Reflections on AC4D Orientation 2019

Orientation week at Austin Center for Design is coming to a close.  In a very short period of time, our class of twelve was introduced to a wide variety of topics and activities.

At it’s core, design strategy is about experience, emotions, and stories. Humans are inherently emotional and irrational, and I found it both interesting and refreshing that design not only allows for that, but embraces and builds for it. I was also¬†excited to learn what a creative process design strategy can be. It’s iterative and offers a lot of freedom. There’s ambiguity and there’s space to explore.

Our first project was a sprint to speak with food truck owners and employees, synthesize what we learned, and make inference which led to ideas. Generating hundreds of fresh ideas was a fun but taxing activity. It felt like flexing a muscle that I hadn’t used in a very long time.

Our instructor reiterated several times that it was important to trust the process. It was tempting to jump ahead and think about potential solutions while still gathering information. But, the fast-pace of this first assignment was a great way to test and see the value of that advice. Ultimately, many ideas and inferences came to our group while staring at our sticky notes that we never would have thought of two steps earlier.

The initial overview of Design Strategy has me looking more critically at the narratives being communicated to us every day: the places we live, the clothes we buy, the cars we drive, but also the way we build relationships, spend our time, and structure our lives. How much of this is being influenced by a thoughtfully crafted external force? What are the implications? Is that good… is it bad? How do we know?

I do know that I’m excited for these next 8 months and excited to dive right in.