Space saturation is the decoration of a design space with all the findings from the empathy phases of understanding and observation. Ideally your design team will have its own working space where the walls and/or work boards can be filled with all the data that is gathered.
Since insights can only emerge when a lot of data on what is going on in the problem space has been gathered, the data will need to be very wide-ranging, including anything deemed relevant for getting clues on what is going on. It actually should be very broad as in the Understanding and Observation phase (‘Empathy’) we want to keep a wide scope in order not to exclude relevant aspects. After that, in the next step, we then try to find patterns and themes in this unstructured data. Space saturation is meant to create an environment for this transition to take place: to discover insights into all the gathered data. These conditions for insight development are created by getting it all out and making it visual.
Creating a design space for all the findings also inspires and informs the whole team. By sharing findings and telling stories about what you have seen and heard, nuances are added to help make sense of all the data. Space saturation thus also functions as a team share.
Display all your data: notes of field research; pictures; quotes or remarkable statements/sentences from interviews; thoughts or experiences; citations from the brief or from the exercise Day in the life; observations of people, spaces, and/or circumstances… You can also include relevant objects and artefacts that tell a significant story.
Do not feel limited; instead immerse your team in a space that envelopes and inspires. Write down your quotes, observations etc. on sticky notes, post drawings, tell your team about what you have seen and experienced… The space will look like a collage of findings and stories.