How can our search tools guide us to inspiration we never expected to help us discover new ideas?

We have reached the Pinterest 'singularity'. Our online searches provide only the same content to us; good for finding an 'answer' to a direct question, but less useful when we want to explore new ideas. Looking Sideways is an online exploration tool that seeks to provide unexpected inspiration from diverse and laterally connected content. For every search query you type, this tool gives you content from art, design, history and pop-culture to help you explore concepts more broadly. The search 'results' will not always 'make sense'; but that's the point! Allow yourself be open to ambiguity, explore areas that seem irrelevant, use your imagination to discover new interpretations and connections, and let this tool help disrupt your thinking...

METHODS: design research, user interface design, programing, academic writing

TECHNOLOGIES: Html, CSS, Javascript, d3, Adobe creative suite

INTERESTED IN BETA TESTING THIS TOOL? Get in touch at pip at mit dot edu

Looking Sideways exploration tool integrated into a more tangible, interactive ideation 'drafting' table

Published in The Design Journal as part of the proceedings of the 13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design Running with Scissors, Dundee 2019

A project developed at the MIT Media Lab by Philippa Mothersill (Copyright 2018)

Technical development assistance from Max Lever, Josie Ku, Shirley Lei & Kealani Finegan