This post is intended mainly for the roughly 40 students who will attend Destine starting on July 6th in Łódź. However, I think this is quite reusable, so let’s have this as a public thing and some content for my personal website.
Dear Destine attendees,
This is your most important task to be performed at home. This work will directly impact your project and this is what you bring to Poland for you teammates. Listen carefully.
We want you to dive into the problem domain in your local settings and attempt to understand the human side of your projects. To achieve that, we ask you to perform two out of three activities: observe, interview and look for inspiration.
Observing how people perform different activities will enable you to get a better understanding of how and why things happen in the real world. Start by watching this video. Then, it’s time for action. Think of a location in your neighbourhood that’s relevant for your project. If your topic is food, go to a restaurant. If you Destine adventure is about medicine, visit a GP’s office. Pick a maximum of three people to observe and try to understand the details of their activities. Remember to take field notes. This document will help you structure your observations into a format that can be shared with your friends on Trello.
Interviews are a great way to understand your users and obtain knowledge that can impact your project. Interviewing is a complex art and there are many ways to conduct interviews. Begin by reading section 3 of this document. This will provide you with an overview of what interviewing can offer. Now it’s time to plan an interview. This of an interviewee that can provide you with things you don’t know. This could be a bank clerk. This could be your mum. Section 7.4 of that book will help you plan and document your interview. Analyse your interview and write interview notes. Share these with your friends on Trello.
Look for inspiration
This task may seem easy, but it’s crucial. Look for what other people have done to understand your problem domain and what solution have already been implemented. Scientific databases such as Google Scholar or the ACM DL may be useful. Investigate if researchers tried to tackle your problem and what approaches were used. However, local and global media can be equally useful. Prepare a set of notes with at least three references for your friends to review.
We encourage you to discuss your results on Trello. However, we’re make sure you’ll spend plenty of time doing that on site. Go! Explore! Inspire!