Registration ~ Three days ago, I attended a special workshop called “Design Rethinking” at the university. My friend said he will go with me so I just filled up the online form and made an application. It sounds interesting, I thought it was some sorts of critical thinking or mind rewiring program that maybe give me some new perspective about life. And I couldn’t find any extra information about it, but only knew the workshop speakers were from Ireland.
Ice Breaking ~ In the morning, it was an ice breaking session for all of us. Most of the participants are students or staffs work at the university, and we saw many foreign friends from Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, China, etc. joining this program. It was exciting indeed. And we were briefed about what is “Design Rethinking”, is some kind of entrepreneurship program which we have to come out with new ideas or modify existing products which can benefit the society.
Speakers ~ Two speakers from Ireland, they showed us a video on how a team from the States creates a prototype for a shopping cart. So that it brings more functions and values to shoppers and mall workers.
Kick Off ~ It’s our turn, we were about 36 participants and divided into 6 groups working on an ordinary product, UMBRELLA, we have to use our creativity to add value to users:
- Research, we were assigned to the Mid Valley Mega Mall (a shopping center nearby) to interview customers and shop keepers about problems and solutions they prefer.
- Idea, brainstormed new ideas without judgement based on the interview result, all members wrote down all the ideas on the sticky notes and categorized based on problems, solutions, new ideas, etc.
- Prototype, some practical new ideas were then chosen for designing a prototype or improving existing design.
- Action, we used the given materials to create a workable umbrella based on our selected ideas, my group had decided to make a foldable umbrella prototype.
- Presentation and tested by the real users.
Interview ~ The whole program was scheduled from 9 am – 5 pm, we were assigned to the field and exposed to the real users for interaction. I like this kind of education because it doesn’t talk much about theories, but we get down to the real situation and meet people who really use them. Theory is always perfect where in the real world, many sudden incidents would happen, such as, many respondents said that they don’t use umbrella or they were trying to escape from us. It’s tolerable as some shoppers don’t want to get disturbed by others. If we were in the class, we can only imagine what the users would think about based on our experience or creativity.
Production ~ So, we were able to produce a brand new umbrella model which is foldable and the cost is lower than existing umbrella. A great team effort was paid off and we have gained new insights on how entrepreneur education styles could be practiced here in Malaysia. “Design rethinking” is not about brain rewiring or brainwashing, but putting our ideas based on people’s experience to enhance the values of existing products.
Reflection ~ It’s the mindset of entrepreneur, which are teamwork, innovation, discipline, take risks and challenges (rejected by customers for an interview and working under limited resources). This is a great experience that gave me chances to deal with friends from different backgrounds (medical doctor, MBA student, education graduate, a Nigerian lady who wants to bring in E-learning in her village, etc.). So, we felt so accomplished not just because the prototype and we were more understandable with each others when we were working together.
It’s pretty fun indeed 🙂