Program of the Nano Challenges

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Phase 1: Orientation and Frames (zoom out)


Several parties are often involved in a social issue. Their interests are not always the same and may even conflict. It is therefore important to identify stakeholders and understand their views. In-depth understanding of the situation is required to arrive at a solution that suits the interests of the various stakeholders.

As an exploratory assignment, you will identify the persons interested in an issue. After the identification, you make a translation into personas, in order to get a first impression of the possible points of view, values and concerns of the target groups that those personas represent. To go a step further and map out the possible conflicts, you put yourself in your personas to have a discussion about the chosen case. With the insights from this, you form ‘frames’ that offer multiple perspectives on the problem. Think of it as different glasses that you could see through. One of your group members plays a role as facilitator; the communication skills within this role are important and valuable in modern design methodologies such as co-creation. You can decide for yourself who takes on this role. The others contribute to the process as discussion leaders.


A persona is a fictional character that helps researchers to focus on different target groups and to understand their actions and thoughts (Nielsen, 2002). We also use personas to represent target groups that cannot be contacted.

In a role play, researchers act like the people from their target group to develop empathy for them (Wright, 2008). Without empathy, it is difficult to design good solutions for a target group that has a different mindset than the researcher himself (Kouprie & Sleeswijk Visser, 2009).

A next step is to use the personas to get a complete picture of an issue, from the different perspectives that stakeholders have on the issue. In its simplest form you can think of ‘frames’ as a lens through which a problem is looked at: every stakeholder looks through a different lens. In fact, social problems often have multiple dimensions, which require the insights of all stakeholders to arrive at a desired solution. Read the example below for a practical application of this theory.

Neighborhood residents have approached the municipality about a crime problem in their neighbourhood: they no longer feel safe. The municipality approached the police as soon as possible to find a solution to this problem together. Police report that they currently do not have enough manpower to actively and regularly patrol the area. It therefore seems sensible to the police to deploy cameras. The municipality approved the proposal, because this measure complies with the municipal laws. Moreover, she understands the situation at the police. However, the residents of the neighborhood are not entirely comfortable with the idea that there will be a camera in the neighborhood that will record all their actions.

At least three perspectives on this issue can be identified, which depend on the roles of the stakeholders. These are summarized in Table 1, where the lenses can be roughly described as lenses of regulations/municipal laws, available resources for enforcement and inconvenience caused by digital surveillance. Omitting or forgetting important perspectives, such as that of the neighborhood residents, can lead to the chosen solution not satisfying all stakeholders. Moreover, the perspective of the neighborhood residents expands the solution space. It challenges researchers and designers to come up with solutions that are more creative than a security camera.

Table 1

Different perspectives on neighborhood enforcement, belonging to different stakeholders.

The use of cameras to promote safety in the neighbourhood
interested party Role Perspective
Township Responsible for decision-making about CCTV in the neighbourhood. In consultation with the police, it was decided to use cameras to improve safety in the neighbourhood. In addition, the measure complies with the municipal laws .
Law enforcement Responsible for processing the camera images in the process of maintaining public order. The police are not satisfied with manpower at the moment to deploy officers to actively and regularly patrol the area. A camera therefore seems to be the best solution.
Neighborhood residents The target group for whom the cameras are used. Although a camera can promote safety in the neighbourhood, residents do not feel completely at ease : all their actions in the neighborhood are now being recorded.


group formation

We strive to represent as many different study programs and educational institutions as possible within each team. Where possible, you have a voice in this, based on distinguishable team roles and by creating groups based on mutual interests. When we are forced to work together online, forming a group can be difficult and the guidance has a voice in the composition of the teams.


Brainstorm with your project group about possible stakeholders within the case at hand. For example, consider the target group, but also involved bodies, organizations and companies or their delegations. In the identification of stakeholders, also pay attention to minorities and parties that represent a ‘discussion’. Everyone affected or involved in the case has the right to representation.


Select different stakeholders from the results of the brainstorm. Cover every type of audience if possible. Name the personas and consider demographic information such as gender, age and origin. Also think about possible points of view, hobbies, interests, wishes, frustrations and more! Start by creating your own persona first and then help each other by giving suggestions and additions. It’s important not to be stereotyped; a persona should create a realistic picture for researchers. Finally, a persona can always be enriched with new insights during the design process.

