Project 3 — Dog walkers revisited

P3 Reflections

It was a really rewarding process to be able to revisit our work from P1 and take it so much further. Our group had a blast taking the countless ideas we had generated weeks ago and refining them, and overall, I thought this design process was really immersive and engaging. From starting with storyboards, to discussing our solutional criteria, to creating lowfi mockups in chalk, to actually going through the decision and scriptwriting process, this project really had a bit of everything.

A few shots from the chalk exercises we did a few weeks ago. What a beautiful day to be outside!

There were two things that I think particularly contributed to our group’s success: 1) our ability to delegate and split up work (our versatility), and 2) our responsiveness to feedback and suggestions (our flexibility). In regards to versatility: after we worked together to narrow and refine our solution’s scope, we decided to split up the work so that we could move forward in a more efficient manner. I was in charge of designing the poster, Nick wrote the script, Lee created a higher fidelity storyboard to tell the story of Joe, and Lexie prepared slides to accompany our script and story. As we met every few days, we continued to update one another on our progress and offer feedback on improvements we could each make. We also worked really well off one another; when Lexie and I needed Lee to create the digital storyboard so that we could finish the poster and slides, he immediately responded with two different versions (one with “messy” coloring and one with “contained” coloring) so that we could have options to work off of. And when Nick made modifications to the script and I adjusted elements of the poster (such as the final design of Canine Central), we were able to work with Lexie to incorporate them into the poster. It was this flexibility and responsiveness that ensured we were always moving forward; when we received feedback from Vicki and the Grocery Buddies group during midcrit and individual meetings, we were receptive and quick to make the necessary changes. I really think it was our willingness to receive and implement feedback that put us in a position to succeed.

On a more personal note, I’m sad this is the last chance I’ll have to work with this group. I think we really bonded over the span of the semester, and I always looked forward to our biweekly meetings. I’m immensely proud of how far we’ve taken this project, and I know we’ll all remember working together for years to come.

Left: how our group started ideating in P1, and Right: our final product—Canine Central! Now that’s progress!

“How great leaders inspire action”

I really, really enjoyed this TED talk from Simon Sinek. Not only was he a fantastically engaging speaker, but I really resonated with the way he described the golden circle. The case studies he described were captivating, and I thought the way he explained TiVo’s marketing failure was genius. “How would you like to control every facet of your life?” is an instant hook; as soon as I hear that “why,” I’m left wanting to know more about what product would allow me to do such a thing, and how. But when you reverse it and the first thing you hear about is what the product is—“a way to pause live TV!”—then it no longer resonates with people because our immediate instinct is one of skepticism. We don’t want you to just tell us what you have; we want to know why we should believe in what you have. People don’t buy products the way they buy in on dreams, missions, and aspirations, and that much was made abundantly clear by Sinek’s other case studies (Apple, MLK, etc). The other one that stood out to me most was the story of the Wright Brothers. Even though the Wright Brothers had nowhere near the financial resources, human capital, or market opportunity that Samuel Pierpont Langley did, they managed to inspire a whole group of people who believed in the same world-changing mission they had. That reminded me a lot of some of the stories that are told about successful startups: when startups were able to get people on board with their corporate mission, employees would be more willing to gut out tough financial times or periods of no pay. When you believe in a cause, you’re willing to sacrifice more individually to help achieve that goal.

So how does this apply to our group project? Simply put, to get people to buy in on our proposed solution, we need to start with the why. Why does this problem space exist? Why do dog owners feel socially isolated from others during COVID times? Why do some dog owners have less access to resources to others? These are all crucial “why questions that we need to consider when telling the story of how our solution came to be. Next, we need to think about the how. How will our Little Free Library x Social Kiosk concept (tentatively known as “Dog Depot”) encourage people to bridge those social connections they had been missing? How will it help those who don’t have all the dog supplies they need? How will it continue to supply for those who need it? And finally, we can pitch the what—what our product actually is/does—through the vision and “how” we’ve determined. In many ways, thinking about our poster this way reminded me of the storyboarding exercises we did last week. In a storyboard, it’s crucial to start with the why (to explain the problem space/the status quo), move on to the how (how does this problem manifest itself in daily life, and how might it be resolved?), and then, portray the solution itself in action (what is the final product, and how does it help the main character in the storyboard?). Of course, what’s also of note is that these are not necessarily three separate circles/tracks in the world of design; the “why” should permeate throughout all phases of the design process, and the “how” should always be considered in order to assess feasibility.

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