The Internet of Things is an incredibly large, amorphous and intangible concept for many. As a result of the scale of this vision, it has been described that “we each see the piece closest to us”. In other words, the concept is so large, we often focus on explaining the parts which are accessible to us. Knowing that it is hard to define and that disciplines and practitioners often hold different perspectives and views on what IoT means, this exercise challenges you as a multidisciplinary group to develop a shared understanding and build a coordinated definition of what the IoT really means.
The goal is to draw on the individual perspectives to ‘patch holes’ in individual understanding and facilitate a shared conversation about what the nature, goals and value of the internet of things might be.
By the end of this exercise, students will:
have explored the ‘big ideas’ behind the IoT vision and contributed their perspectives
have developed a shared definition of the Internet of Things
worked within a group to articulate the value of the Internet of Things
gained a shared understanding of what the IoT vision is and what it means for their work in this class
30 minutes - 1 hour (depending on time)
Sharpies or markers
Imagine you’re about to go on TV as part of a technology news segment. You’ve been asked to explain the Internet of Things to the world. How would you do it?
Part 1: Brainstorm
Divide the class into small groups of approximately 4-6 persons.
For 20 minutes, each person should write down as many things that you feel represent the big ideas behind the Internet of Things, its features, and what it should offer. This should be completed in the small groups and using the post-its provided. Discussion should be limited at this point.
The groups should next spend 10-20 minutes, reviewing, organizing and prioritizing these elements (affinity diagramming).
Part 2: Distill
Using the organized information, the group should develop the following:
An one sentence explanation of the ‘Internet of Things’, and;
A 1-minute oral-presentation on* the value* of the Internet of Things.
For the oral presentation: Imagine you are explaining the IoT to a lay person (someone with no prior knowledge). How can you clearly explain why they might want to take notice of it? Why is it relevant to them? What is it going to do for them? What are the things that they need to know? and How do you explain the complexity of it succinctly.
Part 3: Reflect
Once all groups have reported out (and if there is time remaining), reflect on the similarities and differences in the ways the groups understand and represent the IoT vision, and the facets that they focus on. Possible points of discussion include:
What are the similarities in the stories and summaries presented?
What are the different perspectives and what do they reflect or tell you about the IoT?
What was left out / omitted? Why? Is it important an important or a peripheral component? Why?
Why do you think the IoT is hard to define?
What did the other perspectives illustrate for you? Did any of the summaries provide a new lens or challenge your previous understanding of the IoT?
Submitting your work:
Create a Post in the #projects channel on slack of your one sentence and explanation by the end of class and include a photo of your brainstorming work / process.