Design Processes, Project Validation, and Philosophy of Engagement

My personal design process would include several steps. First, I have found that a critical element of my process for achieving goals is to work where I am isolated from everything else. When I work on homework, or project, or study for exams, I tend to let my mind wander too much if I am in a place with too many distractions. I end up working much more efficiently when I isolate myself with the problem, thus ensuring I devote as much brain power to the issue as I can. I wish to incorporate this aspect into my personal design process. I have found in my personal experience that I produce the most effective ideas when I can surround myself with the problem and fully immerse myself in it. Inevitably, I will reach a point where I will get burnt out with trying to work on a project after being isolated with it for so long, and this is where the second element of my personal design process comes into play. To experience unrelated things, to wander, to become fully distracted with another idea, project, or activity. This element in my process is equally important as the first step is, because the purpose of this stage in my personal design process is to expose myself to new ideas and new concepts so that I can create new ideas that I can then apply and implement back into my original project. Inspiration can come from anything, and it does not even need to relative to a project. This stage works the same way that taking a long walk can help writers to clear their minds and ultimately write better. I am training my mind to take a walk. The third element in my design process is to assess the work that I have already completed, now with a fresh perspective. This stage is very important as it will help refine ideas into a more consolidated product and it also involves seeking input from others as a way to measure the marketability and likability of my design.

One aspect of my design process that I wish to improve upon is the prototyping stage. A flaw in my personal habit is to avoid failures, which is understandable but it is important to keep in mind that failures teach much more than successes do. This is the beauty of the rapid prototyping strategy. With rapid prototyping, the failures come quick and early, which ultimately accelerates the design process because the learning from these mistakes are also accelerated. I tend to want to hold off on creating a design until I have all the elements that I need, but an issue with this strategy is that I then have trouble incorporating all of my cumulative work at the same time without not knowing where to even begin creating a prototype.

One way that I wish to validate the Project Plastikan concept, tech, and other elements is to use this as an opportunity to apply the rapid prototyping model. Concrete attempts result in real failures which result in definitive learning and evidence, as well as hopefully resulting in direction on where to go next. I believe that having a portfolio of “prototype” business models and strategies for contacting other organizations will be very useful for several reasons. First, it will validate our project by showing concrete steps taken to create a successful end product. Second, it will be very easy to have a list of failures that can be shown to others as a means of demonstrating that the project is real and that real steps are being taken to accomplish our goals. Another way to validate the project is to keep in close contact with the various teams and organizations that we are working with. A direct line of communication (and effective communication) is an excellent way to have a natural system for keeping our team members accountable. The simple fact that other groups need the work that we produce is a good motivator and ultimately shows others that the project is valid.

My philosophy of engagement with communities, partners, and markets is to retain the values that make an effective team, to focus on results, and to always have end goals in mind. The values that make a team function well are effective communication, respect, and accountability. Communication is important for several reasons: to make sure that work is not lost or duplicated and to ensure that the team is adaptable when conflict or new obstacles arise. Respect is vital to make sure that meetings go smoothly and effectively, and is additionally important so that the team will carry the same respect into the communities that we will be working in. Maintaining a high level of respect for others is absolutely necessary to ensure that we receive as much cooperation as possible from outside groups and organizations. Another part of my philosophy of engagement is to focus on the results and to always keep in mind how these results apply to the overall goals of the team. Being able to focus on what the team ultimately wants out of any interactions with other organizations and groups will prove vital to keep meeting efficient and worthwhile. With what little the team has to accomplish the goals we want to accomplish, we cannot waste any time that we have when dealing with outside elements.

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