According to Nokia’s senior design manager Younghee Jung, they were set up as a community design competition with the theme of ‘design your ideal mobile phone’, hosted in 3 communities of Dharavi (Mumbai, India), Favela Jacarezinho (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), and Buduburam (Accra, Ghana).
“It’s a method that we have been developing through several projects over years. my pursuit is to find a way to meaningfully engage and understand people in the design research phase when the research topic does not provide coherent anchor points to real-world behaviors. That’s why we call this work exploratory design research: often starting with a guiding theme but not knowing the full extent of what we will learn and discover.”
Or in the words of Nokia’s user anthropologist Jan Chipchase: “Despite what you might assume for a studio, the most valuable output of the Open Studio is not the designs, but in providing an alternative way for people to articulate their wants and needs – within the context of their community.”