MIT Media Labs Design Innovation Workshop 2015 - Day 1

Games and Game Ideas

Today was all about games, how to design a game and lots of, mostly extravagant, ideas.

I want to discuss a bit about people studying design in esteemed institutions like NID. They are good. They do this kind of workshop nearly full time as part of their usual course work. And their ideas most of the time are outrageous. My line of thinking, been in the industry for so long, is mostly pessimistic. I am always leaning towards judging the practical feasibility of any idea from a bias in financial & resource optimisation. Which, to me, limit the scope of my overall endeavour. I feel this exercise might help me broaden my outlook, however demands in enterprise might not allow me to pursue them. And hence we need more folks like those designers who can actually persuade people to go for the ridiculous.

There are guys who are simply awesome - like one who is a chemical engineering student in IIT, Delhi. He is also a part time fashion designer (whose clothes are worn by Lady Gaga!) & now waiting for his machine learning paper on SVM which is due for publishing in a French journal of chemical engineering. And then another lady from Bangalore who is running a small startup that conduct life-skill workshops for youth in enterprise to find their own superheroes (that’s her company’s name as well!). Talking to such people is very refreshing.

Ok, I deviated from the actual topic. We played a nice game called Mafia. And then discussed, over-analysed and formulated lots of ideas to enhance it. The whole exercise just increased my respect for original designers of such physical games who were the true architect of a system which is immensely extensible in every possible way without losing the original intent i.e. fun.

Game design concepts are very much in alignment to any product design. And more I am hearing Bianca & Thahir unfold aspects of the same design process, I am feeling we can actually have the similar framework work when we are stuck in the process of formalising a product / solution involving some technology.

Later in the afternoon, it was overflow of ideas by people divided in groups. This is the first step to actually figure out what we are gonna do in the next 4 days. The exercise was similar to what we kind of did in the Innomantra workshop I attended last year in Chennai (that’s where the comparision ends as rest of it was highly pathetic there).

Most of the ideas were very far-fetched. However, they were very meticulously categorised by Bianca. And I feel that’s a superb documentation as it actually enabled us to see how we are starting this ideation process. Also by the time we will be nailing some concrete ones, we would have a better overview of our journey seeing the same. That’s important.

I heard other tracks had a similar slow pace to start like ours. However, some of them have ideas to work with some cool stuffs like Sensors at scale might work with Google Glass & Beacons and Immersive Storytelling might use Oculus for their stories. I am sure we can also use those devices provided we come up with ideas where they can be put to use. We’ll have to wait and see.

The field trip I mentioned yesterday did not happen today, another instance of bad planning. Apparently, plan is shifted for tomorrow evening from a school to some food street in Ahmedabad!