Service Fictions as a Method in Problem-Finding Research in the Field of Sleep
The original purpose for this study revolved around identifying possible whitespaces (innovation opportunities for unmet needs) applied to the concept of sleep. Through much early work on sleep, it became apparent that sleep is a semi-private concept and the boundaries of what was possible for potential whitespaces needed to be further explored with participants. From there the intention of the research shifted to identify the best possible method to aid in this discovery. Speculative design was considered an appropriate method. Speculative design is meant to garner reactions from viewers. Attempts were made to find a way to get participants to engage with proposed speculative scenarios and explore them as they related to themselves, instead of just reacting to them. Service Fictions were created to take a participant through the thought process to arrive at the speculative scenario. Twelve participants co-created scenarios that would fit into their life with prompts from the designer. This method was successful in understanding underlying values and a participant’s boundaries around what was comfortable and acceptable to them. Service Fictions were applied to a case study meant to expose the boundaries of care around sleep. Insights gained from Service Fictions were distilled down to four main categories. The categories were technology, people, control and sleep. These categories were turned into guidelines to consider when applied to sleep, but possibly extendable to other concepts as well.