Week 7 Tutorial: Creative Process

Convergent/Divergent thinking

The tutorial exercises this week were eye opening because they showed how creative ideas can really flow when you are thinking rapidly and writing down anything that comes to mind, not just stopping at the first idea (the drawing exercise) and thinking about things in a not-obvious way. I realised that usually when I am trying to come up with a creative solution, I keep things in my head rather than writing them down. I also stop thinking when I think I’ve found the solution, and try to go ahead and implement it. Most times, I end up going back to the drawing board, because half way through the design I realised it wasn’t going to as well as I had imagined.

I now see the value of “brain dumping” or trying to explore all possible solutions before investing time in an idea. Doing so would also help “sell” your idea to the client, because you would be able to explain why your design is better than all other solutions, and give reasons why you had rejected the others.

“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”

I really like this quote and I can relate to this in my own creative process and the culture of my work environment. We get stuck in the habit of relying on the same set of skills, and the same tools, and therefore tend to approach every creative problem the same way. There are several designers where I work, but the same type of work gets handed to the same people over and over again. Our supervisors think that if they give similar work to designers they know have done that work before, it would be efficient. But what has happened is that people are only developing a finite set of skills, and the work that is produced ends up looking the same. If design jobs were handed around to different people with different skills and perspectives, the team would be producing much more innovative work.

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Week 4- Watch

In this week’s tutorials we discussed our homework question: “If you are asked to redesign a “watch”- how will you approach it?”

When I first saw this problem I did not know how to answer it. I couldn’t see a problem with the watch, and didn’t understand how you would reframe a problem that couldn’t be seen.

Any problems that I could see have already been tackled by new technologies.

After listening to Raghu though, I realised that I was thinking too much about how to improve an already existing design, instead of going way way back and thinking about why the watch was designed in the first place.

It was designed to measure and keep track of time. So when I thought about that, I started to ask questions such as:

“Why was time designed in seconds, minutes, hours… and could time itself actually be designed better?”

“Why do people use watches? To meet with other people, to keep schedules? Are there other ways that this problem could be addressed?”

Week 3 Tutorial – Paper Bridge, Design process

This week in tutorials we explored the concept of the design process. What we discovered was that the design process is rarely linear, it does not follow a neat flow of beginning, middle, end.

While we were completing the task of designing the paper bridge, we noticed that we went through a lot of trial and error.

First we identified all the mini problems inside the big problem. For example, the size of the paper did not reach. There was nothing tether the paper bridge to each table, and nothing to weigh the ends down.

Due to time constraints, we started implementing our first idea, without brainstorming other possible solutions. When the first idea did not completely worked, we looks at the merits of that design and thought about how we could improve it to over come the downfalls. Once we explored all possibilities with this first design, and none of them worked,  we had to go back to the drawing board and rethink a completely new idea. We did this a few times before we came to a solution that almost worked, but then unfortunately time was up and we did not succeed in the design task.

The paper bridge design problem helped to reshape our thinking when it came to the homework question.

My answer had been that it was a design problem. The questions I asked were:

– What are the different kinds and what are the typical traits of people with dimensia?

– Should you take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the design, or a multi-faceted one, that could exist in different forms to cater to people experiencing different cognitive difficulties?

– Could it utilise non-traditional wayfinding methods and include interactivity?