IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Mobilizing Sydney’s Entertainment industry

Beat4594 – SKuta1119 – IDEATHINKING ASS 3 Presentation

Interogating Affordances – Beat4594

"Beercooler" for when you need your hands.
“Beercooler” for when you need your hands.
  • Choose one of the objects you selected and describe how your initial understanding of its affordances changed over the course of the exercise?
  • First time I looked at the beer cooler and an object i thought it didn’t really have any affordances other than being able to keep things cool and hold objects within it. As I learnt more about affordances by looking at and interacting with the beer cooler, I realized that it was malleable, able to hold things, able to be thrown or placed on almost any object, and had branding on it which provided information about where it came from. through this exercise I became aware that most objects have more affordances than first thought, affordances can be changed by adding or subtracting more and they are not always what you think.
the little affordances
The little affordances
  • Given that affordances is a relational property between a person and an object, how did the manipulation of the object and the person’s abilities inform your understanding of the concept? Did it give you inspiration or insight for how to work with affordances as a designer? Discuss this through the specific objects you explored in the exercise.

    I discovered some affordances are ingrained into certain objects which mean we are have preconceived ideas about how they work and how we can use them. As well as objects having physical attributes that allow for their uses in different situations, affordances can be added to and manipulated. In this way can understand that design problems may be able to be overcome by looking at an objects affordances and adding to it to create something new. During the class I was able to attach chopsticks to a beer cooler to add to it a new affordance, in this way the beer cooler can now be used to leave the cooler anywhere by balancing it in between two objects, it now has a completely different cool and it affects the way we use interact and use the object.

Research Summary Poster – Beat 4594 – Mobilizing Sydney’s Entertainment Industry

Mobilizing Sydney’s Entertainment industry

Mobilizing Sydney's Entertainment Industry
Mobilizing Sydney’s Entertainment Industry

Feedback and Responses

I didn’t know…

  • Why these laws were implemented.
  • That the lock-out laws superseded long term industry strategy.
    • That is interesting because a lot of my users didn’t either.

Tell me more about…

  • how other countries have addressed this issue.
    • I have only looked into these problems in other countries and cities a little bit. It seems that this problem of venue closures is happening in England, but the problems in Sydney seem rooted in local laws and government regulation where as in places like London and Melbourne these issues are more to do with economic factors.
  • Your methodology.
    • I used background research in conjunction with five interviews with working musicians and the use of a questionnaire taken by 20 people within the industry in order to correlate my information to identify user needs. Sorry if this wasn’t clear enough in the presentation.

Have you thought about…

  • Who else besides artists suffered from these laws.
    • Yes, the hotel and hospitality industries have been largely affected. However for the purposes of this study and current activist action being taken by these industries I chose to exclude them from the study to focus more specifically on the industries that I feel are not as well represented.
  • The device in which your applications will exist on?
    • At this stage I believe that applications will exist via computer accessible websites and IOS phone applications. However from this presentation I have been open to many more possibilities that could be considered.
  • Have you thought about the uses of hologram?
    • No I haven’t, but i don’t think the use of this technology is suitable in this situation.

Self Reflection

I think the research has provided some very interesting findings. From speaking to people about my research, there are obviously some more areas that need to explored, whether it be further research into the same issues in other cities / countries, the role that musicians have played historically in social movements and some of the more interesting uses of technology as an activist tool.

From the research I feel like within the user group the problem is not necessarily that musicians do not want to participate in activism but that it is perceived to be too hard, they are unaware of the problems associated with their industry and they overall don’t like the stereotype of activists. I think the idea of a social awareness or social marketing campaign may be a way that better suits the uses of technology in mobilizing activism Sydney’s entertainment industry.

Beat4594: Ideating


How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking in relation to the design challenge? Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?

Taking the position of an extreme user ,as apposed to the user profiles we worked with last week, was a completely different experience. Last week we focused on a collective group of users needs and wants in a user profile, this led to quite practical and logical design concepts for a majority of people. This week differed with the concept of Extreme users. Having strict limitations involved with the specific and outlandish needs and wants of a user lent itself to creating bizarre and creative solutions to a design. I felt that having these limitations in place, meant that I was able to experiment with the possibilities of anything and everything that came to mind that would suit this particular user.

My specific extreme user was a “trekkie”, he was a 23 year old from Zyblon who loved playing keyboard synthesizers and preaching about the medicinal powers of his interplanetary jazz genre.

Re-appropriating the Telstra phone booth for the needs of this “trekkie” made me really think about what could be possible in the design process and how the phone booth could actually be appropriated to suit his specific needs. This was actually a really fun and creative experience. My final design was a booth fitted with an electronic synthesizer. The synthesizer within the booth (under the right users finger tips) had the ability to cure the ailments of any sick or cripple person who stepped inside its doors to witness the medicinal powers of interplanetary jazz.

