It is now two days after the presentations and now is as a good time as any to reflect upon my learning curve and hopefully spot a growth in my knowledge of this new discipline.
At the beginning of it all, awareness was raised amongst us that the aim that we were to meet was to gain familiarity and knowledge of this Design Thinking methods via practice and growth of these six aspects that were made known as vital:
Values: Empathy, the key to it all
Attitudes: Be open, optimistic, curious, inquisitive, and collaborative
Knowledge: Be knowledgeable in Design Thinking theory, principles, examples and case studies
Cognition: Be able to think effectively in a range of ways including analytical/abstract/synthetic and concrete thinking
Creativity: Be able to think creatively
Practice: Be able to effectively apply Design Thinking methods and processes
Upon reflection, here is my response:
Values: There were many times I was able to practice my being empathic during this project. It was not only to gain empathy with the people who could possibly become your target audience but also I had found it largely practiced within my group. There were times that some of us were really tired, sick or just having a bad day and all had cooperated really well and no one pushed anyone’s buttons. The key to this was of course communication. I think to some point, as the formal barriers came rolling down, blunt honesty was the policy that all three of us practiced. This had been in some cases good and in others bad.
Attitudes: I started out with an open mind. I really did, and would like to think and say that I completed this project with an open mind too. I had been open to learning new methods and practicing them thereafter but as the presentation date crawled closer and closer, I succumbed to the methods I was accustomed to. It was not only did I but my group mates also . We did push to participate in every workshop session and have reached success to some extent. However, in my mind there were some things that we could have done more with. One method, was the very last that was taught to us- which is scenario making. Though we did mention a scenario in our presentation, we as a group did not have time to sit down and talk about this in depth a day prior to the presentation, instead using this time to create our model. What I mean is, we could have tailored a good and bad scenario to fit all of the other bits we needed to say without having to use the structure that we had used. Using a well written scenario to describe, explain and sell the idea would have been the ideal way to go.
Throughout the project I had been open to more ideas. I pushed myself to create some very radical ideas on our initial brainstorming and I find this very rewarding. What was rather very static though was our progress to creating a wide range of variations of our chosen idea. That had been a very slow process for us. It was something I anticipated would happen, given that it was one of our mutual weaknesses- and that was to have the tendency to be completely attached to one idea. We did break through this stagnant stage through the use of different cognitive thinking and the concept matrix evaluation method.
Our group had no problem working in collaboration. The collaboration is personally one of the things I found most enjoyable with this whole project. I was able to break out of my shell more, and learnt a great deal from others.
Knowledge: The reason it had all worked out was, dare I say, due to the rigid structure of this entire project. It was practice after theory after practice after theory….
It was indeed a great way to immerse in something new. After four weeks of entire immersion, I feel more knowledgeable and I am now confident to approach my next projects, both individual and collaborative with the aid of this new methodologies.
Cognition: I was able to apply myself using different ways of thinking throughout this whole project. My analytical and concrete thinking had always been stronger as compared to my abstract thinking. Though I believe growth and development is apparent, it is very little. I have done my very best to stay locked in my learning of these new methodologies though, via practice and I hope to be able to grow even more in the future.
Creativity: The initial brainstorming had been is more of an evidence to my growth in this aspect as compared to the later ideation phase. Coming up with plenty radical ideas collaboratively with my team had been what caused it I think. I was exposed to the thinking of the other two in my group and as it had been very different from mine I was able to explore and learn about a whole different way of thinking. This has been good, as it had me producing even more radical ideas than they. However, in the later ideation phase, the self-editing that I am more accustomed to came back. Also my thinking had narrowed on a fine focus which did not let me loose from that one idea we had come up with already.
And finally, practice: Practice of this design thinking methodologies- as it is my first attempt on this new discipline, I think it has gone fairly well. I now have a better knowledge regarding the discipline and I can say that I am able to use this in the coming projects. With practice comes familiarity and perfection. And so I should continue to strive for that.
Honestly though, the whole discipline is not really a new concept, it is almost like any other design process that we have exercised many times in our lives as aspiring designers. There are new methods in between however, that I had found made a good addition to my bank of knowledge and have realized the importance of its application which made my participation in this workshop sessions and the project even more worthwhile.