I wanna rock and roll…all night!

“factors of state-change influence communication during processes of presenting or preparation for presenting”


 Language difference

 The first state change exercise we had to do was while preparing the final presentation, understanding the language difference and the diversity if the public was necessary and for this purpose we needed to switch our minds. We needed to place ourselves in the audience’s shoes and try and create a dynamic pitch that everyone could understand saying what needed to be said in Mandarin and the basic concepts in English.  We did some presentations during the week so it was easier for all of us to limit ourselves in terms of time and ideas in order to be concise and not miss any important ideas.


 Role plays

 After limiting and defining an order for our final presentation we needed to be confident enough to present and do some rehearsal before presenting. We knew that not only our pairs were there but some people from the government and companies involved so we had to utilise all our best expression tools to make it the best we could. So during the role plays we did before the final presentation we imagined the audience, timed the presentation and judged our performance to put us all in the same page and get ready to rock. To imagine we were in the scenario lead us to deliver a well structured and controlled pitch.



 Pitch intro

 As the final presentation was planned to be in both languages we wanted to start our pitch with something that caught everyone’s attention and showed an idea. So we started talking at the same time in three different languages for half around 10 seconds (Spanish, English and Mandarin). It helped us while preparing the pitch to relax ourselves and take some pressure off our shoulders, our minds were a bit more relaxed after the exercise and the pitch flowed better. During the final presentation it did caught the attention of the audience and the laughing of them helped many of us to handle with the stress. 



A happy ending


By the morning our work was done, ready to be printed and presented. We were all happy about the results but we still had a major task ahead: our pitch. The process to describe was long and articulated, as these past four days of intensive work. We all agreed that the best way to deliver a good pitch would be by being clear, concise and… rehearse as much as possible! I felt a lot of pressure because of the guests that were going to be present and, in my heart, because I wanted to do everything I could to give a positive contribution to our presentation.

All together we organized the speech and then we started rehearsing. We had to present in both languages, we therefore decided to alternate between English and Chinese every few sentences. The instinct for all of us was to start presenting in English and then translate into Chinese. It only crossed our minds afterwards how maybe it should have been the other way around… English is not my mother tongue, so I see it as language through which I can communicate when I am abroad, a language that in my culture is widely recognized as everybody’s second language.

Watching all the presentations was just amazing and inspiring. It was great to see how each group developed a very unique project and delivered it with great passion. Thinking about how I felt on DAY 1, it’s unbelievable to see how everything changed so fast. From “unfamiliar” and “confused” to “comfortable” and “at ease”. From “a stranger” to “a friend”. In our differences we found common grounds, and on those we were able to go beyond any cultural diversity to contribute to an amazing project from which I learnt a lot.

Betty, Xanadu, Micheal, Ulissys, Daniel it was amazing working with you. Thank you for everything you have taught me.
DUT, thank you for allowing this great cultural exchange, it has truly changed my life.
Dalian, thank you for having me. It has been an amazing adventure!


Teamwork, Intensity and a Microphone



“Unforgettable in every way and forevermore that’s how you’ll stay.”

Unforgettable, Irving Gordon


What a crazy week; one of the most intense and rewarding of my life! It was challenging on so many levels; culture shock, exhaustion, language barriers, the quarry and its’ devastation, the food and its’ revelation; our group and its’ disappearing team members. But in the end, it all came together, as it always does.

By the time I had been to the crazy print shop and back (complete with indoor spitting) Ahmad had whipped up a website for our proposal: www.dalianecopark.com. So cool!

I was proud of our pitch; I think it really embodied so many of the design thinking principles I have learnt in U.lab. Sadly, I don’t think it was as successful with the local delegates for the same reason. Perhaps they could have benefited from a stoker…

Sigh – what a relief! Well done to all the teams, I think we all succeeded in transforming our challenges into achievements and it was so great to sit on the lawn and sip that evening beer and celebrate! What a delightful way to end the week, with the sun shining and a feathered hacky-sack tapping from toe to toe.

Of course it did not end there… Several rounds of dumplings and beers later we ended up at KTV – karaoke extravaganza in Dalian city, complete with mirrored corridors and uptight bouncers patrolling them; a crazy place to top off a crazy week, and disgrace ourselves in the comfort of our own private concert hall.

