Past – competency development

Three years ago, I started my study Industrial Design because I wanted to combine theory with practice. For the past years I have had the chance to develop myself as a designer in many different ways and learn from a lot of interesting and very skilled teachers. I have developed myself as a designer through the competency model used by my Department (‘Competency framework’, n.d.). Bellow, I will go further into detail how I developed each of the five areas of expertise and professional skills. For each of the expertise areas, I provide a list of courses that contributed to the development of this expertise. In most courses and learning activities, I have developed multiple areas of expertise. To keep the overview, I only list the courses for an area of expertise if they contributed to the development a great deal.

Creativity & Aesthetics

Design for the Here and the Now – Moment mug at Zwart Wit Koffie

Creativity and Aesthetics are a large part of design, it is probably what most people think about when they think of design. In every project I have done during my studies, I have incorporated this area of expertise one way or another, as the way something looks and feels is always important in my opinion. The first time I applied and consciously worked on this expertise was during the course From Idea to Design. This was the first course of the study where we had to do a design project in teams. We tried to come up with a concept that looked good and that was usable at the same time.
In the second quartile of the first year, I took the course Design for the Here and the Know as an elective. This course really opened my eyes to what Creativity and Aesthetics can mean. The aim of the course was to design a ritual comparable to a Japanese tea ceremony. My group made a reusable coffee mug, the Moment Mug, that included all the little things that make coffee drinking in an espresso bar such a good experience. We thought about every little detail of the cup, and that was reflected in the result. There is still one of the prototypes on display in the coffee shop we collaborated with, Zwart Wit Koffie in Eindhoven.
During Cardboard Modelling, I learned how to use cardboard as a creative tool to explore the interaction and aesthetics of a product. After the course, I have used the principles taught several times, for example during the course Aesthetics of Interaction to prototype the redesigned interactions of a coffee machine.

Courses:

Technology & Realization

Internship – Process: from waste to coffee tray- Copyright Better Future Factory

Turning an idea or a concept into a functioning prototype is one of the things I like most about being a designer. Solving the problems you face when translating an idea into a physical product is something I really enjoy doing. During the course of my study, I have followed courses to improve on several aspects of this expertise area. Before starting the study, I already had some basic knowledge about Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D printing. During the first year of the study, I gathered a basic skill set in programming and working with electronics through the courses Creative Programming and Creative Electronics. Together with the basic courses from the bachelor college, this gave me a good basis to build on in the rest of my study. The course Engineering Design allowed me to combine all these different types of making together with an interdisciplinarity team of students. The rescue robot we build, called Turr (The Ultimate Rescue Robot), saved the most casualties, 15 in total, of all the competing robots. During my internship at Better Future Factory, I got to the chance to gain some knowledge about the process to go from a concept to a product. I learned how to turn my CAD designs into technical drawings that could be used for production. I optimized the production chain for one of the products that were produced in-house and developed one of the production steps for the process together with co-workers.

Courses:

User & Society

Myme

Myme: Design < > Research prototype

Knowing who and what you design for is very important. I first learned this during User-centred Design. In this course we learned how to apply the user-centered design approach, taking the user into account during every step of the process to create a product that is truly about what the user wants and needs. I build on this knowledge during Design for the Here and the Now by making a product, the Moment Mug, that was fully tailored towards the user experience and the creation of a ritual through use. We achieved this by closely working together with a coffee shop in Eindhoven, Zwart Wit koffie, to make sure the experience of the cup was as close to the experience in the shop as possible. We also took into account how it would be for the baristas if a customer used one of these mugs. USE Basic taught me the impact engineers and designers can have on society and it showed me how important it is to design products that have a positive impact. The course Empathy with the User expanded on the theory from User-centred Design teaching more methods to take the user into account and how to apply this. An example of the methods taught during this course is the customer journey where the goal is to get an overview of all the point of contact with the user before, during and after use of the product and how this affects the user satisfaction level and to see where the pain points are in the process.