Role play

Within the role play everyone fulfills the role of discussion leader and moderator. To make the discussion more interesting, it is recommended to choose as diverse a selection of personas as possible in the role play. Below are some instructions and tips for both the discussion leaders and the moderator.

Discussion leaders: express your persona’s point of view during a discussion on the issue. So let go of your own opinion. Use your persona’s name throughout the discussion as a reminder of the role you play. By having this discussion, conflicting interests can be identified, which should be taken into account in the design process. Here are some tips that will come in handy in phase 1:

  • Take notes during the discussion when you are not speaking. You will still need the insights you gain in the role play. When everyone takes notes, you collectively have a rich collection of information.
  • Write down your discussion points if you’re not already speaking. A recognized disadvantage of group discussions is that people forget their arguments and points of view, as it can take a while before it’s their turn.

Moderator: Guide the discussion by asking everyone for their opinion on the issue. Also challenge the discussion leaders to respond to each other’s points of view. In addition, here are a few more tips:

  • Use a communication protocol. For example, in an online setting: Turn off your microphone when you’re not speaking. Raise your hand if you want to say something and wait for the attendant to call your name before speaking. Make sure everyone is aware of the rules of conduct you want to use in the discussion. This ensures more peace, order and control.
  • Remain impartial throughout the discussion. It is your job to let the discussion leaders form their own opinion on the topic by revealing multiple perspectives.
  • Make sure everyone has their say. First, ask if there are people who would like to respond to a particular question or statement. If necessary, specifically give the turn to people who remain silent so that their input is also discussed.
  • Make sure that the discussion continues to flow smoothly and that there are few silences. This can be done by hooking up to points mentioned by the personas and asking follow-up questions about this. If you can’t think of a new question right away, it may help to ask more people for their opinion on the topic at hand. The answers can provide inspiration and give rise to a new question.


Use the insights you have gained from the role play to map out the different perspectives of the stakeholders (including the client). In addition to the structure of Table 1, visual representations like the one in Figure 1 can also help. Here, each stakeholder with its own values is visualized on a separate island. Subsequently, the relationships and possible conflicts between these ‘islands’ were mapped out. Other forms of expression are of course also welcome. Based on your analysis, formulate interesting and holistic research questions for the next phase of the nano-challenge.

Figure 1. Mapping stakeholders, perspectives and mutual relationships.

Phase 2: Design Fiction and Interviews (zoom in)


Initial assumptions help initiate an investigation, but are not enough. It is important to validate assumptions and gain new insights by collecting stakeholder stories. Interviews are a good start for this: they provide insights that arise from explicit contemporary knowledge. However, it is also important to penetrate to a deeper layer: the latent (invisible) knowledge, which includes what people feel and desire. Other techniques are needed for this (Schleswijk Visser, Stappers, van der Lugt, & Sanders, 2005). In the nano-challenge we use the ‘Design Fiction’ method for this. Within the nano-challenges we define ‘fiction’ as ‘a possible reality’. Vivid descriptions and visual media help immensely in making future concepts concrete and understandable.


A scenario is an explicit description of (hypothetical) interactions, between a product and a user, that take place in order to achieve a certain goal (Anggreeni & van der Voort, 2007). The building blocks for scenarios are: a main character, other stakeholders, a goal (something the main character wants to achieve) and a service or product that catalyzes the goal, a context and an environment (with any existing objects and resources). We make the following distinction between an environment and a context; an environment refers to a specific location, while the context describes the framework in which the issue takes place. See Figure 2, based on the work of Anggreeni (2010), below to clarify this concept.

Scenarios have several functions, such as structuring information (Nielsen, 1990) and involving stakeholders in idea generation (Spaulding & Faste, 2013). It is good to remember that scenarios are not limited to textual descriptions. Different media can be used to bring the story to life for better empathy.

Figure 2. A visualization of the building blocks for scenarios.

Design fiction provides an opportunity to explore what users want from a solution that may be available in the future. In fact, this fiction (possible reality) can be used to speculate about the consequences this solution will have on future society (Schulte, Marshall, & Cox, 2016). If the scenario is recognizable to the user, valuable personal wishes and experiences can be gleaned. This recognisability is important, because a creative process follows a person-specific timeline: present – past – future (Sanders & Stappers, 2012).

