This week we worked with the Design for America RSO. They gave us a crash course on the process behind designing, complete with a “Use your body to make letters” team building exercise. We also worked in small groups to brainstorm and design some solutions to everyday problems facing some blind individuals in Austin, Texas. My group and I chose to tackle the obstacle facing a semi-fictional blind mom, Rose. Rose needed to be able to keep track of her child while they played at the playground. We came up with a number of solutions, most notably was a wearable device that allowed Rose to communicate with her child.
I’m going to be honest here, the DFA workshop felt like more of an empathy workshop than a designing one. Of course, there are so many problems that affect people on a daily basis, and our friends at DFA are doing amazing things to help these people everyday. That’s what the organization is all about: Designing for America. But I feel like there is a little more to the whole design process. I don’t think there was a huge global need for iPhones, or a rocket to the moon. To me, the coolest designs are the ones that we didn’t even know we needed, or we designed just because we could, or simply to push the envelope of whats possible. However, I do think that the core of their workshop holds true not just for designing, but for anything. I’m simplifying it a little, but basically DFA’s approach to designing was: Think about the problem/obstacle, brainstorm solutions, discuss with your peers, chose the best solution.
One thing that I took away from the DFA workshop that really stood out to me is how many great ideas were presented by our classmates. From the smart-glasses to the drink protector, to the topographical tablet, there are so many inventive people in this class. I cant wait to work with all of you and make some really cool things.