On Friday after continuing work in the morning, early in the afternoon we had the final presentations. We were presenting our draft proposals, including a pitch, a physical model, boards of cross-sections, sketches, stakeholder diagram and business canvas and any other information we deemed important. We were to present to not just the students in the workshop, UTS staff and DUT staff, but also other DUT professors and researchers, our empathy interviewees including the owners of the mine site, and other interested individuals who found our classroom.
State change in representation had a huge impact on our preparation for presentation and especially the presentation itself. On the Friday morning work was still continuing. Files went off to the printers, and returned later that morning on boards ready for presentation. A sketch of our development which was to be attached to a board showing the site as it currently stood was having the final touches put on. Handouts for the end of the presentation, with further details on our proposed revenue streams and marketing ideas, were printed alongside our vouchers and some supporting documents. The physical model finally, carefully, lovingly, was finished. As a team we discussed and practiced our presentation. Then I practiced my own part some more, and more.
We wanted to communicate the idea that community collaboration was more effective in solving the problem of the site than individual voices. Harnessing our linguistic diversity as an aspect of state change, we decided to communicate through representation, specifically acting. Three of us, individually speaking our native languages of English, Spanish and Chinese, began our presentation. A mess of multi-lingual words resulted in confusion from amongst the audience, effectively conveying our idea and drawing the audiences’ interest into our presentation. In addition, our presentation was wholly bi-lingual with English and Chinese spoken, and both languages included in the handouts. The aim of this was to break down state change barriers and give an informative and interesting presentation to all of the guests and audience.
During our presentation we made extensive use of representation to convey our ideas. This was due not only to our own state change lingo-cultural barriers as a team, but also due to the lingo-cultural barriers between us as a team and the guests in the audience. We made effective use of boards with our logo, diagrams with minimal words, images of our value propositions for each of the key stakeholders, diagram with minimal words representing our innovative voucher system, sketches of the development from different angles, cross-sections of the development. On each board we had ensured that our logo was present, to unify the presentation. The logo was also on the handouts for continuity, and the vouchers themselves provided a unique mode of representation to convey the idea of our voucher system. In addition there was our spectacular physical model.
At the end of the presentations we had some question time with another team and the audience. The guests then voted as to which draft proposal for the development of the site they thought was best. Obviously I am pleased to be able to say that our team, team six, while admittedly it was narrow, won.
Both I and my UTS teammate Cristian agreed that the level of work produced by our DUT teammates, both creatively, innovatively and professionally, was exceptional. I was also impressed by their attitudes towards the project, the research, empathy, ideation and design processes and their ability to collaborate across state change barriers. Their hard-working attitude was particularly inspiring to me. Not to leave out Cristian, who I thought also produced amazingly creative, innovative and professional work. I honestly felt that it was an honour to work as a part of such a brilliant team for the week.
I am definitely looking forward to seeing my DUT teammate’s and other DUT students from the workshop in June, when they visit us here in Sydney at the u.lab studio. Not only to be able to work with them again but also to take them out for meals, although I cannot match the price for quality that we had in Dalian. But, given some research, some empathy work, some ideation, and who knows what plans we could come up with for eating well while they are here.
The workshop week was an opportunity to me multiple times over. The opportunity to visit China, to work on a project there, to see Dalian, to work on a development site like the Pao Ai mine pit, to work with such talented, professional and really very likable individuals. Even the opportunities I encountered to gain a little extra experience, time and unexpected contacts in different parts of China when my flights were delayed. To work in a design thinking based, innovative, entrepreneurial, cross-disciplinary and intercultural team for a project, even under such intense conditions, perhaps in part because it was under such intense conditions, was an incredible opportunity and one which I cherish.