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Week 7 – Evolving projects

Friday, October 23rd, 2009


This week, we have been absorbing some of the feedback given to us during our week in St.Stephen’s Green; part of Innovation Dublin. As a result of this, all of the projects are now being reviewed. Some are going back to their roots; while others are going to have to change significantly. It’s all a process of evolution.

The latter part of the week was spent preparing for prototyping and presenting the projects in Clongriffin. Prototypes were centered around validating the projects with Clongriffin residents; finding out what they think of them. Friday was the deadline for moving the Designing Dublin office to Clongriffin. It was a rush to the finish and there wasn’t much time to share what each group was prototyping. In the end we made it across the line around 6pm.

» Ken

Week 7 – Learning from others

Monday, October 19th, 2009


During this week we reflected on all of the learning’s taken from our week at 15 Stephen’s Green. By interacting and collaborating with the people who visited us, we were able to gather a wide variety of fascinating and abstract ideas.

It was exciting to see the amount of interest we had acquired from the outside world! Our promotion of the event worked well; and that in itself was really encouraging. We had massive amounts of useful information given to us by outsiders. A term Vanessa used to help us along was ‘Rummage in the trash can, find what’s useful and put it together’ — very inspiring.

We had two talks with two really great guys during this week also. First up was Declan Hayden, an integration officer from Dublin City Council. He gave us a great insight into how important it was to include all members of the community and this reminded us to ensure we hadn’t forgotten about the diverse nature of Clongriffin itself!

The second speaker was Ré Dubhthaigh, of radarstation. Ré shared some wonderful examples of design thinking which really was cool! Really encouraging to hear from someone who believes in our work and could offer us some really valuable feedback.

Overall we it was a great experience. The only complaint being that we had to repeat ourselves constantly! However, this did teach us to cut out the less important stuff and narrow down our projects into clear and concise points of explanation. This was a great learning as it really helped us to get better at explaining our ideas.

» Sarah

Week 6 – The Poster Machine

Saturday, October 17th, 2009


On the Saturday of the Innovation Dublin week we ran a creative workshop called The Poster Machine. The idea was very simple and fun, and broke down into 3 easy steps:

  1. Jot down the answer to a thought provoking question (for example: When did you last surprise yourself? or What is your wish for Dublin?)
  2. The Blue Peter moment – build your answer to the question using pipecleaners, lego, paint, glue, lollypop sticks, balloons, crayons, coloured paper, crepe paper, etc.
  3. Take a photo of what you’ve made so that the photo be one of many images on the wall forming a collage or mural of images, wishes and colours.

As we had handed flyers out in St. Stephen’s Green to many families with small children, the workshop quickly became a throbbing hive of inventive activity as people, both young and not so young, got stuck into creating. The really interesting point was that this idea was so simple and so effective. Fun, creation and play connected people in a light and spontaneous way.

» Sophie

Week 6 – Listening to learn

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Learning 1

A huge learning this week was how to present to and communicate with the public, bearing in mind that they may have no prior knowledge of the projects and where they are located. If you can’t explain the idea clearly, maybe there’s something not quite right about it. In addition, managing and delivering information in bite sized chunks is vital in order not to loose your audience.

It was also very interesting to see how people react to visuals (posters, maps, photos, printed text) in relation to spoken word. The idea of presenting without any visual support would be very challenging and argues for the importance in getting communication right.

Another very important learning was how to listen attentively and be able to interpret the feedback and suggestions given. Two way dialogue brought a lot of insightful information from many different people.

» Sophie

Week 6 – The sounding team

Thursday, October 15th, 2009


On Thursday morning the sounding team payed us a visit. The sounding team is comprised of a variety of people with experience working in a number of areas. This team are invited to give critical feedback on all of our work. By doing so, they help us to see our projects in a more grounded and realistic context.

Learning how to receive criticism is central to how we work. In order to improve what we are designing for the people who will be using it, it is vitally important that we be able to: ask the right questions; listen carefully to what’s being said; and re-think the idea accordingly. Inviting people to challenge our thinking helps us to improve our ideas and enriches our work.

» Sophie

Week 6 – Innovation Dublin

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Inspiration picture

This week, we relocated from our studio on Ormond Quay to No. 15 St. Stephen’s Green. For the next 10 days we will be going public as part of innovation dublin. On Wednesday, having spent Monday and Tuesday moving, we opened our doors, inviting anyone and everyone to collaborate and contribute to the projects we are working on. So far, the curiosity, feedback and enthusiasm from the public has been overwhelmingly positive which was very encouraging. A big thanks to everyone who has participated!

» Sophie

Week 4 – Designing Dublin (Home cooking)

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Designing Dublin apple pie

We have a bit of a sweet tooth here at Designing Dublin and we’d like to think of ourselves as gourmands when it comes to various different formats of sugar. We’ve eaten a lot of cakes and biscuits since we’ve started but none quite so yummy in my tummy’s opinion as this apple pie — perfectly baked and customised by Eilish.

» Susan

Week 4 – Tobias Lau & thinking big

Monday, September 28th, 2009


This week, we were visited by Tobias Lau who, alongside our creative director Vanessa Ahuactzin, worked on Bruce Mau’s project Massive Change. With his background of ethnography, Tobias is interested in studying and understanding people’s behaviour; as a designer, he is interested in how it can be influenced. This type of approach to design is often referred to as user-centred design and it is key component of the Design Thinking process.

This is the type of approach Tobias’ own company Socialaction uses. In the afternoon, Tobias presented us with some examples of his work and demonstrated how this approach can impact on social behaviour.

