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Doctor Madeline Balaam

Interaction Design for healthcare, education and wellbeing

Design and dine

26 July 2016

Yesterday, myself and Emma Simpson ran our first of two workshops in a new local restaurant and takeaway in Sandyford called Harissa. Emma has been doing some great work in Elswick, looking at social inequalities around access to healthy foods, and we wanted to use some of this incredibly rich and complex data to investigate new digital opportunities for restaurants to engage with and create bespoke 'food offers' to communities. 

I have to admit, this was the first design workshop I have run which also included dinner, so I was a little nervous about how we could fit the design work around all that eating, but it actually went really well! There was a great atmosphere in the restaurant, and lots of buzz, and I was struck by how 'on-task' our participants were. They weren't just having a chit chat, they were actually engaging with the problem task set, and coming up with some fabulous design responses! The use of resources such as paper tablecloths, paper coasters really seemed to help the groups to document their ideas and creativity while also eating. 

From this first session we were able to generate some really interesting design ideas, some of which we'll be pursuing over the next couple of months with Harissa. 

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