Oodles and oodles of reflection

Today, we had a class discussion about what we liked, disliked and what we would change regarding the project and how we have done so far personally.  I owe it to Steve and myself to post about my own reflection regarding these topics and so- here it is:

This brief is definitely different from any of what we had last semester. It is more open and complex. It gave us opportunities to engage with our entrepreneurial spirits and apply ourselves more like true product designers.

Though it had constraints, it did not direct us exactly what product we are to come up with. I think the fact that it had so many specifications or layers, had me engaged and excited from the very beginning.  The complexity of this brief posed a challenge, and I revel in challenges.  This and the uncertainty about what I might come up with led me to trust in the design process. I was so excited about the project that a few days after surveying the apartment, I had already come up with an idea. I had grown so attached to this idea that it was hard for me to put it on the back burner, in order to explore different ones.

The first group critique/discussion and the ‘intervention’ (rapid prototyping), helped to loosen this attachment. The question: ‘How else can intimacy be brought in to the apartment?’ was posed.  Though I did not take well to this question at the beginning, I warmed up to it. I admit that I was uncomfortable with these group critiques, because I am scared of, funny as it may seem, criticism. Though, I know that criticism is good for me as a designer, there is still a chance that my ego will hurt and I find it hard to admit to defeat or failure.

I am quite fond of group critiques now. I had especially liked the one we had today. I liked the collaborative environment; each helping one another through suggesting recommendations and pitching their own opinions. I would not have thought of all of these new things that I now have to consider and in the divergent process, if it not for the session today. I owe the whole class, most especially Steve and Reid.

One thing I request is for the entirety of the brief be given to us at the beginning of the semester. And I do mean the whole of it. Though I realize that the purpose with separately asking us to salvage materials, was so that the materials drive the outcome of this project and not visa versa, I still would have appreciated it more if the entirety was given to us in the time span of the first week. Also, maybe all the visits should have been planned on the first week- this way, we may have been more advanced with our progress now. I acknowledge that the work rate only picked up a few weeks into the semester, but could it not have been this that is the cause of that?

Though I found the group critiques helpful, sometimes I did not find the little class exercises to be quite the same. The two sessions of rapid prototyping definitely helped, but the other class exercises got in the way of moving forward with our own personal projects. It was definitely fun but if it was done another time, when we don’t all have a project to finish by a certain date, I would have no objections at all.

As for my personal progress, I am really quite happy with the work that I have done so far. I appreciate that Steve made us write our personal goals down at the beginning  of the semester, are reminding us regularly to keep this in mind and to reflect on it on the halfway mark.

I admit I did not explicitly use the creative tools that we were taught last semester in our past projects, therefore it was one of my goals to use these creative tools especially during the divergent phase and in the transitions between this and the convergent phase (ie, I had used the pneumonic- scamper, matrices and scatter plot graphs).

I had also wanted to improve my drawing skills as form of visual communication. I have not done much to achieve this goal thus far, but because I revisited the goals that I had written at the beginning of this semester I was able to remind myself and am now currently working on it.

As I have mentioned before, the rapid prototyping sessions had assisted me to achieving my goal of generating ideas fast and without self editing as I go. I am now able to carry out this on my own, with the help of a time limit, and a minimum numerical goal of how many models I wanted to generate.

I had benefited from doing a lot of research in order “to create original and ‘mind-blowing’ ideas”.  My goal to do heaps of research in order to inform my design decisions was a task that was embedded within this brief after all, one of our specifications ask us to explicitly celebrate the material; its past, and its characteristics and qualities, and another was to subtly reflect an Auckland CBD attraction/location so that it encourages the high profile guests to ‘go there’ or rather be indirectly informed of what our town is like. These being some of our specifications, directly informs our design decisions anyway, we only had to research more in depth on our specific material and attraction/location.

Stepping into the convergent phase of the process, I have listed my ‘final benchmarks’ regarding my specific end product. I have also asked myself to conduct more research that is more specific to my end-product ie, existing coat racks, types of screws, different ways of fastening, and possibly even more in depth research regarding the context and back story. Also a plan of action is written, complete with checklists of the things I have yet to achieve.

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