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Proposal Development Week 2

Topic Selection

Date: 14th May, 2022

It turns out reading your own blogs can help a great deal when it comes to identifying the kind of Design professional you are. They don’t necessarily have to be proper blog posts, even journal entries that are conversations you are having with yourself around the various things you need to keep up with as a masters student pursuing Service Design or anything for that matter. This constant method of reflecting on and questioning my previous work to inform my current thought process allowed me to understand that my professional inclinations as a Product designer and to a large extent even as a textile designer, benefited from having a brief structure of the kind of project I am undertaking. This means, that it is important for me know the scale of usability- bespoke, user centric or universal; Scale of impact- Single user or systemic; and finally Time of application or delivery determining the scale of speculation.

For me it was very important to narrow down on the three before identifying the final direction as it helped me asses the four contrasting directions that I had landed on my plate in the previous week using the Self and Peer Assessment Activity. In a general context I laid down the following as the circumference for my brain to think within:

  1. Social domain for public spaces- It does not imply that the project omits economical aspects whereas it could be explored as a medium to apply economic design thinking in the social realm. This implies that it would focus on systemic thinking for user centric design.

  2. Needs to be critical and allow room for rethinking and re-defining aspects of urban living through various typologies that make us human. This implies the use of Speculative research tools that rely on basing the future on past trends.

  3. Should be participatory to the extent of constructing, employing and maintaining the delivery of service driven solutions to make its consumption sustainable over time and not act as a one night stand.

While the above established the approach I want to undertake, I also did a personal activity where I tried to lay down my understanding of the urban space I am working in- London based on the projects that I have worked on as part of the MA Service Design course over the past nine months.The following is a list of key things I decided I need to remember:

Ways of Working and User Centred Project:

Working on briefs assigned by the Camden Borough I was able to understand that London is a multi cultural urban mammoth that has to keep serving to all unique interests of her citizens across the distinctly diverse boroughs and neighbourhoods. Through these projects I also learnt, London is a historical city that has emerged from various difficulties in the past like The Great Fire, the fall of the Empire, Economic battles and more. It is now faced with carbon neutrality and justice in the process of delivering the same.

Collaborative Unit & Design Futures:

The London Borough of Newham assigned MA Service Design students with an opportunity to explore the issues of different kinds of poverty in the area with the aim of determining a plan of action to reduce the impacts of this social evil. This project developed an understanding of political, representative, social justice related domains in the city and also helped understand the importance of partnerships in aiding design thinking and solution delivery. They played a key role in developing my knowledge of nature of stakeholders- professionals and institutions that a designer needs to work with to deliver social level solutions for people.

These two activities helped me to revisit one of my personal findings from the Collaborative Unit, working with the Newham Borough of London that revolves around fuel poverty and how it is a complete misfit with London’s Net zero 2030 plans. My research of a user group- street artists/buskers in the Borough of Camden helped me establish the importance of communities and public spaces in bringing about social change and the two of them put together gave me a narrative for targeted reading from definitive sources:

“The past few years have given us the opportunity to rethink the ways in which we come together as communities and indulge in urban life. As designers we often ignore the aspects of necessities as “commonalities” between people from diverse social groups in building communities that reconvene in the post pandemic world.”

As a service designer, I feel the importance is in having conversations with numerous stakeholders which defines our nature of work. I believe we should be driven to trigger conversations that inform design delivery. The realm of participatory design has been developing in the UK for about 5 decades and reading about the same to develop asset maps for the past projects has enabled me to understand the impact that a design professional can bring about using service design methodologies.

I will be taking on the task of formulating a possible direction in the coming few weeks. Till then


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