Mapping experiences

Today was all about introducing the students to experience mapping. After a short talk from Jon about why this is important to consider in the development of their projects we sent them out into the city. The students were in new teams for this exercise (count off up to four; one, two, three, what? You’re four… One, two… ) One person was the recorder, another the ‘subject’ and old the third could be the observer, or something else. Their mission was to go buy biscuits or something similar from Marks and Spencer’s, Poundland, a shop in George Street, and a chain coffee shop. They had 30 minutes for their mission, and upon return they drew out a diagram of their experience.

Teams working on their experience maps

The teams had a number of different experiences. The M & S team were questioned by the security person when observed photographing the shop, but realised after initial anger, that he was doing what he should do when an obvious group does something different: students stand out when others are middle-aged, and dressed differently. The Poundland team found a smelly, dirty shop eith unhelpful staff and odd customers, while the team that went to Cafe Nero realised they were part if the advertising as they sat in armchairs in the window showing the cosy, inviting atmosphere the the wet, grey city. The team that went to George Street found a dirty, rundown street with closed shops, and strange signs: ‘we don’t give change’, didn’t men’s they needed exact change for their purchases, but rather that you had to buy something to get change for parking or whatever. They also found people leaving pubs, and persistent street traders selling broadband on their route. The full Aberdeen experience in 30 minutes on a Wednesday morning, in other words.

Now the teams need to go back to their project teams and apply their learning of this approach to see how it will apply to what they want to develop. Where appropriate they can apply this to the current situation, as well as to see how they can help improve different perceptions of what might be possible with their ideas.

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