Day 2 – “A picture is worth a thousand words”


For the past three days I’ve been thinking a lot about communication – it’s not one of those things you can not think about when you are in a foreign country and not only you do not understand people around you, but you can’t even read a menu or read a map. I never had this problem before, I never felt I could not make other people understand what I was after, what I needed, what I wanted to give. I naively thought that going from Milan to Sydney was a big step. But here in Dalian the more I am immersed in this new world and culture and the more I understand what it really means to travel “far way from home”.

The communication within my team is made easy by the fact that they all made the effort to learn English – I wonder how it would be if they didn’t. I have to say that this need to communicate and get my point across, has made me notice how much I can become addicted to pen and paper. Sketching always does the trick! It’s true that “a picture is worth a thousand words” – and a great example of this is represented by the prototype we designed during the last phase of the 5X5 stoker we did in class before lunch. We all had great ideas and we all had our way of expressing them but due to our diversities we needed a little bit of planning before execution. It was great to see Micheal and I communicate on a piece of paper sketching rough concepts one on top of the other, adding value step by step – it was like a conversation where the leading actors were not words but lines. The outcome was great!


Another funny episode that just now comes to mind is my “pharmacy adventure”. Unfortunately I’m getting sick, to the point that I can’t breathe properly. After the stoker, instead of following my team for a rushed lunch I decided to go to the nearest pharmacy buy some medicine and a nasal spray. I was completely unprepared but after a good ten minutes acting to the pharmacist how I felt I was able to gather aspirin and cough drops – but no nasal spray. I thought I had no chance of success, but then I drew it and there it was! I was so proud of myself, and so were Betty and Xanadu seeing me come back with all I was looking for.

@ the site …

This afternoon when we went back to the site to speak to the locals for our empathy interviews, I really wanted to participate in the process, but the language barrier was to strong to hope that I could actually engage with the people. What I could do though, was buy a pack of cigarettes to offer to whomever had a few minutes to chat with us and I could also record on my iPhone all the conversations Micheal and Xanadu had.

While I was listening to the people speak, I was observing how they moved trying to guess their feelings about the questions they were being asked. I was very surprised to see that it was very difficult for me to read their body language – so different from mine.




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