Design Activity 1

The task at hand was to design a communication plan using the Design Thinking method, centered around the act of ‘gift giving’. This was an interesting challenge because there were strict time constraints. I was familiar with this method, as I was put through this process while abroad in Denmark, only it was centered around 3D printers.

1. Empathize
-From my interview I gained insight into what gift Bella gave and why. I then was able to understand more about this process by digging deeper into her thought process behind her gift. I discovered that she gave her roommate and best friend a shirt for her 21st birthday that was bought in California at a small boutique. She was nervous about this because returning it to the store would not be possible, since it is not a store on the east coast.

2. Reframe
-From these insights I was then tasked with reframing this problem into a clearly defined problem statement. ‘Bella needs a way to give a unique gift from her home that is far away, but also have the option to exchange/return this item when not near it.’

3. Ideate
-The following are my sketch ideas to combat this problem. This part was what I found to be most difficult, as this section determined what my final prototype would be. 1. Call the store and work out an exchange of some sort, 2. If she doesn’t like the shirt, take it for yourself, 3. Buy her a classic ’21’ gift of alcohol, 4. Give a gift from a chain store for easy returns/exchanges, 5. Use a third party (similar to an uber eats) that will take care of the return process for smaller boutique stores that are unable to accommodate for this.

4. Iterate
-I chose the fifth and final idea I came up with, as it made the most sense in terms of design and thinking outside of the box for this process.

5. Build/Test
-Prototyping I found to be the most fun, as I was able to implement the empathy I had gathered for my user in the beginning, and formulate a design that would value my user’s aspirations and goals.

My prototype symbolized the third party that would be involved in helping smaller stores make ease of exchanges. This would allow the customer to call a third party provider for the store that would either exchange the shirt for something else from the store for you, or refund the money. This third party would be the ‘middle man’ between small boutique stores and their customers that may be placed far away. This design would make my user, Bella, be less nervous about if her roommate would like this shirt, because she would know that if she didn’t she could always return it then, and not have to wait until she gets all the way home during breaks.

Overall, I found this process of Design Thinking to be challenging in the time constraints, as well as the ability to think of the user first before the actual design. Though, I found that by establishing a purpose for this idea I was better able to meet the needs of my user and create success from this design.

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