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Blog 6

Blog 6



In week 8 we talked about biomimetic approaches to architectural design for sustainability.

This give us an inspirational source of possible new innovation for a more sustainable way of design. This building design mimic living organisms, this is great for us this is very smart. When we look to nature on how to design new structures, it helps us have more useful features to the elements. Like the example of how the building works in the same way as a termite, it produces hydrogen efficiently through meta-genomics. The forms of building may mimic the ecosystem an animal lives in, there are reason why animals live like they do it protects them from harsh elements and Mother Nature.


The discussion over our business canvas really gets your mind to thinking of what business you can come up with in a short amount of time. We learned about how our fast fashion culture is very hard on the earth, I think that it gets overlooked until you actually discuss it like we did in our group. We came up with a business idea of how to reuse the fast fashion pieces and how to partner with a nonprofit shelter for women. I think this would be good in the future to be used in a work setting that we needed to brainstorm quickly to come up with ideas to solve current problems within the workplace.


Ted talk Paul Bennett

He talks about design that it doesn’t have to be grand gestures, it can be small universal ones.

When you are in the hospital all you stare at is the ceiling at the crappy white ceiling tiles and its depressing. That’s all you see for the days you lay there, people don’t even realize it that’s what it’s like to be a patient .It’s not about huge change it’s about making small things happen that will makes a huge difference. He took a little bicycle mirror and they put it on hospital beds, this gave them sort of a rearview mirror to talk and interact with nurses. The good ideas are so staring us in the face that we sometimes miss it completely.  The nurses starting jumping on board to help, they started decorating the ceilings of the patient’s rooms. They changed the entry way into the rooms, so that it signifies a more home life feeling there personal space. The used white boards across the walls to write notes on for the sick patient’s. We assume that if someone else did it that it is okay for us to do it too “If your sister jumps in the lake doesn’t mean you have to too.”


I would like to design interiors of classrooms or bedroom interior for children with ADHD. I chose this because I can relate to, me being an adult with ADHD and once a child. It’s hard because you can be very misunderstood, your mind is always going 100 mph thinking about everything so detailed its overwhelming. I would like to have classroom that was very clean and not cluttered with a lot of stuff, having lots of organization. Having chairs that swivel or move around, when I was in high school I sat on a huge ball. It helped a lot because I could be quietly moving and not disturbing the other students around me. Organization is key when it comes to children with ADHD it helps them think more clearly, their mind is already chaos. They need all the structure they can get in a learning facility with guidance and not a lot of distractions.

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blog 6-Burks

I had very mixed feelings about doing the in class activity with the business canvas model. I feel like we do the same thing over and over again in this class, which is choosing a problem to solve and designing something or like Tuesday a business to solve that specific problem. I would almost rather choose one problem and have a larger project in which we really find ways and create a “business” to solve it because each week our group finally comes up with something cool that we could really look into more and learn more but we are only given about 30 minutes to come up with something. Anyway, I really liked our idea, which was to separate waste water and work with a company that creates water purification tablets called PureMadi. I learned a few different things that I did not know previously from this specific problem, one of which was that you can separate and break down waste water. I thought it was an interesting and innovative idea, but I did not know that it was actually possible. I also learned about our partnering company and the way in which they are addressing one of the life principles of using waste (water) as a resource by using their purification tablets so they can use it. I’m honestly not really sure how I personally would be able to use any of the ideas or information I learned from this activity because it is not really what I am interested in. One thing that I do think could be useful however would be the connections and the way the activity made us think about every aspect of the business and how to connect them all to make sure the business was sustainable as well as innovative. That is one thing I do appreciate about this class is it is constantly pushing the boundaries I have set up in my mind to get myself to think out of the box. I find myself focusing on the little details within a problem and a solution that can actually affect the overall outcome in a really big way, which is similar to what Paul Bennett talked about during his TED talk. He talked about empathic design and putting yourself in the shoes of someone else to design better for them, which I feel like our partnering company was really good at. They thought about how hard it would be to be without water and came up with a solution from there. Empathic design can and is groundbreaking when you make it that way, but like Paul talks about it can also be really simple and small as well. I think the company that my learning community came up with on Tuesdays class does just what lectures have taught us and that is being environmentally oriented but also being socially oriented because it is helping humans as well. I think helping the people around you in an empathetic way is really a cool way to give back, so if I were to help design something for people I am associated with I feel like it would be the baby boomer generation and designing a store layout and merchandising it well, just because I feel like we have been focusing on that generation for the past 3 years I have been in the college of Human Sciences. From designing a custom furniture store in merchandising strategies in retail, to designing a store and clothing in visual merchandising all for this generation I believe I would have enough knowledge and information from the research I have done to continue to create empathically for this generation. How I would go about doing this is continuing what we have been taught and making things easily accessible and available for the consumer that makes shopping enjoyable. Like the website designing with people talks about one method is “Designing for, with, or by people” which is based on human factors, so this meaning that it is keeping in mind what the people needs and designing what they need with them to make sure that the needs that they have are being met by whatever product or service you are creating. All of these things have in common that you as a designer for certain if not all generations have to put yourself in the shoes of your target market and think about their needs before you begin the design process. This class has definitely helped me realize that and work on shaping my thought process to go to that, rather than what I like and what I am drawn too.


