People Centered Research

This is one course I was really looking forward to ever since I thought of studying at CIID. Mainly because it was being taught by CIID’s founder Simona Maschi whom I have always admired for service design approach and design thinking.  Along with Simona we had an amazing lineup of faculty for this course which included Shelly Evenson who oversaw ux research at Fjord, Facebook, Microsoft etc and with Dr. Christena Nippert Eng who is a cognitive sociologist & ethnographer and author of many acclaimed research writings. They were assisted by Amy Bickerton (Carnegie Mellon alumni)  & Sara Krugman (former CIID alumni). This gave the course structure an amazing mix of strong design research methodology coupled with business/ industry perspective along with student perspective from across the globe.

I believe my strongest forte as a designer is working with people and cultivating my design research approach towards creating new experiences. Over the years I have realised I simply love people! Whether it is talking to them and discussing ideas with them or quietly observing them; there is a certain magic I feel when I find myself in the shoes of a researcher.

However, the course started with one stark difference to the approach I have followed in my past experience. We were sent out to interview people without knowing anything about them. In my past experience whenever we set out to do a qualitative one-to -one interview we often took time to choose our subject. The interviewees were carefully picked out in terms of their background etc especially in a scenario when we knew we would only be able to interview a handful of people in the given timeframe. But, here we were sent out to interview people with just basic knowledge of their names and location. The idea as Simona put it was ” Look for inspiration, not truth or evidence.”

This proved to be an exciting approach to the research process. By the end of three very different interviews my team (Zaza, Daniel & me) were surprised at the broad spectrum of our findings. By the end of the following week we will hope to present a design opportunity for this along with a few concept scenarios that have potential to go further.


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