TenFour Design Jam, Berlin 2018

One of the fundamental building blocks to the Open Design project happened in form of a workshop on July 21st, 2018, in Berlin, Germany. We’ve been tackling issues faced around Berlin flood risk areas including the subway, rural rivers and office blocks.

There are two full write ups of this event including a video:

The Design Jam structure

The Jam day started out with building teams, defining the OSS tool ‘TenFour’, it’s history, what it does and how to access resources and who to ask questions about the process of building prototypes and designs for the tool.

Erik Hershman and Eriol Fox of Ushahidi, the organization that built TenFour presented the background history and the current tools build focus and product planning.

The attendees then went through several discovery exercises including Empathy Mapping, Defining the problems, Ideation, Story-boarding and then Prototyping and then presenting the results back to the attendees.

Briefs & Scenarios

The focus, fictional company ‘AG Software’ based in Mitte Berlin.

Background: “Berlin Software AG is a Berlin-based software company with 400 employees that develops IT solutions for a mobile and interconnected world. As communication is crucial for their business, all employees receive a smartphone when entering the company. 

TenFour is a pre-installed app on the company phones. All employees know what the app is good for, but luckily it was never needed to use it.  

But this will change by today…”

The attendees received 3 briefs to choose to prototype for.:

Brief 1

Office in Mitte

Our users: 

Maria, a 32 year old developer who works for Berlin Software AG since 4 years. She is the good soul of the team.

Tom, a 25 year-old-intern who just recently joined the company. Tom is rather shy and introverted.

Sarah, a 34-year old UX designer, who is the company’s expert for conducting user tests in their usability lab.

Ben, a 36-year-old technical engineer who’s regularly climbing since 4 years.

Hans, a 46-year old developer. Hans is overweight and has asthma.

What is happening: 

It’s one of these day’s where the office in the 5th floor. Most of the colleagues on that floor are at client meetings or at a team building event in the Spreewald. Also the other floors are quite empty today 

It’s middle in the afternoon in the afternoon already. As the developers have a close deadline to fulfil, most of them have been working concentratedly with their headphones on the ears. But then Tom gets up as it he sees water drops coming from the ceiling and screams out when he looks out of the window and sees the flooded street in front of the building. The whole team decides to check with the other colleagues in the building and to leave to arrive home safely. 

But when they open up the door to the hallway, they can see that there is already water running down the stairs and some of the lights have come down with water running over them. They can already smell the electricity and the light start flickering. Will it be safe to step into the water with all these cables hanging down?

Maria worries about her colleague Sarah who wanted to conduct a usability test down in the basement. Is she safe? She decides to reach out to her and runs down the slippery stairs despite the hanging lamps.

Then the rest of the group hears a strange noise and sees how the printing machine catches fire due to a short circuit. They really need to get out of here, no matter what…But how can they make sure that everybody gets out safely and on time?

Brief 2

Subway in Mitte

Our users:

Who’s taking part: 

Leonie, who doesn’t feel comfortable to swim long distances, but is too shy to tell anyone.

Ryan, who’s 2 year old daughter is at the full-day kindergarten

Max, who’s long-term boyfriend is currently on a one week business-trip in Rome.

Sara, who’s a technical engineer who’s regularly climbing since 4 years, currently working in the office.

What is happening: 

Leonie and Ryan are on their way back from a business lunch and are awaiting the next subway to head back to the office. It has been raining quite heavily, so they’re trying to get home as fast as possible. After entering the U7, they’re not able to take some seats as there are plenty of people on their way during this time. But travel time should be a 1/2 hour only, anyway – so they keep going with their review about the specific client situation when they suddenly notice that the subway just stopped in the middle of the tunnel. There’s no information available, so they just wait for a bit.
After 10 Minutes standing, a guy in the front notices that there seems to be water on the railway, slowly rising. 

Some neighbours get hectic, everybody tries to check the situation, but they only observe it rising. After 1/2 hour in the tunnel, a small child starts crying and the first passenger passes out due to panic and panic breaks out! Somebody asks for water and for a professional, but nobody seems to be available. Most people are trying to check-in with their friends and family, but due to connection issues, it’s hard to keep in contact properly.

What are the key challenges and questions they’re facing?

All of the team members have the App Ten-four installed but barely use it. How could the App help Leonie and Ryan get out of the situation safely? Where are the others?


All the information and scenarios included in these slides have been complied and inspired from research and resources online. 

We can not vouch for the accuracy and factual information of the sources. They offer us, as non-native Seattle folk, a guide of how the infrastructure of Seattle operates in heavy rain, storm and mudslide events.

We ask that the attendees offer up additional information and facts around these scenarios to inform their work.

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