In our last class we presented our conceptual packages. In addition to our classmates, we had a panel of guest critics come in to listen and critique. I’ll admit getting tough outsider feedback from folks working in the industry was demoralizing, but also very fruitful! We quickly realized that in our excitement to find group consensus we left many important details unanswered.

Let’s dive in:

How was the idea received?

In critique of our own presentation, we presented too (incredibly) fast and as a result glossed over a lot of our underlying research. To me, it felt as though the audience was playing catch-up with what we were presenting from the get-go because we didn’t establish a strong storyline. I mention this here as a reminder to practice! As a group we thought we could wing it, but I sense we got rushed with the introduction of outside critics (and nerves). Basically, when we needed a neat & clean storyline, we got lost in our individual voices.

I admit that I don’t think our conceptual package was received well. I’m both surprised and not surprised. I’m surprised because I believe we, as a group that was slow to pair with a researcher, felt like we had finally caught up and laid down a strong plan with consensus. I’m not surprised because I believe we strayed away from the original research and got caught up in all the excitement in the algorithmic-bias buzz. And in doing that we lost sight of the simpler storylines. And furthermore, losing sight of the details.

Basically, the critics were on point and we have much more work to do. Presenting it made me realize we were presenting a very unfinished conceptual package.

Will you change anything?

Certainly. We met with our researcher the next day and got our project back closer to the research.

It won’t be easy, but we’ll simplify our messaging to be less lofty. At the same time, now that we’re finally focused on just one researcher, we can figure out the details that make for a strong storyline – branding, symbolism, and user interaction.

Were any new ideas suggested that you’d like to incorporate?

Nick gave us a great idea of doubling-down on the premise of a user being the algorithm designer. We can lean into that storyline more with more signaling, e.g. an engineer’s hat or a “shady corporate company” badge.

How did the act of presenting affect your ideas?

It made us realize where our idea was weak. And for next time, when presenting be bold. If you’re still in the middle of a decision, show the audience that decision. I think we were too timid in presenting options to the audience where we as a team were still undecided.