Tell Them Like It Is / London

Research workshop 1
Local businesses participating Vida Cycle, Snact, The London Orchard
Hosted at Central Saint Martins, London
March 2015

This was the first test of the “Design for Communication” Tool [needs a better title]. 
It was a small workshop during Research Fortnight at Central Saint Martins in group format.  The workshop format was divided in three work groups and participants randomly assembled themselves with a different food business to collaborate with.  Each had their own poster-canvas on the wall and own materials to work with.  I introduced each of the food initiatives to the other participants, as they did not know their background or what the food initiatives would be doing.  Generally it was a very informal atmosphere with tea and cookies, participants were all curious as to what they were there to do. 

Research Questions
How can the discovery tool be re-designed for group co-creation?
How can the tool lead the food initiative and participants to reflect on their communication challenges and generate solutions collaboratively?

Local food businesses participating
SNACT- start-up re-purposing surplus fruit
London Orchard Project - community orchard social enterprise
Vida Cycle - Family-run organic farm experimenting with technology

The tool canvas was designed to be self-explanatory.  It led the participant through a process, beginning with asking about a challenge or a sustainability story they wanted to tell.  It then moved through six stages towards developing a communication design brief as an outcome.  Each of the six stages was led by a question and a set of prompt cards was given in categories: sustainability qualities, ethos & values, assets & resources, communication strategies.  The canvas structure helped participants to have a specific conversation on sustainability and communication with people they wouldn’t otherwise do.  The “Design for Communication” Tool itself was designed with the intention of a low-fidelity feel, a temporary look that people could interact with, write on, etc.  Although participants edited the prompt cards, the canvas itself did not prove to be very clear as a process.  The clear sections were the communication challenge and the ideation at the end.  The ideas created in response to the communication challenge were the beginning of designing a brief.  Through the editing decisions participants made while going through the conversation resulted in what a design brief is for challenges they have and need to address.

The workshop confirmed the importance of enabling pluralism in the co-creation process, all participants bring their own experience and add to the collaborative process through that.  Participants shared personal stories and observations from their everyday and own expertise that contributed to new ideas.

”Notably on the fact that we’re not telling a story of food waste, we’re telling a story of using food! That’s actually quite a big difference.”

“Joint creative process definitely shifted my excitement about the project”