These 2 classes are combined because we did not meet during Class 10 due to an emergency medical procedure I had to go through. I've always heard friends saying it must be so nice to be teachers because you get summer/winter vacations (if you teach full time) but I never realized that teachers also don't get to take time off whether it's for personal matter or leisure activities because classes meet every week! Thankfully, this happened during the time my students are working on their group project, so they're able to use this time period to just work on their project together. Some took the week off since we didn't have any official spring break this year (we had long weekends only). Either way, students were understanding and were able to make the best use of the time off to catch up on things!
At this stage of the project, students should be ready to synthesize their research and move onto ideation and prototyping. I was able to cover sensemaking in the previous lecture, so I used this week's class to focus on topics related to formation of ideas, developing service propositions, and elements of moral innovation and ethical design — which I must say it's another topic that I really enjoy teaching (and researching) and I find it equally as important to the communication class we covered earlier in the semester for students to understand in their service design innovation journey!
We started the class with some fun Mash Up exercise (one of my favorite ideation techniques). So many things in our lives are essentially a remix of something and very often 1 plus 1 doesn't equal 2 but greater and better. Because we're doing a virtual class which means I don't get to observe students group dynamics, I wanted to make sure they are all proactively trying to come up with many ideas and the right prototyping questions to test. I recently came across Adam Grant's talk on TED (who says cookies are always bad :) ?) and pleasantly learned about his research on what makes an original (i.e. creative) thinker. I was able to share with students some of the learnings as well as giving them a perspective of why they should come up with as many ideas as possible because chances are ... the more ideas you have, the more possibilities that one of them could become a great idea!
As we moved on from ideation and prototyping, one of the key elements to design a service is to make sure your service is what people need! Your service has to create value in your end user's life. By introducing the value proposition map, students were able to use it later in their studio time to examine the service they're designing and making sure that they are able to clearly advocate why their service is desirable to their end users! I love using different framework and tools to guide the students. Of course, I always make sure to tell them these maps are guidelines NOT golden rules. They should only use it as starter and continue expanding their thinking beyond the canvas!
The last part of this week's lecture (which is a big longer due to my absence last week) was moral innovation aka ethical design. I always remember watching The Good Place after a colleague of mine recommended and Chidi, the ethic professor in the show, stands his "moral ground" but unfortunately is super indecisive and still ends in the "bad place" after he dies. The point I'm trying to make here is that ... ethics is very hard to define. I'm not an expert in the space but one thing I told my student is that at the bare minimum, make sure you do no harm. Of course the question then came to ... why would anyone design a product or service to intentionally harm anyone else? The answer is, yes there but we won't cover that in this class. What we will discuss is why certain design eventually become harmful, unethical, and immoral.
The quick poll (a trick question) asking students if human-centered design equals to ethical design kicked off this part of the lecture. It was a very great discussion because we were able to touch on our value differences by culture, region, and many other reasons on a personal level. I then gave a few examples on certain "great design" enable users to do harmful things. I also pointed out that good intentions don't always end in good results. Of course there are many ways to explore why good intentions don't end in good results but in my research (in preparation to teach this topic), I found 2 great explanation on why good designs don't end in good hands or product good outcome. One is designers/creators Loss Control in the process of product/service creation due to competition, stakeholder involvements, and change of business landscape. The other explanation is that we as human cannot simply predict Future Consequence thoroughly. There are just way to many use cases and it's almost impossible for us to take every single possibility into account. Even when you create a great product and launched as you planned, the product could still be mis-used in areas you didn't account for. Sometimes society and government can put in rules for the checks and balances but they often come in too late or too slowly; therefore, businesses need to self-regulate and be extremely proactive and reactive as situations evolve! For now, we still have a long way to go but I'm glad to see the industry is picking up on this topic and I hope we continue to explore ways to ensure our design ends up in the Good Place!
After the lengthy lecture, students gave update on their Process and Progress. I learned from mini Jam that students love hearing about other people's process, so I made sure that each group share their project plan and steps they've taken to help other groups observe and reflect on their process. As students present their status of their project, one interesting theme emerged ... everyone is thinking about WELLNESS, whether it's mental, physical, or some other holistic way. I was happy to hear that student really enjoy this project and genuinely excited to help each other out since they're now designing for the community!
The class ended with retrospective as always. I always enjoy reading students retrospective even though I noticed fewer students are responding these days but for the ones that still do, I hope they're also enjoying this process of reflection together!