[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.




Diversity & Representation


Today was a very intense and productive day. We spent most of out time continuing to develop our proposal and representing it through various media. Our ideas were quite clear and we felt confident with the tasks to complete, but after the requirements for Friday’s presentation were announced, we realized that it was going to be a long night of work non the less.

Photos, some representation of the empathy interviews, sketches, technical drawings, a model, a logo, a value proposition diagram… It all needed to be finalized and time was running fast. Our Chinese team mates worked amazingly well on time-management and as soon as “what to do” and “how to do it” was clear, Micheal assigned a few tasks to each of us. We all buckled down with our individual jobs to complete but with our great group goal in our minds and we went on working almost all night long.



I started by working on the “value proposition diagram”. It was quite clear how organized and efficient the group was by dividing up tasks, but I still wanted to keep al my group members involved with what I was doing, so every once in a while I would show them my progress. Once the first task was completed I went on to work on the branding: I had to come up with a logo and a claim. I was quite happy about it because it is something that I enjoy doing – but still, I wanted to make them part of the final outcome of that tasks so I kept on sketching my ideas and asking for feedback and advice. I think the whole process was very productive, as we all kept adding information to my original sketches, these became a very intricate representation with multicolored lines and notes all over. I can see how these made no sense to a stranger but to me, after all that talking and exchanging ideas, those “scribbles” had all the information I needed to carry out the task in the direction that the whole group chose.

Even thought the work kept us busy most of the night and I felt exhausted by the morning, I have to say it was amazing to be part of such a productive and creative moment. I remember how I would take a break once in while and walk around the room to refresh my ideas, but at the same time peak at other people’s projects. I was amazed by the work that was slowly taking form on every group’s  table. Sketches, drawings, models… all so different but all so effective in communicating. Like different languages that involve different senses, they were all getting a message across.


Intensity, Representation and the Running Man





“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep.”

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost


For all the communist architecture, DUT was a gorgeous campus; it provided a welcome refuge from the frenetic chaos of the street, it was full of magnolia and blossom trees budding in anticipatory spring and there were the most amazing sculptures everywhere.

The “running man” just outside the Arts and Architecture faculty, is amongst one of my favourite sculptures of all time; depicting China’s first Olympian in all his freeze-frame, rippled glory.

Thursday was a marathon day. Post lecture, we all devoured our noodle soups, hoping the hot broth would stave away the inevitable cold to follow. Little quail eggs, made surprise bursts of yolk-y goodness which were a delight. And then, like the running man, we were back to the classroom where the intensity escalated into the night.

As team members left with family commitments, more came to our aid. The wonderful William sketching free-hand the most incredible vistas of our proposal and all the while, I was at his computer stressing and cursing as I used Photoshop and Illustrator in Mandarin to design our brand concept for Ecopark!

It was fantastic to see different mediums bring our vision to life, the quaintness of hand-sketching and the innate talent of a great (and humble) artist.




Classical Music and Green Cartoon Butterflies


Day 4


[CY4] Kawaii: is the quality of cuteness in the context of Chinese culture. It has become a prominent aspect of Chinese popular culture, entertainment, clothing, food, toys, personal appearance, behaviour, and mannerisms. The noun is Kawaisa (????) (literally, “lovability”, “cuteness” or “adorableness”). 


So moving from Sydney to Dalian, from hot to cold, out of my routine comfort zone to a highly intense creative productive environment with information overload, I found that this change of state resulted in an acceptance on my behalf of a different representation style when we were testing our ideas. For instance, I was surprised I was accepting our role play prototypes which were cute and cartoon-like, one of which had a green butterfly turned into a heart (a bit sentimental?) to represent green spaces and community connections. Moreover, we were building upon images/plans/sections of the Chinese students’ work that were also either cartoonish or extremely technical.


State change allowed us to capture photos and videos we would not have naturally captured – I was such a tourist! I would not feel as comfortable taking so many photos in Sydney or say something like “Wow look at the new UTS housing building, I want a photo of that! Therefore, this provided us with much more imagery and footage than we would’ve had before and that allowed us to represent our ideas.


My serious and playful sides came out by the constant change in environment as we were in a fun creative team-atmosphere but also in intense productivity mode where we took our work seriously. The combination squeezed the strengths and weaknesses in each of us.


We kept brainstorming and each person represented their ideas in different ways: words, models, sketches, colours, butter paper, and role-plays. We tested our ideas with heavy discussions; our value proposition came out from quick brainstorming, games and role-plays. In other words, when we had short burst of time and everyone had to contribute with ideas, words, role plays and images; a diverse network of things came out that wouldn’t have come out if we were working in our normal routine like atmospheres.


I found this interesting: when we asked around why people like green spaces (as that was our proposal), most people said they wanted to relax in green spaces. I thought that could’ve been partly affected by the culture itself looking at green space as a means to relax, and also the intensity of the studio might have created desires to have time-outs and relax? I personally would’ve said I like green spaces to run freely in, and enjoy free community events that take place in those spaces…both of which also bring peace and relaxation to the soul.


