Design Thinking includes 5 parts:

• Answering a (big) question

• Solving for humans (culture & context) first

• Learning by making

• Designing systems (not widgets)

• Engaging the community for participatory exploration and design

What “big question” would you want to answer? (don’t limit yourself here in funding or tech or resources). Describe the community you would engage with to explore ideas and how might you engage them? (be specific as described in the TED talk)

video link:

In the presentation, Tim Brown talked about design thinking and how “it gives us a new way of tackling problems [and] encourages us to take a divergent approach, to explore new alternatives, new solutions, [and] new ideas that have not existed before.” A big (rhetorical) question I like to have answered regarding design is “What is an alternative way to do something more convenient?” I think about this often. Since childhood, I always looked at something and imagined an idea presented as a shortcut or improvement over the existing iteration.

Lately so, I’ve even used my graphic design and drawing skills to visualize those ideas on paper, in hopes of patenting them in the near future. As my ideas range from something that could benefit individuals to society in general, the communities I look to engage with are those that are willing to adapt to change and even be used as “test subjects” before an idea is “perfected” for those that follow in the future.

It is very common for any product designer and inventor to look at a community and think about how to use it in some way to effectively move the design process forward. In fact, not doing so is simply against the 5th bullet point of design thinking as posted. With that said, I have a unique approach to involving the community with testing out my ideas as a digital media design student (concentrating on digital video). This would be a “viral campaign” of sorts which would include releasing a video online (or on TV) to garner interest for people who want to try my product to be featured in a subsequent commercial. Just like with my question I stated earlier in what alternative ways could be exploited by design, the same principle applies with the feedback process.

To describe more specifically:

Upon getting enough testers, I would film them trying out the product and observe any issues that come up. Is the build quality reliable and / or safe? Does the product solve all or some of the issues intended to address? Does it accommodate all users of different physical / cultural backgrounds? Doing this would accomplish two things. One, it would allow me as the designer to learn in future products what to look out for that I may have missed in an earlier stage. And two, it would ensure that my product is even more ready than before to be adopted by the consumer market. Perhaps additional questions will come up from those involved that I didn’t think of before during the process; whatever the needs are (as stated in the presentation), they need to be tackled given those perspectives.

Ultimately, whatever “mishaps” that occur during testing would be included in the follow-up commercial, which could poke fun of what the final product is NOT going to do, guaranteed. This kind of comedic marketing strategy has potential to go viral and be a hit with audiences, ensuring the exposure and word-of-mouth about my products and brand, present and upcoming. Though in the context of this discussion, the engagement of the community is equally if not more crucial to the success of my design outright.

Spread the good word and contribute to the community!

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