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MDES 07 - Facilitainment, Mid-terms, and the Future

'Hold Up' Creativity Workshop

Every week, we bring you Masters in Design for Social Impact (MDES) happenings. This is MDES 07 by Hanna Rasper.


“Observation starts with an eye”. Monday morning. Research and methodology. Yasmine Abbas’ class: this session is all about how to use our eyes properly. We practice from asking what, over how, speculating and finding possible interpretations for why based on an observation. Taking the approach of human centered design, here we are interested in things that do not work. They might provide opportunities for design. With a user journey map, often used in service design, they can be pinned down in pain points.

It’s Monday night: event time! Amy hosts the very first SenseDrink within the Design for Social Impact program at Cité Universitaire about how to engage students for social change. (*We also had free dinner. Based on research insights, students have a strong need for free dinner.) An evening full of fun, deep thinking, questioning everything and new connections between skills and needs. Thanks everyone!


We finally get to hang out at SenseSpace again, discuss logistics with Sabine and walk through our own journey map with the social entrepreneurship course: interview, field exploration, defining a challenge, organizing a creativity workshop (Hold Up), prototyping solution, testing and iteration on it and finally, tadaaaaa!
Poor Alessandro finds an almost empty room when he’s ready to teach us Rhino for 3D modelling on Wednesday morning. SMarti representing the MDES student body who, went to DRAFT ateliers accidentally. Well, well…

This week is full of MakeSense activities! In the framework of the course ‘Personal Leadership and Development’, students must facilitate a workshop format. SMarti and I are thrilled to organize a ‘Hold Up’ branding format for the social entrepreneurs Bienfair. With a bunch of fresh brains we run through a whole diverge, converge and output process in 2.5 hours! We ended up with three amazing brand visual identities for Bienfair which, we could not have come up with in our own design echo chamber. Thank you! Creating something together and unleashing creativity magically connects people right away. So the evening swaps over to happy beers and mingling. (Oh, oh, design opportunity here: how might I tackle the post-it graveyard problem in brainstorming sessions?)

It’s Thursday morning and we better get ready to have our minds blown away. Better: get ready for a sneakpeek to the future. Better: imagine how the world could be. Maurizio Serena takes us to the world of future strategies, trends, speculative design, and scenarios. He is currently developing a methodology for future scenario building and mapping that will be published soon. (We need to be a bit patient. Or learn Spanish, since this will be the first version). So we ended up with more questions than answers.

Ça veut dire: we are right on track. How is our world now? What trends are out there? How can we train and use our intuition? What could a shift in values look like? Will this still resonate with the system we are currently living in? How will it change? What will it look like if we design for that? How will it make you feel? What if we bypass the user and aim for radical innovation? To be continued.

Maurizio Serena in action

Filled with this energy we slip right away into design thinking mid-term assessments. To our dean and program chair Linda and MakeSense course director Sabine, we present our learning from the past 6 weeks. Our required readings: human-centered design toolkit from IDEO.org and change by design by IDEO founder Tim Brown. To spice up reading and expand our horizon we held a weekly book club and report on the fields we looked into: service design thinking, the true cost, speculative everything, lean start up, field guide for hcd… So much knowledge! Best split up and shared among many brains.

The week ends with the second part of Aleksandra’s block chain workshop, which is actually part of the MA/MFA Transdisciplinary New Media program. But Rica and I tend to sneak into this class. Due to the diverse professional backgrounds of the students, we dive into various ideas using block chain as a base for: music marketing, universal basic income, independent system in Brazil’s favelas, sales platform for art pieces.

Happy brain relax and recharge this weekend! (Or mid-term thesis presentation prep for Monday…)