  • Present: Man’s consciousness is guided by thinking first about experiences in the present.
  • Past: Certain stimuli from the present stir up memories and experiences from the past. Persons are becoming aware of forgotten wishes and desires at this time.
  • Future: The needs that have arisen can be translated into wishes for a future product, service or solution.

‘Design fiction’ guides the progress of this creative process. Although the stories are often, but not always, set in the future , a good scenario almost always contains elements based on events in the present. Recognition thus rouses memories and needs from the past up to the reader. With the memory of past affairs, the reader then speculates about needs for future solutions. To make this principle concrete, we map the timeline for the narrative research of Spaulding and Faste (2013).

Spaulding and Faste (2013) have used scenarios/design fiction to involve stakeholders in designing their ‘Meaningful Markers’ concept. This is a game concept that is location dependent: different neighborhoods are accompanied by different games. The aim of ‘Meaningful Markers’ is to stimulate children to discover their environment and to stimulate social interaction.

This concept was presented with vivid descriptions to stakeholders through a future scenario where this concept was already implemented in the neighbourhood. The phenomenon of playing in the neighborhood is recognizable for everyone, also in the present. One stakeholder said he didn’t see this working in his Pittsburgh neighborhood and explained it through his experiences and memories from the past to share. He said the distances between communities in Pittsburgh were so great that it would not be attractive for children to travel these distances. In his hometown, Tel Aviv, he saw this working; the environment here is much more suitable for exploration, as the various cultural institutions are much closer together here. With these insights, he helped the researchers to improve their concept: for concepts such as ‘Meaningful Markers’, it is in the important in the future to take into account the distances between communities.

If we place this in the timeline, we see that recognizable phenomena from the present, such as playing outside, can stir up personal memories from the past. In this case, Tel Aviv’s youth and cultural communities, compared to his current situation in Pittsburgh. This resulted in a new design principle that must be taken into account: the distances between communities. We as researchers can continue to tap into this. The experts by experience provide insight into what does not work, but we can also ask them what would work according to them. At this stage, they are well aware of the concept itself and the potential problems. With this knowledge, they can actively and effectively think along about solutions, based on their own experiences and wishes.

The relationship between present, past and future within a creative thinking process is briefly summarized in figure 3 (based on Sanders and Stappers (2012)).

Figure 3. An illustration of the relationship between present, past and future within a creative thought process.


Interview based on ‘design fiction’

Depending on the case, there are already stakeholders who are willing to participate in the study. In other cases you have to look for candidates yourself. If no contact can be made with people who specifically belong to your target groups, the personas (created in phase 1) can be used. Ask friends and/or acquaintances to study and identify with the personas and then participate in your design fiction research.

Then create a group distribution:

  • 1 main contact person for the research.
  • 1 group member for taking minutes of the research.
  • 1 group member who immediately starts studying the transcripts to speed up the research. Do not perform the initial analysis in the transcripts, but in a separate document. More information about data analysis can be found under the ‘scenario’ heading in phase 2.
  • 1 group member who listens carefully during the investigation and assists in asking questions at the request of the main contact person.

In addition to the formulated questions, it is important to be open to spontaneity. By using a fully structured approach, you limit the insights that can be obtained. For this reason, give stakeholders the space to speak for themselves, independently of the questions that have already been formulated. Invite those involved to name elements from the scenario that are of (direct) importance to them. Listen carefully and respond by asking why these elements are important to them. This way you better understand the wishes from their perspective.

Formulate questions together that you want to ask the target group about your design fiction. In the first instance, do not immediately ask questions about which solutions people want to see. Build up the research slowly at first.

Use the perspectives and personas from Phase 1 to validate the initial assumptions. These consist of main characters, contexts and goals. Think of a fictitious solution that you want to incorporate into the scenario. This is not the final concept; You mainly use this fictitious solution to get a better grip on the issue. The concept is there to make thinking in futures easier for stakeholders and to understand which principles are (un)desirable in this possible solution. You can also consciously make the concept provocative. This means that the concept provokes certain reactions from stakeholders by incorporating a controversial aspect into your fictitious solution. However, do this in moderation. It is interesting if there is also an attractive advantage in the concept, so that stakeholders can make trade-offs and perhaps even come up with improvements. Active participation in the research process is more common when the fictitious solution is attractive and there is room for adjustments and suggestions.

