Monday 30.1.2012 at 14:15 for Interdisciplinary Product Development course students. Students feedback and comments are summarized professor Kalevi Ekman, Aalto University, Finland.
The documentary covered the topic “working interdisciplinary”. Thereby it is meant that specialists from the design, business or mechanics section work together on one project. People from big companies, self-employer people and professors were discussing this topic and came all to the same conclusion: working interdisciplinary produces new, innovative ideas and gets more and more important!
There were many short phrases or explanatory notes I liked. For example one guy was talking about a small company that had a successful product and grew but did not change his structure and wasn’t looking for new fields of products. He explained that a company has to change because of its own size.
The video delivered good commentary on the subject with an interesting description and differences between business and design. Although it could have been more visual, dynamic, and enthusiastic, as is common for design and product development related flicks. Furthermore, the same message could have been delivered in much shorter video.
It included some good insights, including how to alter one’s mindset and a way of thinking for a more customer and user oriented way. However, we would have liked to hear more about how to change the attitude of people in the real world projects and companies that what to make design thinking an element around which their whole business revolves. That said, the content covered by the individuals presented in the video was too theoretical, which is a surprise since everyone seemed to have experience from real interdisciplinary and design-oriented product development. Since the speakers had some really good and fresh points (including how designers should market themselves and design thinking better rather than whine about how business does not understand them, how learning does not stop when you graduate but you can always expand your knowledge and fields of interest to new areas, to list some), we would have loved to see more real and more thorough and concrete examples of creative design thinking; we expected to see their words in action, but didn’t get that.
Design thinking or combining it with business thinking is about facing challenges and uncertainty with resources (people) at hand – taking new roles, using suitable tools to create, realize and test your ideas, having a supportive forum and group to operate with. As it was pointed out in the video, design and business go hand in hand; they are both team sports, a common effort, and in essence they both are about demand and offer. However, very little was said about how to make such collaborative efforts work.
One important factor mentioned in the video was the designers’ feeling of being “left aside” by the company, instead of actively participating in the design process and saying what they thought about a product. What wasn’t told, but is very important, is that most of the designers only want to design, and this is a common idea between designers. The problem is that designers feel exclusive in their department, and this has to be changed to a more integrated role in a business. This can either be achieved by having some interdisciplinary lectures or projects so that everyone has a chance to know a little about everything, with their respective areas of expertise.
Furthermore, the video was strongly polarized; we got to hear almost exclusively designers’ point of view. Since businessmen are commonly focused on raw numbers and what they will get from, and also (that was mentioned in the video) very interested in money return investment, rather than loyalty building, why didn’t we get to hear the discussion between the “two camps,” each presenting their arguments and counter arguments, or even better, why didn’t we get to see these successful designers and businessmen, who traditionally come from the two cultures, converge in the third culture, and not only talk about it? That said, we know that the novel way of doing business sounds great, but why were we not shown concrete execution of such approach. We would have wanted to see what they spoke about in vivo; it is all too easy to believe that everything works out nicely in vitro.
Kalid Marun, Elsa Hulkkonen, Valtteri Vaarna, Lauri Lindeman, Mladen Zagorac
Today in class we watched a video made by TUDelft students. The video discussed how design should be apart of the whole business not a separate unit the company. The makers of the video had interviewed a lot of people around the world in design agencies and other companies. We see that three themes rose from the video: designers &business, designers finding the questions and designers working with uncertainty. In the next paragraphs we will discuss some more of all these three topics.
Designers and Business
Designers should work from the aspect of the customer and make things to customer needs. This way there is always a market for the product too. If there is no market for a product there is no use for the great design either. We find that also the real need of the customer gives inspiration for the designer.
Designers Find New Questions
We think that the mission for designers today is not so much to focus on the aesthetics and ergonomics of the product. Rather they should focus on finding the right questions and the right customer needs. They should really dig into the customer to find out what the real need is (e.g. the customer wants a faster car but what they really want is to get faster from one place to another). When the right question is found the mission of the designers is to find the right atmosphere for ideation and idea creation.
Designers Working With Uncertainty
When making new things there is always some uncertainty. Since sometimes even the exact question the team starts tackling is not known, planning ahead exactly is impossible. This means that teams might not be able to be formed strictly before hand and they should have flexibility so that all people could use their competences but also do things they like. Design is in all of us, we just need to have the courage to use it!
Elisa Terho, Piamaria Junni, Matti Eskelinen, Gan Quan, Sun Qingxia
-There was no clear definition of a designer, but a message that anybody who creates new imaginative stuff is a designer.
-There were a lot of people from a many different fields but everybody had basically the same message.
-Technically the video was well made and had a good structure.
