Last month saw 24 plucky, young students from That Awesome Design Association (TADA!), of Loughborough University, tackle two unique briefs to design consumer experiences – one for a future cashless society, the other tackling rising energy prices.
Fresh of face and wide of eye, the TADA members (an eclectic mix of artists, designers and engineers) and I had no preconceived notion of what was actually ‘done’ at an Experience Design Agency. However, it was most reassuring when spotted, the sheer volume of Post-It notes that adorned the walls.
Welcomed to Foolproof by Polly, Lauren and Jude, we were taken through the steps and concepts that Foolproof use to generate their service solutions for their clients. Feeling ready and raring to chomp at the metaphorical bit, we split into teams to undertake one of two design challenges.
The design challenges
Brief one saw two teams looking into their crystal balls, exploring the possible uses of the spaces left by ATMs as society chose to become fully cash-less.
Brief two saw the other two teams look into how energy monitoring and wellbeing could go hand-in-hand for the older members of society.
The day was spent narrowing down specific users, environments and utilising this knowledge to spring board into generating dozens of ideas and concepts, before down-selecting and putting the flesh on the bones of one idea.
Through an iterative process, we constantly refined our concepts, tackling t/he streets to get guerrilla research from real world consumer, role playing scenarios and producing 3D mock-ups.
The day concluded with a pitching session to the Foolproof team, pitting each team against the other as we dug beneath the surface of each team’s ideas and tested their viability.
The winning team came from Brief two, who had picked up on the insight of the loneliness experience by isolation in old age. Their vision was to provide an energy monitor which allowed people to see if their friends and neighbours are in via their TV set. As people ‘check-in’ to each other’s houses, their energy consumption automatically reduces, whilst both friends earn discounts and rewards from the energy company.
By fostering tighter social networks, emotional wellbeing improves whilst the eldest members of a community are more frequently visited and in this way their physical health monitored.
Speaking for myself (and all of TADA), the day was an exciting and engaging experience, which made design feel more tangible than sitting in a lecture theatre!
Thank you to all the Foolproof guys, Polly, Lauren and Jude, for giving up their Saturday and making the workshop happen, as well as for your generosity and expertise.
Originally written for Foolproof’s blog