SUPERFANDOM

DESIGNING  A  FACILITATION  AROUND  SUPERFANDOM  THAT  ENABLES  PLAY,  DIALOGUE,  AND  REFLECTION

Guides and collaterals designed to create an interactive roleplaying experience.

ABOUT

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

socio-economic impact.

 

Our facilitation was based on the book, Superfandom by Aaron M. Glazer and

Zoe Fraade-Blanar.

Our process involved exploring the art and

role of facilitation in enabling dialogue, play,

and reflection.

CORE MESSAGE

The influence of superfandom and

superfans — society’s alpha consumers — on

our lives, commerce, and culture.

​ TYPE

Classroom Project, 

Technologies for Designing Change

​ MENTOR

Lee-Sean

CO-WORKERS

Janvi Ghatalia,

Sherrie Shao

​ EXPLORED

Facilitation Design

​ DURATION

4 weeks

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

our facilitation:

  • 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? 

  • Community Building

    • 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

in return.

Fandom creates a sense of belonging and community.

CONSTRAINTS

 

  • Duration: 40 mins

  • Location: Quiet Room

  • Resources: No utilization of digital 

                         devices or screens

INTENTION

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.

WHY ROLEPLAYING

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. 

APPROACH

1/1

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

Two Teams

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.

SUPPORTING ELEMENTS

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

and excitement.

1/1

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!

PRIYA PARKER

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters 

 “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.” 

1.jpg

FACILITATION GUIDE

This guide contains details of the entire 40 mins creative facilitation, including the division of time, and smaller activities that lead to the central 

roleplaying activity.

PARTICIPANT REFLECTIONS

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

the Superfans."

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."

REFLECTION

 

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

facilitation's success.

Constraints drive

creativity.


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

those roles. 

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

the roleplay.

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

system's complexities.

Allowing for play and emergent behavior.

   

 

THANK YOU!

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