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Learning Layers – What are we learning in the current phase of our fieldwork? (Part 1)

June 8th, 2013 by Pekka Kamarainen

I see that I have been out of writing blogs on the Learning Layers project quite some time – the previous ones are from April and March. I hope that no one gets the false impression that this would have been a sleepy period in the project. To be sure – it is exactly the other way round. Now, after the first Design Conference and after the Easter break the ITB team, the application partners in North Germany and our supporting partners have been busily engaged in organising Co-Design Workshops or supporting events and in doing their homework with design ideas, relevant web tools and apps as well as drafting use cases and wireframes.

In this context the role of the ITB team has been to work as “explorers on the ground” in the terrains of our application partners (the training centre grounds of Bau ABC, the headquarters of the network/Agentur for ecological construction work  and the offices of craft trade companies (SMEs) in the construction sector. The previous phase of fieldwork was characterised by collecting data of potential users of ICT/Web-based tools and apps – and of exemplary situations in which they could be of some help. Now, the present phase of fieldwork is characterised by a clear step to participative design work – for the users, with the users and by the users.

Here we have encountered different sets of possibilities (and also hurdles) when working together with our application partners (Bau ABC, NNB/Agentur and individual craft trade companies). We have written quite a lot of this in the internal working documents with which we update ourselves and our LL partners of the activities. We have also learned a lot of the visits of other LL partners who have accompanied us to the field activities. Some of such ‘lessons learned’ have also found their way to these working documents.

In the light of the above it is understandable that the motto of this series of blogs is not “what have we learned” (= results) but “what are we learning” (= insights to be considered carefully). This is all work in progress and – for us: learning alongside working in the project. Also, in many respects, the lessons that we are learning, are not completely new – they are similar lessons as were learned in earlier innovation projects for Work and Technology (Arbeit und Technik) programmes in the late 1980s and in the 1990s. Apparently, some of these lessons have to be learned anew every time in newer innovation contexts.

To be continued …

Acknowledgements. This work is supported by the European Commission under the FP7 project LAYERS (no. 318209), http://www.learning-layers.eu.

 

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