Project team: 2. My role: Team Leader, Decision maker, Research, Concept, Context, Designer, Testing, Editor

Project: University and beyond
Inspiration: Unity in diversity

Goal: World with familiarity is a world with more empathy and trust. 

The broad problem by University:  Solve the problem ‘Foreign and Foreignness’



  • Foreignness is not limited to the feeling of change in country. A change in any individual’s habits lead to the feeling of discomfort and loss of sense of belonging, poses a challenge and redefines one’s identity. Identity is fluid, Habits are rigid.                      
  • Technology and Phone is the biggest current pain reliever when people feel isolated or strange.  e.g. when waiting for the bus or being alone at a party people tend to turn to their smart phone to fit-in and feel connected.
  • Technology also isolates people in physical space. People feel lonely.
  • Social relationships have two possibilities: the global connection and the personal interaction. The global connection through social media often disconnects us from our neighbours while connecting us globally. The neighbourly interactions can lead to trust, sense of belonging and a sense of familiarity.


The project utilises tangible products for testing & an app finally to facilitate personal interactions to fulfil the social need of humans by creating a symbol of openness as a product. ‘Do not talk to strangers‘ is currently changing business spaces globally where people trust strangers. See below for details of the development and iterations of the project.



  • Connect people via music choices, upgrade Spotify into a music social network.
  • Connect people in a space and a single interest (Art exhibition tested) and not a list of interests. Why? Reducing the stress of decision making (interest + people) is crucial.

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On studying various new apps, Meetup, Fb meet up groups, it was found to be used to meet people, was overwhelming and usually uncool (except tech events). Below was the understanding of what social media has become for its users, human emotions it taps into and how it might have changed over time.

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Real-time interaction

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Idea mixer, Idea napkin, Storyboard, Persona, Touchpoint and user journey, Rapid Prototyping, Brain writing, Lean Canvas


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The poster for Exhibit


Art is about initiating conversations. To benefit from Biennale Art exhibition (offline space of similar interest), I created an effortless expression (small mirror) as a sign of openness to conversations at the location of the art.
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People connecting on seeing each other wearing the mirror symbol (sleeves)
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Testing 1 complete: 90% positive feedback. subtle statement piece – mirror for the sleeve (whoever picked it understood that it meant they wanted to talk about art)
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Testing 2 complete: Changing space of art and giving a different context. Each person answered 3 questions and wore it (written with marker on tape). Total number of people tested was 50+ – Incredible feedback!
Product Test 3 completed: A mirror sticker as a symbol of openness for the back of the phone was also created to make the phone in itself, a tangible visible symbol. Phone, which was disconnecting personal interactions was now the one facilitating them.  Overwhelming feedback. Number of people tested was 25+
Product Test 4 (combined with test 3): Postcard like visa form where the participants together fill their form with 3 questions. The precise and rigid experience of filling a real visa application with friends/family form is converted to an ambiguous and flexible action with strangers. It brought people together even before the actual conversation. Why? The questions made people think about their identity. This caused struggle and started a light interaction with other participants where they help each other out. The questions were: 1. Name 2. What do I want to talk about and discuss 3. What can I give the other person in this moment (questions tested in test 2). This product translates into a profile system.

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Infographic for the Test 4 process

The visa product translates into a profile system, with the tested questions and the system serves as connection with people in any given area/space where they would like to connect.



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