Calendar & Assignments

Detailed Course Schedule

Each week the studio will be split into two parts: Discussion and a hands-on lab. We will begin with a check-in and a review of progress, followed by discussion of the assigned text for the week. After a short break, we’ll switch to a hands-on lab. Lab activities will vary each week and depend on projects but include: Learning to use collaborative project tools; project sprints; testing; production of documentation; comparison / evaluation of competing solutions, and so on.

1. Course Introduction & Course Tools Workshop


Course overview; customer development & Lean Canvas

Workshop: Course tools (blog, Trello, Google docs, LaunchPad Central)

First blog post to course website: Introduce yourself! Work with co-ops to suggest they complete Intake Questionnaire (PDF), and share with project teams
2. Project Partners

Meet the co-op partners

This week, potential project partners will join us to present the work they do. After the presentations, everyone will provide their partner preferences in ranked order, with a short explanation of top preferences. Please note that not every potential project partner will necessarily work out, and not every student will be part of their top pick for a project team. We’ll do our best to organize project teams to balance team size, skills, and preferences.

Catch up on the readings, complete the intake questionnaire (optional). Share this with the project team before the site visit to inform the brainstorm session.

Fill out Partner Request Form (PDF) (not until after the presentations, please!)

Assign people to design teams
3. Design Histories, MVP (Minimum Viable Product) & Working Agreements

This week we’ll look at multiple and intersecting histories of design theory and practice. Then we’ll talk about the evolution of product development. We’ll also briefly discuss the working agreements that your design team should sign together.

Design teams formed

Discuss what MVP is

Etherpad for Session 3

All teams must conduct a site visit before next class

Agenda for site visit:

  • Introductions
  • Develop shared working agreements
  • Brainstorm 3–5 possible product / service ideas

Please post, 1 post per group, to the class blog. Include:

  • The issue(s) your team identified together to address
  • A short description of 3–5 possible projects

Share Project Working Agreement Template (PDF) and reminder about due date
4. Cooperatives & Business Model Canvas Workshop

This week we discuss history of worker owned cooperatives, and learn about principles of Lean UX. We’ll workshop the business model canvas and discuss what we expect of your presentations the following week.

Working agreements due

Workshop: Business model canvas

Guest: Maggie Cohn, Cooperative Fund of New England

Etherpad for Session 4

  • Work on draft product canvas for 3 of their product ideas, each one has 1-3 hypotheses in each of the 9 canvas areas [Business Model Canvas]
  • Blog post from your group sharing your Canvas

Share Business Model Canvas & reminder about due date
5. Present Canvas, Discuss Risks & Customer Development Workshop

Presentation: Canvas is due; you’ll present the one you think is best and want to try first; discuss risks & how to further asses; blog post sharing the Canvas

Workshop: Customer interviews

Guest: Stacey Cordeiro, Boston Center for Community Ownership

Etherpad for Session 5

First round of interviews to test risks as described in canvas hypotheses

  • Interviews of potential customers, round 1. Your team needs to conduct short interviews with 5–10 potential customers
  • Blog post from your group about what you learned from the interviews

Provide feedback on Canvas
6. Human Centered Design & Paper Prototyping Workshop

Interviews round 1 are due

Workshop: Paper prototyping

Use to create paper prototypes of your product candidates, incorporating your canvas revisions & feedback from the customer interviews.

Etherpad for Session 6

Refine paper prototype based on what questions could be answered with it

Interviews & prototype testing

  • Use (or similar) to create clickable paper prototypes of your design candidate(s)
  • Blog post about your first project iteration & paper prototypes, including your presentation materials

7. Appropriation, Innovation & Midpoint Evaluations

Midpoint Evaluation

How is the process working out so far? Discuss whether there are any changes that need to be made in how you work together.

Etherpad for Session 7

None! In class review
8. DiscoTechs, Design Jams & Hackathons

We’ll talk about DiscoTechs, design jams, hackathons, and the role of events in building community. We’ll discuss the upcoming Co-op DiscoTech. Also, we’ll discuss what these events are NOT so great for.

Workshop: Deeper Interviews with Mary Gray, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research. What we learn, and don’t learn, from interviews as a method.

Etherpad for Session 8

  • Create your first prototypes! See guidelines for First Prototypes and Presentations (PDF)
  • Get feedback from real world potential users; learn from that feedback to prove or disprove hypotheses in your canvas; incorporate that feedback into your next project iteration
  • Blog post including your presentation materials

9. Present Paper Prototype I

Presentation: Paper Prototype I - 20 minutes each (plus Q&A). What assumptions have you tested, and learned, so far? What do you need to test next? How will you test?

Guest: Dayna Cunningham, Executive Director, Community Innovator’s Lab

Etherpad for Session 9

  • Get feedback on your first prototypes from real world potential users. Learn from that feedback to prove or disprove your most risky hypotheses, and incorporate that feedback into your next project iteration.
  • Blog post reflecting on how the feedback you received will affect your design as you finalize your project

Provide feedback on prototype iteration
10. Landing Pages, User Acquisition, and Analytics Workshop

Progress report back

Evan will walk through landing pages, user acquisition, and analytics, then we’ll spend an hour setting up our analytics tools.

  • Complete your next iteration, based on user feedback
  • Begin working on your case study draft using the case study template (PDF)
  • Blog post including your clickable mockups

11. Present Progress Presentation: Presentation of progress (for example: Clickable mockups, revised design materials, feedback from potential users, analytics to date).

  • Gather 3rd round of feedback, using your mockups (or working prototype)
  • Develop value proposition & plan for user acquisition
  • Work on case study draft

Share Final Presentation Guidelines
12. Looking forward with Participatory Economics & Project Session

This week we’ll be having a guest speaker to talk about the economics of a cooperative economy. Michael Albert is the author of many books about alternative and cooperative economic models, and has developed detailed proposals for participatory economics (parecon).

DiscoTech preparation

  • Case study complete draft
  • Prep & attend the DiscoTech – use the opportunity to further test / develop your project!
  • Attempt to acquire some users!
  • Blog post with title, image, abstract, and link to case study draft

Three days after Session 12 International Workers' Day - Proposed date for Co-op DiscoTech
13. Project Session

Case study complete draft is due – what was tested and learned in user acquisition.

  • Report back from DiscoTech (most interesting thing?)
  • Short team reportbacks
  • Logistics questions about the final class
  • 25 minute project feedback sessions with instructors

Etherpad for Session 13

Prepare final project presentation

Case study revision

14. Last Class - Final Project Presentation

Overview of the co-op; talk through evolution of the product and canvas; assumptions and how they tested them; present the landing page / value prop, clickable mockup (at least), user acquisition metrics; next steps for the project

Final Project Presentation (by the whole design team!).

In class: Course evaluations

Due for end of term: Final project & process evaluation; course evaluation

Final blog post. Your blog post must include:

  • Your final project title
  • A strong project image
  • Your project abstract (cut and paste from your case study!)
  • A link to your final presentation (embed it if you can!)
  • A link to your completed case study

Send detailed feedback and revision directions on case studies
End of Term Final revisions to case study due 1.5 weeks after the last session Final case study revisions Incorporate case studies in co-design toolkit