My (rejected) IxD 11 Lightning Round Submission: Childhood Gaming as a Design Tool

I too was rejected by IxD11 to share a lightning round proposal. That is a great thing in the grand scheme of things. Out of over 300 submissions, less than 30 were taken. Attending the conference I will have a chance to see what truly makes a great presentation and I can hopefully iterate on my own concept or have something new to share at a future date. Taking a cue from @whitneyhess, I wanted to share my original proposal, solicit feedback, and perhaps be able to share in more detail at a local event or article.

Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.

Childhood Gaming as a Design Tool


Ask a room full of project managers, end users and developers to define a future product and if you’re not careful, you will just get the predetermined requirements. I will share my process for breaking out of the typical lists and roundtable discussions. By relating sports, video games and board games to a particular problem space we uncover opportunities for compelling interactions rather than trying to solve a problem before understanding all the components. What if a to-do list were a game of BrickBreaker? Or your priority items a hunting game from the original Oregon Trail? Used early in the design/research process this method encourages analysts to pick up pens and draw, managers to let go of the structure imposed by a traditional development process, and all stakeholders to contribute on a more equal footing .

This session will highlight experiences and lessons learned from sketching childhood interactions as a tool for initiating design conversation early in a project’s timeline and will describe how these conversations have both led to successful interaction models and have backfired to cause ultimate confusion.


I have to give a special thanks to @strottrot who, unasked, offered to review my proposal and provided some extremely helpful feedback.

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2 Responses to “My (rejected) IxD 11 Lightning Round Submission: Childhood Gaming as a Design Tool”


  1. 1 cknicker October 5, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Got here from following your tweet #IDEA10

    I’m feeling a bit dense as I’m not getting a picture of your Childhood Gaming as a Design Tool. “sketching childhood interactions as a tool for initiating design conversation” ?

    Is there a description, with examples, somewhere?

  2. 2 brainfarks October 5, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately I don’t have any samples online yet though I do intend to expand on this topic in the near future. In short, the process is a gamestorming activity. The process is by drawing games and then discussing how it could translate to a particular application. For instance a participant might draw a Sudoku board and explain how they would imagine different tasks fitting into the blocks and that no two tasks should ever be adjacent to each other. Another player might draw their representation of a racing game and how catching the coins is their perception of how they complete their tasks.

    The purpose of this exercise is not to design the solution but to help extrapolate how the stakeholders think about the work involved. By removing the constraints of technology and the constraints of a business model, it is another approach to understanding motivations and rationalizations within the design process.

    I hope this adds some clarification. This is certainly a topic I am hoping to continue to expand on and appreciate the feedback greatly.

    – david


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