Brief Encounter Workshop

Academics from around the UK and Europe attend a workshop with industry representatives to explore the possibilities to make distributed and digitally augmented design more effective and fun.

This one day workshop brought together academics for a wide range of institutions including Cambridge University, Lancaster, Glasgow School of Art, Indian Institute of Technology, Northumbria University to explore the potential to develop new thinking and bids in the area of distributed design and the the digital augmentation of design processes and idea generation. The agenda for this was set by out participating academic partners. These ranged from huge multinationals such as Phillips Design and Autodesk to small but highly innovative agencies such as Radar station.

The even was facilitated and run in Imagination’s creative facilitation space. One of the innovative (and problematic) aspects of the workshop was the virtual participation of 5 partners. In an earlier workshop this was actually highly problematic, with people Skyping in using iPads. These were good in terms of portability and giving them an ’embodiment’ but the poor speakers and microphone quickly lead to a vicious circle of louder and louder shouting as the workshop split into groups.

In this workshop we tried a different approach, each electronic attendee was assigned a PhD student who was tasked to work as a team with the person Skyping in, together they contributed to the workshop. The students connected with their partners before the main workshop started and gave the virtual attendees a tour of the location to help them situate themselves.

The results of this were unexpectedly positive. We expected most of the virtual attendees to leave around lunch time but apart from the person in Shanghai (who was on a VERY late night) the participants stayed in the highly interactive workshop all day. This was by far the best virtual contribution we have had in an interactive workshop.