Today began with a collaborative word association game, which was designed to get us warmed up in a similar fashion to the activities we did yesterday. We then took part in a ‘brainwriting‘ exercise that encouraged us to address the requirements and experiences of key stakeholders in the academic book of the future. This involved us spending some time (in silence) writing our individual ideas for each stakeholder on post-it notes. The benefit this approach has over more traditional verbal ‘brainstorming’ is that all ideas are given equal footing (avoiding a scenario where the ideas of quieter or more reserved individuals are ‘drowned out’), and it soon becomes clear when certain ideas have particular prominence within a group. After these ideas were pooled together and categorised (Academics/Learners, Authors, Librarians, Publishers, Booksellers, and Policy-makers), we collaboratively organised each category into ‘clusters’ of similar themes or issues. This helped us refine our understanding of the various users/audiences we are designing for.
Before we can begin the ideation phase of the project, it is important to define the key issues that need to be considered when designing and developing our creative responses to the brief. To support this process we had a discussion about an article that was posted to the co_LAB Facebook group by one of the participants. The article (an interview with panel members from last years FutureBook conference) presented us with specialist insight about key digital challenges facing the book industry – which led us to focus on a particular a suggestion made by Samantha Rayner (UCL):
As consumers of books become more connected via a global online network of readers and texts, the digital realm will continue to develop as a key context for “the three Ds”: Dissemination, Discoverability and Discussion. But the digital future does not just mean e-books. “The three D” environment also holds huge creative opportunities for supporting new print books, too.
This turned into a break out activity where we split the group into three teams to discuss the the core values, features and functionality we would like the book of the future to embody in relation to these ‘three D’s’:
The afternoon saw us begin to explore the creative potential of a range of existing mixed reality technologies, with participant Stephen Fisher demonstrating the triggering of augmented reality overlays, fully immersive virtual reality environments, and switching between VR and AR using the Samsung Gear VR. This was followed by assessing similar concepts and examples of speculative design in order to provide inspiration for our own design concepts.