‘POP!’ Goes the champagne bottle. It is the first day of my Masters programme. Designers from all Postgraduate Design Network are divided into encounter groups of multidisciplinary to work on a collaborative project.
This is my first time working with individuals from different backgrounds and it is certainly exciting. Exciting in that we have to re-evaluating our prior education and practices, compulsively throwing ourselves out of the comfort zone, empty our glass and relearn in a clean slate. Perhaps only when it comes to post-rationalization of ideas, we shall then step in with our past experiences and knowledge. In the book ‘Super Cooperators’ by Martin Nowak¹, Nowak questions Darwin’s revolutionary idea about the survival of the fittest and proofs cooperation is the key to survival in today’s context. He also brings up that cancer is fundamentally a failure of the body’s cells to cooperate, but organs are cleverly designed to foster cooperations.
In this case, we are asked to work with people whom we never met before. I think this method is experimental which comes with pros and cons. It is good that ones have no idea and no expectation for the outcome. On the other hand, it may not be an effective and mutually beneficial process in achieving the desired outcome, without actually gathering the people with common interest and intentions. Nevertheless, I look forward to the upcoming development and the final result.
The given brief speaks of anticipating change, encouraging us to think for the future and the possibilities of driving changes in the design industry. As a group, we first churned out as many ideas, opinion and random thoughts as possible on post-it notes. Every groups then collectively pasted all their notes on a large board. I enjoyed this process a lot as I believe it is the most efficient and effective method to warm up our brains for creative design thinking. However, the brainstorming session stopped short, without having the opportunity to shortlisting and evaluate the ideas. It maybe what I have missed from leaving the group for a short meeting with the members of the Product Design course. Shortly after that, we have set up a Pinterest group board for further exploration and evaluation.
As a side note on the MA Graduate Show: I think the idea of transforming the campus into a massive gallery space is a brilliant idea that it engages with the public to explore the campus at the same time. On the other hand, some of the exhibited works may unfortunately be overlooked, especially those at the corners and behind closed doors. As I observed many visitors tend to depend loosely on the catalogue given (although I love the unconventional publication design of putting the maps on the covers), it struck me to think that should the exhibition be held in a more concentric manner or could some deliberate wayfindings improve the navigation on the vast footprint.
¹Nowak, M. , Highfield, R. (2011) Super Cooperators: Evolution, Altruism and Human Behaviour or Why We Need Each Other to Succeed. New York: Simon & Schuster