Research, Ideate, Prototype, Repeat.

Project Information

Location: CIID Summer School, 2014
Client: Internal
Project Time: 5 Days
Team Members: Eli Bornstein, Carina B
Personal Contribution: Ideation, Concept Development, Physical Prototyping, Video Production

Final Concept

The Breaker is a humorous way to encourage workers to take breaks and socialise with new people.

Breaks help staff members to maintain productivity and work efficiently, why not encourage them?

By setting particular chairs to “break” at the same time, managers might be able to foster new communication between departments within their organisation.

Just real enough.

I was fortunate enough to take part in the one week Just Real Enough which was part of the four week CIID Summer School Program. I would highly recommend this program to anyone with an interest in getting some quick knowledge about the skills and practices that professional Interaction Designers use.

This page is a collection of thoughts and reflections on the process. The week was so intense and inspiring it is also a nice opportunity to capture how much fun we all had during the week. Additional process documentation can be found on our groups tumblr

The project has also been spotlighted at as an example of their awesome new Cloud module.

The course was taught by three guys who work at Frog Design. Joshua Noble, who is a Design Technologist at Frog Seattle, Churu Yun, an Industrial Designer also from Seattle, and Simone Rebaudengo who has been working at the Munich office.

Day 1 – Getting Context

Each of the 5 days were split into a morning session where the guys would discuss various prototyping techniques, and then let us break out into our teams in the afternoon.

The First day involved a brief introduction to our project for the week, The future of the Creative workplace, and then team building and ideation.

From the outset there was an awesome pace and energy to the whole experience. The idea was always to think and solve problems through doing and testing. Coming straight out of a marathon 12 week project back at UID made this feel like a breath of fresh air.

Day 2 – Prototype to Think

The second day was spent ideating using quick prototypes as a means of rapidly working through ideas. It was a lot of fun and the rapid timeboxing applied to this phase really helped us speed through ideas. It was really great using prototyping as a method of overcoming roadblocks in the brainstorming process.

Day 3 – Prototype to Show

On day three the goal was to refine the initial idea into something that could ultimately convey the concept of what we wanted to prototype on the final days. This was a particularly challenging day for our team as with limited resources it would be hard to get across the more physical aspects of wanting to drop people onto the floor.

This demonstrated how important prototyping is, as when we would say “Drop people onto the floor”, that can mean a lot of different things, and raise a lot of concerns. We ended up prototyping the system as we saw it working, more focussing on the systemic aspects of when people would fall, and when they wouldn’t.

Day 4 – Prototype to Experience

Day 4 was a busy one. We finalised our concept and began prototyping through video and an experience prototype. The video was shot in an around where we had been working, which helped sell the busy office feeling. It was fun getting out classmates to try out our prototype, which was a cardboard box being propped up with a plank of wood. Off screen someone would yank the rope attached to the wood, and the victim would go falling to the floor.

This prop actually helped cement the concept as something that was fun, rather than really dangerous, as everyone who fell had a lot of fun in the process.
The experience prototype was created using littlebits and a lasercut box. In the spirit of “Just real enough” The littlebits could create a buzzing and an effect similar to that in the video. This helped us to test the idea without having to actually make a breaking chair.

It was fun using littlebits, and I was really impressed at how sophisticated the outcome was. By using the cloud module, we were able to create a chain of online and mobile services to trigger the action on the chair. This was used in our final presentation and it worked first time.

Day 5 – Showtime

The final concept was presented in the form of a video and prototype. The final video is included at the top of the page. It was great to play to the whole of the summer school, and we got a great response from the audience.

The prototype was presented after the video, and as a result it had a great effect on the audience. The prototype was created using littlebits and in particular the new cloud module. We were lucky enough to play with it before it was released.

Here are two videos from our Tutor Simone Rebaudengo showing the final prototype introduced by my team mate Eli who with our other teammate Carina really drove prototyping phase (i was head down in Premiere at this point)