#MACE16: How Designers Think: What Does Curiosity Feel Like?

This week’s lecture topic was revealing because it gave a look into identifying a new paradigm on how to quickly illustrate creative ideas and the tools needed to implement such ideas.  One of the many objectives of a creative thinking process is to think beyond existing boundaries, to awaken curiosity, to break away from rational, conventional ideas and formalised procedures.

As stated in class last week, there are many definitions of creativity. A number of them suggest that creativity is the generation of imaginative new ideas (Newell and Shaw 1972), involving a radical new innovation or solution to a problem, and a radical reformulation of problems.

This week’s lecture was about being curious and looking at familiar objects and seeing them in a new light, viewing things from another person’s perspective and creating a sustainable product or business that looks beyond today.

We also watched an insightful video that sheds more light on how design thinking can help businesses reframe problems in order to solve them by Professor Kees Dorst, Associate Dean (Research) of Design at UTS

 Video Link : https://vimeo.com/12256739

The Design Thinking Process

The Design Thinking Process first defines the problem and then implements the solutions, always with the needs of the user demographic at the core of concept development.  This process focuses on need finding, understanding, creating, thinking, and doing.  At the core of this process is a bias towards action and creation: by creating and testing something, you can continue to learn and improve upon your initial ideas.

The design thinking process consists of these 5 steps:

design thinking2
Source: http://dschool.stanford.edu
  1. EMPATHIZE: Work to fully understand the experience of the user for whom you are designing.  Do this through observation, interaction, and immersing yourself in their experiences.
  2. DEFINE: Process and synthesise the findings from your empathy work in order to form a user point of view that you will address with your design.
  3. IDEATE: Explore a wide variety of possible solutions through generating a large quantity of diverse possible solutions, allowing you to step beyond the obvious and explore a range of ideas.
  4. PROTOTYPE: Transform your ideas into a physical form so that you can experience and interact with them and, in the process, learn and develop more empathy.
  5. TEST: Try out high-resolution products and use observations and feedback to refine prototypes, learn more about the user, and refine your original point of view.

Design Thinking vs Analytical Thinking?

Analytical thinking is said to be an ‘embedded’ part of design thinking. Design thinking is a whole process put in place for the purpose of coming up with a design solution. It requires both strong analytical skills and creativity. While analytical thinking is the ability to read  collected data and make sense of it, identify the problem(s) or trend or insight, whatever the context. Design thinking goes further into how you turn that information you learned into a solution with creativity and design skills.

Survey:

In order to gain practical experience around this module, we were sent to the field to ask students what are the influencing factors that can influence their decision making when it comes to buying a particular shoe or brand of shoes. This process was necessary since it is very natural to jump to conclusions and make up various problems we imagined in the class.

The  objective of the survey is to consider the factors a person considers when buying a shoe. What interests or habits may play a role in their decisions making process?  

The study carried out was not limited to any given brands of shoes.The study was conducted with 5 male students and 4 female.

Result:

The interviews with the students revealed an engaging insight into the world that gender, age, and income difference does affect decision making.

After gathering all the necessary data, we sat down and debriefed and came to a summary conclusion that the students during summer prefer Hush Puppies for school shoes, Vans for sneakers and Nike or Adidas for rubber shoes. Also, the students surveyed focus more on the positive elements of a product while ignoring its disadvantages.

Lesson Learned:

Students buy shoes for a variety of reasons, all of which are related to the strong emotions that are attached to it.

In Class Prototype Activity:

As the culture in every #MACE16 class, the survey carried out was followed up with an open-ended project class prototype activity. My team started off excited and ambitious, deciding to prototype a personalised bedroom slipper. We wanted a product that can elicit useful feedback from users. As seen in the picture below:

Finally,  with the increasing complexity of business, creativity through the generation of ideas that add value is needed in order to solve business problems.

 

Don’t hesitate to drop any questions or feedback, see you next week!