-Lauren Burks

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Blog 6

Blog 6 Week 8


The Business Canvas Model my learning community created was an idea we came up with, centered around nature related design. We had the idea to combine and facilitate a relationship between a boutique and the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York City. In store visual aesthetic decorations/merchandise are temporary and changes frequently with the seasons merchandising then thrown out. In hindsight this is wasteful and not sustainable. However our new relationship with the MOMA would help us acquire the museums retired exhibits and it would then be used for visual merchandising in our store. We would also hope that the exhibits would inhibit some sort of natural aesthetic, which would help consumers shopping in the boutique to have a better experience and relieve stress. This in the end would help build two industries relationships, reduce the amount of waste within in store visual merchandise used for decoration, and help consumers experience.


While learning about empathic design, I felt connected to the discussion because this is something everyone can relate to and has experienced. I think a large skewed problem in our society is that most are not aware of the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for an individual, while empathy is the ability to understand or try to understand exactly what that individual is going through. I wish our society lived a more empathy-centered lifestyle, which would in the end funnel into a more empathic design related creations and options. Instead, we live a market driven society, which is fiscally conservative, but it makes you think of ways to combine the two? This also relates to the business canvas model on how we were thinking.

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Blog 6

This week was beneficial to me and my growing process in the field of interior design because the importance of empathic design is something emphasized on often in our classes. As an interior designer, it is important that we understand how each individual will use a space and interact with that space. There is no better way to design for the most diverse population possible than my stepping into the shoes of our users and this is what empathic design is all about. In class, we discussed the difference between market driven design and empathic design. Market driven design is all about focusing on the trends in aesthetics and function, while also paying attention to price. On the other hand, empathic design is focused on the needs and experiences of the users who will be involved in the design. Paul Bennett is one individual who appreciates the importance of empathic design and realizes that design these days tend to overlooking very common universal problems. He discusses the importance of bringing the consumers into the process of creating products and how small is the new big. He proves one point by simply showing a video of a hospital ceiling. A health care client asked him to describe their patient experience. He explained how many people would create diagrams and charts to try and illustrate the experience of the patients. However, a video that illustrates what the patients physically see themselves is the most powerful way to explain their experience. Paul teaches us that stepping into the shoes of the user is the best way to understand how they are interacting with a space and better understand what changes need to be made to make users as comfortable as possible.

Speaking about empathic design in interior design, our studio class actually asked us to step into the shoes of users that we will be designing for on a daily basis. As an interior designer, our goal is to create spaces that are universal meaning, every individual can walk into that space and use it efficiently and be comfortable. With that being said, we have to focus on those who are disabled. We were asked to rent out a wheelchair and wheel around with is for one day and see what challenges we face in society. After doing so, I now realize just how difficult it is to complete daily tasks when you are forced to be in a wheelchair. If I were to design a store in which I kept in mind the needs of the disabled, I would make sure of a couple of things. For one, I would make the space very open so easy mobility is made possible for both those on their feet and those in wheelchairs and walkers. Along with this, I would also make the flooring even so there is not difficult wheeling the chairs across the space. Lastly, it is important that countertops and all products in a store are in clear sight of those who are lower to the ground. After having the opportunity to be in the shoes of those who are disabled, I now am able to appreciate empathic design much more than before and will make sure to use these lessons in my future as an interior designer.

Speaking about lessons that I will be able to use in the future, the business canvas model that we completed in class was something that was beneficial to my growth as an interior designer. In our field, working with others and on a time crunch is something that is expected on a daily basis. With that being said, this activity we completed with our learning communities taught me how to combine unique ideas given by others and use them all to create one complete and efficient solution. Most fields now a day require that you work with others and brainstorm together and this class has given us many opportunities to work with others in solving problems. This model is very realistic because it forces you to think before you act. It asks you to think about all aspects of a business and make sure that everything is laid out right in front of you. While asking you to have everything laid out, it also allows you to think of problems that can be faced in the beginning rather than being faced with them later on down the road.