Lauri Ahtiainen & Samuli Sarasti
The movie “Design the new business” gave me some new ideas and views on my subject. For me there has been one statement that was especially interesting. One of the interviewed persons pointed the difference between “normal” engineers and “them”, I think he means designers, out. While engineers usually try to analyse things, “they” try to synthesise them. I believe that a “modern” engineer has to be, till a certain degree, like a designer to stay innovative at solving problems. There is usually not the one and only solution and synthesising know-how from different subjects brings in many cases a better solution than simply analysing and trying to find a solution based on logic and conventional ways of proceeding. It is not like that it was the first time for me to think of this aspect though I believe that I had to put stress on that statement. Another interesting aspect was the one where the interviewed one stated that everything was interconnected nowadays. Basically this statement could be derivated from the first one I liked. Though, I believe that it leads the thought further from the “personal” level to a more generalised one. And this step leads for me finally to the conclusion, which was also stated in the movie, that design needed business or was part of it. That means that design was basically not only a mandatory part of business. On the contrary: it is obligatory. Therefore even an engineer should know more about it.
I believe that the movie was a good start to convince engineers of the necessity of use of design in the sense of artistic creativity in their work.
After watching the film, “Design the New Business,” several ideas came to mind. The first is the general thought behind design. What is designing? For us it is constant questioning if that what we are developing is good enough? Would I, as a user of this product, be satisfied with it? Furthermore, design is completely different than optimizing something, since design is coming from nothing previously made before. Designing should be to create something new, something different. The designers in a company should start from scratch to be innovative. With this, both qualities of synthesis and analysis need to be master, for when a person only analyzes, the rest of the world is closed off. If a person is more open minded, more creative, and has more ideas for designing, that makes a better designer.
Design is something that everybody does or should do in his work. The idea that business people and designers are the same people is true. They both make decisions that can be crucial in changing the world. The difference between them is just how they are trained. Design is not only of aesthetics or ergonomics or the combination of these, it is of the whole business when every single discipline is combine. It is very challenging to make good design only by one person, no matter how creative it is. For that reason a group of interdisciplinary people has much more chances in succeeding to make good design. Finally, to design a good product you should understand the emotions the consumer will have about the product.
Jacob Sindberg, Tomislav Petrovcic and Erik Tollander.
“DESIGN the NEW BUSINESS” is a documentary about the different opinion from some person who works for several companies in varied countries. A lot of interviews are cut and mixed together, so that this movie deals with some question about “design” and related topics.
The language of this movie is quite complicated and some parts are very confusing. However, it is a very interesting movie, from which can I got some ideas how the “designer” see the(ir) world.
Also some statements where quite interesting and might help do manage during the workday of an engineering, as I want to be later on.
For example, I liked a lot the part, when someone from Switzerland talked about that not every design can be successful and that the companies should learn to fail. If I understand him right his general idea is, that failing has to be learnt. And it is better to learn it in several small steps then at the end in a big disappointment of the product.
Furthermore, the statement of a German man, was quite interesting for me. He talked about that future could be development by using numbers and mechanism from the past. These numbers are related to the invention of the past and could be used to figure out, how the future will be, according to them. But for a “designer” all this values should be neglected and even physical problems should be ignored to find new approaches and ways for solutions. If I remember right, he also added that a “designer” should not have the feeling that people misunderstand them, then it is just his mistake how he presents or explains his idea.
Another very message of this documentary is, that someone strengthens my idea about what designers do. In my opinion they help “to increase or create the value of a product by the design”, which means that they are responsible for the appearance and I would like to say the emotion a product develops.
by Thomas Schlicht
We watched a short documentary -Design The New Business and this report summarizes it from the points of view that our team found interesting.
Today it’s not so simple to guess beforehand what will be the final result when creating a new business. You are not designing anymore just one specific thing for a certain kind of people, market segment. This is because people are nowadays very different. They have more and more own individual needs and desires that differ from other ones.
There are different perspectives of design: creating something totally new or modifying something existing. What is design thinking? Well, shortly it a set of tools and methods that help you solving a problem. Design thinking is a long-term trend; it’s been here a long time and will be.
You have to understand what people want and think. Combine your business skills and design skills. Businessman and designer should work together tightly because this way we get all the completely different views.
Great designers don’t think a problem from just one perspective, which would be a huge mistake. You have to try, prototype and test if you want to succeed. You will fail, that’s for sure but many small fails can prevent you failing one big time that can be your last fail. So fail but always learn from your fails.
If the rest of the world is hits your face and doesn’t understand you then you should start to think what’s wrong and develop yourself. How to help others to understand you and what should be fixed. That’s why you should develop your mindset. The problem of big companies is that they get stuck on their old mindset which they have had since their business was started.
And one more thing: there is always a little pinch of designer in every person.
Although of all these useful things that the video raised up it was a bit boring and confusing. Speakers were good but the video repeated same things many times and it did a bit fuzzy loop. It didn’t have a clear rhythm but anyways we didn’t waist our time.
Ville Holopainen & Team
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