License To Spy for SG Design Week 2019

To mark Heist’s third consecutive participation in the Singapore Design Week, our studio opened its doors to participants eager to learn about design research and its methodologies. License to Spy is an interactive session led by our team of designers and design researchers. During the session, the Heist team played clips from a recent project in Vietnam, and revealed some of our “spying” methods - from making powerful observations to conducting insightful intercept interviews.

But the learning doesn’t stop there — after being exposed to design research in theory, it was time to turn these skills into practice. The participants were split into five teams and sent on a “mission” to various sites within the neighbourhood: Maxwell Hawker Centre, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, and Chinatown street. The objective was to explore the assigned location and apply the newly-learned skills to uncover key learning and highlight potential pain points that can be solved with design thinking. Additionally, each team was handed $10 to bring back an artifact and share a story associated with it.

The outcome was overwhelmingly positive, each team brought their respective learnings back into the discussion in different and creative ways. One team, for example, demonstrated a strong sense of empathy by pointing out that they observed little distinction between public and private space within the temple, and discussed the importance of carving out a safe space for prayer shielded from tourists. Another team brought back Singaporean crackers of various shapes and sizes, and created a site model of the hawker centre from scratch, discussing ways to improve the circulation within the space while referencing their intercept interviews with the aunties and uncles that work there.

A participant uses Singaporean crackers to create a DIY site model of the Hawker Centre.

A participant uses Singaporean crackers to create a DIY site model of the Hawker Centre.

Once the workshop was over, many participants shared positive feedback with us - saying that they learned a lot, had fun going on their mini-adventure, and felt welcome in a friendly environment.

All photographs courtesy of Singapore Design Council.