

After making this map I began to realize my objectives for this tool were unclear. What were the big questions it was asking. What was it getting at. How was it helping people. Yes it’s about long term goal management but how was it going to do that.


Lots of Questions…

From here I created and curated a list of questions which would help someone specify their long term goal. These questions were directly and loosely based off of the methodology from many different sources such as:

After creating a big list of questions, I edited these down to the more salient, grouped them, sketched them, and matched the sketch visualizations with the parts of the tool. (*2*) The questions are loosely clustered around a different part or role of the tool.

The groups of questions are as follows:

  • Goal
  • Values
  • Conditions
  • Support/People
  • Achieving Goal
  • Action Plan

An example of some questions such as the ones related to the group “Achieving Goal” are as follows:

  • Describe the state which will let you know that you have met your goal. 
  • What are some possible obstacles which could prevent you from reaching your goal?
  • How will you be rewarded when you meet this goal? How might you create a reward for yourself?

To see all of the questions view this doc:  List of Unedited Questions My Tool Will Ask


More Pushpins…

As I mentioned earlier, I tried to do a little cross pollination in my map, by matching first the sketches and then the questions with the parts/roles of the tool. This suggests both that  this part of the tool might literally ask those questions to the goal maker, or they might engage in an action which would result in that question being asked. (*3*) See the that map below.

* key *

* detail  *


A little exercise…

To move forward I began to think about how I would translate these questions into a more typical format, a time based plan for achieving subgoals. I was thinking about creating an action plan through these steps:

  1. List all of the activities you have done or will need to do to achieve this goal
  2. List all of the conditions that will be necessary or helpful in order to achieve this goal (some conditions include social, physical, material, environmental factors, see map for more details)
  3. Group and name these according to phases
  4. Within each phase create steps and designate which activities & conditions are ongoing (habits/practices) and which are one time needs or actions (tasks)

I asked Kirsten Southwell, a wonderful friend of mine and great thinker/designer to come by the studio to get some feedback. We played a little game, which I tested out first below to have a conversation about goals, activities, and conditions. Then, just as I hoped, the conversation snowballed into something deeper.
* List of goals, activities, conditions *



A conversation about Conversation & Accountability…

So this is what I found out through conversation with Kirsten…

I was focused on making a tool which helped clarify a goal into a more specific set of actions by aiding self inquiry. When we did the little activity featured above, I was wondering if maybe my ticket to clarification was focusing on not only on obvious tasks which are to be completed, but also conditions. (This in fact was one of the factors that and interviewee pointed out, to hear that sound clip see Interview 09)

However, as we talked a few things became obvious…

  1. At what point in the goal making process am I helping someone through (Martha mentioned this in the first full committee meeting, see reference to David Roe) Is someone trying to weigh different goal options, or someone who has a goal idea but a vague understanding of how to live it out, etc.
  2. My focus has been on internal awareness, but what is there to be said about others’ role in helping this process? The role of accountability  and conversation with others as a powerful tool for not only working towards a goal but understanding it (*4*)
  3. My map is way to complicated and the things my tool does must be simplified, this was obvious before I started and a result of my additive/expansive method of thinking (*5*)


Now I should…

Develop concept grounded in accountability and conversation, with parts/roles and questions facilitated by tool, and oh yeah… make real stuff


Footnotes on Process & Other Details:

(*1*) You can see all of the “parts” are athromorphized. This was a fun way for me to think about the tool in a brainstorming phase, I have also noticed refferring to a relational connection with something or someone helps me create a story and discover the larger narrative or purpose I am interested.

(*2*) I have been doodling my ideas a lot. I am noticing it is helpful for me to process information through multiple means (digital word processing, handwritten notes, index cards, colored pencil annotations, plain text edit files) The more I allow myself to re-tell the story or recap the information through the different means, the more I edit and internalize the important parts. I am just beginning to create a better flow for drawing simple sketches everyday to reinterpret or make a simple model for myself.

(*3*) I have noticed that I am empowered by making digital information physical, so that I might tangibly edit a larger set of information. It keeps me on task, engaged, and most excitedly- enjoying myself. I have tried to take good pictures in order to document this physical editing process in order to encourage constant flow within my workspace. I also enjoy the effect it has on subconscious absorption and reflection on that information. It also provides obvious breaks in my work because I am able to see how much progress I have made.

