Reflection Blog 2: Crossing the Divide

I’ve always considered myself creative to some degree. Just a few weeks ago, I met with my high school English teacher over tea and she joked that business was a waste of my creative mindset. Prior to the latter half of this course, I would have agreed.

Looking back at my past years at Sauder, my left and right brain abilities have very much been segregated: left for creating business reports and right for making them pretty. The reason I took this course however, was to find different ways to think. Too often have I spent hours staring at a problem, not knowing how to start. Particularly, reading Hartman’s summary of A Whole New Mind helped me realize the need to use both sides in tandem, to join design with problem solving.

However, it takes time to get out of old habits. Most of us are used to only using the analytical side of our brains for business cases, and this was the case when I worked with my team to create the Design Brief. Admittedly, rather than base out findings on design methods, our group took the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach and relied on traditional left-brain thinking to find the problem we focused on.

A User Journey Map for our Design Brief (Click to enlarge)

One of the issues which arose from this was ignoring one of the key senses from Pink's A Whole New Mind: empathy. This misstep was because as business students, we often work in a way which only focuses on a company’s problem, presenting our findings to a marker who has no stake in the company. Because we were presenting straight to Vidigami however, we hadn’t realized our presentation was essentially saying that the project that the Vidigami team had poured their hearts and souls into was broken, which was far from the truth. Our purely logical approach however led to a rightfully defensive response. By making this mistake and seeing the consequences, this is one lesson we certainly won’t forget.

Evidently, this method didn’t work as well as we hoped. Always looking on the bright side of things, I believe that it was good that we weren’t successful in our first assignment, as it gave us a reason to change our mindsets. The design methods served as the foundation of our Design Solution.

A User Journey Map for our Design Solution (Click to enlarge)

Because of this, I feel that our design solution was much more successful. We spent longer working with Vidigami through Sang to better understand them, and the design methods were a large part of helping us realize what information we needed to gather. The user groups definition I did for example made me ask how user data is currently analyzed, and it turned out Vidigami wasn’t analyzing user data at that point. This raised further questions such as "How else could user data be leveraged?" and "What user data could be used?", and resulted in part of our solution: finding ambassadors by looking at user data.

Team Designigami

Team Designigami

I was honestly kicking myself for not going into SFU’s interactive design program earlier this year, as it fuses the left-brain skill of coding with the right brain skill of design. I thought it would be the perfect combination of my love of both sides of thinking. After taking this course, I’ve realized that business too can and should be a synthesis of these two sides. That this bridge is what could stand between a problem and a cause or solution. I’ll certainly be taking this course’s readings and design methods with me, the experiences I’ve gained will serve as a reminder to eschew my “gut feeling” approach to problem solving.

Works Cited

Hartman, K. (2013). A Summary of the book A Whole New Mind, Why Right-Brainers will Rule the Future, by Daniel H. Pink. Retrieved from http://www.kimhartman.se/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Summary-of-A-whole-new-mind-PDF-by-Daniel-Pink.pdf

Kumar, V. (2013). 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.