I don’t know why they call it the hump day; the Out Loud team have no problem getting over it. Last week, come 6:00, they pretty much kicked the door in — appetite for construction.
The aim of this session was to work towards an overall project question. One example the team were shown was The Speed Camera Lottery, taken from Volkswagen’s Fun Theory project. This project, designed by animator and games designer Kevin Richardson, uses the over arching question ‘Can we get more people to obey the speed limit by making it fun to do?’. (Have a look at the Fun Theory site and see for yourself where this question lead)
Last week, Out Louders tested their project ideas with people on the street. One of the advantages of this approach is the random nature of the feedback given. When you’re doing street engagement, you need to go in with the attitude that everyone you talk to is an expert. But when it comes to feedback, people aren’t always capable of being explicit about their needs and wants and so it’s up to the person asking the questions to listen very deeply and try and interpret what is really being said. This is where the Out Louders found themselves this Wednesday evening.
Reviewing some of the feedback, the guys were challenged with understanding what people were saying and were asked to review the material with two key questions:
1. What is at the core of what people are telling them?
2. What does this mean in relation to the city?
They were reminded of Henry Ford’s line: ‘If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.’ One can only assume that if Henry Ford had heard faster horses, he may have spent some time distilling what was being said and HEY PRESTO! arrived at the motor car — but no doubt the road wouldn’t have been straight nor smooth. Instead, Ford would have engaged with the same uncomfortable journey of uncertainty that the team were being asked to embark on that evening. After a very short period of time, certain insights had been developed and the Out Louders were shown the questions they had developed during the previous week and asked to identify the gap.
The next exercise had the team researching 10 ideas that related to their individual projects. (for example: Edel and Niall, who are looking at a noticeboard for the city, found the City in a Jar project www.cargocollective.com/cityinajar). This small bit of research helped the team to increase the breadth of their projects; so in Niall and Edel’s case, the focus became less about developing an explicit noticeboard and more about figuring out how you disseminate information around the city.
The Out Louders left the room that evening feeling excited about what they had learned about their projects and from the people they had spoken to. The next challenge is to really hammer down that key question for each project. Once this is achieved, exciting things will start to happen.