Courses:

Business & Entrepreneurship

Filming for De Filmstudio

The success of a product depends for a big part on its business model, it needs to offer an improvement over its competitors one way or another. In order to figure out the business model of a company or product, there is the business model canvas developed by Osterwalder and Pigneur (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). For the course Interdisciplinary Innovation, we created a product with the goal to present it on a crowdfunding platform. We came up with a haptic controller that could be connected to any smart home appliance. We presented the result as a Kickstarter page with all the necessary information.
During the course Design Innovation Methods, we worked on improving stUMobiel, a transportation service for seniors by students. We filled in several business models for stUMobiels competitors to gain a better insight in how they operated. We found that the bottleneck for stUMobiel lie in the low number of volunteers, so we made a new business model for the service to gain more volunteers and analyzed how the service needed to operate in order to sustain itself.
For the past two and a half years I have had my own company in the field of photography and videography. This has given me the opportunity to work as a professional with several clients. I have followed several workshops to gain more knowledge on subjects like pricing and running a small business. Having a company forced me to behave as a professional and to always take the clients point of view into account in order to create the value they paid for.

Courses:

Math, Data & Computing

Code and app

Interactive Intelligent Products – Prototype code and interface

During Introduction to Modelling, I learned how to apply the principles from Applied physics and Calculus A to model a simple engineering problem. The case I worked on together with a group was to model the waterjet of a water fountain so that its height would be maximized with most of the water still landing in the basin. For the course Making Sense of Sensors, we gathered data about the activity level of office workers, to see the impact of the weather on their activity. We used publicly available data from the KNMI and compared this to the results we got from the office workers. This taught me how to gather data from various sources. How to clean the data to get a usable dataset and to compare it to data from a different source in order to be able to draw conclusions.
Machine learning is a hot topic nowadays and it provides ample opportunities for designers to incorporate into products and designs. To get a basic understanding of the workings of machine learning and how to use it as a design feature, I followed the course Interactive Intelligent Products. This course taught a number of basic machine learning strategies and together with two others, I made a product concept where we used machine learning to measure the amount of water used from various sources to create awareness about water usage.

Courses:

Design & Research processes

Project 3: Vaesko 3D printer at Dutch Design Week 2018

During the course From Idea to Design, I went through the design process for the first time. Starting with a design brief and developing that into a design concept. We focused on sustainability, specifically on energy and how to get energy from plants through bio-photovoltaics. We researched this process and reached out to a designer in the field. The design process we used was the reflective transformative design process developed by Hummels and Frens (Hummels & Frens, 2009). I have used this process for most projects I have done. I like the freedom to choose activities based on the status of the project. In the course Design for the Here and the Now, and later during Aesthetics of Interaction, I learned Interaction Frogger, a framework for user-product interaction by Wensveen et al. (Wensveen, Djajadiningrat, & Overbeeke, 2004).
During Project 1, we, as a group, applied the knowledge we gained during the basic courses we had followed up to that point. We tested our autonomous bin concept, called BinK, with its users to see how they would react to an autonomous driving bin. Project 3 was by far the most challenging project I had done up to that point. As a group, we decided to simultaneously develop a version of a new 3D printing technology, as well as a concept product that could be made using the technology to show how it could influence society and what possibilities it offered. We based the development of the 3D printer on research done by MIT, albeit with not nearly the same amount of resources. We used Being the Machine by Devendorf and Ryokai to try the technology before we had the 3D printer up and running (Devendorf & Ryokai, 2015). During this project, I found that I enjoy the research through design approach and design research in general.

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References

Competency framework. (n.d.). Retrieved 17 June 2019, from https://studiegids.tue.nl/opleidingen/bachelor-college/majors/industrial-design/competency-framework/

Devendorf, L., & Ryokai, K. (2015). Being the Machine: Reconfiguring Agency and Control in Hybrid Fabrication. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’15, 2477–2486. https://doi.org/10.1145/2702123.2702547

Hummels, C., & Frens, J. (2009). The reflective transformative design process. Proceedings of the 27th International Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI EA ’09, 2655. https://doi.org/10.1145/1520340.1520376

Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Retrieved from https://books.google.nl/books?id=fklTInjiPQAC

Wensveen, S. A. G., Djajadiningrat, J. P., & Overbeeke, C. J. (2004). Interaction frogger: A design framework to couple action and function through feedback and feedforward. Proceedings of the 2004 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems Processes, Practices, Methods, and Techniques – DIS ’04, 177. https://doi.org/10.1145/1013115.1013140