Strategic Design Thinking – Day 3

Process! Process! Process! – Processes!

Another day, another process.

Today we talked a lot about process and the way we do things. Fisttly I liked because we were not talking about methods or how to fill up our tool boxes, but how to visualize the process a project usually pass through in such way that one can replicate it to other projects.

I think for me was a good reflection on my experiences and how I use to think / work.

Besides the fact that they were never my teachers in a formal way Kleber Puchaski (DesignIt BR) and Luis Arnal‘s (INSITUM)references came together in my mind today to visualize the process I believe I usually follow as a design researcher / innovation consultant.

Kleber describes design process in 3 bigger stages:

  • Discover – When we learn “what is going on”. As a more ethnographic designer I tend to learn from users, consumers, clients… “people” if I may.
  • Connect – When you take these pieces of information and make interesting connections to create new things. In my case I use the word Ideate because it sounds better to the way I end up doing things. Usually I start to generate ideas very early in the process, it doesn’t mean that I will fall in love with them in the first sight and never let it go, it is just my way to analyse and make sense of the collected data, sometimes re-analyzing the ideas to see what else they mean.
  • Construct – Turn these ideas into visually interesting concepts or even prototypes. I prefer to call it build because… well, for no especial reason, maybe because the word is smaller.

Arnal’s influence comes with these waves representation. As he believes (or at least presented in his paper during the master at IIT) I also think that projects just cant be really described by defined stages. Yes, things kinda hap[pen one after the other and stages depend on results of some previous work, but the thing is that they are not as sharp and defined as process are usually described, with boxes for example.

For me the real word is more like waves, were the horizontal axis describe time and the vertical axis the amount of work / efforts / resources were applied.

If you take this idea along with the most common payment system for consultancy and any other “knowledge labor”, worked hours, it makes even more sense.

So for me the ideal flow in a project would be something like this image:

I always try to spend a lot of time leaning about people and what they do. Even before leaning about “applied ethnography / applied anthropology” I use to work like this, sometimes my design professors though I spend too much time research and not doing things… C’est la vie.

I also like to bring more references than just what the fieldwork has to offer. Theories, TED Talks, literally ANYTHING that can help to generate ideas considering the challenge.

At the deliverable phase I am more useful shaping ideas roughly than going into details. But that’s why I feel such a victim of team work, I always need someone more detail-oriented than me to help building the finest deliverable.

In the afternoon we talked a lot about prototyping. For me this is really great and underestimated by most people. As IDEO’s Richard Eisermann say “If a picture paints a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand pictures”. And it is totally true. However they are not talking about pretty clay models that look like the real products, they call prototype anything that can be used to test an idea. And early the better, as soon as you can have an impression and feedback (ANY impression and feedback) about the idea, more likely to make a better you are of making an assertive decision.

Let’s see what tomorrow will bring.

Process me.

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