This was extremely different in creating empathy with a user as it made you think in a much more creative and personalized way. It meant that you really needed to think outside of the box in order to create a unique design that would specifically suit the user.


Did any of the other design thinking techniques (design provocation cards, stories, storyboards, etc.) help you to work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?

The use of storyboards allowed me to visualise how my design could or would actually work in practice. It allowed me to piece together different potential uses / users of my design and made it easier to understand how it might actually be used in real life. Storyboards helped make sense of my design to other people and assisted in discussion as to what it could do and what it could do better.

Unfortunately we didnt have a chance to use provocation cards but I have had experience with these in the past writing music and have found them invaluable in overcoming creative blocks and experimenting with new avenues.


Beat4594: Creating Personas

Creating Personas
This is Alex Jones the
This is Alex Jones the “busy student, with a part time job”
Describe your experience of creating personas from different users’ perspectives gathered in the interview data. Was there enough commonality between the 4 people interviewed to form a coherent persona? Or did it make more sense to create a second different persona?

My group tackled interview questions involving public transport. Obviously all being of a similar demographic and having similar situations (being at university) we all had quite similar experiences with public transport in our interview answers.

Our group all shared common motivations in using public transport, e.g. Escaping the traffic of Sydney, conviencience and being able to multi-task. We also shared common frustrations e.g. waiting times, and overcrowding.
What I found interesting is that even though we all shared quite similar experiences, through analysing the interviews data we began to see two completely different personas. One of the personas involved a person who was studying, working and lived further away from university. This persona really enjoyed having the ability to multi-task on public transport and the luxury of having time. The other persona seemed to live closer to university, worked closer to university and preferred the convenience and relatively low costs of public transport.
Even though both responses formed a similar persona, through analysing the data it was clearly apparent that we had two personas, one that enjoyed having time on public transport and the other that enjoyed its convenience. Creating two unique user profiles made it clear and easy to identify the two specific user groups and formed completely different stories about who the potential users where.
I found this exercise to be very useful and interesting.

Do you think your final persona(s) was successful in generating empathy with users? What would you change to make it better?

I think our groups final persona’s were definitely successful in generating empathy with our users. Even though my personal experience might have only fit into only one of these persona’s, the exercise made it really easy to understand the other persona’s situation, wants and needs whilst on public transport. This made it much easier to empathize and understand what this persona wanted and needed on public transport, which may have differed from my own perspective.

This is Alex Jones the

Interpreting Data: beat4594


How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users? 

Having a discussion through an interview process allowed me get to know the user a lot better, this made for a more in-depth understanding of his past holiday experiences, rather than what I would have had simply performing a structured survey. This exercise helped me build empathy with the user as I was really able to understand the specific situations that the user is commonly is in while on holidays, and gave me the ability to conduct follow-up questions.

The exercise allowed me to better understand the specific ‘needs, interests and motivations’ for their holiday, after analysing the data taken from the interview, which in turn made for more interesting post-it notes. This could have possibly led to a different interpretation of the data than what I would have had from a survey.

How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs? 

Clustering the information taken from several different interviews, created an interesting platform for analysing the data. Grouping different ideas and values taken from the interviews started to manifest itself into certain groups, expressing core similarities in the data. It was interesting to see that without the post-it board some of the ideas would be seemingly irrelevant in the groups they were eventually put in, thus making conclusions from the data that were maybe unclear before the exercise.

The exercise allowed me to analyze the data in a completely different and collaborative way, opening up discussions within the group that outlined more specific and refined needs of the user, that were in some cases completely unapparent to begin with.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique? 

I found it difficult to not have preconceived ideas about the groupings of the content. This would be much harder and unreliable if it wasn’t done within the context of a collaborative group.

I found it a challenge to have agreement within a group about what the correlations of the groups were actually showing, however, this also allowed for much more interesting ideas and concepts of the users needs at the end.

I found it hard to do the activity quickly. I think it definitely needs more time and thought to be able to do effectively as the quick pace of it added confusion and clutter to the board.

How would you do it better next time?

The next time I did this activity I think I would definitely take more time to workshop the exercise and ideas that were forming on the board. I would also be more thorough and selective with some of the core information that I was taking from the interview.

The whole thing seemed to be very rushed.

Blog Reflection 2 – Sketching as a Thinking Tool (beat4594)

How is this technique different to the traditional note taking?

I found that this technique differed completely to traditional note taking. It really made you take the time to think about the key concepts that were relevant and important to the text, and for me allowed me to retain and recall the information a lot easier.

I think this technique made the process of note taking much more creative and fun than traditional note taking, however it is a skill that needs to be practiced to master affectively.

How does this visual approach facilitate communication of your ideas? Conversely, how does it prevent it?