 

 

Reference :

  1. Newell, A. and Shaw, J.C. (1972), “The process of creative thinking”, in A. Newell and H.A. Simon (eds), Human Problem Solving, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, pp. 144-174.
  2. Candy, L. (1997), “Computers and creativity support: knowledge, visualisation and collaboration”, Knowledge-Based Systems, No.10, pp. 3-13.
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#MACE16: A Module Like No Other

Hi everyone, welcome to my first blog post on Design Thinking for Startups module at Kingston Business School!

My name is George Uka  and am currently studying Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship MSc at the above-mentioned institution.

My professional work experience spans years in all facets of enterprise resources planning with extensive knowledge in SAP eRP implementation processes and configuration.

My interest in the role of Information Technology in business and government establishments formed the initial core of my undergraduate education (Information Systems) at Kingston University London, but my focus on the human and creative elements in business and the underlying connections with technology led me to broaden the scope of my studies.

Things you can expect from this blog includes important information about the module and practical learning outcomes, with a few random musings thrown in there. You might even get some pictures of my attempts at being creative if you’re lucky.

Aims:

 “This module aims to give students the knowledge and understanding of creative and business behaviours necessary for developing a product/service and establishing an innovative multidisciplinary business enterprise. Students will work in teams to set up a business. Business mentors will be available to coach the teams”.

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Course Director Dr Janja Song  #MACE16

The module Director Dr Janja Song constantly asked students to provide our thoughts and opinions during class discussions. She encourages students to make mistakes and be wrong since a certain amount of risk-taking is inevitable with creative thinking .

The module is also about bridging the gap between Business and Creativity. Establishing a solid connection between the two industry is the ultimate aim of this module.

Reflection : 

Reflecting on my first two weeks on this module, I think the three words I would use to describe it so far would be: Intense, Engaging, and Enjoyable. I remember being asked in class if we consider ourselves creative? some students (including me) found themselves unsure if they were or not.

So then, what does it actually mean to be creative? As discussed in class, creativity is the ability to imagine or invent something new. The ability to generate new ideas by “combining, changing, or reapplying existing ideas“.

As further explained by the module Director, “there is not a single person on earth who is not a creative being. “Creativity is  the creation of noble ideas in every domain“. People are curious about a new and innovative object.

How do we influence people with an object? How do will design Technology driven products? She said, we will learn not only what it means to be creative, but how to manifest our own creativity.

Business Idea Into Prototype Within 2 Days:

My group was able to implement a business idea into a wireframe prototype within two days of conceiving it due to the advice we received in class to keep the idea simple.

We were advised to stop wasting time on (Mr John sex orientation) but focus more on the deliverables, thereby eliminating the initial need of aiming for an absolute faultless product prototype.

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Creativity and Why is it Important?

In his TED talk video from 2006, which was played in class Ken Robinson stated, “Creativity is now as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.”

Ken Robinson reiterates all of us possess everything necessary to be more creative. The problem is we’ve been trained away from our creative instincts by schools, parents, movies and workplaces.

1st Field Work : 

After watching three insightful videos in class about  ” What Makes a House a home” we were ‘drove‘ out of the class and segmented into two various groups with the aim of going around the campus asking students about ‘What makes a house a home’?

A straw poll of students surveyed threw up similar themes: ‘it holds all my favourite things and my favourite person in one place’, ‘it’s about having cool, smooth sheets but also feeling free to make a mess’, ‘it’s the place I retreat to for peace from the frenetic, bossy outside world’, ‘it’s where I can spend the whole day in my pyjamas watching Mad Men, if I so choose’.

It seems that for most of us, creating a home is less about the building itself,  or the location and more about the emotional connection and sense of comfort we’re able to create behind closed doors.

Conclusion:

After taking part in this class for two weeks, I now find myself asking lots of ‘Why’ questions. This course is much different from other module’s because with every lecture I feel like I have learnt something that can be applied to real life most annoying personal obstacles.

So that was a quick overview of everything up till now if you have any questions or comments feel free to post below, and I will see you in the next post!