[CY5] State Change in Representation during Processes of Presentation and Preparation for Presentation



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.




[CW4] State Change in Teamwork during Processes of Prototyping and Testing



The previous evening with our early mark and subsequent relaxation, albeit with flooding sewage across our feet – or over my boots and on my skirt until someone pointed it out – while drinking cheap rice wine, in a street stall, by the police van just outside the campus, was much appreciated come Thursday morning. On Thursday the intensity upped a gear.


Whilst I accidentally slept in on the Thursday morning, I didn’t get back to bed until the sun was rising on the following Friday morning. The state change from the night before of play, back into work on the Thursday morning, had the impact of a really effective stoker. On Thursday morning, after a doubly strong dark coffee and some packaged sweet French bread, I was ready to prod the sparks of our project until it burst into flames – in a positive, non-pyromaniac sort of way.


The rest of the team had already begun work. Sketches were beginning to convey an idea of what our development would look like. I sat down and continued to develop our business canvas. Work persisted in earnest.


State change impacted teamwork in our prototyping through changing methods of collaboration and types of intelligence used. This took place through changes in mediums of communication, from verbal and written language, to images and other modes of representation. In addition, an effective 5×5 to create a brand and logo caused us to communicate kinaesthetically and artistically through role plays and bodily movement. These changes positively influenced our teamwork. Cooperation increased with a better understanding of each other’s thoughts, feelings, impressions and ideas of the development. This was achieved through the state change’s impact on communication. Testing did not take place as we did not have the time to return to our empathy interviewees at this stage. However outside opinions through discussions did occur with other teams and staff. Somehow the day wore on and sunset began to hint at its arrival.


Red bull arrived. Darkness followed.


Plastic tubs of curry and rice appeared for our team, thoughtfully organised by one of our DUT teammates. Industrial espionage was undertaken. A very sickly sounding and thinking Nath Wiltshire provided some tables spread out with edible goodies purchased nearby. Bananas, apples, tea bags aplenty, biscuits, instant noodles and more were laid out for our consumption. Bananas were the first to go.


The night wore on.


In the early hours of the morning, Max (Xiangyu) Ma, a UTS student on another team, valiantly offered to be my knight escort back to the hotel. I needed to pick up my laptop and bring it back to the workshop. We sang songs under the moon. We planned a surprise return to the workshop a little too effectively, terrifying one of my DUT teammates to the extent that I later apologised, by pulling strange faces in the window until someone saw us to let us in.


Finally, as the sun began to rise, Cristian and I headed back to the hotel, with the prospect of more work to be done in the morning, but good progress having been made. Our DUT teammates, we found out later, had stoically continued throughout the night.

Roll up your sleeves


Day 4 – State Change – Communication – [CX4]

I woke up after a few hours of sleep, remembering that all of my clothes were still drenched with water from the torrent of rain the night before. Making my way to class in a fairly soaked jacket and pants, I told myself that I’d get an early night tonight.

When class finally began, I was reminded of the fact that we would have to present our proposals in just over 24 hours.. The realisation that I wasn’t going to get any rest tonight either dampened my spirits a bit. Now at least my spirits and my clothes from the night before had something in common.

It was interesting to see how the different teams in the room went about coping with the challenge of delivering a huge amount of work in such a short period of time. Some groups seemed to go straight into producing a model, others seemed to have individual group memebers make for a tactical retreat and desert their company until the fighting was done. Our group luckily enough seemed to have an unspoken alignment of how to approach the task at hand, and managed to take care of itself without any real issues.

At three AM most of our group had finished work for the night (with the exception of one) and I decided that it was a good time to get some rest…..

For me and the other UTS team member in our group, state change definitely affected the communication between our group members.

On the Thursday, we had the task of preparing the majority of the work for the presentation on the following day.  The fact that our groups had been brought together to the same physical locations (changing location) really allowed us to communicate to a higher level than if we had been trying to do so from a remote location. Being in the same space allowed the group to come together and to sense where everyone was at in regards to the project as well as to facilitate all of our alignment of goals for the project.

Experiencing the local culture of Dalian also helped communication between the groups. Having spent almost every meal with our group members, helped to give us some insight as to who they were (their personalities) and therefore aided communication in the group even further. Knowing how someone acts normally is a good reference point to have to know how they feel while they are currently reacting. As a result of this change of culture, we were able to communicate much more fluently without relying so much on the translation of language. For instance, now that we had bonded a bit, a simple physical gesture could indicate what the person was referring to when talking to the rest of the group.

[AY3] Intensity in Representation during Processes of Ideation and Design




Today intensity began to underpin the tasks begun in the workshop. We continued to ideate the business model and design of the development. We began work on the stakeholder diagram and business canvas. We began the architectural and landscape design of the development. In the evening a lecture was given to DUT students and staff, both those involved in the workshop and other interested individuals. Jo Jakovich talked about u.lab, biketank and the Entrepreneurship Lab subject. As E-Labbers we UTS students each gave a short explanation of one aspect of the E-Lab. I spoke on prototyping. At the conclusion of the lecture, we relished an early mark and the opportunity to unwind after an intense few days.


