DXB101 | Ideation & Prototypes

“It’s much better to get out into the messy world, talk to people, build prototypes, show them…” – David Kelley


[Source: www.designworkexperience.com.au]

When thinking about the processes involved in creating a successful design, this statement from David Kelley, founder of IDEO, could not hit closer to home. There is such an immense need to research, find inspiration, brainstorm, ideate, develop, gain real consumer feedback and edit over and over, and these chaotic steps, represented in the image below,  all smooth out into one final solution. Chefs, for example, as designers, must analyse follow “a process when developing innovative dishes, which involves idea generation, testing, iteration, and refinement… Final testing takes place and results in a prototype, which is developed into a dish in the kitchens… The new dish is served to guests and their feedback is collected,” (Kudrowitz, B., 2014).

In the design process, there are two main types of research – quantitative and qualitative. Qualitative, in particular, “is a research method used extensively by scientists and researchers studying human behaviour and habits… very useful for product designers who want to make a product that will sell,”(Shuttleworth, M., 2008).  Within the three stages of human-centred design – the inspiration phase, the ideation phase and the implementation phase – understanding the needs of the people you’re designing for and making sense of these observations is necessary, as your target audience have essentially been a part of the design process, (IDEO, 2016). As a result, the success of your product/solution is guaranteed.

This week’s studied revolved around these concepts, resulting in an interactive discussion about how Orientation Week could be better improved for First Year students. We were asked to consider the following questions:

  • What don’t you like about orientation?
  • Who is going to orientation?
  • How could orientation be more effective and engaging?


Through a brainstorming activity, my group initially developed the idea of creating a more festival/market type of environment – live bands, food stalls and trucks, markets where previous students can sell or display their work, engaging sports or activities where different industries verse each other and meet people within their course – to increase the amount of students who actually attend O-Week and who are willing to stay before/after their compulsory information sessions. As a result, a greater sense of community would be introduced and encourage students to join clubs and delve into the QUT experience throughout the next few years of study. However, after evaluating this concept and judging it against the three criteria – desirability, feasibility and viability – we decided to opt for much simpler and much more affordable solution.


Based on the mind map above, we chose to develop a downloadable E-booklet, which provided location maps, club information, faculty and course information, important contact information and a timetable for Orientation Week. This book could be retrievable during Pre O-Week, and could easily be advertised over social media and via the QUT website. This would be affordable, manageable and easy to navigate to reduce the confusion and difficulty students initially had with finding their relevant information. This solution would also be much easier to gain feedback on and improve based on the reactions of First Year Students, and could be edited and updated without the need to re-print hundreds of physical copies.

While the studio session only provided enough time for some initial brainstorming and improvement, deeper analysis could be conducted through a General Morphological Analysis table, a TILMAG, HIT Matrix or SCAMPER. From my earlier research, SCAMPERs particularly stand out, as chefs utilise substitution when missing an ingredient, adapt old techniques to suit their own style, modify and manipulate ingredients to create new forms and textures, and so on. Being able to understand elements of design and innovation facilitates their ability to succeed in a competitive market, just as all designers adjust these skills for their own creations.

Constructing a human-centred design requires observations, individual or group interviews that are stratified, opportunistic or even at random, immersion and consumer engagement, self-reporting and experimenting. It needs the designer to understand the target audience and develop a successful solution for those people specifically, as we learnt in this week’s lecture:

“If you design for everyone, you design for no one. If you design for yourself, you design for yourself.”

Reference List

Barry Kudrowitz. (2014). The Chef as Designer: Classifying the Techniques that Chefs use in Creating Innovative Dishes. Accessed April 20, 2016, from DRS: http://www.drs2014.org/media/654516/0375-file1.pdf

David Kelley. (20 May, 2012). David Kelley on the Culture of Prototyping. Accessed April 20, 2016, from Aol.On: http://on.aol.com/video/david-kelley-on-the-culture-of-prototyping-517371442 

IDEO. (2016). What is Human-Centred Design? Accessed April 10, 2016, from Design Kit:  http://www.designkit.org/human-centered-design

Martyn Shuttleworth. (14 September, 2008). Qualitative Research Design. Accessed April 21, 2016 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/qualitative-research-design


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