I have a hypothesis: if the interdisciplinary design studio approach works for client-based work, it could also help people design their way through the challenges of their relationships.
During my Trade School class on Dating by Design, I told my class of 6 students that we would form our own small design studio, and take on one student as our client. Tahnee volunteered to tell us about her relationship.
First, we used in-depth interviewing techniques to write up an RFP (request for proposals!) that outlined the challenges, opportunities, timeline and budget for our client. Budget in this case refers to the amount of energy, time, resources, ego etc. that our client could spend to shift her relationship. We found that the more clearly we defined the problem, the more solutions began to emerge.
Tahnee wanted to find out how to create stronger communication paths to her partner, who lives across the country. Through the RFP process, we discerned that what Tahnee really needed was a way to maintain closeness with her partner on a regular basis. She needed a communications strategy.
Next, we used a traditional brainstorming approach on a giant sheet of kraft paper, allowing everyone in the team to share and record ideas without judgement.
Through discussion, we discovered that developing closeness across distance was really about sharing sensory experiences, and we created an action list for Tahnee including things like sharing a meal or doing yoga together via Skype, sending each other an article of clothing in the mail, collaborating on a visual journal online, or listening to an album at the same time.
Here’s what Tahnee had to say about the experience:
“As someone who is already in a relationship, I was initially skeptical about what I’d gain from the workshop. It was great to learn about how design principles could be applied not only to dating but to existing relationships you may have with a partner, a friend or family member. And who knew that after discussing my relationship with 6 strangers one Wednesday morning I’d come out of the workshop with a communication strategy for me and my partner? Amazing!”
Want to learn more about how you design your relationships? Join me for “Dating by Design: The Basics” on Skillshare February 18-27 (http://skl.sh/VITMQk) or schedule your own private design session at www.datingbydesign.ca.
Dating by Design Pre-Valentines Mixer: An evening of food, drink, design… and dating! (via Eventbrite)
Smart Design: The Breakup Letter (by Smart Design)
The Breakup Letter is a design research tool that Smart Design uses to understand the emotional connection between people and their products, services, and experiences.
At IIT’s 2010 Design Research Conference, Smart Design asked participants of their Sex Ed workshop to test out this tool by writing and reciting a Breakup Letter. Each participant took 15 minutes to write a letter and then shared their stories of finally moving on.
I was at IIT, and I wish I had been in this class!
Design: The problem solving process that results in valuable, meaningful products, services and experiences for people. My definition of design is broad, including the traditional disciplines, plus some elements of art and business. Subscribe via RSS.