Bodystorming serves as a method of physical brainstorming. It uses the act of role playing and prototyping to create and test ideas surrounding a project. Encouraging a unique form of engagement from design team members that has the ability to reveal subtle aspects of user experiences and scenarios.

The use of rough props, impromptu role play, recreated environments or in context scenarios are just some of the tools used to carry out bodystorming. Rapid ideation can occur concurrently, along side empathetic considerations and prototype testing, thus providing an extremely efficient way of giving a design project direction.

Bodystorming is most useful in projects where the desired outcomes requires contextual consideration. Fields such as service design and interaction design exhibit these challenges.

A short paper discussing how to use this method:
Bodystorming as Embodied Designing, D. Schleicher et al.

An interesting piece covering theory behind design-by-doing in general:
The Reflective Practitioner, D. A. Schön.

Contributor: Dustin Bailey, 2013

Betacup was a mass collaborative and open innovation project which attempted to challenge the disposable paper cup. The creators effectively used bodystorming to isolate and validate initial ideas before opening up a competition to the public which was sponsored by Starbucks. Unfortunately the project seems to have a lack of impact which could stem from the sponsorship and influence of a major corporation.

Contributor: Dustin Bailey, 2013

A. Oulasvirta, E. Kurvinen and T. Kankainen of the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology carried out extensive testing of the bodystorming method and comprehensively documented its benefits and potential downfalls for the design of ubiquitous computing. They found that bodystorming is best used in addition to other methods as it does not always support an extensive enough exploration of a problem. Its outcomes can be limited by the level of access to physical, cognitive and social factors within a design field or project.

Contributor: Dustin Bailey, 2013