As a group, think about what the future would look like with your fictional concept and how the personas would deal with this in the chosen user context. In your design fiction, do not judge which future situations are good and bad. It is the task of those involved to draw conclusions about this and share them with you. Finally, make sure that the screenplay is recognizable to the reader and that the story takes place in the near future.

Below is an example of a design fiction scenario based on the example from phase 1 about the use of cameras to promote security in the neighbourhood. The goal we have in mind in this particular example is to find out where the boundary lies for the neighborhood residents with regard to safety measures. In this scenario, we assume that the stakeholder interviewed is a local resident. In between the scenario there are also questions that can be asked during the storyline. The fictitious answers of the interviewed stakeholder are in brackets.

In recent weeks, the municipality and the police have been working on finding a solution to crime in a neighborhood in Enschede. They came up with the idea of installing security cameras in the neighbourhood. However, local residents did not feel comfortable with this. Can you, as a local resident, imagine something with this?

[Yes/no, because…]

The municipality has since assumed that crime mainly takes place in the evenings in the poorly lit parts of the district, where criminals can carry out their activities undetected. There is now speculation to better illuminate those parts of the neighborhood to make the area less inviting for criminals. How do you think about this?

[On the one hand I think lighting can help, on the other it also feels like a passive measure. Lighting may reduce the risk of vandalism, for example, but it does not contribute to a next step to catch the criminals. In my experience it sometimes went wrong during the day.]

A somewhat more active solution that is being considered is to collect sensor data in the neighbourhood. This data is then analyzed using artificial intelligence to identify patterns of suspicious activity in the neighbourhood. With information, the police can tackle crime in a more targeted manner. What do you think about this?

[I personally think this is a better solution than lighting. The biggest problem I had with the security cameras was that the data they collect is much more personal. In a manner of speaking, facial recognition could be applied to camera images. I feel this fear less with sensor data.]

In addition to these proposed ideas, the municipality is also open to new suggestions from local residents. In doing so, they are looking for suggestions that ideally do not come down to: deploying more community police officers instead of using cameras. The police have reported that they currently do not have enough manpower for this. Do you have any suggestions you would like to submit to the council?

Although the sensor system has been fairly well received, it is not necessarily the final solution to the problem. It is important to properly interpret the results. Identify design principles such as:

  • A safety measure (such as more lighting in the neighbourhood) should not be too passive.
  • A security measure limits the inconvenience that residents experience if the data collected is not too personal.

Data visualization

It is time to condense the amount of information you have collected. A traditional approach is to translate the common and remarkable observations into themes. A theme is an overarching set of information that categorizes different topics in (text) data. These themes can be presented in creative/visual and well-arranged ways. For example, group together the statements that deal with a similar subject. This can be done with (digital) post-its, among other things. Code the clusters by color to keep the different groups organized. After all the important and interesting statements have been grouped together, it is time to label all the clusters together. Think about umbrella terms and place them (in large size) with the grouped statements. This makes it clear on the basis of which statements the themes have been chosen. A simple visual representation for this is the one in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Visualization of theme clusters.

This is just one of the possible ways in which you can represent the data. For example, it is also possible to create storyboards, infographics or illustrations. The main goal is to make the long text data more compact and easy to understand, in a way that others can easily interpret your results, without having to read a whole report. You are free in your choice of media with which you wish to do this.

Phase 3: Responsible Design (ideation)


With the insights you gathered in phase 1 and 2, you will start working on solutions for your case in this phase. Logically, aspects such as the functionality of your solution are discussed. However, such specifications are not sufficient as quality requirements. Products or services are capable of influencing the behavior of users. For example, consider a speed bump. As a result, drivers reduce their speed: an immediate change in behaviour. However, it is also possible that products are used differently than originally intended. A historical example of this is the telephone, which was intended as a means of communication for the blind. The new purpose that has been found for this is to stay connected over long distances. In addition to these positive examples, problematic cases are also known.