(*4*) For example… People might want to find someone’s secret… how did they do it? (ie: could you follow your role model’s goal process through twitter) This was an aspect I hinted at in the questions: with “Who else is working on this goal?”

(*5*) I am friends with an Architect. We occasionally spend time drawing while at a coffee shop or waiting in a lobby. He asks me, try to draw without so many lines. I find this an interesting challenge, because when he looks at a paper he thinks about what he wants to draw before drawing it, and only puts on the page what is necessary. Though my tactic of many lines, and an additive process might not be the best for drawing perhaps it could work better painting? I have never tried. However, I do very much enjoy collaging both digitally and with found materials/scraps. I have recently noticed a connection to that way of thinking and reasoning in my design strategy work. Get it out, and then respond to it- edit it- move it- reframe it- and try to see. I love the things which layering can achieve.

January 17, 2012

Picking Brains & Playing Games

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Thanks for your interest in participating! 

Unfortunately, I have already received 12 responses,
and my schedule can not accomodate any more meetings.

However, I would still like to stay in touch with you! 
Shoot me an email at < > if you would like
to participate in future brain picking sessions (TBA in March).

Thanks again!

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


I want to meet and talk to you.


A 30 minute time block in which we play little games like mad-libs, drawing exercises (simple don’t worry), and making up fake rules to define the universe. Just little participatory exercises and informal conversation to help me understand a little bit about how you think about and use timekeepers.


Next week… January 23rd to January 31st

At any time which is convenient for you.


I will come to you!


Because… you want an interesting break in your day // you have an interest in random things // you like talking to friendly people like me //  you wanna help a sister out // you care about grad students // you think research is interesting // you think thinking about time is worth some time // you like design or design students // you hate your alarm clock


Email me at

January 15, 2012



To understand habits and behaviors involving timekeepers, planning, and work-nonwork management I created the following workbook (shown below). See Below for photos of the completed workbooks. Since then I have met with Denise to revise the questionnaire in order to create a series of interpretive, open-ended, engaging activities.

Below are a few of the highlights from participants’ workbooks:

The Experience of Time:

  • Choosing alternate rhythms to frame progress. Creating breaks through specific events in the day, or something as simple as working until the last song on a CD is played
    Note: Connection to phase synchronization, an alternate :  “compositions based on the extended repetition of brief elegant fragments that weave in and out of an aural tapestry, devoid of traditional western musical events” 

Awareness of Timekeeper:

  • Sound of clock sometimes draws attention to it
    Note: Why do clocks tick, what are those experiences like when we become aware of the ticking, why do we become aware in that moment and not others?

Sharing Calendars:

  • Mother gives calendar with birthdays/anniversaries of friends and family to her children, This year the sister now returns the favor to the mother
  • She shares her long term goals with others in order to retain/remember them

Physical behaviors & time progression:

  • Desk cal only serves aesthetic purposes on desk, but she gets satisfaction from ripping off each day
    Note: Ripping off the day as a daily exercise: What if daily act could cue into nothing part of brain/create a mundane meditative task to create a break in the day?. Providing daily office gossip. Daily office clues for ongoing scavenger hunt.


In Progress. See beginning exercises below:



Week 1: Jan 10-17

  • Begin Taxonomy of Timekeepers and Qualities of Timekeepers
  • Initial Interviews: Create Workbook/ Begin interviews

Week 2: Jan 17- 24

  • Complete Taxonomy of Timekeepers and Qualities of Timekeepers
  • Adjust Workbook
  • Complete 10 interviews with Workbook
  • End of week: Document Study (Taxonomy/Interview): Objectives/Conclusions/Moving Forward

Week 3: Jan 24-31

  • Identify Audience: Background Research, Interview & Observe
  • End of Week: Document Study: (Audience Observation/Research) Objectives/Conclusions/Moving Forward

Week 4: Jan 31- Feb 7

  • Create & Disperse Timekeeping Exercise to Audience
  • Begin creating small Provocations/Probes

Week 5: Feb 7- Feb 14

  • Continue Timekeeping Exercise
  • Continue Provocations/Probes
  • End of Week: Document Study: (Exercise & Provocations/Probes) Objectives/Conclusions/Moving Forward

Week 6: Feb 21 – Feb 28

  • Prepare for Orals
  • Present