Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DD+D Returns to Helsinki Finland!

Byron was invited back to Helsinki by Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for innovation and technology for Finland. He presented "Does Employee Engagement = Customer Satisfaction?" for the Creating Creative Business Conference at the historic Alexander Theatre.
Here is a link to an article on the event
More to come on this soon!

Byron also co-lead a Service Design class with Vesa Kantola at Aalto University's Urban Mill while in Helsinki.
Here is our course description

CSE-E6250 Digital Service Design, Course with Varying Content
October 14 – 18, Startup Sauna and Urban Mill
Max number of participants: 10

Intensive course on theatrical methods in user centric service design

Byron Stewart, Co-Founder and Artistic Director at Dramatic Diversity/DD+D (Chicago, USA) will be visiting Finland in October and will be hosting a course on emphatic service design using theatrical methods.

The course will be arranged in co-operation with the Urban Mill in Otaniemi. In the course students will learn how to various methods to strengthen their empathy for the users of the service they create and in this way design better services.

The course is open for students of service design at all Aalto Schools. You should be familiar with service design concepts and methods and hence the course mainly targets 2nd year Master’s level students.

In the course the students will we working on new and innovative concepts for having lunch on the Aalto campus.

Course program:

Monday    14.10 16.15 – 18:00 Kick-off at Startup Sauna Backstage
Tuesday   15.10 09:00 to
Wednesday 16.10         18.00 Independent group work: Lunch in a different culture
Student teams should describe a lunch setting in an other culture (eg. USA mall, arab market, French café, or similar)

Wednesday 16.10 18:00 – 20:00 First presentation of group work and Byron’s intro to the rest of the course

Thrusday  17.10 09.00 - 20.00 Full day workshop with Byron Stewart “A Lunch Hour in Otaniemi Campus”

Design Empathy Introduction – Why is empathy important to designers? Covers biases/assumptions. Review the Empathy framework (Discovery Immersion, Connection, Detachment)
Various excercises.

Creating initial service design for lunch in Otaniemi

Friday    18.9 09.00 - 16.00 Full day workshop – creating the

Service design for lunch in Otaniemi, practical exercises

For more information on the course, contact Vesa Kantola.
To register for the course, send an email with a short explanation (no more than ½ A4) to Vesa Kantola

Here are a few pictures from our class and the process -

Sunday, September 29, 2013

DD+D Applies Improv for Scientists and Clinicians

As an instructor with Northwestern University's Ready, Set, Go (RSG) program, Byron had the opportunity to observe and meet the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science (CCS) team at the University of Chicago this month.
Northwestern's RSG program is based on the CCS program both with the goal of applying improv and theatre techniques to help improve the communication skills of scientists.

It was also Great to meet with actor Alan Alda and watch him work. Alda doing improv!

Byron also lead a Medical Improv session for the Diagnostic Error in Medicine Conference this month
under the direction of Katie Watson, Northwestern University. Byron the led improv games; Attacker-Defender, Conducted Story, Doctor Know it All, New Choice, and Freeze Tag. Our goal was to show the clinician participants that the rules and games of improv can help when addressing diagnostic errors in medicine. It worked!

For info on
Ready, Set,Go -
Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science -

Saturday, August 31, 2013

DD+D Performance Testing Workshop for DFA

DD+D had the pleasure of returning to Northwestern University's Design for America (DFA) to present our Design Empathy and Performance Testing workshop this summer.

DFA's Summer Studio had three teams this year.

DFA Design Briefs:
Team 1 - Dementia /Community Partner - Mather LifeWays
Students aim to seek how to ease the emotional difficulties families face while caring for family
members with dementia, and how design could reduce the frustration and other problems in
caring for individuals with dementia.
Design Question -How can we improve interactions between people with dementia and their family

Team 2 - Literacy /Community Partner -Evanston Public Library
Students aim to  help preschool children in low-income neighborhoods find ways to increase their literacy level.
Design Question - How can we encourage elementary school children to maintain interest in reading over
the summer?

Team 3 - Homelessness/ Community Partner - StandUp for Kids
Students aim to help homeless and at-risk youth in urban areas.

DD+D , three weeks ago,presented our Design Empathy workshop to prep designers for the research phase. We returned this week  for the Performance Testing workshop after the teams had developed their first prototypes. The teams had not yet presented their solutions to their community clients.

Team Solutions 1st round:

Dementia Team - is working on a way to help patients find the "three things" that
make them happy.
Homeless Team - is working on pockets/ wearable items to hide ids/ credit cards to
keep them from being stolen.
Literacy Team - has a variety of games/ activities to learn vocab when eating or
in the car.

Designer's  Feedback on Performance Testing Workshop :

"The workshop made me reevaluate our prototypes in order that our product might best be used by the primary and secondary users."

"Writing personas is one thing-But having to live it out is a lot more useful in understanding
 how our solutions fit in lives."

"Thanks for the hard questions."

"The workshop helped break down different phases of both the problem & solution."

"It helped to step into a role to see if the conversation we are trying to facilitate felt "right" or plausible."

"Got us to look at distribution, interactions and motivations of our users- where we can integrate and change behavior."
"Acting = fun+ interactive - more helpful to see and think about process rather than to hear a presentation."

"Taking a step into the shoes of a user offered a lot of good feedback that would go unregulated otherwise."