DESIGNING A FACILITATION AROUND SUPERFANDOM THAT ENABLES PLAY, DIALOGUE, AND REFLECTION
Guides and collaterals designed to create an interactive roleplaying experience.
For this project, in a team of three, we
designed a creative facilitation for our cohort of social designers, exploring the relationship between brands and fans and its associated
Our facilitation was based on the book, Superfandom by Aaron M. Glazer and
Our process involved exploring the art and
role of facilitation in enabling dialogue, play,
The influence of superfandom and
superfans — society’s alpha consumers — on
our lives, commerce, and culture.
Technologies for Designing Change
KEY INSIGHTS FROM THE BOOK
As we belonged to the same community for
whom we were designing, we understood the value that we could bring to the table. For the same,
we picked 3 key insights as focus areas for
Understanding Fan Behaviour
What does it mean to fan?
What are the underlying motivations behind fan behavior?
How and in what capacity do fans interact with their obsessions?
The Ontological Relationship of Fandom
Exploring the ecology within which fandom exists.
Who is involved, and in what ways does one influence the other?
Exploring how fans interact with each other through and outside of the fan object.
Exploring how fandom creates space for building community and experiencing a sense of belonging.
IN A GLIMPSE
To fan is human, the impulse to bond over something external to ourselves is part of our social DNA.
The ontological relationship of fandom: Brands shape
fans and fans shape brands
Fandom creates a sense of belonging and community.
Duration: 40 mins
Location: Quiet Room
Resources: No utilization of digital
devices or screens
To create an open, reflective, playful space for social designers engaged in designing products, services, and systems within the experience economy, to better understand the phenomenon of superfandom and its impact on culture and commerce.
From the roleplaying activity: An enthusiastic group of Lola's Superfans responding to Team Lola
We explored and evaluated various
interactions such as debates, quizzes,
role-playing, and case studies.
After a short round of trial and error, we concluded with roleplaying as a technique best suited to represent the dynamics of fandom within our facilitation.
Through acting out, role-playing allows the group to embed themselves in a
particular scenario and explore it within and outside of their personal experiences.
It taps into three levels of knowledge simultaneously:
explicit, implicit, and latent, allowing for emergent behavior.
Roleplaying allows for play, and play in turn, allows for uninhibited
experiences and reflections.
Top L: Lola decides to personally communicate with her fans and clarify misconceptions.
Top R: Lola's team interacting with fans and offering incentives to keep their faith.
Bottom R: Superfans hearing out Lola.
Bottom L: A disappointed superfan convincing another community member to react responsibly.
ROLEPLAYING AS THE CENTRAL
INTERACTION OF THE FACILITATION
Playtime: 20 mins
Debrief & Reflection: 5 mins
Our central interaction pattern was a roleplaying activity, designed for the group to experience the interdependence and tensions between
brands and fans.
Since music is ubiquitous across cultures, we created LOLA, a singer-songwriter, a virtual idol of considerable prominence. All our interactions were designed around Lola.
We divided our cohort into Lola's agency and her superfans. We probed them with a situation and simulated an interactive dialogue between the two parties.
We designed the activity with some supporting rules and information to create a supporting structure for them. However, the framework was kept flexible to allow for emergent behavior.
Within these rules, participants assumed roles and improvised freely to build their own stories. This flexible framework and the medium of roleplaying enabled dialogue to shape organically and energy to be exchanged.
It was also essential for us to build the right environment and provide enough resources for the central interaction to emerge.
This involved creating an identity for Lola, creating informative cards for Lola's agency and superfans, setting up space, and showing up for each other and for our cohort with energy
Top L: Roleplaying cards for Lola's Team and Superfans and reaction cards for Lola's Superfans.
Top R: Space Layout and intended interaction loop.
Bottom: Pre and post snapshots of us!
“Gatherings crackle and flourish when real thought goes into them, when (often invisible) structure is baked into them,
and when a host has the curiosity, willingness, and generosity of spirit to try.”
This guide contains details of the entire 40 mins creative facilitation, including the division of time, and smaller activities that lead to the central
1. "When I was standing alone on one side, and the rest of the class was on the other side, it made me doubt my stance on the issue."
2. "This facilitation allowed me to understand how community impacts not only within, but also outside, in the marketplace."
3. "It was very easy to manipulate
4. "It was interesting to have this roleplay about making propaganda through PR
to understand what it has done to us systemically."
5. "It would be super exciting to see this with a larger group and as a longer simulation. Maybe with more actions such as giving players money and hearts and heartbreaks and roles such as consumers and fans and seeing that interaction unfold as it would in the experience economy."
Facilitation is an intentional and purposeful act.
While designing our facilitation, we were extremely mindful of the power dynamics that could emerge with the flow of information as readers to non-readers. We hence framed the activity in a way that would move and sustain without our excessive involvement.
Accounting for finer details such as moving the position of tables, pasting emojis on a stick as call-outs and considering whether our participants should stand or sit to suit the energy requirements of the activity in consideration, added much to the
When we started designing this activity, we wanted our cohort to explore the complexities of the ecosystem within which superfandom exists. We tried different versions with multiple roles:
the brand, marketing teams, consumers, fans, and superfans. However, this was leading to more confusion about the connection between
Instead, when we designed keeping our constraints in mind, we were able to frame a more definite purpose, better suited for our audience. We simplified our narrative and focussed on the interactions between only the superfans and their obsessions. This enabled us to utilize our time better and explore the delicate nuances within that particular interaction.
While designing the activity, we made sure we provided our cohort with enough content to fully understand their roles. Still, we also allowed for space and flexibility for individual and collaborative creation to emerge. The framework helped us as the facilitators and our cohort as the participants to explore possibilities within
Overall, owing to play and emergent behavior allowance, roleplaying was an excellent way to experience a scenario from a given perspective. After experiencing and moving out of roleplaying, our cohort was better able to see the
Allowing for play and emergent behavior.