Within this phase you will learn about theories to responsibly design solutions. We do this according to the way of ‘materializing morality’ (incorporating physical or digital properties into concepts to adhere to moral behaviour) and designing for ‘positive moods’. You will also have the opportunity to involve creative entrepreneurs in your design process. They are available for both consultation and co-creation. We recommend that you approach the entrepreneurs, as their expertise makes a valuable and complementary contribution to your concept. However, this is not mandatory; contact details are provided in good time, so that you can invite or approach them if you wish.


New solutions can have an effect on people’s behaviour. Products, services or technologies can be designed in such a way that they stimulate or even dictate certain behaviour. You can take this into account when designing those concepts. This steering of actions and behavior is called ‘mediation’. Mediation of undesirable behavior is ideally avoided. A next step is to consciously design desired mediations (Verbeek, 2006). An example of this is an energy-efficient shower head: it helps people to live up to the morality of sustainability. This may be more effective than just telling people to conserve water. This is an example of ‘materializing morality’.

Products in themselves do not necessarily make people happy, but they can stimulate this. This can be done on three levels:

  • Pleasure: Products can increase comfort, reduce discomfort and facilitate fun activities (in the short term).
  • Personal interest: a product can contribute to the achievement of personal goals (in the long term).
  • Morality: Doing good deeds helps others, but also makes yourself feel good. A product or service can stimulate this behavior. The consequences thus extend beyond self-interest and can have an impact on several individuals or even entire communities.

The three levels together comprise the essence of the theory of designing for ‘positive moods’ (Desmet & Pohlmeyer, 2013). This methodology operationalizes the subjective well-being of people through product design. While the three levels reflect universal principles, the term “subjective well-being” suggests that there is also a personal aspect involved. The way in which these principles are expressed is personal and depends on the user context and living environment. This again emphasizes the importance of thorough user research.


Co-creation (priming – brainstorming – practical enrichment – ethical enrichment)

Within co-creation, collaborations between different disciplines take place. The advantages of this are that various professional expertise together help to explore a concept more extensively and thus offer a broad perspective on possible solutions. At all stages of this method, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with creative entrepreneurs. They are not yet aware of your findings. Your scenarios (phase 2) will come in handy at this stage! Use them to inform your creative partners about the case, the user context, needs, frustrations and current solutions.

A co-creation process is always supervised by a designer/researcher. The facilitating role of the designer is characteristic of co-creation (Sanders & Stappers, 2008). Choose 1 person from your group for this role. It is also important to record insights and opinions. Choose 1 person to fulfill this task. The other group members will participate in co-creation. In traditional co-creation sessions, stakeholders and future users of a service or product are invited to participate. However, it is also possible to hold co-creation sessions more from an expert perspective, in which the insights of the research and personal expertise are used. This is what you are going to do.

Tips for the supervisor:

  • Be polite and thank everyone for coming and do a short introduction round.
  • Recognize the effort put into the process by regularly thanking participants for their contribution.
  • Inform all participants of the communication protocol you will be using.
  • Explain the assignments clearly.
  • Keep track of time and ensure that activities are completed on time.
  • Make sure that everyone has their say and that people are also given the opportunity to explain their choices. For example, a word web in itself is not very insightful. The thinking, motivation and interpretation for the mentioned associations, on the other hand, are very informative for the design process.
  • Be sharp and tap into interesting views by asking follow-up questions.
  • Conclude an activity with a joint analysis. Ask questions such as: what are the corresponding themes you see? Which concept do you find most interesting?
  • Do not allow participants to work for more than 40 minutes at a time. Insert breaks every now and then to keep everyone fresh and motivated in the process.

Tips for the note taker:

  • Keep a separate record of what is being said for each participant. In this way, it can be determined afterwards in the analysis whether certain views between individuals are in agreement.
  • If possible, try to write down the interesting statements verbatim (literally word for word). This also guarantees that the intentions and connotations of the spokespersons are preserved as much as possible in later stages of the analysis.


It is difficult to come up with a complete solution for the challenge out of nowhere. That’s why we’re going to build the process. Choose a central theme from the phase 2 scenarios and create a word web or word cloud. Above all, build on the input of others. This principle is known in psychology as ‘response chaining’ (Adams, 1984). The usefulness of this becomes clearer with a practical example.

