Creativity Bento Box
For the Creativity Greenhouse project (EPSRC funded EP/J006688/1), we created a physical resource box, the Creativity Greenhouse Bento Box, to support people in remote collaboration. This was triggered by participant feedback gathered throughout the iterative development of the Creativity Greenhouse, in which people come together virtually to first collaborate to generate ideas and then compete for funding resources. In our event, organised to run over a number of days, people spent long hours online which made them tired. Not being in the same place meant that people did not socialise enough, where the time to socialise is required to get to know each other properly, but also to ‘strike deals’. Some of the ideation activities normally used during a physical sandpit organised by the EPRSC did not translate well into distance collaboration. The Bento Box is an attempt at addressing all of these issues.
Each Creativity Bento box is roughly 40 cm x 25 cm x 10 cm with two main compartments. The boxes carry an individual quote on the topic of creativity for each participant. The smaller compartment holds the communication technology and return envelope for that technology. The larger compartment provides space for nine smaller boxes, which each containing a resource, a task and a selected tea. When opening the box, participants find a sheet, stating the ‘rules of the box’. The rules stated that internal boxes are to be opened one by one during the event; it asks participants to not mix up the contents of the boxes. Finally, it states that box 8 is not to be opened under any circumstances unless instructed during the event.