Experiment Review
"Designers make explicit the normally implicit processes of sensemaking and framing during design synthesis, as they attempt to make meaning out of data through interpretation and modeling. Common to all methods of synthesis is a "sense of getting it out" in order to identify and forge connections. This is an attempt to make obvious the sensemaking conditions described above; emphasis is placed on finding relationships and patterns between elements, and forcing an external view of things. Synthesis is an opportunity to become aware of frames and sensemaking—to make them explicit, through various forms of externalization and modeling—and to delve deeper into the causality that is found in these ways of thinking."
The goal of this part is to gain insight from a research activity, which then enables us to decide what to do next to re-orientate to a preferred future. This is an adaptive strategy approach to increase the likelihood of success of a project, and it keeps us alive to other signals and paths which may open up to even more desirable futures.


This is an example from an experiment which Mobility Lab developed during the course of our workshop & coaching program. This paper version is useful for simply working through the review process as a group, but for long term experimentation I have further recommendations about documentation.


  1. 1.
    Gather the data / stories / photos of what happened during the research activity. If needed, spend a little time sorting, coding, or structuring this data so it can be reviewed.
  2. 2.
    As a team (or in pairs) we will review the data against the related experiment sheet. This is a time for synthesis activities, such as Concept Mapping or developing a metaphor to explain interlinkages. This sensemaking should take up the majority of the time in this phase. Evidence can be linked to or input into the right hand side ‘Results’ section of the experiment sheet.
  3. 3.
    Once some insights are starting to surface, we can write those down. Insights should be written as a (provocative) point of view, incorporating research evidence. One format we used was:
    1. 1.
      [User] is [noticeable behaviour / emotion] because [research evidence].
  4. 4.
    Gather key insights to fill in the Insights section of the experiment sheet.
  5. 5.
    Group reflection: given these insights, what would be a range of learning goals which we would want to test next? Are they to gain deeper clarity about this experiment, or ones which complement or extend this experiment? How do these relate to the assumption list we generated in the Backcasting phase? Write at least 3 different learning goals which are spurred by this experiment.
  6. 6.
    Repeat until all experiment sheets related to a research activity / time period are complete.
  7. 7.
    Group reflection: what are our priorities for next experiments, given all these new directions? Capture and store the prioritisation for future sessions.


Last modified 2yr ago
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