Imagine that you are in class and the teacher asks a difficult question. At first, the students are hesitant to answer. After a while, a student raises his hand. His answer is incorrect, but somewhat close. This answer gives another student an idea and she then tries. Again the teacher says that the answer is not quite correct, but is already very close to the correct answer. After a moment of thinking you will know; the answers of your fellow students have helped you to find the right answer. It seems that more complex concepts are created by building on each other. You learn from each other!

Such association assignments stimulate creative thought processes by activating the semantic memory (Sanders & Stappers, 2012).


Briefly discuss the results of the word web. Why did you write down a certain word and what exactly do you mean by it? Everyone should give a short explanation. With understanding for each other’s associations, a translation can be made into concepts. Generate as many ideas as possible without rejecting them. Afterwards, make a selection of the most promising concepts; a top 3 is in principle sufficient. It may help to organize the ideas in a COCD box as shown in Figure 5. In addition to textual and verbal descriptions, it can help to use visual means here. Think of mind maps and collages, or any other method that seems suitable to you. With images and creative layouts it becomes easier to make the concepts tangible and to communicate about them.

Figure 5. A COCD box for ideas selection.

Practical enrichment

Work the ideas into perfect concepts from a practical point of view. Examples of guiding questions for this process are:

  • What components are needed to build your solution?
  • Are the technologies you want to use well developed enough to be implemented in your concept in the short term?
  • Can your concept be integrated with technologies that people already possess?
    • If so, how much added value does this have?
  • How intuitive is your concept to use?
  • Are there elements in your concept that exclude people, for example through conditions such as color blindness?
    • If so, how can you make the concept more inclusive?
  • Under what circumstances can your concept be used? Only at home, or also outside?

Ethical Enrichment

Place your concepts in the design framework for ‘positive moods’. Think about how your concept can contribute on all three levels. You are meant to consciously add attributes to the concepts to address these levels; so don’t just look at which already devised properties happen to correspond to the three levels! This methodology should be consciously and actively used to operationalize the subjective well-being of people. The theoretical framework is summarized below in Figure 6 (based on Desmet and Pohlmeyer (2013).

Figure 6. The framework for positive mood designs.

To help get this process started, here are some guiding questions:

  • Designing for fun
    • How can your solution increase pleasure and comfort?
    • How can your solution reduce discomfort?
    • What enjoyable activities can your solution facilitate? For example, with the help of a boat, one can enjoy sailing.
  • Designing for personal interest
    • What personal goals does your target audience have?
    • How can your solution provide immediate support in achieving long-term goals?
    • How can your solution remind users of achieving their goals?
    • How can your solution highlight (small) achievements? Seeing progress and achievements can have a motivating effect on sustainable behavioral change (Sailer, Hense, Mayr & Mandl, 2017). In this context, behavioral change refers to the use of products and services to make (positive) changes in lifestyle.
  • Designing for morality
    • What possible immoral acts are stimulated by your solution? Examples are unsustainable consumption and pollution. Avoiding stimulation of immoral behavior also counts as designs for morality.
    • How does your solution stimulate moral behaviour? It is important that people remain autonomous in their choice to live up to morals. So technology should not do all the work for humans; man’s intention to act responsibly must be present. This emphasizes the importance of transparency in the guiding and persuasive mechanisms of technology (Tromp, Hekkert, & Verbeek, 2011). People can be controlled, with minimal invasion on their autonomy. Consider, for example, the current donor law: you are a donor, unless you explicitly indicate that you are not. This way of steering is called ‘libertarian paternalism’ (Thaler & Sunstein, 2013).
    • What morals are associated with your solution and how can you possibly materialize them? Global examples of morals that may apply:
      • Helping the fellow man;
      • Sustainable living;
      • Taking responsibility for your own actions;
      • Make responsible decisions.

