One of many aspects that features in our Design Thinking course is, that if we are to design and solve problems based on the human perspective, we need to use methods and techniques which allows us be emerged into people’s full experience, depending on what they are doing. Bodystorming is one such technique; one that embraces the physical space,  incorporates ideation and in a sense, sets out our prototyping. It gives us insight and credence to the design process.

1.How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

Physically acting out as a group scenarios and ultimately the problem was a way for us to work creatively together seeing ideas, rather than just hypothesising the issues.  It was quick, and a great way to visualise what the problems were, allowing us to quickly generate ideas. The behaviours, triggers, and problems of users are a lot more apparent and obvious to the problems we are trying to solves whilst we are acting out the situation. It also helps us to shortcut the workarounds and immediately identify what areas could be improved upon. Acting it out also helped us from overthinking it and making the wrong assumptions based on our own experiences.

I think, also, one of the key aspects, is that as a designer, it helps to create a sense of equality – it puts the user and the designer on equal footing. This is crucial in the human centred design process when building empathy for the user.  That is our main goal – the ultimate user experience. Likewise, group role-playing is a fun way to interactive with one another which ultimately creates a working, team approach to solving the problem at hand.

2.Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?

As we had to brainstorm our ideas at the beginning, we essential were making assumptions on the problems we had faced. In our case, it was the Doctor’s waiting room. Once we started to act it out, it allowed us to look at the those assumptions and see what the real issues were. It helped to refine our initial ideas as well provided a clearer path to actual solutions.

I think one of the most crucial aspects is the subtle issues that are not always so apparent until you are in the situation. In this case, the proximity of the chairs and the responses of people in that situation, whilst being ill and with their coping skills lacking. Also, how the reaction of the receptionist made all the difference to those waiting. Those little nuances allowed an emotional response, and to be able to witness the issue first hand.

Also, as we “in-situ”,  potential solutions to the problems faced are discussed, brainstormed and further refined right there and then. There is also immediate feedback which only enhances the ideation process with your group members. It is a quick and effective way to solve problems.


3.What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

With all the positives, there are always some negatives that need to be worked out. Working in a group can be highly beneficial, however, at times, it can be hard working in the group dynamics – different personalities, understanding between members, opinions, etc. Role playing can be outside of a lot people’s comfort zones and it can be hard to establish that level of trust amongst the group.

Another element that I felt was hard, was abandoning some of the pre-conceived ideas and assumptions that we had. I felt sometimes we were “locked-in” with those ideas that it inhibited us from following the process and allowing us to be open to any possibility.

4.Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

Yes, I believe that this case. I think that this will only work in certain situations, ones that are  common  and ones that do not have social or physical issues for certain demographic areas, such as social problems, etc. We must be responsible with where we use it and there must be a level of commonality, one that we have on some level or another have experienced it. Also, it must be something that perhaps fits into a bigger picture, or more complex problem. I think there must be a layer of common sense applied to know that this may not work in all situations. I think it lends more to “group dynamics” where there are multiple variables that can be assessed. Individual interactions may not create the same outcomes.