Expressing your ideas gets really hard sometimes, especially when you know that you are trying to explain and use a framework which you just learned; hence the effort becomes greater and the time spent becomes longer, trying to figure out how to work around any possible barriers. I guess that is when your mind becomes more open, and starts working really fast and focused.
This day was daring from the beginning. My team and I agree to meet at seven in the morning to start working on our interview with the stakeholders. At the beginning we were not very sure about where to begin, so we started throwing questions and the knowledge held by each team member; that task took us 2.5 hours, and even after that we were lost. To be truth, even after all the presentations from academics we had on Monday I was not feeling confident with the information I had, nor the basic concepts of the project and several more questions. So I had to go back to the information gathered by Dalian’s students and went through all of it again. I felt well when I noticed that the rest of the teams were doing the same thing, so they brought all those posters and kept them closer for future consultations.
After some time we came up with some questions to meet these people; and then, we were asked to generate ideas about some possible questions and proposals. That was hard, to start over right after you broke that barrier, so we started trying again. And got stuck again, how to? So we went back to basics, and found those photographs from previous U.Lab sessions which helped us to know where we were standing.
Luckily Nathan started the first round of 5 by 5, which allowed us to continue working on the answers we needed; to make those questions we didn’t know how to ask. After doing the exercise the ideas started to flow a bit easier, like a string being pulled from that sweater knitted by a grandmother. One interesting story was to realize how at the beginning of the exercise some of us were able to let the imagination flow and provide many ideas, at the same time I noticed the rest was struggling; my a priori argument was that they were using a different part of their brain at that point, which made them prorgess slower. Nevertheless, in the last two steps some of us could not provide any ideas, and the rest were giving many.
Finally we were able to come up with ideas about our interview and the possible questions for it. We visited the Recycling Company and Urban developers. It was really interesting at that point of the day to find out that we were actually interviewing these people. The way I saw it till that point was that our purpose in Dalian was more like just an academic project, rather than an actual proposal for these stakeholders. The interview went great, and luckily we had Max and Kayla for ourselves along those questions. Due to my own experiences interviewing clients in IT projects I had the preconception that my Chinese team mates were a bit young and inexperienced to avoid filtering answers and skip precious information for the project. I think sometimes I take things too serious, and that was my point of view at that point. Anyway we managed to gather as much information as possible from that interview. I shall also mention that Job’s presence added that sort of experienced inquisitive question making to get as much as possible from that round.
Finally we went back to the university and prepared a presentation of our findings. I really felt well by the end of that presentation, I got the idea that we managed to get good and valuable information. I also felt that at that point we knew what to do, and that we were moving forward towards the same goal; maybe that was also when we were told that each team was to develop an own proposal and by the end of the week we were expected to present them. Moreover, at that point I knew two things: I was going to practice U.Lab along that week, like a test knowledge experience; and I was about to do something totally new with a totally different team. All that effort made me feel really satisfied; I was getting good part of it, in a really short time. When I had my dinner, Hun Tun, I felt it like one of the biggest prizes ever; at the same time I felt the cohesion in the team getting better every second, with more fluid communication.