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Blog 6

Becoming Business Aware

It is week eight and class is going great. I am finally starting to make connections with the lessons. This week we talked about a business canvas model. I learned many different things from the discussion. First, I thought my classmates had some very create business ideas. Second, I could see how we are growing as a class and coming up with ideas that could work. I really like this in class exercise. The exercise allowed us to be creative and taught us how we can always remember to relate a non-profit. My group came up with a way to help ocean pollution, make money and help a nonprofit. I think it is interesting how everyone came up with different ideas in the short amount of time we had. I will use this in the future because I think it is important for companies to give back to non-profits when possible. This got me thinking about ways to do both make money and give back. This way of thinking will make me a stronger businessperson in the future.

Next, we covered Emphatic Design, which is all about paying attention to users feelings towards a product. The ted talks this week was very interesting. I really thought the flying robot idea was neat. It helped me to understand empathic design better because you could see exactly what the flying robot saw. I also found the Ted talk when the guy was in the hospital bed looking at nothing but the ceiling interesting because that was an idea I had not thought of. Emphatic Design is little things some designers struggle to see. It just makes sense to lie in the bed and look at what patients see everyday if you are trying to improve that situation.

This concept is not new to me however; in visual merchandising we just finished up creating a fashion line for ages 50+. The teacher had us read some readings about people older than us so we can learn about what they go through on a day-to-day basis. Next, we had to interview someone that was in the baby boomer generation. Finally, our group came together and discussed the different interviews and came up with exactly what baby boomers want. A few examples my group came up with was that baby boomers struggle to button and unbutton small buttons so if possible we need to edit out the buttons on our garments. Another example was the fact that baby boomers are “still” young and do not like to dress old so we needed to keep that in mind when designing garments. I really enjoyed this project and felt like we really did a good job stepping into the baby boomers shoes. I really thought this went with the in class discussion and the in-class exercise.

If I could choose whom I would want to design for I think I would choose famous actors. I would want to improve their shopping experience by making it more private so they would not have to go out in the public to shop. I would want to do this because I know if I was to step into famous actors shoes I would not want to be photographed every time I went shopping. I like to relax when shopping and I do not like to dress like I am about to go out on the red carpet every time I want to shop. I would go about this by creating secret entrances and exits to my store that only the actors know about. I would not make my store visible. My store would be an underground “private” shop.

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Blog 6

During week 8, we wrapped up talking about biomimicry. I enjoyed learning about biomimicry, industrial ecology and nature centered design because that was my learning community’s LOLA show topic. It gave me great ideas and taught me how to embrace theories and how to push boundaries. The Business Canvas Model was something I had never seen or used before. It was very stressful to come up with something in such a short amount of time during class, but it’s definitely something to think about if I ever wanted to open my business. It really makes you think about all the different channels you must cover to have a successful store and I think if we would have had more time, our learning community would have came up with some really great ideas. I have never really thought my future plans would be me opening my own store, but seeing one of my close friends with the same degree I have pursue opening her own store in the next few months, it’s been something I’ve been thinking about. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to open my own store, but now I know what areas need to be covered and how to brainstorm my ideas.

Empathic design is something I’m really excited to talk about these next few weeks. I find myself being a very empathetic person because my mom is and I’ve grown up and learned by watching her. I felt really inspired by listening to Jasmine Burton’s TED Talk on how to improve sanitation. She mentioned that 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to toilets. It really puts in perspective how lucky we are and we don’t even realize it. It makes me so sad to learn that girls drop out of schools in developing countries because they don’t have access to toilets when they hit puberty. She has a lot of people that ask her why she cares so much or wants to work with sanitation and toilets and I think it just comes down to what your passion is as a person. I love helping people and I love the feeling I get when I make someone happy. Compassion can be shown no matter what race, gender or religion you are. As product designers and after being taught in our classes about sustainable designs and practices and to push boundaries, there’s so many problems out there that need solutions. It just has to impact and bother us enough to get out and do something about it.

Growing up, my memories of shopping have been with me, my sisters, mom and my grandma. Today when we go, it’s hard for my grandma to get around the mall so she usually just has to find a table or couch and sit outside the stores while we go in and shop because it’s hard for her to get around and walk that much. We could push her around in a wheelchair or something but I think in stores, I would just design my layout to have more sitting areas inside the store around each section. We want our grandma to be included and be able to be there while we shop so she can have the same shopping experience we do and I love for her to give her input on clothes so if she was able to sit in the section where we are shopping, that would be so helpful. That’s just me wanting my grandma to be involved and having empathy for the fact that she can’t get around like she used to. There’s usually sitting areas in stores,  but they’re either hidden or back in corners and I would incorporate the sitting areas in the displays by making them visually pleasing and tie them into the designs.

I look forward to learning more about empathic design these next few weeks and I hope to get inspired to create something wonderful for those in need.

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