Tobias reminded us that we all posses the potential to effect the world that we live in. Showing us an image of an old Mahatma Ghandi, he said ‘People often say this guy brought peace to India but…’ flashing another image of Ghandi as a young man, he said ‘it wasn’t, it was this guy’.

Then, standing in front of an image of a grey haired Albert Einstein, Tobias said ‘…and people think this guy came up with the theory of relativity but…’ showing us a much younger Einstein, he said ‘it wasn’t, it was this guy.’

These images seem so far removed from the image we have of ourselves but they serve to illustrate how we all have the ability to change our world or even our universe! It is important to remember that these men, that enacted such huge change in the world, began life just the same as ourselves.

Adding to this, Tobius gave us the formula:

Think Big > Start Small > Scale Fast

So big ideas need to be made scalable. Thinking back on our experience with the KaosPilots, this reminded us of the importance of prototyping ideas. He also helped us learn that, in order to improve the interactive experience, the prototypes themselves need to be clearly thought through and well articulated.

» Eilish » Brian

Week 3 – Fair well KaosPilots

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


We spent an incredible week with the legendary KaosPilots. With their culture of play, freedom and fun, the pilots brought with them a new way of learning. For the five days that we collaborated with them, they taught us about process design and challenged us to start seeing things differently.

The KaosPilots’ visit had a profound effect on many members of the Designing Dublin team. Sometimes chaotic, often times challenging the KaosPilots brought their own unique energy to the project that has helped shape us as a group.

On Thursday night, we were delighted to be able to celebrate Guinness’ 400th birthday with them. To Arthur! — and the KaosPilots.

In the back:
Lauren, Maje, Paul, Eilish, Kristen, Sophie, Jeremy, Ken, Kristen, Eimear, Daniel, Brian, Rachel, Celine, Thijs, Vannesa, Luke, Aileen, Susan, Geert, Deirdre, Emmanuell.

In the front:
Marcos, Jens, Nicholas, Emma, Anniken, Daniel, Nicki, Sarah, Deirdre, Peter, Jim, Nathanial.

» Emmanuell » Eilish

Week 3 – What we learned with the KaosPilots

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

During our collaboration with the Kaos pilots their original processes they had designed in Aarhus were developed and implement on the unsuspecting public of Clongriffin. These processes were designed around 9 questions that Designing Dublin prepared for the KaosPilots; based on the initial research Designing Dublin did in Clongriffin the week before.

In the previous post, we talked a little about processes — what they are and how they work — and gave an example of a process designed by Susan, Sarah and Jens. But there were many more processes designed and here, we would like to talk a little more about them.


Clongriffin was? Clongriffin is? Clongriffin will be?
Prototype: Postcards

This process involved making blank postcards with specially chosen images on the back (eg. basket of fruit, picture of a beach, vegetables). Residents of Clongriffin were asked to imagine what the area would be like in 10 years time and invited to write a postcard to a friend telling them about their experience. This processes produced powerful and inspiring stories.

» Celine » Rachel » Peter


How do we increase the vibrancy of experiences and encounters?
Prototype: Outdoor living room

This group ran the Living Room project on the main street of Clongriffin. The single strongest request from feedback with the people of Clongriffin was for a social space, as there is currently no café, pub or community center. This process created a prototype of a public social space which surprised and engaged with the people using the main street.

» Eimear » Susan » Jens


How do you open up and connect Clongriffin?
Prototpe: Drawing/Expressing

This group asked children in the local primary school (St Francis of Assisi) how they moved around Clongriffin. The children (aged 4-6 and 10-12) were invited to visualize and draw how they might like to see themselves move around in the furture. The work was exhibited as part of the Café project in the evening.

» Nicky » Sophie » Jim


How can we reinvent spaces into places?
Prototpe: Café/Exhibition

This process engaged with the children in the local primary school (Educate together). The group asked children to re-imagine spaces around Clongriffin. Children were given photographs of spaces around Clongriffin and asked to re-imagine them using collage and colour. The finished work was then displayed in an open space on the main street. The results were extraordinary. A mixture of children, teenagers and adults came to the exhibition, interacted with one another and produced more of their own artwork.

» Peter » Lauren » Emma » Maya


How do we enable expression, talents, experiences, activities, beauty, love/joy?
Prototype: Giant newspaper

This team created a Giant Newspaper named theThe Clongriffiner which they then moved around various spaces in Clongriffin. The process enabled Clongriffiners to express their experience and understanding of the area.

» Nathaniel » Luke » Marcos » Aileen


How can we facilitate cross cultural exchanges?
Process: Discussion

Designed a process to engage Clongriffiners in a deep discussion about cultural exchange in Clongriffin and ways in which cultural exchange can be fostered.

» Eilish » Thjis


How can Clongriffin invent and utilise new economic opportunities?
Process: Discussion

Engaged a group of people from Clongriffin in a discussion about the potential economic assets in the area and how Clongriffiners could empower themselves more economically. To focus the discussion, the team used the metaphor of an engine, which they had prepared as a drawing on a piece of paper. During the course of the discussion Peter, Emmanuel, Ken and Brian filled this image with words and phrases they heard during the discussion.

» Peter » Emmanuel » Ken » Brian

How do we turn the passion that’s in dispute into passion for the future?
Process: Metaphor/Discussion

For this process, Daniel had designed a visual piece which involved three walls. This team invited people from Clongriffin to talk about some of the issues they were experiencing. The information was then harvested and written up on each wall.

» Daniel » Deirdre

DD_Sept_Nov 039

How do you help people understand the potential of the environment of Clongriffin?
Process: Walking tour

This team asked a group of professionals to visually express alternative uses for spaces as part of a walking tour of the hidden spaces in Clongriffin.

» Jeremy » Rachel » Geert