Guru’s Day

So now that guru’s day has gone and past I have the task of making sense of what insights I gained. For all of you that don’t know of this product design tradition ill elaborate. Gurus day is a day in which we invite several heads of industry or relevant creative minds to come up to Dundee to give us feedback on our work so far. We were blessed with the presence of eleven gurus:

Tim Regan: Microsoft Research

Adam Todd: MagneticNorth

Lee Sankey: Barclays

Seaton Baxter: DJCAD

Phillip Robertson: Tesco Bank

Emily Walters: Sopra Group

Callum Brown: rAndom International

Ryan McLeod: Equator

Finlay Craig: Barclays

David Flatla: School of Computing, UoD

Gavin Brown: Sopra Group

Jayn Wallace: DJCAD

David McKay: Tesco Bank

In the several hours we had with our gurus I was able to talk to four. This may not sound like a lot, but with 60 students all trying to have in-depth conversation’s there hard to get hold of.

With each guru that I talked to I introduced my concept and the process I went through to date. This gave them a general understanding of what I was trying to achieve and what possible areas I may need help with. As most of the gurus were digital designers I felt that I struggled to connect with them with my projects essence, as I wish to develop a completely tangible interface. They did however give me a few ideas on how to incorporate a digital aspect into my design (one of the necessary factors within the now Social Digital course that I’m studying).

I feel that I can mark the day a success due to two very useful insights that came out near the end of the day. First came from Seaton Baxter, a design scholar within the university specialising in the study of natural design systems. Seaton observed that what I was trying to achieve was in a sense an already established ritual within a constantly developing world. he then went on to exclaim that in a world that can’t seem to stop we need more systems that slow us down and allow us to appreciate the world. This is what I have been trying to do with my project from the beginning but I have always been apprehensive of how to execute it. From what Seaton had to say I was able to awaken an understanding of my project that I had been ‘shrouded in mist’ in the past. This understanding has allowed me to see more clearly the direction in which I wish to take my project and made me aware of an issue that I had buried under too much context.

The second major insight I received came from Barclay’s manager Lee Sankey during the Q&A session we had to finish off the day. When discussing with the guru panel about the need for new physical objects. Lee came out with a fantastic insight into the way that that most consumers company’s do business, “Tesla would be a much better company if instead of developing new products, they developed there technology to be implemented into existing products”. Lee is 100% correct, why do we have this excessive need to create new things. The result of this culture sees us throwing out masses of still functioning and often very valuable object purely because we want the new technology. What can’t we develop upgrades instead of replacements. We need to me more sustainable in the way we design and I personally believe that this is one of the major steps to achieving this. Anyway the way that this relates to my project left me feeling like an idiot. Through all my research I have found that people like to have their own tea brewing process using their own tea brewing utensils. This whole time I have been developing my concept I have had the idea of creating a device that includes all the kit you will need to preform the tea brewing task. Why I asked myself, why I am creating a kit that has all the components when exactly what the user wants is the ability to use their own utensils. I have been for many months not designing towards giving the users something they already have. This is a waste of both resources and actually conflicts the entire essence of what I am trying to do. I sincerely thank Lee for that comment because it has enabled me to think in a completely different way about my entire design process, not only in this project but as a whole. Its amazing how much one simple little insight can awaken, it can spread like wild fire though your mind and set ablaze many equally wonderfully insights that can awake a passion within.

I am very happy with the insights I gained from the day and with be able to progress with my project I a much more meaningful way as a result.

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