Becoming a better Designer

Around this time last year I started blogging regularly and I wanted it to document my journey from here to there – there being IDEO.

I'm not there yet but a friend of mind posed a really great question. What if the industry still existed but ideo no longer exists? Then what?

This question was posed to ensure I wasn't putting ideo on a pedestal and for me to research and figure out other ways to do the work I'm interested in. It floored me. I had no responses and began to wonder," are there any other companies that do similar work?"

Regardless of the answer, I believe that I first have to become a better designer. I need to be designing for people in need, and to be solving real world problems. They can be small or big- but the best ones are within reach.

Most of design today is based on existing products that are slightly modified, but planned for obsolescence.

I keep debating if it's wise to return to school for a graduate degree or if I can continue in my field to gain additional experience. The field has grown exponentially and it's become competitive in a different playing field. But IDEO.org stands out to me as they focus on designing for people in poverty.

This hits home because my family knows what it means to grow up in poverty and struggling. Ever since I learned the power of design, I've wanted to use it to do good and to service people. It's what drew me deeper into the world of product design- designing products to improve people's lives.

So where does one start to improve themselves as an industrial designer? Especially when access to tools and understanding of engineering is limited- insert me and my scenario. Often you'll hear people say scratch your own itch. But for me, industrial design is all about scratching the itch for other people in need.

Something Is Happening Here

Something Is Happening Here

It’s getting easier to share my writings and as comments pour in there is a new found motivation happening. So far the topics that seem to resonate the most are fitness/wellness and health, beauty, faith and spirituality, and a few of the life lessons learned.

While this is an assumption, it informs me that the writing needs to be relatable and not always offer a solution-  but perhaps invite someone to share their experience, thoughts and opinions. A common ground really.

But something else is happening as well, showing up to my blog allowed me to talk freely (where I felt comfortable in sharing publicly) about myself, my struggles, fears and dislikes – but as new people come along for the journey I know I don’t wish to sound like I am rambling. It’s forcing me to choose my topics a bit more intentionally.

But my writing were (selfishly) for me. A place to clear my head, improve my writing style, “find my voice” as people like to say and just explore. But more people are peeping in. Curiosity is striking and I see you! 🙂

One thing I believe is that we have one life and everything is interconnected. From the choices we make, to the people we meet, the seasons of life and everything in between its there with and for purpose.

I want these writing to help me articulate better and help me in finding clarity – especially when it comes to designing for people. This thing thats happening has only come through experimenting, showing up consistently, and being authentic.

Perhaps a crowd is forming- and I’m not gonna lie – it’s interesting to take note, to point it out even. Perhaps an audience is forming.

 

In Session

So as I mentioned, my online classes started and I spent a few hours last night jotting down notes, sketches and answering online questions while going through insights to innovation.

Initially its a bit intimidating. There are nearly 400 people taking this online course. Notifications and emails are consistently coming in. I’m tempted to read them all! There are unique challenges throughout and you choose one to focus on throughout the course. One of them reminds me of the openIDEO challenge: developing a product or service with credit unions for 60 year olds. There were some really great projects that came about of that.

We started the course by observing visually. We looked at items in people’s bags – without judgement. I believe the without judgement aspect is really difficult because we’ve been conditioned to do so for very long. We fail to look at things objectively and we begin to insinuate, project, plant our ideas to what we see.

For example, with the bags we saw, one person had an old banana peel in their bag – what thoughts come to mind? It looked yellow and brown so it had to be eaten that same day, or no more than a day old. With a judgmental mind you may be disgusted but what if there was nowhere to throw out the banana peel? Or what if they are health conscious and wanted to keep healthy snacks around? What if they were a gardener and wanted to reuse the peel in their mulch?

Now that’s only one item coming form one person. If you were to empty your bag what would be in there? Something that is unique in my bag – an emergency clothing kit. Something tends to go wrong with my clothing – it like never fails to miss me.

I really liked the idea of keeping an ah-ha journal. It entails capturing a photo of what you’ve observed to be different and writing about it. I often journal and write and keep notepads, moleskines and the likes with me. This is a way to put a spin on it.

The challenge I chose involves healthy eating habits for the family. I’m  excited to go out an observe, ask questions, and capture stories people share. So much happens with food around and often times we opt for whats quick, cheap and easy. So much so, that we’ve opted for food that isn’t really food, put on weight at an even younger age, resulting in major health issues in the future. The focus in this challenge is on children and I secretly want to be better in my own health, so I decided its to jump into this one.

Let’s not forget I still have a goal of dropping a few pounds this year. I’m hoping this helps in putting me on track, gain more awareness and education of food and our connection to it. I’m still a weak behind in the course (they give you a pace to follow but there is flexibility in scheduling as well).

Health and nutrition is a major part of our being yet its an area where we lack so much discipline. I’ll keep you updated with the course! In the mean time, whats in your bag? What healthy meals do you enjoy?

Things I wish my mom taught me sooner… Part 1

Things I wish my mom taught me sooner…. Part 1
Let me start by saying I am not a parent.
While I hope to be one in the future I hope that this post would come back to me as a reminder to my future parent self.
Now that my formality introduction is out the way here are a few things I wish I learned sooner in life.

Read More