Timelines: A World-Building Activity for Values Advocacy

Method Overview

Timelines is a design activity created for an individual or group of technology professionals to engage in perspective-taking scenarios that form discussions about ethics and values in technology.

Example of a draft timeline from the paper describing the method.

Getting Started

Materials:  Paper and/or whiteboard, Post-It Notes, index cards, Sharpies, markers

Participants: (Individual/Team)

Steps (from the publicly available academic paper):

  1. Decide on an artifact—a technology, system, or feature—that you want to explore.
  2. Brainstorm stakeholders on index cards—someone who is related to the artifact, either directly or indirectly.
  3. Using sticky notes, brainstorm potential news headlines related to the artifact. 
  4. Take turns to place the headlines on the large shared timeline triangle to create stories of events related to the artifact.
  5. Return to the stakeholder index cards from Step 2. Brainstorm possible social media posts from situated points of view of different stakeholders.
  6. Share your social media posts, and shift into a broader discussion to reflect on insights from the activity. 

This methods microsite is based off of analysis which is available in a preprint manuscript. Feel free to review our methodology and other details! We welcome your comments and feedback ! Please also use this form if you would like to suggest a method as an addition to the collection!