Studio 103 for 1G and the Unknown

Our past studio class at AC4D presented the conclusion of isolated storyboard iteration and marked the start of a new step. Up until now the focus of the studio was to build upon the ability to translate stories into images that could stand alone. At first this seems like a simple task but the time and energy that it actually takes to communicate to groups of individuals is much more difficult than it seems. I felt that this last class was one of the first times that I actually understood the technique on how to effectively complete this process.  The positive energy and excitement that I had was slowly extinguished by the new assignment.  For our next assignment the objective is to come up with a legal business that generates $1,000 in capital.

Hearing this at first was difficult for me to understand. I had been running on less sleep than usual. Earlier that week I had been in Dallas for a business conference and meeting with clients. This left me hustling the night before class completing the studio storyboard and forgoing any possibility of rest. After I went home, passed out, and while waking up over a cup of coffee it finally hit me; the oh shit moment.

Currently, I have no idea what my move is going to be. Looking at this assignment there I understand that there are primarily two different directions that I can go. They are physical product or synthesize a business model. I know I can make some type of device, object, or image to sell. This process will take longer rounding up materials, finding space, and generate slower return over time. The other will definitely take time as well but has the potential of great reach.

If you’re reading this future Kurt, I hope you figured out what the hell to do.

Research Methods Position Diagram 2

When prescribing a methodology in approaching design issues there are a spectrum of philosophies readily available.  The technique to implement can be broken down into categories such as design with the user and design for the user.  Designing with the user involves the designer and the user to work together in solving solutions. The designing for approach engages the user in observation in which the designer alone provides solutions. Designers can also choose to provoke users when engaging in research. The benefit of this can lead to new information by creating unique situations for the user. The alternate can be described as passive data collection.

Design with the user technique is best illustrated by Emily Pilloton in Designing for Impact Locally, and The Long Haul. Emily embedded herself into the local community of Bertie County, NC. She educated groups of local students in design thinking and made decisions with the students.  Liz Sanders as well is a proponent of design with users. Liz will call this process co-creation and feels that everyone is capable of being creative.

Provoking a user can provide valuable and unique data. Bill Gaver is the best example when it comes to provoking data collection. His ability to create devices to capture intimate moments of users pushes users into opening up about information they might not normally disclose.

Passive design practices are techniques used by Pilloton, Victor M, and Chris Le Dantic.  Their methods of engaging with users are based in educating, observation, or interviews. The attached chart further shows the positioning of each author.

As a designer, determining the appropriate research method is crucial.  Jeopardizing data collection can hinder valuable insights by flooding data with a designers prejudice. Being a great designer is knowing when to engage the user in research and how to objectively collect the necessary data with the proper technique to provide the best design solutions.

Empathy Strikes Back: Position Diagram – Section 1 Role & Responsibility

A long time ago in a studio far, far away… It’s a period of war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have elevated their thinking to theoretically debate the logic of design.  The battlefield is taking place in the Galactic Empire of Empathy which has been traditionally dominated by the manipulative Darth Bernays. There are changes in the force and new order is coming.

In the beginning the Galaxy was divided and citizens wander through the stars with inferior products. An unknown traveler from Planet Vienna appeared one day. He proclaimed certain brands and products to be the best and claimed the Empire of Empathy to be his own. For years he ruled unchallenged. Darth Bernays ideas’ of public opinion being malleable and vulnerable to manipulation were view as some of the most prolific ideas in mass consumption ever.  As of recent his empathy has come under question and citizens have revolted against the idea of being manipulated into consumption. For too long has his control of public opinion misled consumers to the ultimate Sith Lord’s pleasure.

Oddly enough, challengers have been coming from all different parts of the Galaxy and even close to the Sith Lords home. One in particular would be Darth Papanek.

Papanek in the last year has been released from the Brotherhood of Darkness. Although he keeps the Darth title, Papanek can now be found on the steps of the republic shouting “We’ve lost a sense of depth and understanding”.  To many he is seen as a crazy nonsensical hobo that sleeps on the streets and bites at industrial designers that stupidly stumble by. Only Darth Bernays can recognize that Darth Papanek’s slip into insanity is a sign that his era of control is on the verge of a great shift. At night it is rumored that Darth Papanek constructs bonfires to burn all the phallic objects around the capital and is troubled by nightmares of “sexed up” objects.

Jedi Buchanan is the Rebel leader and the biggest threat to the Dark Side. His concepts of wicked problems and the art of experimental thinking have caused waves in the Galaxy. Citizens are beginning to rally behind his war cries of repositioning of old ideas in new positions. The galaxy is proclaiming that this is what true empathy is and the neoteric arts are the way of the future. It is rumored that Buchanan power source from long meditative smoke breaks and speaks directly to the late Qui-Gon John Dewy. Currently, the Jedi released a Triangle of Doom upon the Dark Side that utilizes usefulness, usability, and desirableness in a product.

The power struggle of these opposing forces has provoked many to stand on one side or the other except for bounty hunter Maurizio “Boba” Vitta. His stance seems to be more on the side of the Jedi and actions seem to be more with the Sith. Vitta has been known to be the closest a designer can get to nihilism without becoming Nietzsche. Constantly being caught spray painting “Cultural Significance” or “Ambiguous Mist” on the side of the Death Star or visiting space ships. Vitta’s no bullshit approach to calling a product a form of communication and taunting designers with threats of fragility and flimsiness keeps everyone on their toes.

Die hard Jedi Allan Chochinov’s fixation on sustainability easily puts him as one of the founders of the Jedi takeover of the Empathy Empire. His focus on cradle to the grave design and systems before artifacts are what help formulate the wicked problems for Jedi Buchanan. Together they are a force that will challenge the philosophy of the Sith and try to bring back empathy in the hands of the Jedi.