Thank you to everyone who participated in Co-opolis. A special thanks to the girls that made me feel so welcome: Ashily, Cindy, Adele, Yaya, Betty and Xanadu. I can’t wait to see how Sydney blows your minds in the same way that Dalian did for me!


Stick or Twist (BW5 – Diversity)

Teamwork is affected by diversity because people are naturally different in the way they think and act.The best teamwork is when the whole team thinks as one unit all pushing towards the same goal.

I think the greatest diversity when presenting today was deciding on the order of when people should speak.

The Chinese students felt that the English speakers should go first and then the Chinese would follow. Their reasoning? They felt that the people we were presenting to would quickly become bored if they were waiting for the English to be said after the Chinese. Ok a fair point.

I personally felt that since this was a Chinese project in China that the Chinese should go first. There was also then no danger of it looking like the Chinese were just translating for us. In the interest of group cohesion I relented as I felt. I do not know the Chinese way of thinking as well as the Chinese do.

All the groups seemed to folow this standard which thankfully meant we didn’t stand out in a bad way.

A comment was made however in feedback and we managed to deflect this by saying our hosts were being very polite.

Doodged a bullet there.

Diversity is good in a group because it gives you options.

Sometimes though, you just have to stick to our guns.



Presentations, Farewells and Celebrations!

Day 5 – State change – Ideation


By the morning of day 5, we were desperately completing the final components of our presentation. With one of our group members having worked autonomously throughout the night (without even a few hours of sleep) and the rest of us feeling quite exhausted as well, we decided that the final components of the presentation would have to be presented in a simplistic way, rather than burning ourselves out even further.

We had two main components left to complete, the role play, and the model of our proposal. We had been told that the presentation must be bilingual. In terms of a role play, how were we going to do this? Should we act the role play out in Chinese? English? Have one narrating the other? This was getting too complex for our tired brains and the state that they were in, so we simply decided that the role play would have no language in it, to make it simpler and potentially understandable to all parties. This is an example of how being in a tired state allowed u to make simpler decisions due to our reduced mental capacities.

In terms of the model that we still had to produce for the presentation, the type of work that was being performed was definitely that of more physical and repetitive work than mental work. Sure, the physical work took mental concentration, but it was a welcome change to our tired brains. The design of the model had some specific locations of columns, and other features. Following the design to the nth degree was simply too daunting for our minds to bear, so we simply had the idea that we would construct and place columns into the model as we saw fit by means of visual evaluation. This saw us complete the model at a much faster rate and as a result, felt much more prepared for the presentation.

Essentially, having the altered state of mind (tired and oxygen deprived) made us be more creative by making simpler decisions in the execution of the presentations that we delivered.

After the presentations, we were all very glad to be able to go out and celebrate with our team mates and other class members. We started off the afternoon with a small party outside the front of the building we had spent the last few days in, where we were all able to say goodbye to each other and exchange email adressess and such. Then we headed out for one final dinner and a wild night of Karaoke!! Many drinks were had, only to be matched by fun as well! 

CO-OPOLIS Workshop in Dalian – Day 5

After sending their materials off to be printed (very quickly and inexpensively, compared to Sydney!), the teams turned their attention to developing their pitches. By the time the guests began to arrive, the posters were printed, the presentations were polished and the room had been cleaned of the extensive materials used during the proposal development process.

The pitches were amazing, with skits, props, models, posters, prototypes and websites used to convey the teams’ ideas. Lots of interesting discussion followed the presentations, and after the guests and teaching team voted on their favorite proposals, the winning team (and runners up) took home I (heart) DUT t-shirts and mugs!

To wind up the workshop and take advantage of the warmer weather, a farewell party for us was held out on the lawn (where another impromptu hacky-sack game developed), followed by a relaxed dumpling dinner and karaoke late into the night.

Overall the CO-OPOLIS workshop was a fantastic success. The cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary collaboration resulted in inspiring proposals, and we are excited to see how the DUT students continue to develop the ideas over the next 6 weeks before they visit us in Sydney!




– Sonja