Year III: Auckland Transport Project Week Two

Mission: AT Rail

26 days left; 5 days remain until interim presentation

Now that the raw initial research phase of this project is over, our team decided it was time to break apart and start chugging through our individual work. For me it was nice to have established key guiding principles within our group that we must make sure to nurture a creative and supportive environment; that it is okay to take breaks when we have hit a slump; and most importantly that we will give our best to give each other honest and constructive feedback to create the best outcomes we are capable of.  Though this came naturally for us anyway, we all agreed that it was nice to have it written on paper.

I was ecstatic post discussion with Rob and some of my peers about this one concept that I had already attached myself to, until I learnt from conversing with some more of my peers that it is rather a common idea after all. This reaffirmed my musings that the inherent problems of the Auckland rail are concrete and are solvable by only so many well-done out comes.

Fortunately, I came up with other ideas that I am enthusiastic about from the past few days of brainstorming. At this point in time, I think I have three very raw concepts I am eager to present on the coming Wednesday. These concepts came into existence as results of a methodically undertaken brainstorm. I plotted the different points of a journey on a visual map, recognising every situation and circumstance that may happen for the three personas that cover the existing patronage number. I then used these different situations/circumstances for all personas as subheadings to trigger ideas of both left and right of field areas of thinking. I made sure to come up with at least twelve ideas for all of the subheadings. This allowed me a good number of ideas for all areas of opportunity. Under some subheadings I had more ideas for than others.

During this exercise I kept in mind that my main aim was to increase patronage. It helped me to compare the pros and cons that commuters might find between taking the train versus their own car to their daily destinations (as earlier I settled to focus on commuters as they are the main patrons to rail travel and will be even after an increase in patronage).   I also kept in mind that our concept does not have to solve everything but it may be that it is integral to the whole system, be a part of progressive plan or even a temporary intervention.

Empathy mapping, which is under ‘Investigate’ in the Design Thinking toolbox, is a tool that I did not really find helpful in previous projects. It appears after the personas to illustrate their thoughts, feelings and actions during the whole experience. I always thought that this was pointless as it is just another way of mapping assumptions so I thought to reposition it; perhaps if the map was to illustrate their thoughts, feelings and actions toward a certain situation and circumstance(s) or a defined opportunity area, it could be a more helpful exercise.

Time has passed so quickly, I cannot believe that I am already starting to prepare for the mid presentation. I am personally working with a disruptive week to week schedule that absorbs a lot of my self-directed time. It’s added a lot of pressure but I aim to cope and learn better time management skills.

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