15 Buzzwords for 15 Years: IMPACT

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Ariane Fund & Stefanie Dhillon February 10, 2016

Reflection on Field Research Trip to Coaniquem / Safe Ninos

By Ariane Fund

It’s hard put into words how the experience at Coaniquem has impacted me, and I think I’ll continue to uncover lessons as time goes on. The impact is really twofold. By participating in the study away program it has enhanced me as a person, being exposed to new cultures and places of inspiration. The rich colors and textile patterns, the music we were exposed to through the patients, and the view of the pink sunset over the soccer field of Coaniquem are all vivid memories I’ll carry forward. The city of Valparaiso, which we visited one afternoon, composed of steep hills of narrow winding cobblestone streets in between brightly colored buildings all painted with rich murals, is one of the most inspiring places I’ve seen and will surely impact me in the future.

However more specifically, towards the impact on me as a designer, the value of this truly immersive user research experience in gaining a deeper understanding of the research/design process, collaboration, and analysis is immeasurable. Staying on campus and living around-the- clock to experience the life that the people we’re designing for is perhaps a more obvious valuable experience that we don’t often get as design students, or even in real working conditions. What is less obvious was the impact that living around-the-clock with our fellow designers might have had. By doing so we were able to connect with each other on a deeper level, speeding up the process of team-building by developing our own methods of collaboration and co-creation, which will ultimately lead to a better end product. The experience also reinforced and expanded upon some of my main interests as a designer, especially in the social impact realm, which involve performing deep user research to gain insights into unmet needs and recognize where the greatest opportunities lie. And it’s helped me to understand the process of sifting through a vast array of research, field observations, and interviews in an analytical and thoughtful way in order to come up with insightful solutions.

This process has been one that has organically shifted and morphed as conditions required, due to scheduling, language barriers, and increased collaboration opportunities—and that lesson of being open to process as a designer is one that is truly invaluable.

Learn more about the Coaniquem: Safe Niños Project here   www.designmattersatartcenter.org/proj/safe-ninos/


Reflection on Safe Agua Colombia

by Stefanie Dhillon

“It is with considerable understanding that I dedicate my work to the greater good; with intensive research, dissection of systems, disruption of convention and community co-creation, I strive for sustainable and measurable impact. Without the incredible opportunities Designmatters has provided, I don’t believe that I would have the same insight and acumen that I now embody. The studios that I have been involved in have challenged me to push the boundaries of traditional design thinking and understand that my talent and skills can go beyond the limits of prescribed design.”



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