Final Assignment:
II Defamiliarize

tl;dr: Find unusual approaches to explore this familiar design space, brainstorm possible connected scenarios, and propose a visionary scenario.

  • Deliverable a) Design Explorations - at least five-to-ten defamiliarized design explorations.

Due: Sunday, Feb 26

So now you’ve got a handle on the now. It’s time to move the needle and prospective five years out. The challenge is we’re designing for an eminently familiar space which is well explored and speculated on in terms of IoT solutions. This means it’s coming with a lot of design baggage….

and… often our design methods are designed to work up-close to current problems. They’re problem-centered and grounded in the things we know about today: we find problems and then we fix them through a new product. That means we don’t really innovate, we increment.

Fun! Thinking back to week four, we explored ideas around defamiliarization and the design of domestic technology. Dourish and Bell note how familiar spaces are often hard to design for; so you need to ‘make them strange’ to see the wood for the trees - either by using narratives, design fictions, speculating, or other design methods to recontextualize the space and allow you to really see what’s going on as well as strip away assumptions we might hold etc. etc.

So now we need to see bedroom (and the potential technologies that might be introduced) through an atypical lens; make it strange and design for that strangeness. Let’s use design exercises focused on speculation to develop a vision which might spot disruptive thinking.

The Vision/Team lead should work to develop a design exercise that all team members can participate in and which leads to a vision for 5 years out.

You could simply say ‘Sketch a connected bedroom/sleep interaction/wardrobe/etc of the future’

but some better possible options to spot opportunities might be:

Time shift:

  • Imagine your son or daughter is grown up and about to get ready for the day What’s it like?

  • You’ve just invented time travel, you leap forward into the year 2021 and land right in the middle of Pittsburgh’s best new hotel. When you arrive into this bedroom, what’s strange and different it?

Place shift:

  • Design your connected sleeping to happen on a submarine / in the rainforest / etc.

Persona shift:

  • Design for an extreme persona e.g. Design the connected bedroom of tomorrow for the Pope / a YouTube superstar / etc.

Or you could repeat the design exercises from weeks 3 and week 4 to rapidly generate a set of potential ideas to explore.

Discuss the outcomes. Explore speculative, outlandish ideas as design opportunities. Then and only then return to the pragmatic and work towards a proposal for your group.