28 5 / 2012
One thing I dislike is doing anything obscure without knowing the objectives. Writing a daily journal for Asia Module fall on this category. I simply failed to see the reason behind the assignment. And allow me to stress the word ‘obscure’ here, because I know that certain assignment carries some merits, whether we like it or not.
Are we going to get grade on this journal? If so, based on what metrics? Diary writing is a very subjective thing. But let’s say we entertain the idea that there will be no grading for this assignment, but instead there will be post where all journals will be shared. Now, that I can live with. At the very least, I’d be curious to read what others wrote on their daily journal. However, if I’m going to spend my time writing this journal only to be filed and forgotten in some dusty hard disk, then tell me now so I won’t waste my time doing so.
I’ve decided that from this moment on, for the sake of minimizing my criticism on mediocrity, I will limit my alphanumeric input on this school journal strictly to session(s) that actually manage to gain my attention. Those that are free of jargons, outdated viewpoints and shallow analysis.
Having said that, I will start by skipping the session held at JWT Shanghai. I disagree with a lot of points that Tom Doctoroff said in his presentation, which was probably done by some interns judging by the mediocre content it delivers. One thing that I’d like to single out was again the fact that him and Kitty Lun repeatedly said about lack of creative talent in China that can lead/direct in high profile position. That’s nonsense, but of course it took some frogs to prove my points.
As Mario van der Meulen, Creative Director at frog Shanghai, stressed out that we need to be involved when it comes to finding, mentoring and nurturing creative talents in China. There’s no lack of creative talent out there if we know where and how to search for them. And to their credits, frog was the first (and only) firm during the Berlin School Shanghai module that actually involved a Chinese Art Director in their session. Proving the notion that Chinese-led creative position is not a myth. And if I may second this, at Trigger Shanghai, the top three leading position in Design, Technology and Project Management are all led by Chinese. Through years of mentoring and nurturing, this is not an impossibility.
Wednesday is always my geeky day, and since sharing is caring, I decided to invite some classmates to the Hacker Space Shanghai and introduce them to the young makers and thinkers on the ground. As luck would have it, Wednesday is where hackers, makers and thinkers share and showcasing what they’ve been working on. We had one of our classmate, Axel Quack, showcasing what FabLab Germany has worked on. It’s incredibly awesome that creativity and passion for open source technology can be shared across boundary.
One word to connect them. Geek.
(top) Yes, people apparently knows how to queue in China. Session at JWT.
(bottom) Session at frog Shanghai. Axel (left) presenting at HackerSpace, followed by Chinese dinner 在保罗 in which the night is not complete without sampling some Chinese liquor.
14 5 / 2012
Designing Shanghai 2012
If my week-days were busy, my weekends usually packed, literally. This last Saturday was no exception either.
And since I have to dutifully record a journal for the school assignment, I might as well share this particular Saturday. If UX or creating human centered design is your thing, then the Designing Shanghai event might be in your alley of interest.
Back by popular demand, this year UX Day Shanghai was held by Techyizu at the Haworth on 南京路1788号. This is one of those grass-root initiated event where designers, thinkers, hackers, students, and basically anyone who’s interested in creatingbetter shanghai, get together and try to push for more design thinking for social impact.
The one-day workshop basically structured in two parts, morning talks by renowned innovative and design firms like frog, IDEO, CBI China Bridge and Continuum sharing their insights, approach and methodology. Then followed by afternoon workshop where participants/teams are dispatched to do a city-wide research & rapid prototyping exercise, exploring solutions across digital, physical and service design. And upon returning to the venue, teams will synthesize their research, brainstorm solutions and create rapid prototypes to share with the rest of the group.
After successful initial prototype last year, we decided to focus this year challenge toward ‘Social Inclusion’ by ways of making Shanghai a better city for people with disabilities.
I was mentoring on Design for Mobility, which basically focus on tackling the challenge around how the city infrastructure are generally not as friendly as it should be to those with physical disabilities. Navigating sidewalks, overpasses, public transportation access could be very difficult (if not damn near impossible) if one is on wheelchair, visually impaired or older than 50 years of age.
Another design challenge that we were keen to tackle were:
- Elderly Care in an Aging Society (Shanghai population is getting older and there aren’t enough attention being paid to its senior citizens)
- Designing for Special Needs in Education (think school and better education system for Autistic children, for example)
- Employment for the Disabled (How to overcome the rampant discriminations over people with disabilities in China and give them an opportunity to have better lives)
The research locations were spread across the city; from newly erected space designed for disable persons, elderly house development, to school for autistic children, to metro stations (for mobility), to equal employment opportunities around pocket of districts in Shanghai (job centers), etc.
The goal of the UX Day Shanghai is not to push any agenda to the decision makers, even though that would be ideal, but is more about creating awareness. Believe you me, some teams actually came up with pretty decent (innovative), if not daring, recommendations that are worth exploring.
The key takeaway from this exercise, is not only to ‘connect the dots’ but also for us to be more aware of the environment and the place in which we live in related to others and society in general.
And yes, anything big should start as simple as an idea.