Parallel Lives

Parallel Lives is a service platform where people can contribute an accurate picture of their daily routine and activities – and experience the realistic lives of others. In addition to being directly helpful for people who are moving to a different place, Parallel Lives could open up a whole range of possible uses by providing a framework that allows people try different perspectives.

It is social media that highlights the diversity of the globe through the commonalities of daily life, differing from existing outlets like YouTube by promoting coherent, personalized storytelling rather than a vast and random collection of media.

Parallel Lives functions as social anthropology, personal documentary, a “What If…” simulator, real life RPG, and could develop into any variety of interpretations that become meaningful for its users.

Starting with an initial idea of personal international finance, and how living in multiple countries complicates an individual’s economics, we realized that there are far more issues than simple currency conversion at play. In moving from place to place, a person is buffering lifestyles. Standard of Living indexes try to give a general idea of the cost of basics like housing, food, transportation…yet these calculations are averages that do not reflect the differences in lifestyle choices people make.

Also, there is nothing that captures the value of things without a direct price tag, like the experience of riding a bike versus driving. We resolved that the only way to experience such unmeasurable experiences was to experience it, or if you can’t do so in person, through the experience of someone else.

The benefit of living in different places is that, by provoking you to adapt to different lifestyles, it allows you a broader perspective on your life. By promoting reflection on what we value from our everyday experience, we can address personal finance on a deeper level by influencing people’s financial behaviors.

User Research
We interviewed four people, two of whom are students from Copenhagen Business School, one unemployed mom of 53 years old, and one professor of 34 years old at the Danish Design School. We received insights regarding how they value the opportunity of seeing and experiencing lives from different perspectives, as well as suggestions on how we can best take this idea to reality. We also asked a friend from Los Angeles to videotape one day of her life and share with us the experience, while we did the same here in Copenhagen.

Design Process /Experience Prototyping

We developed a box that contains artifacts we gathered through daily experiences in Copenhagen, each artifact being inside a bag with a tag of a story on it. We presented the box to our users to ask for their views on this and what they might put inside if they were to prepare a box for someone not living in Copenhagen. We also presented them with a camera that could be rented from our service in order to shoot their daily activities and upload the videos instantly. People were very interested in the perspective of being able to upload videos instantly, although some suggested that installation of software on their existing device to realize this feature is better than adding a new device in their pocket.