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Using generative research techniques, the goal was to collect insights and opportunities into the chosen topic.

Time Frame

14 weeks


Ian Cullimore

Isaúl Berenguer

Vicente Magana

In order for all team members to have a chance to utilize all techniques, we each alternated recording and leading interviews. We designed the experiment, with support from the faculty, and analyzed the results together.

What are the primary motivators for

people who curate collections?


A wide variety of collectors were interviewed to be able to draw conclusions from.  The group included people who collect old coins found with a metal detector, vintage muscle cars, over 1500 wood tools, sports memorabilia and another with over 2000 Hot Wheels cars.


We led our participant through three exercises, designed to give us insights about many different parts of the collecting experience, including their motivations and needs.

Pile Sort

The first tool we used was a pile sort. This activity allows us to understand

the motivations of our collectors.


The cards included phrases about

getting a deal, or if an item would be worth restoring, or if simply the possession is their priority.


Regardless of type of collector, similar patterns and themes started to emerge as we interviewed our participants and analyzed the data


Regardless of type of collector, similar patterns and themes started to emerge as we interviewed our participants and analyzed the data.


With collecting, a collector is able to self-determine the way they are perceived. They set the evaluation by what they pursue, how much research they do, how rare the item is and more.

All our participants knew the economic value of their items, but emphatically said "NO!" when ask if they ever would sell.  

This money value is almost a language, and universal way between collectors and even non collectors to mark just how much work/capital when into this acquisition.


We analyzed the results with many tools that spanned the walls of our studio, the tools included Affinity Diagrams, POEMS and AI frameworks (People, Objects, Environment, Messages, Systems, Activities and Interactions), Bordieau's Framework, Ethnographic Questions, and PNSTIO (Problem, Need, System, Themes, Insights and Opportunities)


The deliverable for this project was the Insight/Opportunity Pairs list. It is launching point that could be given to a design and engineering team to carry out the traditional design cycle.

Option 1


Effortless acquisition is not respected by collectors


What if there was a way to display or symbolize the effort taken to acquire an item?

Option 2


Collectors use storytelling to curate the item's history


What if there was a way to collect, compile or visualize the research, journey, story?

Option 3


Collected items are time capsules for the collector


What if there was a method for a memory or story to be passed on, or found, with

the item?

Option 4


Items are a trigger

for storytelling


What if the item could attract attention or provoke curiosity in the viewer?

Option 5


Collecting is about the

"thrill of the hunt"


What if there were ways

to sustain or increase the excitement?

Design is a team sport, thanks to my colleagues and friends for their discussions, critiques and feedback.

Thanks for reading!

Special Thanks for this Project

Isaúl Berenguer and Vicente Magana

Our Participants

Katherine Bennett

Atria Azarmi

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