Afterglow of the Eight Weeks

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Today while I was working on the final prototype for our group’s final presentation and found the purple-colored glue stick in my group’s design kit, one thought suddenly sparked in my mind, “This tiny one must also be the invention from someone’s design thinking”. The little alteration in color has made our lives more convenient as well as saved the overuse by preventing us from gluing the same part over and over and also from accidentally touching the glued part and making our fingers sticky. Yes, that was sort of the moment of finale for me personally, which made me feel grateful for this incredible 8 weeks.

My perception of design thinking before taking this class was that it was something for a few talented and creative people and I thought that I was so far from these types of people. However, what I have learned from the course and the project was that we all can be the design thinker and in fact, we have been unconsciously using design thinking process in our lives no matter how huge or trivial the impact is going to be. It is the pivotal change of my mindset that helped me to gain my confidence in design thinking which I think is the most valuable asset I got from the class.

I also learned the virtue of flexibility. As I mentioned earlier in this blog, I always have been trained to think within the box. If ideas did not sound logical or relevant enough, I discarded them before expanding them further. Also, I used to be obsessed with a guideline or a template so much that I felt wrong if I deviated even a little. However, I learned that ideas, especially ideas created in the early stages of the design thinking process, can be rough, inconsistent, and zany. Moreover, I got to understand that concrete reasoning is necessary for creating great ideas, however, great ideas don’t always come from just reasoning and logical thinking; they need a certain level of flexibility that might keep motivating us to think outside the box and from different angles.

Reflections

Strength & Weakness

My strength that I knew before but confirmed during the course is my organizing skill. I think it results from my previous work experience which I was in charge of publishing the corporate sustainability report and sales guide. Catering to either or both internal and external stakeholders of the company, I naturally got to understand their different needs and ways to deliver the message effectively and efficiently.

Still, I think I need to try harder to develop my thoughts vertically, not horizontally. What I mean by “horizontal” in this context is the variety of my thoughts and “vertical” is the depth. I’m pretty confident with critical thinking or coming up with opposing ideas of an argument although I feel that I’m not quite good at digging ideas deep. I think that is why I had difficulty answering when the professor asked “why” questions during the class.

Success & Failure

Nevertheless, I’m proud of myself that at least I struggled and strived to improve my weakness by recording what I have learned in the class and elaborating my thoughts more in this blog. In the past, when I read something, I used to focus on absorbing the concepts that authors intend to deliver and gaining intellectual knowledge out of it, but I rarely thought about the questions starting with “what if…” and “however”. The fierce contemplation on how to apply the knowledge in the actual setting pivoted my way of thinking drastically.

The thing I wish I could do better is in regarding our group’s final output. Our group finished the design thinking process and came up with the badge ideas (below) earlier than others. We had time until the final presentation to actually test the effectiveness of our deliverable as the professor recommended us to do. However, the lack of time during the final week and also the lack of motivation in doing something beyond what is required kept us from testing and developing our ideas further based on the actual responses. There might have been more needs or neck points than our group members have thought of making our final output must have been even more robust and viable.

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The Goal and Strategies for Future Development

Time really passed in the blink of an eye. Everyone agrees that 8 weeks is too short to fully grasp the idea of design thinking. And design thinking is not just acquired by textbook knowledge. Therefore, I’m planning to look for a design thinking project that I can possibly play a role during the summer term. I also think that having constant simulations helps us to gain inspiration in thinking like a designer since if we are aware of many sources from outside, it is easier to relate and expand them with our individual thoughts and synergize them. Hence, I’m planning to deliberately expose myself to new settings. I’m going to start simply by taking ‘Change by Design‘ (by Tim Brown from IDEO) with me to a trip to Florida tomorrow.

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