Design Challenge Reflection

It has happened: my group has pitched our idea! The pitch went well, though looking back there are a few things I wish we had done differently. Namely, I wish we had polished the slide design a bit more, and been a tad more coherent with our ideas. You can see our pitch here. I also wish that we had practiced more; some of the ideas were not explained as well as they could have been due to multiple people creating different slides. I also wish we had asked more of the audience instead of simply handing out information. However, overall, the whole design challenge was fun, and exciting. If you have been following our design challenge, you will be sad to here that my team is going separate directions: after the pitch, we all chose different paths resolving to let others pick up where we left off.

We started off as a group that was very disorganized, and grew into a very productive team. We changed ideas, reverted back, and really emphasized the fact that the DEEP process is most definitely NOT linear. Below, are multiple pictures of our thought process in sticky note form over the course of a few weeks – the stickies change depending on our ideas at that time.

Perhaps our best idea was our last idea: to implement a policy that would allow students to be able to relax during the school day in certain areas that were different from their GTD and enrichment spaces. We wrote the policy, but, as it was created a mere day before our pitch, it was not as refined as it could have been. Having gone from the idea of vending machines spread throughout the school, to changing the way school is run, I would say that we finally were able to step into our users shoes and figure out what they needed instead of what we could provide. This is one of the biggest challenges: to figure out what the consumer wants and needs while remaining objective, and not immediately coming up with a solution. We found this out after we put out chairs as per our test that day, and no one used them. We realized that, while students do want chairs, they also want comfortable chairs. The camp chairs we put out a few days prior were quickly used, but the hard, plastic folding chairs were not. This made us realize that, instead of jumping to solutions, we need to focus on putting ourselves in the user’s shoes and figuring out what they need from their perspective. You can see in the pictures below some of the shots of the chairs in use – and those that are not.

Overall, I think the most important lesson I learned from this experience is to not jump to conclusions. Always view the problem from the perspective of those the solution is going to impact. If the solution impacts them negatively, then it is not a solution at all. I hope you have enjoyed this journey of innovative thinking – look our for the next design challenge coming up soon!

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Producing Products

We have been working on a new project innovation module: redesigning the shopping cart. We have each been tasked for coming up with an idea to improve and change the traditional shopping cart. First, we started off by watching a video of IDEO starting the same design challenge we are. Then, we took a field trip to a supermarket to observe people using shopping carts and the problems we observed. We took pictures, asked a few questions, then came back and unpacked what we had observed. We picked out a few pictures to focus on, and designed around those problems. At first, I planned to design a self-checkout for the handle of the shopping cart. It was a way to reduce lines, and decrease the amount of times items were removed from the cart. However, after we made our designs out of popsicle sticks and play dough, I realized this was an idea that had some flaws, and that I could think simpler. So, when we started implementing our ideas in 123D Design, I chose to change my idea. Instead of a self-checkout, I came up with a rubber bumper.

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Its purpose is to go on the bottom of the cart to protect merchandise when the cart (invariably) hits it, and to protect people’s ankles (ouch!). The picture above is my first attempt; the one below is my next model. It is obvious the differences between them; one is thick and flat, the second is thin and curved. Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 8.53.45 PM

After two days of working on this, I then switched tracks entirely. I am now working on a design challenge to help protect a dog and a truck. The purpose of this challenge is to protect the dog, save the fabric in the truck, while still letting the dog have freedom and be able to hang out the window. New posts coming soon!