GbM@DAE goes HvA

During Dutch Design Week, the DAE GbM research duo of Heather and Maartje crossed paths with Jeroen Spoelstra from the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. After exchanging about our work (Jeroen has a great project called Am I A Designer?) he was as enthusiastic as we were about developing our Empathic Adventures. 

It is interesting to note that in GbM we are not only curious about designing new solutions for mobility PSS, but also in HOW we design these, and particularly how can we involve students in this research process. In many ways, this is one of our secondary research questions.

With that in mind, we have created an informal link with Jeroen and Muriëlle from HvA to offer students the opportunity to contribute to our research and development, and as well to be a group we use as research for our secondary questions.

Therefore, as we build a program for a class of Industrial Design and Ergonomics students, we are interested to answer a few questions:

  • What are new and different ways to convince diverse people about the mobility situation of elderly people living at home?
  • How can we design a brief for students that is open and triggers their own interest and drive?
  • What happens of we give a brief to students with a 'big question' such as ageing and mobility as a starting point?

After presenting the DAE GbM research, we gave the brief to the students,

How can you convince people (policy makers, care givers, family, and general public) of the mobility experiences of elderly people living at home?

Immediately following the students broke into duo's and created their own understanding of the brief and took some decisions about their own direction. Many questions were asked about the boundaries of the project, for examples

  • Do they need to live at home, or can it be at an elderly home? (they must live in an independent home)
  • Does it have to be in a city, does a village count because it's also relevant! (Of course it's relevant, all perspectives are interesting but for GbM we are interest in cities, let's say bigger than 30.000 people)
  • Can we design the whole suit? (Yes!)
  • Do we need to use yours as a starting point. Or do we have a blank slate? (Both are acceptable!)
  • How do we go and talk to elderly people? (Many tips were given on the spot...)

We saw that with an open brief, they began to figure out what they knew already, and what they needed to know. Rather than telling them all the best ways to talk to elderly people, we gave them resources and places to look alongside some important tips. This seemed to trigger them to find out more. In some ways we gave them a puzzle, and they began to decide what pieces would be part of it. There was a lot of enthusiasm to be shaping their own assignment, and as we acknowledged that it was a challenging thing we offered them, they were proud to take it on very seriously.


To follow up this fantastic process, we are curious to see how the students digested the information we gave them, and how they will interpret the brief and address this big question! The GbM@DAE team will meet with the class again at their halfway point in December.

Published: 14-Nov-2013 16:34


Grey but Mobile
  • Grey but Mobile goes HvA

    HvA Class.JPG