Informing and inspiring designA selection of projects I selected a few design research projects to demonstrate how I informed and inspired design and business teams with the insights into people’s activities, attitudes and beliefs. I also present the tools and methods I used (and often developed) for these purposes. The stories are presented in a ‘before & after’ format, starting with an initial brief or a context and then showing what - and how - was done (*). (*) Due to the confidential nature of some of the projects I often can not provide the real data; in such cases I instead present the ‘faithful reconstructions’ of those.Slava Kozlov - Selected Projects
How smooth is your skin?Understanding sensorial self-perception I asked people to record and describe To enhance the experience of their their daily activities and routines related products, business wanted to to skin care (not only about shaving, understand how people perceive a specific area of business interest). ‘skin smoothness’. It was believed by the business I then asked them to bring to the interviews the pictures and objects that would help to explain their that ‘smoothness’ is equal to the feelings about ‘smooth skin’. length of stubbles, the thing they could, and always did measure Some of these images and objects were quite experimentally. obvious (baby skin, smooth surfaces etc), but many (like a piece of wood, or plastic dolls that were seen as ‘fake’) helped me to challenge the initial assumptions shared by business, and discover many new factors that impact people’s perception skin qualities. In addition to the rich set of data that inspired design teams I also developed a new, multi- dimensional model of how people perceive skin qualities. The model also demonstrated individual differences of skin perception. “I liked the project, it was a good bridge between academic study that researchers would understand, and a design exploration that design could use.” Research partner from the Personal Care InstituteSlava Kozlov - Selected Projects
How people use computersto collaborate in the office? Corporate IT wanted to introduce a I designed and supervised a conduct of a global study (EU, US, Asia) where we new software tool for collaboration made observations of peoples’ activities and asked to check the user’s in the offices related to ‘collaboration’, attitudes to its certain features… in a broader sense than mere IT use. but they also admitted that they know next to nothing on how people We also asked people to keep diaries and take pictures & print-screens of the actually use IT tools in the offices. different business tasks they do (in their offices or elsewhere). Based on these rich data we developed a set of personas, each representing a certain type of an office worker, and presenting in a more human way what and how people use IT tools in their daily lives. The personas had been widely used, both for development of applications and for internal communication. “I don’t want to see the faceless diagrams anymore! I want to see these ‘days in life’, with human faces!” - Director of Corporate IT InfrastructureSlava Kozlov - Selected Projects
Distributed computing -and ‘intimate media’ ? Distributed computing is a fairly MIME was a joint EU-funded project (with Xerox Labs and Nottingham U.) complex technological concept, where as a part of a team I studied how and typically a realm of engineers. why people collect and display ‘intimate media’, i.e., valuable personal objects, where they store them and whom they tell their What value can it bring to a delicate stories about these personal objects. and intimate business of reminiscing and recollecting? Based on these data, we than searched the ways to enhance this very human activity with the new digital technologies - not to replace it by so called ‘memory management tools’, but to bring new dimensions to the existing rituals. Initial concepts and story-boards were validated with people, and a revised version of the GlowTag concept was later developed into a (nearly) working prototype. See more: www.mimeproject.com “MIME was a very interesting project because of its content, but it has also shown that research and design should work together during an entire process.” Design DirectorSlava Kozlov - Selected Projects
From co-research to co-designMultiple Encounters Approach Projects like MIME demonstrated that the existing model of a design process, with separated stages of Research, Ideation, and Execution should be replaced by a more integrated, interwoven design flow, where people research is present in multiple forms along the process, and I actively participated in developing and disseminating this new Research Ideation Execution approach in the company.Slava Kozlov - Selected Projects
How to study ‘experiences’ ?People research for experience design During the design process the teams As a rule, such early prototypes are fragile, and often can be shown in the lab environments only. increasingly develop early prototypes The idea was to re-enact the real experience cycle that that can serve as the ‘experience people undergo when the encounter and interact with new products or services. demonstrators’. But how to make sure that they Before the test we ‘acted-out’ the way people usually learn convey the expected experience, about new gadgets (e.g., learning from the media, or from word of mouth); then they ‘personalized the testing space, in and perceived as such by people? such a way that would resemble their own home spaces. The concept was therefore presented and discussed in a much broader context than the mere use. Designers were also able to learn from these discussion in a real time. Memory token in real home Finally, we asked people to place a ‘memory token’ of the concept in their real home settings, and talked about their attitudes later, via phone.See also the paperPeople Research for Experience Design “Design team found a pragmatic way to re-play an experience loop - from discovery to sensorial encounter, and to memory, and evaluate the experience targets.” Lead Design DirectorSlava Kozlov - Selected Projects
