Fast Projects

andreas-gursky

Caption: Andreas Gursky ‘s 99 Cent II, Diptychon (2001): one of the world’s most expensive photograph, sold in 2007 for £1,700,000. The secret of this image is to look at an ordinary and apparently insignificant situation with a different perspective, similar has to be the job of a Good Design Manager.

Is it possible to work on 3 different projects from A to Z in 3 days? In successful design studios working under pressure is a leitmotiv, and as a result design management students have been trained in order to experience how is to work with strict timing in order to produce different outcomes in various creative areas such as participatory, service and product design. In this article positive aspects and drawbacks of working on fast and condensed projects will be analyzed..

The first project consisted in designing in couple the ‘toy of the year’ through the ‘heuristic ideation technique’. Given a matrix crossing the product line and the type of play, teams were expected to expand the matrix and fill the gaps in order to come up with an innovative and disruptive idea. The winning project was ‘Mary the fairy’, a fairy doll- drone able to talk and take pictures controlled by a Bluetooth whist-band. The second project was related to service design, and students divided in 4 groups has been asked to analyze a café through the eyes of their assigned ‘persona’s experience, analyzing her customer journey, identifying the positive and negative aspects of the service and consequently developing a new idea to improve one of them. The four teams worked on different café’s elements, depending on their persona’s needs, with many different but interesting results.The last project was directed to the creation of a  brief for a creative agency to brand and package a new range of FMCG Products, through the research process of seeking design solutions. This has been developed through several stages that involved market research, packaging audit, consumer insight and final protyping.

Even though each project had different characteristics and particular dynamics, team working and research methods followed similar paths, challenging students to organize their process and produce effective and relevant outputs. Normally these projects require at least few weeks to be done, but what has been stimulating was the rhythm that had to be sustained and the speed requested in order to come up with fresh ideas through a quick research. A particularly good aspect of this high-speed projects was the possibility to see the beginning and the end of a process from a morning to the evening, which might be useful for a real studio as well as a tool to evaluate the worthlessness of a potential project to develop.  On the other hand, some could argue that the quality of research was not high and the final ideas with more time, would have been better developed and expanded.

In conclusion, fast projects are challenging, stressful and might be satisfying, they allow to see the realization of an idea in few hours and they are a perfect training to stretch the mind and make it more creative and opened, but the lack of time spent in research is probably the most relevant disadvantage.

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