Course Phase 3

Slow Hack

Key Dates

Last day for data collection: Friday 11th March 2016
PD activity with stakeholders: your team must schedule this between 24th February 24th and 11th March


In this phase, your team will start with the design idea identified during the Digging Deeper phase, and flesh out this idea into a proof-of-concept solution to your problem. Your idea will likely evolve over the Slow Hack as you discuss it further, consult stakeholders, and collect new data — it might look very different at the end of this process than at the start. This is good!

In class, we will continue working on skills around interpreting data and using it to tell stories and build convincing arguments. There will also be in-class tutorial help available for your team, to help you plan your activity in this phase and work with the data you are collecting.

How is this different than the Fast Hack?

In one sentence, the Fast Hack was broad but shallow, while the Slow Hack is more tightly focussed, deeper, and more concerned with details. The Fast Hack was trying to find out as much as possible, as quickly as possible, because you didn’t know yet what might be particularly interesting or useful within your sub-theme. A main goal was to identify several problems or questions, for which your team might propose several initial ideas. By the start of the Slow Hack, your should have narrowed down to one problem area or question, by continuing to build on and refine work started in the Fast Hack. You should now have an idea about a possible solution, and during the Slow Hack your team will develop this initial idea into a proof-of-concept design.

Determining what to do is central to the Slow Hack!

In Phases 0–2, different DDS teams will likely have been doing similar things and will have had specific instructions about how to proceed. In this phase your team has more choice and more responsibility for determining what you need to do. It is up to each team to use their experience and the course resources from Phases 0–2 in order to develop their starting idea into a more detailed, proof-of-concept design. Relative to earlier phases, there will fewer specific instructions on what information to look for, or what to do. Developing and justifying your team’s course of action — out of the many possibilities — is a main part of the work in this stage. For example, it might be very important for one team to be building and critiquing prototypes of a physical object, but that might make no sense for another team’s idea, which features a website.

Participatory design with stakeholders

All teams are required to have at least one more participatory design session with stakeholders (most teams may only have time for one, but are welcome to do more). Unlike in Phase 2, there will now be several options for what type of session to do. Your team will need to choose which option makes most sense for your project, and will get you the feedback and information you need. Do not underestimate the amount of planning required for this to be successful. Your team is encouraged to discuss their goals and options, and start organising a session as soon as they can.

By the End of this Phase

  1. You should understand and be able to explain what your team has done in the Slow Hack and why those actions were chosen, out of the available possibilities.

  2. Your team should have conducted an additional participatory design session with University stakeholders, abiding by the DDS and University ethics requirements. Data analysis may still be in progress.

  3. Your team should have engaged in whatever other activities are necessary to develop your Fast Hack proposals into a a proof-of-concept idea. This will definitely include discussion, reflection, and critique within the team. It may include creating sketches, maps, physical prototypes, a website, or some other representation of your idea; it may include additional data collection or seeking out existing data; it may include additional participatory design.

    Your team does not need to have “solved” your problem. In the next phase, you will need to show that your idea has the potential to solve or at least affect the problem.

  4. You and your team should have stored any newly collected data in accordance with approved DDS and university data management and privacy requirements.

Learning Outcomes for this Phase