Knowledge Swatch Cards:15/3/13

For the beginning phase of my project, I have been focussing on discovering and synthesising different areas and disciplines of knowledge, around my theme of service design for digital inclusion. During this part of my process I have found it quite hard to keep track of the numerous project insights that have begun to develop through my research, and I’ve found it even harder to talk to other people about these insights.

A method I’ve been taught to help deal with large quantities of this type of complex information, is through the creation of knowledge swatch cards. This is a method which has been developed and used by DJCAD staff and students at the University of Dundee before, and I have been trying it out for myself for my Master’s project.

It is particularly helpful when I need to share my project development with others quickly, and because the swatches are on printed card, I don’t need someone to look at my blog in order to share this information (this being an especially important factor for co-designing and developing my project with digitally excluded stakeholders.)

Something that I hadn’t expected to find so helpful was the combination of using both words and imagery to explain each theme on my cards. When trying to find images that summarised each of my insights, I found that thinking visually expanded my understanding of each insight, encouraging me to  brainstorm further ideas, and communicate more abstract concepts compared to the product focussed insights that I’d initially had (this is divergent thinking). Although this means that anyone else who views my knowledge swatch cards may be confused by the choice of imagery I chose in order to communicate my ideas, I think it has been a valuable part of my thinking and development process. Perhaps eventually I will have to do a second iteration of these knowledge swatch cards and replace the images so they are clearer, so that my insights can be more easily understandable to another viewer/project stakeholder through imagery that strengthen rather than confuses the written communication?

The Knowledge Swatches (so far):