Phase 4: Evaluation and Presentation (final)


Now that the concept has been conceived, it is time for an evaluation. We do this before the concept is actually developed. The sooner a problem is (still) found, the easier it is to make changes. How can concepts be tested without developing them? We use (again) scenarios for this. The advantage of scenarios in this phase is that they make concepts more concrete, without actually having to shape them. This makes it easier to imagine problems and implementation in the user context. From a practical perspective, it is also more beneficial to tackle problems as early as possible; prior to implementation. It is also an ethically responsible activity to think thoroughly about the possible problematic consequences that the conceived concept entails.


Designers use problem scenarios to think critically about their concept. In this, for example, the concept is presented in an unfavorable situation to inspect whether the concept withstands the circumstance (hypothetically). Designers also check whether the use of the developed concept can lead to unforeseen problems (in the long term). Here it is advisable to also involve people outside the team in the analysis (Anggreeni & van der Voort, 2007). They have a fresh look at the concept and may foresee different problems than you.

An interaction scenario consists of a description of intentions, behaviours, the user context and the interaction between people and your concept. This scenario is intended to explain in detail how and why the developed concept is used (Anggreeni & van der Voort, 2007).



Think of as many obstacles and problems as possible that can occur in the implementation/use of your concept. Use these new insights to improve your concept, if possible. Otherwise, they are good points of interest for new student teams who will further develop the concept. It is not necessary to convert all these obstacles into a problem scenario.

Here are some tips for identifying problems:

  • Mention the possible (technical) problems that can occur with your concept. Use the individual problems to analyze what would happen at the system level: what happens to the whole system if one component fails? What escalating issues can occur?
  • Reflect on the goals of your solution. Name the situations in which the achievement of the goals is undermined.
  • Describe the problems based on hypothetical interactions between the user and your concept. How and when does the user encounter these problems? What is the behavior/reaction of the user to this?

Here are some guiding questions for the mediation analysis:

  • Which actions does your concept stimulate?
  • Which actions does your concept advise against?
  • What observations does your concept emphasize?
  • Which observations does your concept qualify?
  • What information is obtained from your concept and how does this possibly influence decision-making?
  • What is the ‘script’ of your concept? Read the theory section of phase 4 again, if necessary.

Process the obtained insights in your presentation. Translate the problems you failed to address in a redesign into recommendations for future research.


Reflect on your process during the nano-challenge and incorporate the insights into the presentation. Have a conversation with your group to go through the reflection together. Some points we would like to hear from you are:

  • What have you learned as an individual from the nano-challenge?
  • What have you learned as a group from:
    • the multidisciplinary collaboration?
    • the approach?
    • the project?
  • What were the challenges in the nano-challenge and/or the collaboration?
  • What were the highlights of the past four weeks?
  • What would you like to see different in the nano challenges in the future?

You can decide for yourself how you deliver the reflection. Creativity is appreciated. For example, consider a collection of digital post-its, word clouds, or posters.


Use an interaction scenario to present your concept in the user context to the stakeholders, the other students and employees of the EnschedeLAB. Use comprehensive descriptions of the interactions between the user and the solution. Clearly explain the motives for use, based on a goal to be achieved and the catalytic role that the solution has in this. Unlike a problem scenario, an interaction scenario does not deal with possible problems and defects of the solution. Really show here what your solution is good for. What you can do is highlight the solutions you have found to the problems you have identified. Convince us of the effectiveness of your solution by taking us through the application of your solution in the actual user context!

Here too it is possible to give the personas a role in the scenario. It is advisable to use creative methods to clarify the concept. A scenario is not limited to a text. For example, use sketches, posters, collages, videos, storyboards or other media of your choice! A textual scenario can be transformed in this way, for example, into a future newspaper article about your concept. You can decide for yourself how the scenario is presented. However, it is important to maintain the structure of an interaction scenario in terms of content. Finally, don’t forget to give your evaluation and reflection a place in the presentation.

Source list

Anggreeni, I., & van der Voort, M. (2007). Tracing the Scenarios in Scenario-Based Product Design A study to support scenario generation. Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal , 2 (4), 123-136.

Anggreeni, I. (2010). Making use of scenarios: Supporting scenario use in product design.

Desmet, P. M., & Pohlmeyer, A.E. (2013). Positive design: An introduction to design for subjective well-being. International Journal of Design , 7 (3).

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Unpacking the network of conflicts of a controversy: our experiences with Digicampus (25 Jan 2003) – Responsible cities[online]