Design Thinking Research

Part of the series Understanding Innovation pp 195-209


Embodied Design Improvisation: A Method to Make Tacit Design Knowledge Explicit and Usable

  • David SirkinAffiliated withCenter for Design Research, Stanford University Email author 
  • , Wendy JuAffiliated withCenter for Design Research, Stanford University

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We present a design generative and evaluative technique that we call embodied design improvisation, which incorporates aspects of storyboarding, Wizard of Oz prototyping, domain expert improvisation, video prototyping and crowdsourced experimentation to elicit tacit knowledge about embodied experience. We have been developing this technique over the last year for our research on physical interaction design, where practitioners often rely on subtle, shared cues that are difficult to codify, and are therefore often left underexplored. Our current technique provides an approach to understanding how everyday objects can transition into mobile, actuated, robotic devices, and prescribing how they should behave while interacting with humans. By codifying and providing an example of this technique, we hope to encourage its adoption in other design domains.