New project ideas at times arise from researchers’ private situations or experiences. The study of other people’s life contexts or situations, e.g., concerning regional, economic, social, or infrastructural issues, may trigger new thought directions. A reflection of current situations under gender / diversity aspects is advisable.
What (and whose) life domains and what everyday contexts seem interesting for our research? (reflection aspect: concept of the human) What target groups do we want to serve? (reflection aspect: benefit)
A recent case study analysed how smart home technologies could be better developed for mixed-family houses (Kozubaev et al. 2019). The authors actively went beyond the more usual target group of smart homes, such as singles or families in upper- and middle-class homes and focused on low-income public housing dwellers that usually includes many families in the US. This allowed them to interrogate the assumptions about “home” in smart home technology development, as well as generate research that shows the different kinds of needs regarding privacy, security, and data ownership. By looking into the needs of “non-traditional” user groups and being sensitive to different concepts around home, and in this case, specifically the differences in economic background, this case opened up different and new perspectives in smart home innovation.