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! 

Back to Basics


Day 5


[CW5] I found that state change allowed me to rely on my basic values or traits. Because I was out of my regular comfort zone, somehow I always tried to hold on to what I knew well, especially when there were deadlines and short time frames.  


Therefore, I found that our team’s strengths and weaknesses were portrayed and presented. Weaknesses included panic, frustration, confusion, shyness, and no time management. Our strengths were the opposite of each, luckily, like calmness, fun, focus and clarity, confidence and good time-management. We made the team dynamics work well in the end, as each team member brought in his or her fundamental selves to the table. I thought whatever we presented and however we pitched this day was a correct image to how our team operated.  


So while this state change intensified our traits, our exaggerated selves were portrayed on the last day. Our exaggerated ideas and creative factors were squeezed out of us, and during presentation, we linked everything together. The progress was faster than before, as we had to rely on our strengths in times of intensity and in an environment we were not accustomed to. Normally, these types of projects take weeks! In fact, on presentation day, I found myself caught by surprise.   




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.

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.



A State of Play. (State Change – CZ3)

Cut form the structure of previous days we were left to our own devices. A nice change of pace that changed the tension and atmosphere of the whole class.

I feel that because of that release, processes had a more natural flowing feel.


Everybody was more active and physical today. A game of hacky sack or ‘keepie uppie’ got everyone using their bodies in a different way compared with the previous days.

Changing from using your mind to using your body and back to your mind had a great impact on the work produced during the rest of the day.

What I have said here could be correct or it could all be rubbish and it was really that we saw the sun for the first time in days that caused the biggest impact.


Out comes the sun.


“Moving between mental states can shape how we see the world. Likewise, changing location, culture and collaborators can shift our state of being.”

There is no better quote that can represent my thoughts at this very moment. These past days in Dalian have been all about state-change: climate, language, culture, cusine … it’s all different, it’s all new. And as a consequence my eyes are whide open, I smell everything I eat, I listen to every single noise or voice I hear, I observe people more carefully, I look at their expressions and gestures with scrutiny. My brain is absorbing so much new information – and I feel it’s all essential to survive, to familiarize with this new world, to create for myself some new datum points on which to rely on.

Surprisingly this state-change has also given me more concentration: I’m not distracted by all of these new stimulus, on the contrary its intensity has boosted my attention and ability to keep focused.

This morning I was thinking about this mutual never ending process of change leading to discovery and vice versa, when I experienced an other state-change. As I opened the windows to let some light and fresh air into the room I was pleased to see that the fog had disappeared to leave space to a tiepid sun. I found it quite meaningful considering this was the first day we were actually going to concentrate on designing a solution – a great new beginning for a meaningful positive transformation.

In the afternoon, after a few fun rounds of hacky-sack, during which we got to release some tension and shift the atmosphere, all groups participated in a 5X5 design activity that mainly was aimed at “exploring audience, values and brands”. Each step required a great deal of ideation and, as we went through the process switching tasks every five minutes, I noticed how we all responded very actively to each imput and how as a group were able to progress in one coherent direction.


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.