Just been given the task of finding people to talk to about a new project on energy efficient and how homes and businesses with different income levels and lifestyles use electricity and water in urban India. Reaching out to these diverse groups of people can only mean knowing where to find them and how to speak to them. How could I possible set up a meeting with a farmer, a villager, a grocery store owner and a middle class home all in the city? I suppose this teaches me to really pay attention everyday because, in design research, you never know when the person you met on the bus yesterday might be someone you need to talk to when trying to redesign the bus system. Having real empathy for people, their situations and life goes a long way in building relationships that will no doubt allow one to lead a fuller life and certainly become a better researcher. In Susan Sontag’s words – pay attention, attention is vitality – it’s all about paying attention.
Research thrives on networks