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The Fort: A Service Design Project For Samsung

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  • Retreat to the Fort
    A service design project aimed at promoting spontaneity
  • This project was a consultation for Samsung. In collaboration with three other students, I spent the semester researching midwesterners in their early- to mid-twenties. Throughout the project, we developed interesting and creative ethnographic research methods to elicit participation from members of our audience that were fun for them and made them enthusiastic about our project.
  • We began the project by dissecting aspects and touch points of an experience.
  • We then created a persona, Taylor, who was a twenty-three year old student in the midwest. We determined who Taylor was by discussing aspects of our own lives, and combining them into one persona. We illustrated all aspects of her Monday, and found that in her spare time, she watched television, checked Facebook and Twitter, and studied. Taylor was bored with her life and wished she had more time for relaxation.
  •  We worked hard to categorize and interpret our new-found information.
  •  We gave these journals to three people who fit our audience description to record experiences of "good things" for two weeks. We then collected these journals and studied the outcomes.
  • We all invited our friends to a Facebook group called System Preferences for Life and asked questions daily.
  •  From reading the journals, we found that our audience was most delighted by spontaneous and simple activities that made them feel childlike. We built a large box fort in the hallway as another means of collecting research, and encouraged people to write anywhere on the box fort to answer the question, "What makes you happy?"
  • What we found was that people loved the opportunity to escape from the reality of their lives for a brief, private break. During its three-week installation, we found many people liked the isolation of the fort. They rested, studied, or talked with a friend in the fort. For them, finding the fort empty allowed them to feel ownership of the dark, quiet space. One of the most inspiring things to us was that the marker we put in the fort on its very first day was still there on the very last day. People truly shared the space and appreciated the spontaneity of discovering an that experience some had not had since childhood is still just as fun.
  • After spending the semester exploring meaningful experiences and what they mean with our audience, we found an opportunity that would improve their lives. Through our research elicitation devices, we found that our audience is inspired by simple and spontaneous activities that cut them off from the outside world. This lead us to proposing a program which would prompt the user to "retreat to the fort," or shut down and block them from using, their computers or other devices. If they accepted the prompt, the program would save the progress of any document they were working on, save their place on any open websites, and allow them to drop everything for a set amount of time. This time could then be used to relax.

    We presented this to Samsung in the fall of 2011.
  • Individually, we submitted books to Samsung as our final deliverable, designed using a template within their brand guidelines.