Yesterday we took a break from our projects to participate in the Sports Innovation Challenge, organised by the Sporting Chance Initiative. While the competition is ongoing, the visit from Kirsty Hepburn presented an opportunity for a rapid ideation and design challenge with entry to the competition being encouraged on the day.
Due to the extremely short length of time available for this task, considerations of how our group’s new product – a lightweight, expandable set of mounting steps for disabled riders – would actually function were sacrificed for imagining the practicalities and general experience of its use. Where would it be stored in transit? Does it fold into a backpack or would it be better to attach it to the tack somehow? Could it be integrated into the saddle? At no point did we discuss materials or technology which could be utilized to make the idea a reality; this was an exercise of pure imagination, and as such was somewhat liberating as concerns about how to actualise a concept are always present in project work.
While our entry would no doubt have been stronger had the workings of our proposed product been fully or even partially elucidated, I would like to begin all design projects this way – although given the group was composed entirely of interaction designers it was probably much easier for us to ignore issues of materials and physics than it would have been to put all considerations of the implementation of a purely digital artifact out of our minds!