By: Florence Wang

Although the “create” stage was difficult because we had to figure out a way to consolidate all of our information and ideas into one solution, the “evaluate” stage was difficult for a completely different reason. For the entirety of this program, we have been pushed to think outside of the box, and really let the design thinking process and open source methodology guide our creativity. However, when tasked with coming up with a tangible testing method, we soon realized that this was much easier said than done. 

We started out by really embodying this idea of co-creation, and reaching out to as many individuals as possible to hear their feedback and then use that to fuel our iterations. This was an extremely valuable process, and it was both refreshing and somewhat uncomfortable to hear critiques about our design. After you put so much time and effort into designing a solution that you truly believe will work, it becomes hard to see outside of your perspective. In a sense, you start to become desensitized to the possible pitfalls of your prototype and you start to view positive feedback as a sort of confirmation bias instead of simply another perspective that can help improve your design. 

However, these conversations with our stakeholders also contributed to a new problem that we as a team faced. We realized that we actually had something. An idea that could potentially be useful for the lives of many individuals. But with that something also comes great responsibility, and we had to show that this something is not only necessary and helpful, but also that it is feasible. However, in order to do so, we needed a solid testing method, and nothing that we came up with seemed to encompass what we were trying to express with our solution and also represent all aspects of our vision. For the first time, I actually started to feel small and incapable–how were we going to do this? We don’t possess the power or skills to create a working prototype so therefore, how are we going to get the buy-in, surpass the technological difficulties, and actually make this “tangible impact” that we have been talking about since the beginning of the program?

I think we started to narrow our scope too much and thought about changing our direction to make it easier to convince people that it is a “good” solution. However, although it was super beneficial to think about our design from a different perspective, ultimately, we needed to remind ourselves of the bigger picture and that it’s okay to have a lower-fidelity prototype. But no matter what, we shouldn’t let our fear of not having a full-on working example of our design take away from certain elements of our vision. 

And finally, through our conversations with those around us, I was able to learn more about human behavior and the thought processes of those I was designing for. I think that for myself and my team, it was a reminder that in the design thinking process, everything is a prototype. Nothing is ever fixed. There is always room for improvement because humans are ever changing creatures and ultimately, humans lie at the heart of our “solutions.”