Virtual ‘home visits’In-depth insights delivered in a real time The challenge of the study was We decided to complement the usual home visits and observations with an on-line tool that would let to collect rich examples and stories people to capture their own ideas and experiences of how people arrange light in their and share them with us. homes. The online platform allowed people to take pictures of their The usual way of home visits would homes and submit them online, be too lengthy - and too costly, too, write their stories, interact with because of the global nature of the researchers and designers - and with each other. project. In a short period of time we were able to compile a large volume of data, about current use of light - both pleasant and frustrating moments, and future desires and aspirations . The tools also enabled an ongoing dialogue between designers and people. “I had an impression of a real conversation with people, who were all over the world at this moment - in New York, Shanghai or Amsterdam.” Client from the Lighting BusinessSlava Kozlov - Selected Projects
Understanding ‘digital experiences’by building on-line communities Philips Design was eager to explore Instead of jumping into this virtual world and the potential of the emerging 3D building yet another huge corporate castle, we entered with a humble and curious attitude. virtual worlds (such as Second Life). However, the first prevailing ideas We, a small team from Design, immersed ourselves into had been that these worlds are this world, trying to understand its dwellers and their ‘way of living’. We organized a community with regular either places of perverse activities… gatherings of its member, where we shared our practices and projects, and learned from people. After we gained an initial trust, we invited people to participate in an in-depth study of Second Life and its culture; not another quick survey, but a joint journey of exploration and discoveries. …or that there is ‘nothing special’ about them, and one can do We understood the daily practices and rituals, the ‘business as usual’ there. language people use in this world, their interests and motivations, attitudes towards design and business. Not only we learned multiple lessons, we also shaped a foundation for the next steps, of co-design and co- creation. See also the paper “Theyve engaged a group of volunteers in active discussion, To Play or not to Play: Can companies learn to be n00bs, LFG and lvl-up? theyve listened to us, and theyve rewarded us for our time with their attention. My only criticism is that I want more of that!”Slava Kozlov - Selected Projects Participant of the Second Life study
Serious game to bring ‘Spark’into innovation process Innovation is the motto in many Together with a few colleagues we developed companies these days, and Philips a simple but interesting board game called Spark, to make innovation workshops more playful and was not an exception. fun to run - but ultimately to generate more innovative ideas. Tremendous efforts have been made to generate ‘user insights’, yet the process of translating these insights The game consists of content cards, describing various ‘contexts’ and situations from people’s lives into innovations is often referred as (this part is based on ongoing people research too strict and often plain boring. program); a set of mini-personas, small figurines representing various people and their stories; and a board that allows to construct a journey of a particular persona through both very usual nut also quite unexpected situations in life. The gameplay helps the participants to better understand how people would behave in different situations, and stimulates them to think about new ideas, generate future scenarios and appropriate solutions. “I like Spark because it forces people to think in different directions, and come up with the ideas they otherwise wouldn’t even imagine!” Director of marketing, commissioner of the studySlava Kozlov - Selected Projects
Towards open designTransforming design - and designers Open innovation is a buzz-word these The task was to explore current ideas and days, yet a few people (designers assumptions of the design community about ‘open innovation’ and ‘open design’ (co-design), including) understand what are the and to develop a tool or a method helping them changes to be made to transform the to transform toward these new mindset and new practices. design process into more open and inclusive - including the changes Based on the interviews with designers and of the designers themselves! observations of the real design process, we developed an exercise (a workshop) whereby we could update them on the latest tools and methods of ‘open design’ but also let them experience some of the qualities of open design in a playful way. Because we knew the initial assumptions and concerns about open design before the event, we can clearly see how it changed the attitude of the designers, and added new dimensions to their thinking about ‘open design’. Note: See also the paper “I was pretty skeptical about co-design before this exercise; Trans: Playing Futures I thought this approach can only worsen design quality. I guess, I now have more dimensions with which to think about this concept.” Designers, participant the workshopSlava Kozlov - Selected Projects
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