Stage 2 will also include a second educational workshop, Designing Through Data, to continue linking this Scientific Research to Skoltech education. To extend the enquiry as to how designers begin to develop solutions based upon data, Skoltech IdeasLab students will be asked to respond to data sets derived from the Open Instrumentation workpackage.

We will offer students an insight into the possibilities of using data for design innovation. Familiar and able to map the the real-world contexts in which people do ‘things’, designers rarely get the chance to work with pure data. On the contrary, scientists and engineers may be more familiar with data, yet they know little about the real-world that origins the data. If the project is to consider design after the artefact, then it becomes useful to better understand how participants are able to ideate from data alone. The goal of the workshop is to both introduce the principle, and to use it within the research process of Thing Tank through documentation and interviews with participants.

Students will be given access to a long wall of printed data that has been gathered through the Thing Tank instrumented objects and other supplementary data from which participants could identify activities. This wall of data will be the only contextual material that students will be provided with. Following an introduction to machine learning students will break into teams and carry out two tasks:

  1. Identify patterns in the data in order to build a context (a dinner party, breakfast time etc.);
  2. Speculate on design niches and opportunities into this context that respond to conditions and challenges through the possibility of building connections between data sources.