Blog post 8. Brainstorming possibilities for a design response
Written by Hyunjoung You
After finished mapping and further research for my specific issue, I found that sedentary work could cause diverse disease such obesity, physical and mental problem. In week 6’s tutorial, we started to brainstorm the possibilities for a design response to our issue. Our tutor let us brainstorm via 5‘W’ at first to analyze the problem and draw problem statement.
5’W’ Analyzing problem
The problem : Sedentary work linked to physical and mental health such as obesity, backache and depression.
1. WHO does the problem affect?
People who do sedentary work such as office worker, designer, driver and students are affected by this problem. They usually work using computers and need to sit down for a while.
2. WHAT are the boundaries of the problem?
- Lack of willpower
In fact, people are aware of how sedentary lifestyle affects their health negatively. However, it is really difficult to change their lifestyle since they used to live sedentary lifestyle. People are already exposed to comfortable lifestyle; thus, they began to prefer driving car rather than taking walk or riding bicycles; using lifts or elevators rather than climbing stairs. Therefore, people need more reminders to act by themselves for their health.
- Work Environment
The employees do not really move their body at workplaces because they are able to work sitting down on the chairs. Most workers might move when they have lunch times. Moreover, most offices have lifts or elevators, so the workers do not have chances to even a short walk. The companies have responsibilities for their employees’ health because working hours are not short.
3. WHEN does the problem occur?
When people do not do physical activities at all, the problem occurs.
– Constantly sitting down
4. WHERE does the problem occur?
Companies / Home / School / University
5. WHY is it important? Why we have to look at it, and why we have to design for it?
Healthy living is one of important things to improve people’s life quality. It does not mean not only physically healthy, also mentally healthy. However, being sedentary affect both of physical and mental health negatively that is why we should look at this issue, and design for it.
5 ‘W’, one of brainstorming exercise, helped me to drew the problem statement.
How do we make / motivate people being active from sedentary ?
I divided into three sections. They are service design, generative system, and data visualisation to come up with five possible designs are based on the problem statement.
- Physical activities programs and products (Service design)
Company can provide their employees with some physical activities programs such as morning yoga and after-work team sports. Also, they can offer the products that prevent the employees from being sedentary during work: standing desk, massage chair or running machine with desk.
- Exhibition (Generative system)
To give awareness how being sedentary lifestyle is harmful, we can hold small exhibition in public / open space. The exhibition would display photography or art works that are caused by a sedentary lifestyle such as the illustration of obesity, photography of person who suffers lower back pain, or express anxiety. The last piece at the exhibition shows sedentary lifestyle: constantly sitting, lying on the bed, and watching TV, etc. People will realize that sedentary lifestyle brings about lots of problem not only physical problems, also mental problems; therefore, it will help them to remind of it.
- Postcard in magazine (Service design + generative system + data visualization)
Government or organizations that are related to public health provide the companies with lifestyle magazine to inform how bad sedentary work is and obtain the data from the survey. We can create infographic design to explain about the problems of sedentary work on one page or more. Moreover, we need to put the postcard in the back, which includes the survey is asking about their daily routine. One of the questions would be ‘how long they are sedentary per day?’ Thus, we can use the results of the survey to create data visualization as a further possibility.
- App (Service design)
The function of this application is asking the employees to do some physical activities and care about their health. Company can install the application in their employees’ computers to motivate them to move.
- Short video (Service design)
We can create the video to promote physical activities. The video shows how to do simple exercise that office workers can do at their workplaces. The length of video is be about 5 minutes, and it plays before quitting time. Therefore, the office workers can refresh by simple work out before leaving the offices, and feel better.
I am still considering between exhibition and app as my final design response at the moment. However, I already explained more detail about exhibition, so I would like to talk about the application.
Through 5 ‘W’, I analyzed that people have already recognized about the negative effects of being sedentary. However, one of the barriers to not being sedentary was the lack of willpower. Especially, the office workers do not have time to do some physical activities. They used to live sedentary lifestyle, so it would be difficult to change their lifestyle immediately. I found that the better way to motivate them being active during work or after work is reminding them of being active.
Sedentary lifestyle brings about diverse physical and mental problems such as obesity, lower back pain, and depression. However, some people need to be sedentary, especially, if they do sedentary work.
My issue is “How do we prevent the office workers from being sedentary?” I aim to encourage the office workers to do some physical actions during work or after work via my proposal. The design type is application (service design). Companies can install this application on their employees’ computers. The application will pop up the text in a window, which is asking to do some physical actions for the workers’ health by periods. The text will have friendly tone, so it might give little fun in their tired and repeated working lifestyle.