[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.

[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.