Politecnico di Milano, Department of Design (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 5696-5705
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.1384
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
InDATA is an online web platform that has been built and implemented to nurture envisioning and prototyping. Relying on open access data and collective knowledge as ways to inform design scenarios, this online tool can serve in design educational activities as well as in other settings. InData digs into the role and potential of data as activators of the design process within different design fields. In this paper we present and discuss the outcomes and inferences from InDATA research project’s first application in design courses, ranging from speculative design to prototyping. In its early stages, this project produced an interactive data scraping tool, and we gathered users’ feedback from its application in didactics.

In the area of experimenting with interactive artifacts, intelligent materials and digital fabrication, both design fiction and speculative design are performing a key role in enabling to better imagine the future design scenarios, taking advantage of the collective knowledge that comes from online open databases. In such a creative process elements as artifacts, technologies or innovation are presented, integrated, and shown in their application. They permit to explore the prerequisites, concepts and potential implications for design. The entire creative process is approached through critical thinking and by investigating the complexity of social, cultural, ethical and environmental terms. Particularly, we instructed the research on the awareness that a multidisciplinary approach is paramount in nurturing learning, activating a transversal, multidisciplinary dialogue which stimulates creativity, innovation, and reflection on some possible uses, roles and potentials of data in didactic activities, as in other design contexts (impacting the design curriculum).

By its own nature and because of the multidisciplinary team involved (designer and researchers in the fields of product-service system, communication and interaction), this research is fostering collaboration between the fields as data visualization, speculative design, smart materials, digital fabrication, interactive artifacts. Our objective is to produce a theoretical and practical framework and a web platform, which can support design students in envisioning future scenarios, capitalizing on open-access data – i.e. IMDb, Internet Movie Database – and their representation. This tool is supposed to foster the construction of scenarios which contextualize and legitimize the existence of what is designed, by triggering the possible innovation that takes advantage of hybrid and smart materials and new interaction modalities. In this paper, we describe the beta version of the tool and result obtained from its implementation in educational context of the Politecnico di Milano. Furthermore, we advocate that using scenarios constructed with and within the tool nurtures in more immediate manner the idea generation phase of design process.

To conclude, we outline how the experimentation now conducted is going to affect the next step, as the implementation of our web platform within a two-days experimental hackathon purposed to evaluate the performance capacities of such a tool. This acknowledging that what we propose goes beyond already acquired knowledge, but rather provides contribution regarding possible design perspectives through short hands-on learning formats.
Open-access, data, design tool, design education, visualization, design process.