Sketching ideas, meant that I had to carefully consider the text in order to select the relevant information to sketch down and jot notes about. At the time I felt that I was maybe missing a lot of the information, but as I read back on some of my notes. The images I had sketched surrounded by key words, meant that I was able to effectively and accurately recall the key points (e.g. the concept of the umvelt) that were spoken about during the TED talk. This is something that I have sometimes struggled with in the past.

I feel that the process of sketching quite possibly allowed me to use my subconscious to associate the content that was being talked about with the meaning in my sketched images (e.g. the bat). Along with the odd bullet point that helped connect the dots between the image and the text, I think it actually helped my capacity to retain the information quicker than having to read traditional notes several times.

Conversely, this is a method that needs practice to be mastered. Being new to the concept I did find it hard at times to concentrate on several things at once, I felt that although I did get a lot of the key concepts down, there was probably more information that I missed than what I actually picked up. This was due to the fact I was scrambling to draw, take notes and concentrate on the information all at once.

Exploring the concepts of the TED talk Lecture through sketching.
Exploring the concepts of the TED talk Lecture through sketching.

Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

One of the problems that I did find is that because I am not familiar with this technique I was taking too long to draw an image and had to rely on my subconcious too much to accurately transcribe the information. I feel like although it did help me to retain some of the key points of the TED talk there was a lot of information that I had missed because I had taken too long to sketch and transcribe the ideas from previous concepts that were addressed.

However, I have adopted this technique over the past week in my note taking while researching and reading published texts. Having ample amount of time to draw an image and thoroughly map out the key ideas around it has proved extremely useful in retaining the information I am reading. I am constantly finding myself recalling the my sketching to recall the information surrounding my research and it is making it much easier to remember.

Warming up like Picasso
Warming up like Picasso

House Hold Goods

Practicing sketching stick figures in action. (guess who's the wise guy)
Practicing sketching stick figures in action. (guess who’s the wise guy)

Blog Reflection 1 – Design Thinking on Speed – beat4594

How did engaging with a real person, testing with a real person, change the direction your prototype took?

Throughout the initial process of interviewing about my ‘clients’ previous experiences with gift giving, I found out several integral pieces of information that really helped to shape my opinion and empathise with the importance and values in their personal gift giving experience.

My interview revealed my client to be nervous about disappointing others with their gifts but found they also valued gifts that were unique and original, sentimental and practical. It was these key points that shaped the nature of my first prototype for her new gift.

I came up the idea that, to avoid disappointment and create a unique and sentimental gift, a personal / shared experience was the best possible gift that they could share.

I came up with three ideas before interviewing my client again.

  1. A theme park experience.
  2. Materials to build a chair together.
  3. And a treasure hunt with balloons leading to a jumping castle birthday party.

During the process of my reflective interview I discovered that maybe my client found my ideas a little extravagant and extreme for their taste, however I found out that they absolutely loved the idea of sharing a unique personal experience with someone. This really allowed me to change my thinking to become more direct and formed the final prototype of my new gift experience.

I found this experience of engaging with a real person throughout different stages of conceptualisation essential in providing a new and appropriate gift giving experience for the client.

What was it like showing unfinished work to another person?

I find showing unfinished work to others quite an interactive and pleasant experience. You don’t have the pressure of having something final and finished to impress another person with but rather a work in progress that can be talked about, improved upon and further developed.

I find showing unfinished work brings out different opinions and perspectives from others about your work that maybe you can’t see. Others opinions may be 100% valid and important in the process of creating and can help rejuvenate excitement in your work often fostering ideas that can produce your best work.

At the end of it all a collaborative experience often helps create things you may never have envisioned yourself, so it’s important to be comfortable showing unfinished work and listening to other peoples opinions.

As a User, how did you interact with your partner’s level of lowly-resolved prototype; how did the level of resolution impact your experience as a user?

Reacting with my partners lowly-resolved prototype made me even more excited to continue developing it and making it even better, I feel it just opened up another conversation that could have potentially started the whole thought process again. This could have lead to something completely new and refined for their specific market.

Design thinking is an iterative, self-directed process. Based on what you learned, what would you go back and do next? What would you do over again?

Throughout the process I think I would definitely start again with broad questions to help with the creative process of finding something new to meet the clients brief, however I think I would interview several more people of the same demographic or workshop the ideas at several stages along the way to get a variety of different solutions to the problem that arose.

I would then definitely repeat the process 2 or 3 more times to refine out prototype further asking more specific questions and getting deeper into the needs of the client.

What principle, what tool would you infuse into the work tomorrow?

Something I really liked about the exercise was working quickly with a time restriction to synthesise the information and get a broad range of ideas, no matter how ridiculous, to suit the client in a unique and creative way.

By repeating the process with a little more information, and taking into consideration all the different merits and limitations of the original prototypes, we were still able to think creatively without wasting time and  make something unique, targeted and more user friendly for the brief of the client.

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