Mira Kirvesmaki

Design with heart

Making progress

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As promised (see I keep my word) I’ll tell you a bit about the process I went through last week for getting forward in my project. As you might have read previously I was quite stuck with my project. I had several aspects clear but had a hard time deciding on a topic. It seemed intimidating to make such a decision without having considered all the aspects first. What if I chose something but then it turned out to be the wrong decision?

One of the things that helped me was just time. Having the time to do research, look into all the aspects and have a good think about it. But in the end this wasn’t enough to push me to a decision so I decided to compliment this with two small exercises.

The IDEO method card. Source

My first exercise, suggested by a fellow student, was about getting everything down. Writing all the questions I had and really trying to get everything I was holding in my head out. This was similar to an exercise I did earlier in the project but instead of just getting things out this time I was more critical. I started by asking myself why am I really stuck and really tried to drill deep into this by applying one of the IDEO method cards, the Five Whys?. So really trying to cross-examinate myself and understand the situation I’m in. So asked questions like why am i stuck, what is my goal, what am I passionate about, who I want to be as a designer, etc.

This gave me a better understanding of the ground I was standing on and allowed me to use these for another exercise. I identified the most important concepts that popped up during my Q&A session, the ones that could end up being the focus point of my project, and then gave myself only 10 minutes to research each. This exercise came from the insight that I want to base my project on something real, so clearly research was in place. By limiting the research to such a short time period I got a sense of what I felt most passionate about, what I wanted to know more about. Through doing this I identified good deeds as something that really struck a cord with me.

Doing flash research

As I explained in my end of the week post the idea I had was to be inspired by the progress principle but use that in trying to inspire people to do good. So using the idea that one of the major aspects of making people happier and more productive is simply making progress in a meaningful way and giving people the channel to record their good deeds, give what they do a prominence. Hopefully allowing them to feel like they’re doing something meaningful and through that inspire them to keep it up or even do more.

I’ve started doing some research into this and identified some other projects done in this domain. What has become quite clear is that tone of voice will be extremely important to get right. I do not want to to be preachy but I want it to be something to be taken seriously. I don’t want it to be childish but I want to incorporate playfulness and humour to it. Getting the balance right between these will require careful consideration and iteration. Another critical aspect of this project will be understanding the motivation and drive behind doing good.  So hopefully I’ll get to really utilise the behavioural economics theories that I’ve been researching.

Author: mirakirvesmaki

I'm an honours year student documenting the journey towards a BSc (hons) in Digital Interaction Design (Dundee University).

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