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Workshop 6 | A new Dawn: Improving the Design Research Synthesis with Role-Playing Games

Great ideas begin with amazing insights – we all know that. But what makes thorough research an actionable insight? The synthesis. It is about analyzing and organizing research data to find relationships and patterns and transform them into insights. Synthesis is an opportunity to become aware of frames and sensemaking.

The question is: How can we make these normally implicit processes explicit? And how can we draw in all the participants of a design thinking process, even if they are from other disciplines, in a way that real understanding and empathy emerge from it – especially when it comes to complex topics.

Introducing PlayItPro: a collaborative gaming framework that takes the fun of dice-rolling and storytelling from the kitchen table to the conference room. Players are immersed into a new world that focusses on the topic relevant market, trend and user research. They build a story and take actions based on the relevant trends and characteristics of this world.

By creating a unique personality, they begin to embody their role and form relationships with their teammates. Everything with the goal to increase their understanding of interwoven systems and to establish a clear picture of the most important dynamics in this world. In our three hour workshop at UXinsight, we’ll explain the theories behind tabletop role-playing games and in which ways they can support design synthesis. Then we get to action and play. In our example we travel into the future of the energy sector and try to uncover challenges and blind spots on a fantasy island in 2035… Participants get presented with comprehensive future research and are able to delve into it in a playful way. At the same time – as they work together to meet their goal – they are sharpening collaboration and creative thinking skills!

Sandra Griffel
Experience design director & product owner at denkwerk
Susanne Junglas
Experience design director at denkwerk