Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mid-crit feedback

Based on the mid-crit 10 days ago and in preparation for the final presentation next month, here is some feedback - general thoughts and comments based on our notes - that will hopefully useful for many/all groups and that you might want to take into consideration.

- We have said that you should aim for a date that is 10-20 years in the future (2025-2035). We have used that range for more than 10 years in the course but since few/no groups are aiming for the far future, we are considering shortening the time frame to 5-15 years in the future instead (2020-2030). Do you have any opinions about that? If so, leave a comment below.
- Remember that this year's theme is "storytelling". We believe that every project will become better if you anchor your vision/concept to, and visualise it through the telling of a good, powerful (news) story. That's the way the journalists themselves work as storytellers.
- Remember your "journalist friends" from the Montgomery week. Even if you don't cooperate with them now, they know some about your projects and might agree to listen to and bounce ideas with you. By all means reach out to them and ask to pitch/discuss your current project with them.
- Remember the guest lectures in terms of lessons, sources, theories, methods.
- Introduce, define and use key technical terms carefully in your projects and use these terms consistently instead of switching between related (perhaps undefined) terms.
- Remember the human aspects of the sociotechnical loop - try not to disappear too deeply into the technical solutions if that leads to loosing track of the people who will live in the future and use your systems/services. A set of technological developments is not a story in itself, or, at least it isn't a very engaging story. You have to imagine a future scenario that is underpinned by those technical developments and that becomes more than those technical solutions.
- This is an exercise in design fiction. An interesting aspect that you might include in your projects is "the history of the future" - what happened that lead up to the scenario that your group describes? What can explain how that future came about? You are free to describe fictive events or developments that "happened" in 2018 and 2023 - if that helps make your vision/concept more concrete and more credible.
- Get to the point quickly when you present. You will have 10 minutes to present your project and the audience should have a clear understanding of what the problem is that your group has worked within, say, two minutes.
- Get instant credibility by quickly referring to (large) companies who already today do X and Y (from which your solution follows). This is a shortcut and it increases the perceived credibility and relevance of your solution.
- Some general suggestions that could be useful: Use concrete examples. Find/tell a powerful story. Show something concrete. Be pedagogical. Fake convincingly. Play different roles on the stage (not just students presenting a project but, for example, business consultants selling a solution to a customer, ordinary users of your future service etc.).
- Some groups used cartoons instead of movies. That is a design representation that can be both simpler and more powerful than a movie with high production values.

Good luck with your projects!

Daniel & Malin

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