Blog #5


In the seminar on the 18th we learned about design processes. We learned about how engineers tend to think of things more methodically and thus less creatively than “designers”. I don’t really think that this stereotype would apply to me. I like to think that I am very flexible when it comes to ideas and adapting thoughts that I have previously had. However, carefully documenting all our work in the mushroom making process is very important to me. The reason for this is because I would want to know what steps to tinker with. So while I think I would find it very easy to start fresh and adapt new ideas I would never do so without a reason, without there being a variable that I would want to test. I like to work with my hands and jump into projects quickly. The quicker the start the better. However, I really have a thing against being told what to do. Even with simple menial labor I need to know the end goal or the purpose of what I am doing. I feel this makes me a more effective worker. This carries through to how I will expect to work with others in Sierra Leone.

I plan on validating my teams concept model through what I mentioned above. It is extremely important to me that we know exactly why what we are doing is working (or isn’t working). If we know the direct causes of success or failure and why they lead to that we should be able to justify anything we do. For example if we are telling people that they have to use sorghum grain to grow their mushrooms then I want there to be reason behind that. That it is the best grain for the purposes we need it to fulfill. I think this will help our team become the most effective it can be. If we question why we are doing things it will give us a better understanding of our project.

I hope that this will foster trust between my team and the communities we work in. I don’t want the people we work with to feel like our students. They are our partners. I don’t want to give them a list of instructions and send them out on their own. I think it would be far more productive for both sides to our team to teach them what we do and more importantly why we do it. This way our partners can understand why we chose the model and now feel the need to alter it ( maybe for the worse) without us. It will also enable them to teach others if we are able to communicate effectively enough. Not to mention if people know why they are doing something it makes them better, and more effective at doing it. This is my personal philosophy at least. If we tell a farmer in Sierra Leone that sorghum grain is the best at spawning mushrooms in because we have found that it dries the quickest and this farmer knows of a grain that dries even quicker than sorghum then we are all the better for it. If we simply have them sorghum grain without any extra information the project would never be improved.


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