As part of our assessment 2a, we were given a brief to design an organic bin liner using newspaper for the caddie waste bin. Our group consisted of 6 designers from different design disciplines like fashion, product, visual communication. In order to begin the task, it was very important to understand the strengths of each person in the group so we created a group charter that underlined personal characteristics and values that each person could offer to the group. The group charter also stated the ground rules and timelines while breaking up the project into different parts in order to complete it successfully by the deadline.
At this point, it was clear that with different skill sets we had different perspectives to approach the brief. Some of the ideas were analytical and problem solving based while others focussed on how information could be simplified in order to target maximum amount of people.
Each group member contributed their past individual experiences and ideas related to organic waste management. These ideas varied from each other as we all approached the brief through the perspective of our respective disciplines. As for my input as a visual communication student, I live in student housing and previously conducted a food waste audit that helped me understand how my waste was being managed. I learnt through surveying food disposal habits of students living within UTS housing and realised that there was lack of knowledge about the process from purchasing to disposing waste. In order to change the behaviour of people, I believed that information needed to be prominent everywhere (for example:- signage) and laid out in the simplest form so everyone could understand it.
Key elements of collaboration of design disciplines
- Problem Solving & Design thinking
It is important to include designers in the management of organic waste since designers create a mode of interaction and user experience within the system and the people in order to successfully make it function. Designers help in the unification of multiple pieces of information through research and understanding. They further, package and simplify this information in order to make it easily accessible.
Systems and Design complement one another. A system aims at being holistic by following a method whereby the understanding of a system starts from the apparent issue and widens the system’s boundary by expanding the circle to include other factors that may not be so apparent but have an influence on, and are connected to it. This way, the “whole” system and the relationships are identified prior to modelling the system and finding ways of improving the system to and moving towards a more desired outcome.
Design on the other hand, is more empathetic and human centered and requires the modeler to be inside the problem and design the solution after having walked in the shoes of the affected as opposed to being an expert who is invited to come in and help identify and improve on the problematic situation.
Therefore, Combining System thinking and Design thinking has the potential of improving on the holistic understanding of the current system as stakeholders have the opportunity to view the system from different angles. This has the potential to generate more informed ideas to transform the system with a more holistic view. An approach that combines the two would therefore be more holistic, empathetic and innovative.
Collopy F (2009) http://www.fastcompany.com/1291598/lessons-learned-why-failure-systems-thinking-should-inform-future-design-thinking
Szulanski, F. (2010). Synergies Between Design thinking and Systems Thinking.