Four weeks into the AC4D program, and I am figuratively mud doggin’ my way through this week. For those who are unfamiliar, “mud doggin’” basically involves running a pickup truck or 4×4 vehicle through a flooded field of deep mud with total abandon and total uncertainty of making it out. Style points apply for making a mess of everything and making a damn fool of yourself. This week has felt like going with full abandon to the other side as fast as possible, but spinning wheels, kicking up high rooster tails of mess and mayhem, and looking like a damn fool.
One thing I did not look like a fool at was when my team and I gave a presentation of real stories and quotes from our design research project to the client on Thursday. This project began on August 22nd, and the interviews started on September 1st. Our client is involved in community supported agriculture, sustainability, and distribution. It has been a gratifying experience. The participants we interviewed each had interesting stories and personalities. I have rethought my assumptions about social norms. It’s pleasing to know how willing people are to share their stories.
I wish I had reserved more time to rehearse my theories class presentation. From my days of teaching, I have discovered I have a sweet spot between under preparing and over-preparing. I did not reach my sweet spot. I was enthusiastic about sharing the epiphany I had about the Le Dantec and Dourish articles, but I rushed my information, and the argument structure collapsed. My big takeaway was to assume (moving forward) that all our opinions will differ and it is so much more important to make a stronger stance. My mistake was thinking I didn’t have to sell my ideas so hard. I feel vindicated in the next set of readings that I’m on the right path. Designing with has deeper and a more enduring reach.
I have a classmate who confused the difference between giving feedback and giving advice. It was frustrating because I wanted the trust and opportunity to resolve a particular issue about our presentation on my own. Providing feedback is to design with. Giving feedback grants the listener a choice or problem to solve with autonomy. Giving unsolicited advice is to design for. Giving unsolicited advice grants the listener an assumed solution. It is inappropriate to design from a solution rather than to design to a problem. This person was determined to get me to accept their advice (under the guise of giving feedback.) I will use this experience as a learning opportunity.