I also found interesting this in role-plays: acting drunk was used to represent frustration, where as I personally would’ve shown/acted out paperwork and work stress to represent frustration. I found interesting that the jingle to represent our team brand was a classical musical in c major scale, and it was clear simple and strong. I would have never thought to do that myself; I’d naturally manage to attach some weird techno/indie/eerie/soul music to our proposal.



[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.  



Hump day

Day 3 – Diversity – Representation – BY3

At this stage of the project, the factors of diversity probably had the most influence on representation in the design and ideation process. It was the middle of the week, and we were starting to feel a little tired as a result of having class over a 13 hour period for the past two days. Needless to say, we needed to engage with some of the more fun stuff to get us back on board.. Ideating and Designing!!!

Our group had conducted some empathy interviews in regards to the project, and had identified some key stakeholders in the project. We then had the task of developing a new idea/concept for our proposal on Friday. We spent most of the day working on designing the proposal for Friday. This was a refreshing exercise for us as it allowed us to be creative and share our thoughts with each other.

The factors of diversity that were most prominent in affecting representation were disciplinary skills and natural talents.

In order to represent our concept in not only an informative way, but also an interesting one, the members of our group were able to use their background in architecture and design as well as their natural drawing abilities to produce a drawing of it.

In another aspect of representation, we were required to present our idea/concept for the proposal in the form of a TV commercial (acted out). Here, I used my cultural background (in heavy TV viewing), to aid our representation of our concept. Using a rhyming jingle (cultural background) we acted out our concept in a way that could simply convey our core concept on a basic level.

At the end of the day we had an evening lecture by our fearless leader Joanne, where we were all given the opportunnity to present different elements of U.lab to other DUT students not involved in the workshop. After that, we were given an early mark, then headed out for a night of dinner and drinks!…. at 4am wen I crawled into bed, I wondered how the next day would be. I told myself that I’d have an early night on Thursday.

[CY1] State Change in Representation during Research


Signs in English have stuck out to me while being driven around, probably because they are the familiar amongst the unfamiliar. Some make sense. Some are a bit grammatically interesting. Some, like “Right English School”, arguably don’t need to be written in English. I’ve particularly taken a liking to the signs for new housing developments. “Welcome to the Wonderful World” certainly aroused my curiosity as to what alternate fantastical land lies beyond the stern looking red and white barricade.

Signs with pictures on have also stuck out to me. In part this is because they are vaguely familiar, but also because even if not familiar they are at least relatively easy to understand. But even with pictures, misunderstandings can take place. A picture of a brass instrument with a red line through it on the DUT campus had us guessing, no trumpets… no saxophones… no jazz? All obviously unlikely to be the actual meaning, but suitably entertaining as guesses until we found out that it meant no beeping of car horns. Curiously, it seemed to be obeyed – a stark contrast to the roads on the other side of the campus gates.

Symbols are important modes of representation. They assist in enabling effective collaboration despite lingo-cultural barriers. What could be a long verbal and non-verbal explanation can effectively be shown in a couple of shapes, some coloured lines, some emphasis with a pen, and a few accompanying words. I saw this tonight in my team’s discussion of our findings from the site. In trying to explain what struck him the most during research on site earlier that day, Cristian Ruiz, my teammate from UTS, an industrial design student, began to draw.

What had been a mix of confused Chinese, Colombian and English accented verbal discussion gradually dribbled to a close, as one by one our heads leaned in, tilted to one side and our mouths dropped open. Realising we had fallen silent, Cristian looked up. Like the car horn sign I had seen earlier that day, at this stage it was all guesses. Rectangles lined up with coloured criss-crossing lines. A strange disjointed shape sat in the middle of the diagram with different coloured lines criss-crossing within it. Cristian continued drawing. New colours suddenly spurted out in straight lines from each rectangle across the page, over the strange shape in the middle. I was clueless as to what I was looking at. But then, Cristian explained in some short simple words while emphasising with a pen on the picture, what the rectangles were, and what the strange shape was. The residents housing blocks and the mine pit.


Suddenly the picture made sense. It was inventive. It was creative. I could visualise what Cristian was talking about – probably more effectively than if he had tried to explain it verbally. Through the picture, the symbol representing his idea, I could see his idea. Our teammates were nodding in agreement. Soon, we were all contributing our own ideas. The representation in the face of lingo-cultural barriers as a key element of our state change facilitated effective idea communication. In doing so it freed our team to individually choose which mediums were best to communicate their ideas and especially opened up the possibility of representation as an effective medium of communication across lingo-cultural barriers. As a result of this, effective collaboration was enabled. Needless to say, the pens and coloured pencils were used a lot more after that.

Thus, while sometimes representations, be they signs or pictures, can be misunderstood requiring a few words to be added or some pen emphasis or demonstration of movement, they are particularly effective across barriers resulting from state change. In this case those barriers were lingo-cultural, however I can see how they could cross barriers of locations, paradigms, types of intelligence used and of course as a method itself, cross barriers caused by other methods of collaboration.


I was struck in this instance by how with the representation I could see his idea. As someone who typically is quite comfortable communicating through written or verbal language, I have realised how effective symbols, pictures and other forms of representation can be to seeing, and thus, better understanding an idea. Indeed, my eyes have been opened beyond the barricade to a wonderful new world.