What Actually Goes On During a Steering Group Meeting?

Posted in: Designability, EngD, Research Project, Steering Group, Technology

This first week back after being away has been a busy one! My focus has been mainly on the second steering group meeting, which I continued preparing at the beginning of the week before meeting with members on Wednesday.

The main aim of the meeting was to get the members' opinions on a prototype experiment I am planning, which will involve people with dementia as participants later in the project.

This session was a lot more interactive for the members than our first meeting, so I thought I'd share with you how the meeting went. For confidentiality reasons, I cannot share exactly what was said or who was there, but read on for an overview of how the session progressed!

Getting Everything Ready

As always, I made sure to get the room ready with more than enough time, just in case of any unexpected complications. There's something satisfying about seeing a neatly prepared table before the members arrive, too:

The layout for our meetings
The layout for our meetings

When everyone arrived, we settled in with a cup of coffee and had a quick catch up with each other since the last meeting. After some announcements, I put the audio recording on and we got started with the main part of the session.

The Experiment Setup

I showed a preview of this experiment a couple of weeks ago. As you may have noticed, it was still in a rough-and-ready state at that point with pen-and-paper versions of the board. For the steering group meeting, I updated these a little, and was able to augment familiar household objects, including a tin of Heinz Beanz, which was the source of much discussion!

The prototype experiment that was tested during the steering group meeting
The prototype experiment that was tested during the steering group meeting

The experiment setup was set aside from the main discussion area so that members could take it in turns to have a go. We wanted to make sure any comments were as fresh as possible, so I purposely didn't give away too much information at the start of the session.

This worked quite well, and the discussion after everyone had had a go was very productive. As a result, I have some useful suggestions on how to improve the experience, including using numbers on the game board instead of arrows.

Lunch is Served!

It's the least I can do for the hard work the members put in during our meetings! This is always a good opportunity for us to recharge and get to know each other better.

Lunch, tea, and coffee are served during the meeting
Lunch, tea, and coffee are served during the meeting.

The HoloLens

My blog readers will have seen the HoloLens before, but this week I brought it along to show the steering group members. For once, technology was co-operating well and it all ran smoothly! I was able to connect the HoloLens to a television screen in the room and show the members what I could see through the HoloLens. This helped demonstrate the idea that you can see 'digital objects' that aren't really there through the HoloLens.

The HoloLens in INTERPRET
The HoloLens in INTERPRET

Members even had a go at trying on the HoloLens, which I was very pleased about. I had placed a few virtual 'sticky notes' in the room, and members had a go at going up to these and reading them out. It was a challenge trying to adjust the HoloLens for different people, but we got there in the end.

Time to Chat

At the end of every session, I leave 20-30 minutes or so for us to chat amongst ourselves without the audio recording on. When planning the steering group, I felt that it was important to allow this time for members to talk about their experiences with each other in an informal setting, and we will continue to have this in future meetings.

Would You Like to Take Part?

We are still looking for 2 or 3 members to join our meetings, so please do get in touch or share the opportunity with someone who you think might be interested.


Thank you to my supervisors for your guidance when planning the sessions. Many thanks also to Nina Evans for all of your support during sessions, including taking notes and helping to finalise the plans.

Importantly, huge thanks are in order for all of the INTERPRET members; I really appreciate you taking the time to come along and your views are greatly appreciated.

Posted in: Designability, EngD, Research Project, Steering Group, Technology

Click here to read more about INTERPRET on Designability's website!


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