A Better World by Design

Since 2009, I’ve been facilitating a number of workshops at a BWxD in Providence, RI. Below is a brief overview of each workshop.

99 Problems/Infinite Solutions

Co-Facilitated along with Kawandeep Virdee
Providence, RI
September 2014
#BWxD14

We run into problems all the time. We either deal with them or figure out a way to solve them. But, sometimes solving them raises new problems, or even unforeseen effects that ripple far beyond the original problem. In “99 Problems/Infinite Solutions”, participants uncovered a variety of problems and worked towards prototyping solutions while being compelled to consider unexpected consequences in their design decision.
After a rapid round of “problem generation” on Day 1, groups went deep into a few of them, asking and framing questions that helped them get to the root of the problem. They prototyped an ideal solution in 90 minutes.
On Day 2 of the workshop, participants started with the results gathered from the first workshop. This day was set in a fast-paced environment, which encouraged participants to let go of judgement and embrace chance and randomness. The goal of this workshop was to come up with solutions to as many problems given to each group in consecutive rounds—each round getting shorter and shorter.
At the end of the workshop, groups picked one solution and created a short infomercial, highlighting the problem and solution.

Scratch + Sniff

Co-Facilitated along with Ben Gaydos, Kawandeep Virdee
Providence, RI
September 2013
#BWxD13

How might we better navigate our physical, digital, and social landscapes?

Day 1: Scratch
Ben, Kawandeep, and I lead a two-part workshop called “Scratch & Sniff” that encouraged participants to look, listen, smell, and think about surroundings in different ways in order to seek out overlooked design problems. Participants “scratched” their physical spaces in and around Providence by focusing on senses that are often disregarded. Based on the Situationists’ concept of the drift, we embraced chance and let circumstance direct their perspective. We then built a database of their drift that would be used for Day 2.
After breaking into smaller groups, we sent them off into the streets of Providence, texting them prompts to help them navigate. We asked them to document their results (photo and videos) via Twitter, Instagram, or Vine with the hashtag #scratchbwxd13.
At the end of Day 1, the group brought up the challenge of trying to address the prompts, interact with new people in their team, take in the city/streets of Providence, all while capturing and using their mobile devices. For Day 2, we thought of addressing,
How might we better navigate our physical, digital, and social landscapes?
We dug deeper to find solutions to this challenge by using the results of Day 1 as a starting point. This workshop was set in a fast-paced environment, encouraging participants to let go of judgement and embrace chance and randomness. We worked with a number of “think wrong” exercises to generate unexpected solutions to the workshop’s challenge. We asked participants to conceive new products, services, and/or experiences that might help solve the challenge.

Prototyping Neighborhoods

Co-facilitators, Ben Gaydos, Matt WhiteJulia Yezbick, Kawandeep Virdee
Providence, RI
September 2012

How might we redefine the meaning of a “neighborhood” and the different components that makes one function, both on a micro and macro level?

At the end of Day 1, the group brought up the challenge of trying to address the prompts, interact with new people in their team, take in the city/streets of Providence, all while capturing and using their mobile devices. For Day 2, we thought of the addressing,
How might we better navigate our physical, digital, and social landscapes?
We dug deeper to find solutions to this challenge by using the results of Day 1 as a starting point. This workshop was set in a fast-paced environment, encouraging participants to let go of judgement and embrace chance and randomness. We worked with a number of “think wrong” exercises to generate unexpected solutions to the workshop’s challenge. We asked participants to conceive new products, services, and/or experiences that might help solve the challenge.
Workshop descriptions on BWxD; Thinking Wrong About Neighborhoods / Prototyping Neighborhoods

Prototyping Disaster Relief Solutions

Co-facilitators: Ben Gaydos & Karen Stein of goodgood, Matt White
Providence, RI
Fall 2011

How might we think wrong in prototyping disaster relief solutions for a wide-range of problems, both on a local and international scale?

During an intense two hours during the Think Wrong workshop, five groups produced ideas for products or services that were used for Sunday’s prototyping session. Participants from the Think Wrong workshop, and new conference goers came into the Rapid Prototyping session on Sunday to take the existing five ideas and make them live in the world in a more tangible, realistic form. The groups then presented them to the crowd at the BWxD Expo.

projectOPEN

Co-Facilitator: Josh To
Providence, RI
October 2010

How might we think wrong in prototyping disaster relief solutions for a wide-range of problems, both on a local and international scale?

During an intense two hours during the Think Wrong workshop, five groups produced ideas for products or services that were used for Sunday’s prototyping session. Participants from the Think Wrong workshop, and new conference goers came into the Rapid Prototyping session on Sunday to take the existing five ideas and make them live in the world in a more tangible, realistic form. The groups then presented them to the crowd at the BWxD Expo.