Oops! moments: Kinetic material in participatory workshops

Robb Mitchell, Agnese Caglio, Jacob Buur


We wish to alert facilitators to the merits of deploying kinetic resources within workshops. Design materials and activities involving unpredictable kinetic aspects such as balancing, bouncing, rolling and falling can lead to surprises that provoke a lively challenging of assumptions. Based on video data from many innovation workshops we show how materials with such dynamic qualities seem particularly suited to scaffold groups in exploring ‘if – then’ causalities. Discussions concerning humour, aesthetics and agency help articulate the qualities of engagement offered by kinetic resources. Although our starting point is experiments in participatory business modelling, a kinetic oriented understanding of material offers insights for developing participatory and co-design activities more generally.

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