For the early part of the semester, students formed three
teams to do broad-based inquiry. Research on people, products
and technologies formed the underpinnings of the students'
One team focused on users, conducting
interviews, creating photo-documentations and using Internet-based
surveys to understand the current experiences and needs of
family communications and memory-sharing.
A second team focused on technologies that might be
used to bring new product concepts to life.
A third team researched competitive products that are
currently on the market.
The first few classes also focused on understanding
how to work in teams. Each student made a puppet of his or
her likeness with a photographic head and a body collaged
from pictures out of magazines and cataloges. This served
not only as an ice-breaking exercise but as a way of making
team roles, interdependencies and to-do items explicit.