This morning the deadline for the final pitch on Friday began to loom for all of our team. We developed an outline of the tasks that lay ahead and assigned roles and time deadlines. We ideated in block modes and continuously as questions arose. We began to design our respective aspects of the development, our aspects dependent upon our skills. When questions arose representation quickly became the dominant form of communication across state change barriers as well as across tasks.


A quick piece of paper or a notepad would be passed over to a teammate, with a colour, a word, a diagram, a sketch placed upon it. A nod or a pause would indicate a response. If a pause, a new representation would be created in response or else a short conversation would take place. The intensity factor played a large part in this. We were all aware of the tasks that lay ahead of us and we all had a desire, both individually and importantly, as a united team, team six, to succeed. On occasion verbal communication was the most effective medium, but often low fidelity representation was most suitable, especially given time restraints. Quick questions were required, with quick answers given.


In the evening intensity was significant for me personally in its impact on representation. Earlier in the day we had been assigned our aspect of the E-Lab to speak about during the lecture. However, perhaps due to the intensity of the work undertaken for our project or perhaps due to a lack of sleep on my own part, I had not realised that the lecture was that evening. Suffice to say, when I sat down in the lecture theatre and Jo announced that we would be speaking after she gave her talk, it came as a surprise. A short whispered discussion followed with some teammates, before Jo gave her talk. As I stepped onto the slightly raised stage to speak I utilised acting as a form of representation to convey my ideas; that is, acting to hide my lack of planning and practice, and acting to hide my nerves as I stood looking out at a room full of expectant faces. I said my words on prototyping, and I think I got the essence of the process and its importance across to those listening.


By the end of the lecture we were ready to go out and unwind, which worked out well, because the intensity of this day turned out to be nothing compared to the next day.  



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.



Nets on Ceilings, Paper Trees on Wall


Day 2


[BX2] My brain was like a sponge in the last couple of days. With the information overload in a limited amount of time and fast paced environment, I realised this fed my short attention-spanned brain.  The only time I started daydreaming was when I quit trying to understand what the other person was saying.  


Communication has been very interesting in this diverse environment. I realised I suddenly turned my attention to things that tickled my ear and listened to what I was searching for, wether it was deep thought about “life” or just what I had been working on that exact moment.


Now in the last few days, I have been in extreme mode of miscommunication due to language barrier. Or at least I thought it was miscommunication.  I then realised, firstly, due to the slow


ness of the communication, I was able to absorb and chew on the words being said to me from a foreign student.


In addition, I did learn a few different methods of speaking, as I had to adapt to the culture of this land if I wanted their input and mine.


I found myself repeating (in my own words), what the person I was chatting to was saying to me to confirm what I thought they were saying. (Marriage counselling tip). “So are you saying that you think my idea for the rehab of brown fields is the best thing you’ve ever heard of ? and so on…And vice versa.


Then there was the body language


. They were exaggerated: the up and down nods, the smiles, the frowns, and …..the confused look.


Suddenly I realised something. This was not miscommunication. This was communication in the most exaggerated and clear form! Each word/phrase had a length of time, an exaggerated emotion, maybe a sketch, a synonym, and sometimes a noise attached to it to effectively communicate the thought.


Sometimes when there is no language barrier and there is too much junk said around a thought, the thought could be lost. At least that’s how I looked at it.


So this reminded me of the restaurant we went to yesterday with a water and nature theme. The interior designer/restaurant owner made sure we understood the theme. There was no subtlety about it. The nets were hanging on the ceilings, and there were paper trees that covered the walls. This exaggeration made sure you thought you were at the sea next to trees. Normally I get fooled easily, but this time they didn’t fool me!





Communication, State-change and the Comfort of the Mall




“Someone she loved once passes by – too late to feign indifference to that casual nod. ‘How nice’ et cetera. ‘Time holds great surprises.’ From his neat head unquestionably rises a small balloon… ‘but for the grace of God…’”

In The Park, Gwen Harwood



The morning glance out of our hotel window, revealed a grey blanketed landscape, the fog hanging so low and dense over Dalian that the tops of the buildings were obscured. This descending haze seemed to exacerbate our feelings of impending doom.

From hotel room to class room, our mood lifted, buoyed by the excitement of the task at hand. The 5×5 exercise got everyone’s minds ticking and we began to articulate our feelings about the site and our hopes for it.

Building our model prototype, clarified that vision and we all played and created like children making things for the first time. Our appropriation of every day materials for the model, made communicating our ideas easy; Chinese and English becoming the universal language of the imagination.

Out of the comfort zone again and back to the site for empathy interviews, the fog now so low that people walking in the streets eerily disappeared into the ether. Our communication was a little limited at this point, as the empathy interviews were conducted in Mandarin, but it was important to be present and see the local residents in their home environment, to better understand their needs as stakeholders in our project.

Surprisingly, most people we interviewed wanted a shopping mall on the site. We were a little sceptical of this response initially dismissing it as materialistic. Then after a frosty hour of walking the neighbourhood, we all piled back into the bus and headed straight for… the shopping mall! Our hypocrisy mounting as we sipped hot chocolate, comforted by the brightly lit avenues of stuff.

The power of state-change was never more evident as when we wandered that mall, the dichotomy of urban Chinese life in one short bus ride.