Initiate Phase:Day Two

Today was very much anticipated, due to the uncertainty of who I will be teamed up with and also what the actual brief is.

I appreciate the rigid structure of this project as it gives a great indication of no slacking off. Though it is highly anticipated by everyone that it is going to be a tight project, I celebrate it.

I have had problems with managing my time or rather planning my time so that it accommodates unexpected delays. I guess what I should really say is, I struggle with keeping up with the schedules I have outlined for myself at the beginning of each project. I find that this is due to knowing that I can just as easily adjust my schedule to fit. Having a structured four-week schedule that the entirety of the class has to follow will push more constraints upon my time management and will encourage me to set tasks for myself to work towards and finish within each week. Working in a group also pushes for working towards that set goal because two other people are relying on me to get that work done and visa versa.

Today we were introduced to two chapters of the process model; initiate and investigate.

Upon receiving the brief we were divided into groups of three or four. Then we received lectures on what makes a successful team  which included laying down the group’s ground rules and finding out each member’s strength and weaknesses. Then we were given pointers on an ideal mindset to approach this project or any other project; beginner’s outlook. It was then that the importance of reflective practice was reiterated. Teamwork, beginners outlook, assumption mapping and reflective practice are what makes the Initiate phase.

As a group we all had a mutual agreement regarding which ground rules to lay. One rule which I value the most is to keep to plans and to strive our best to achieve the goals we have set within each time frame. Another was to have initiative- do work that we feel need doing without having the need for a push from other team members. Be proactive, and keep the work quality high. Communication is also another thing we all valued. We all believe that having good communication makes for a well-oiled machine- the team.

We are briefed on what to expect within each collaboration in general. There are four stages namely; forming, storming, norming and performing. Firstly the forming, wherein all members of the team are still cautious. And then comes storming- when all the different personalities comes to play and there is a struggle for the leadership position. Then the norming; which I refer to as sort of the calm after a storm at sea where all team members adjust to accommodate all personalities so that the team can move forward to the ‘performing’ phase.

At the moment, I feel that our group is still in the forming stage. It is the first time that we have come together to work as a team. Though we are more than just classmates now, we still do not know each other that well so I sense there is still a bit of adjustment to the new group. I sense a laidback spirit from the team, though if I were to work individually I try to start with enthusiasm and a proactive mind from the very beginning. I tend to stress about the details and often feel the need to plough through the planning stages thoroughly so that I can get a good understanding of the direction I will take as soon as it is humanly possible.

Initially we had decided that we will not pick a leader and that we would work alongside each other evenly. But I tend to disagree on that. When stress comes to shove, I have a tendency to get carried by the current and I become a control freak. I need to be reassured that things are being done and that they are being done well. I suppose it is better to have worries such as that at an early stage so that an intervention can be staged.

As of now I am not worried yet. As a group we have decided to set ourselves tasks within each time frame to complete and reconvene with the rest of the group the next day to put things together. We already have plans to visit the Ferry building tomorrow to do our initial observations and investigations.

I do however acknowledge that we need to discuss and form some sort of structure ie. personal responsibilities, within the group. For example, we need to decide on a portfolio template, personalise it and decide on how each of us can work on it seamlessly.

On my personal progress towards Design Thinking expertise:

Today we have tackled the Initiate phase and a measly bit of the Investigate phase. It had gone really well. In comparison to the quick exercises yesterday, of course it is much more hands on. I could not really ask for more. We are still at the early stage of the journey- one day in and it is really very premature to say anything much has changed as compared to my progress yesterday.

I have an open and optimistic mindset to this new project and I will approach it with as much vigour and enthusiasm as I have with the previous projects. In terms of collaboration, I hope to develop my team environment skills better. I need to tell myself to learn to trust in the people that make up my team. We are encouraged to have a beginner’s outlook- a mindset that can be compared to children’s. To strive for and maintain this beginner’s outlook, we decided to never stop asking the question ‘why’? It keeps our curiosity at peak. Another way we hope to achieve this is to try and experience something completely new and one that is beyond our comfort zone.

How is this project-related? I guess we go in to a situation assumption-free. That’s probably how the next task: assumption mapping relates. We were encouraged to list down all of our assumptions regarding the ‘experience of arriving, waiting and travelling through the ferry terminal’ until our heads are rid of all of it.

Overall today’s session was laidback and reflecting back on it now, there are holes in the tasks we were supposed to have achieved already. However, I suppose now that we have a clearer understanding of it- when the group reconvenes tomorrow, issues we have found individually shall be raised for open forum discussion.

Otherwise, it is the start of our hands-on research tomorrow.

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