Dilemmas as Invitations

Co-designing for an easier life with Alzheimer's

About the project

Title: Dilemmas as Invitations
Type of work: Co-design / visual dialogue tool (design game)
Date: November 2010 – January 2011
Extent of the project: 10 weeks, full-time

For ten weeks, Sofie Holm Larsen and I worked with dilemmas in relation to Alzheimer’s, and co-designed — with the project’s stakeholders — seven design games. We framed this ­­­co‑design project to be about dilemmas as invitations rather than as problems. Our final prototype is the Dilemma Game: A game targeted primarily at relatives of Alzheimer’s patients with the purpose of staging a dialogue that can help people deal with the difficult scenarios and questions they will eventually face.

Upon completion, Janssen AI licensed the rights to the work.

The design

When playing the Dilemma Game, you create a personal reflection journey by asking a dilemma question and choosing an answer. The purpose of the game is neither winning nor losing; the challenge revolves around choices, options, and progress.

The outcome of the ten intense weeks was a box containing six different designs on how to ease the life with Alzheimer’s. The three tutors and ten students — myself included — who partook in the project, used the group as a bank of knowledge and as a room for discussion. After the project had come to an end, the university decided to publish a book on the project named: ‘Six Views in a Box: Dialogues on everyday life with Alzheimer’s’. Every student co‑wrote a chapter in the book.

For further reading, read the article that Mind Design (Danish Centre for Design Research) wrote about the project.

Playing the dilemma game

When playing the Dilemma Game, you create a personal reflection journey by asking a dilemma question and choosing an answer, placing them onto the board.

The Dilemma Game

This dilemma path is a physical manifestation of the reflection and discussion that occur during the game playing.

The Six Views in a Box Book

Read the online version of 'Six Views in a Box' here.

The Six Views in a Box

The 'Six Views in a Box': Six different perspectives on improving life with Alzheimer's.

Dialogue exhibition

A glimpse of the process

Seven prototypes were made during the project. Each time we revised a prototype, it was on the basis of things that we had learnt during a game playing session or a workshop that we facilitated. The dilemmas are all stories told to us by actual people dealing with Alzheimer’s. Collaboration and authenticity were key elements in the project. Throughout the process we played the games with, among others, Lene and Bent, who were both close relatives of Alzheimer’s patients.

Meeting Lene

Our first meeting with Lene, her family history and experience with Alzheimer's.

The first prototype: The Dilemma Cards

Our first prototype: The Dilemma Cards. An important aspect was to maintain the authenticity. The dilemmas in the game are quotations from real people who shared their stories with us.

Second prototype

Our second prototype: The Dilemma Cards turned into a board game.

Meeting Lene

Playing the game with Lene.

Third prototype Prototype for Bakkehuset

The fourth prototype, played at the care home 'Bakkehuset'.

Dialogue exhibition

Playing another prototype of the game with Bent at our dialogue exhibition.

Domino prototype

The Dilemma Game in its sixth prototype form, inspired by dominos.

Sketches for the game The sixth prototype Feedback session at LiveWork London

Feedback session at LiveWork London.