Looking Sideways

Philippa Mothersill

Looking Sideways is an online inspiration browsing tool that seeks to provoke unexpected inspiration and guide pathways to new ideas by presenting a diverse range of content for each search query and suggesting connections for the concepts discovered.  

At its core, Looking Sideways is a search engine. Yet, unlike other search engines it does not attempt to optimise the content presented to the user. For every search query, Looking Sideways collects content from a diverse range of online databases—Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Harvard Art Museum, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Giphy animated images, news, National Geographic, and New Scientist—and presents users with a random selection of that image or textual content. The Looking Sideways tool aims to make searching for inspirational content online feel like the lateral thinking experienced when jumping between ‘creative watering holes’ or juxtaposing content on a mood board, rather than the homogenous rabbit holes that today's search engines and image collections can feel like.

If you are interested in learning more about this tool or would like to try it yourself or in your organization, Pip is continuing to develop her PhD research outside of the MIT Media Lab and would love to hear from you:

Research Topics