Crafting Solutions to Real Issues

When we look around us we can find hundreds of objects and products designed intricately as well as empathetically to solve our personal needs. We often ignore these objects in our life as they fulfill a purpose that we so often times take for granted. Upon scrutinizing these everyday objects, its astonishing to see how much detail and sweat was put into these products by their inventors. This weeks class opened my mind to identifying problems not only faced by college students but also specific communities. I was greatly inspired by David Kelly, who is the CEO of a Global firm IDEO which incorporates human behavior into product design. In his interview on the show 60 Minutes, he talks about how he creates solutions by thinking of peoples problems empathetically. IDEO’s concept of brainstorming ideas collectively and using each others perspective allows the invention of products which no one person can do alone.

It is also very important to understand that coming up with an idea is just a small part of crafting and implementing a solution to real issues. As quoted by Thomas Edison, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”, your idea is just that 1% of inspiration, the other 99% is the amount of work and sweat you put into making that idea an incredible story. Much of our class time this week we focused on ideation and coming up with 3 design solutions for common problems:

  1. Water Wastage : A product which could fit onto water taps and reduce water use drastically.
  2. Expensive Smart Homes : A product which can fit around light switches allowing for a remote turn off and on option all done without a need of expensive electronics.
  3. High Winter Heating Bills : A window air sealant which can be put around house windows to avoid the loss of heat.

Often times while coming up with designs we tend to spend more time thinking of a product than a problem which the product would address. Dr. Vishal made it very clear while we were pitching the ideas that we talk about the problem we are addressing rather than the intricacies of the product itself. Products can always be fine tuned and re – designed, but the problem at hand is really the deciding factor in ones journey to create a successful business model. After all business is people and if we do not have a product that the people need it will never sell. Design thinking is an art and there is a lot of science behind it than what most people think. This MIT Technology review briefly talks about the essentials of design thinking and its worth a read!

For the last part of our class we had, Mark Bohmann, who is the Assistant Dean at the College of Media, talk about his passion towards the Maker Movement and his own side projects. I was so amazed that so many people including professors and students of almost all majors are so deeply invested in the maker movement and every week I feel it getting bigger and bigger.