why improv?The way we speak.The way we use things.Interactions areimprovisational.
building on...Brenda Laurel – Design & TheatreEric Dishman – InformanceKristian Samsarian – Role Playing
brenda laurel‘The more we live withembodied experiences in ourlives, the more we becomemobile, as people get connectedto the world around us, youbegin to need methods basedon improv, because it is aboutthat embodied experience.’
kristian simsarian‘Don’t underestimatethe power of a groupexperience. We’ll havea shared understandingof what this thing is, thatis beyond language.’
not just improvMethods from lateralthinking, social pscyhology,music, and design.
adapted improvNot performing,but playing gamesto solve problems.
Begin & End with Objects Deconstruct Performance Testing Exposure Interaction Designer Develop, 5-10 mins, 4-6 players Warm-up, 3–5 mins, 4–10 players Ideate, 3–5 mins, 2–6 players goal: To analyse an object or environment flow: Player A performs a simple action with an object. flow: Using an existing scenario, set the stage, decide goal: To develop fast concepts; build goal: To develop fast concepts; build Player then repeats the action, this time calling out “begin” based interaction or process ﬂow. teamwork, and explore roles in the group where everything should be. Assign roles and relationships. teamwork, and explore roles in the group Great for ﬁnding bugs. Part of a whole each time fresh contact is made with the object, and “End” If you are testing a scenario, take it in slices. As soon as it when each detail is completed. Player repeats the action starts to break down, the audience must call bug! Iterate activity (what) again, this time doing it as fast as possible, without calling the scene, changing the variables as you do. Change rela- out begin and end. tionships, Who, Where, and Why. Warm-up, 5 mins, suggestions: The result is akin to a stop-frame movie. suggestions: This can be used as a longer exercise to 3-15 players. Coach the player to begin and end with great burst of develop and ideate on an existing scenario, by combining ���� ���� ���� energy. How small can the segments of time be? with Push and Pop. Use this with potential users to test ���� the experience of a device or service. Take the kit’s ﬂoor goal: To bring all the ele- ments together and under- shapes or make new ones. Use prototypes in conjunction stand the process of improv. with the velcro props to help suggest all the elements in the Introducing What. test. Performance testing can be done on the road, or in the studio. de s ig n im pr ov design improv design improv design improv design improv design improv Interaction Designer Begin & End with Objects Deconstruct Performance Testing Exposure Develop, 5-10 mins, 4-6 players Deliver, 5-10 mins, 2-6 playersflow: One player describes their design, and the second goal: To analyse an object Part of a whole activity (who) flow: Summarise your design problem in 3 key words. goal: To test a scenario, system ﬂow, or service flow: Split the group in half. Each group must observeplayer asks them questions about it, suggesting and helping or environment based interaction or structure through performance, and ﬁnd the bugs. Using ﬂip–chart and pens place each word at the head of the other. One is the stage, one is the audience. No onewith the creation of this object. Each player can describe process ﬂow. Great for ﬁnding bugs. a ﬂip–chart. Give everyone post its, and using W stickers must laugh. Once discomfort is reached, assign a simple flow: One person goes onto stage and begins a simplenew attributes and the observer or client can make obser- as prompts, run through Who, Where, Why, When, and What task, counting the post-its on the wall. Now swop the groups. activity. The next player to enter must assume a charactervations about it, imbuing it with new qualities, and trans- one at a time. The audience now are the stage players, and vice-versa. and show their relationship to the person already on stageforming its purpose/ context. through the action they are performing. The ﬁrst player must suggestions: You do not have to use all the W stickers, suggestions: When both groups have been on accept this relationship, and agree. Keep adding players.suggestions: How is it made? Is it big? Was it vacuum choose 3 that best help you to address the problem area. stage, question them on what they have experienced.formed, cast in hot wax, lathed – show us the process. This Use idea hats instead of ﬂip–charts for the random factor. Don’t put words in their mouth. They should discover suggestions: It is important for players to avoidgame can be done with two teams - make the two objects telling us who they are, instead they must show through Follow this exercise with Recombination. that the activity helped relieve the stage fright. How didinteract their actions and interactions with each other. Audience, did the actors look when on stage? Ask speciﬁc questions: How did your stomach feel? Avoid generalisations. the players show us the relationship? Did they agree? In this game, try using the pentagonal role cards. design improv design improv design improv design improv design improv
case study 1: book sharingPei Yu. Service design IDIIaims:Develop more scenariosand reﬁne the concept.
case study 1: book sharingPei Yu. Service design IDIIprocess:Created new scenarioswith Voiceover.Iterated and improvedPei’s existing scenarioswith Performance testing.
case study 1: book sharingPei Yu. Service design IDIIoutcome:Found the bugs within30 seconds of ﬁrst test.Generated new scenariosof use based on improvedservice structure.
case study 1: book sharing‘When you are making avideo (scenario), you don’tthink about what you willneed until it’s too late.’ Pei
case study 2: live|workQuadro businessnetworking servicesaims:Explore and ideate conceptsfor a business incubator inNE England.
case study 2: live|workQuadro businessnetworking servicesprocess:Warm–up games includingExposure and Catch.Followed by Deconstruction& Reconstruction.
case study 2: live|workQuadro businessnetworking servicesoutcome:1. Church ofpeer–to–peer credit (ﬂatcredit heirarchy).
case study 2: live|workQuadro businessnetworking servicesoutcome:2. Equipmentsharing service.
case study 2: live|work‘I was interested to hear whatthe process was and how itcan be applied to the designprocess... it was deﬁnitely anengaging proposition. I reallylike the idea that a designconsultancy could hire outthe improv service’Athena Anagnostopoulos.
case study 3: wild watchesMattel games project IDII:Vinay, Pei, Aram.aims:Reﬁne concepts. Creategames for children.
case study 3: wild watchesprocess:1) What can you do withyour wrist? 2) Devisinggame rules. 3) Reﬁning ideas.4) Generating situations foruse of the watch. 5) Gettinginto the mindset of kids.6) Detailing experience.
case study 3: wild watchesoutcome:Process deﬁned the product.Improv helped reﬁne from 5ideas to 2.
case study 3: wild watches‘The session allowed ourminds to ﬂoat free, andbreak away from ourpreconceived notions.’ Vinay.