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The Culture of Sharing

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  • The Culture of Sharing
  • North Carolina State University, Master of Graphic Design, Fall 2011
    Team: Nastia Tumash, Minfei Li, Hao Li, Jay Vaglio, Nadya Rodionenko
    Instructor: Amber Howard 
    The studio theme — The Culture of Sharing — covered both economic and cultural aspects of sharing. From the economic perspective the culture of sharing refers to collaborative consumption which is the sharing, bartering, lending, and swapping of spaces, things, skills, and/or services (Botsman, 2010). From the cultural perspective sharing is the basis for thriving communities and culture, since culture depends on the sharing of resources, beliefs, opinions and priorities.

    During the graduate graphic design studio students gained understanding of how designed systems, tools, and objects can facilitate sharing among people and influence social relationships. Part of the course objective was to assess learning outcomes through reflective practice. I created "a reflective practice timeline", which helped me to make the learning process transparent and be able to easily communicate it to others. The course consisted of four phases: contextualizing, futurecasting, theorizing, and documentation. 
  • Each week, students submitted weekly video reports describing the most important things they learned about the culture of sharing. Below is my first weekly report on the topic of collaborative consumption, based on the book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers "What's mine is yours: the rise of collaborative consumption."
  • Contextualizing: students used various methods to analyze the current and emerging collaborative consumption movement and the ways in which design facilitates and fosters the culture. [Source]
  • Left: mapping characteristics of sharing communities to trends. Right: identifying leverage points, opportunities for design intervention.
  • Futurecasting: based on the context assessment, students identified new opportunities for Sharing (including the groups of people and contexts the sharing movement could impact). Scenarios were used to illustrate the proposed opportunities. Each scenario offered a speculative snap shot of the selected and/or proposed culture, emphasizing the ways in which it is encouraged and reinforced by design conditions. Amassed as a series, the scenarios suggested ways in which the cultural system may evolve five and ten years into the future. Scenarios were supported by rapid prototypes, which offered a proof of concept for the design conditions students proposed. [Source]
  • Opportunities for design mapped to global trends and sharing communities.
  • Story plotters based on three areas our group identified to build our stories around: (1) How can technology mediate sharing experience through multisensory experience? (2) How can revealing unintended connections among sharing communities provide opportunities for spontaneous engagement? (3) How can sharing information help inform future mindful behaviors? Our group decided to continue working with the first question as it provided more opportunities for design both now and five and ten years into the future. 
  • Topic: Distance relationships
    Today with an easy access to transportation and technology that supports communication, distance relationships are a common thing. Calling, texting, video chatting are convenient ways to keep in touch, though the experience is still not to the "in person" quality. The ways to communicate emotions are often shallow and restrained (e. g. smiley faces), it is hard to reach deep understanding between people. 

    The videos we created are prototypical with the intent to sketch possible future opportunities for design to influence the interactions among people. We speculate on how people's experiences might change in future and focus on emotional aspects of the story rather than showcasing the technology. The character, Jay, is engaged in a distance relationship with Megan, his fiancee. He misses Meghan and wishes to stay close and up-to-date with her. The story we tell is build around a simple message “I miss you” that Jay communicates to his fiancee.
  • The prototypical video above shows the "10 years into the future" scenario.