Exercise 3: ‘Cultural Probes’

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Develop key questions pertaining to your research based on the initial concept map. Design a mock-up for a probe kit to facilitate information gathering. 

Brainstorming Process

When I was reading my materials to prepare for the annotated bibliography assignment, I came across the idea that we need to know our audience clearly. We need to identify their wants and needs. In the book, “Connect Design for an Emphatic Society”, I came across a case study of an interesting experiment conducted in Europe. Inspired by the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methodology, an organisation called Express2Connect (E2C) conducted workshops on April 2010 in Finland, Denmark Sweden and the Netherlands with people aged 65 and above. Lego bricks were given to each participant and they had to use these bricks to answer survey questions in a creative manner. 


  1. Supports hand-mind connection
  2. Overcomes the barrier of not being able to define, express and share tacit insights and perspectives
  3. Stimulates a shared language
  4. Focuses on the positive rather than negative (find another way to ask topics that are considered taboo e.g. loneliness)


    1. Not everyone uses the same way to express themselves
    2. Some creations might be difficult to understand and might require the help of a psychologist 

Formulating My Own

I thought the idea of using Lego bricks was genius. It would also lighten the mood of the questionnaire session and the participants of my test could have some fun as well. But, I realised that there is a need to give my intended audience more than one way of expressing their needs in my probe kit. All of us are different beings, we all have different thought processes and so the way we express ourselves are different too. Besides the Lego set, I added some colour markers and paper into my probe kit. I also included a form for them to fill their particulars and explain their artwork in a few sentences.  I simplified the questionnaire by just asking one question. I wanted to know if these group of people have any unfulfilled dreams or ambitions they want to pursue a their current age. 

Preparing the Lego bricks
Survey form
Box before wrapping
Box after wrapping

Final Outcome

Probe kit mock-up

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