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Research installations

Generating actionable insight from IBM’s customers through a series of interactive installations at conferences

Project description

I designed and implemented three interactive installations displayed throughout IBM Data and AI Forum ’18 and IBM THINK ’19. The installations served as touch-points through which to engage users while facilitating design research, generating insights on their pain points, and assessing their priorities in analytics software. 

These quick and easy activities also served as a starting point for deeper discussions with IBM customers and sponsor-user recruitment.

Project overview

Role: Interaction & research designer

Duration: 4 weeks of prep, displayed for 1 week


VP and Chief Officer of IBM Design wrote extensively about the installations in a Medium post.

Bento Box

Picking the right analytics software is a lot like putting together the perfect bento box. All of the characteristics have to work in unison and with the proper balance.

Bento Box uses our customers’ hunger to figure out what combinations of capabilities they would like to see in ideal analytics software. 

Participants select from a set list of capabilities, represented by different sushi sticky notes, as primary, secondary, and tertiary capabilities they look for in data analytics products, with the option of writing-in a custom capability.

They post them into a bento box indicating order of importance, and write their role and organization name on the back of the box.

Participants, passers-by, and IBM reps are able to see which capabilities are valued as the main and side course of their workflow.


As the conference took place, the wall filled more and more with the ideal meals for our customers. Patterns emerged and common write-in answers surfaced, while the facilitators engaged in deeper conversations regarding our customers’ work.


Weight of Decisions

To choose the right software for their team, our customers must first weigh out the problems that affect their team’s workflow. 

Weight of Decisions offers a visual testimony of which analytics related pain-points weigh heaviest on our customer’s workflow.

First, users would select a colored marble that represents their role in their organization. They place it onto the scale that represents the greatest pain caused by products in their current workflow.

Participants, passers-by, and IBM reps are able to see which pain points most heavily weigh down on teams across industries.

As Analytics University ’18 went on, customers continued to place their respective marbles into the scales. Our team analyzed the findings of which pain-points weighed heaviest and whom they affect most. These findings informed prioritization of needs for us to address in the IBM Hybrid Cloud suite.  

String Theory

String theory served as a touchpoint for understanding the background and data maturity of IBM’s customers and their organizations attending THINK 2019. Users were asked to select a string that corresponded to their role. They would then thread the string through data points that match their profile from background to team’s use of AI.

String Theory represented the profile of 90+ customers, from which we extrapolated valuable trends regarding AI maturity and obstacles.