This is the final installment of a series of blog posts about my adventure as a Design Strategist within the Office of Scholarship & Innovation. On July 16th, I will transition to the Office of University Initiatives as a 2019-2020 University Innovation Fellow. Thank you to the Design Initiatives team and all of #oofsi for everything!
Although it’s not it’s own hexagon in the traditional design process, one piece I believe is crucial to designing better products, services, and experiences is to refine. Refine the design. As designers gather additional information about their users, reframe the problem and find out it’s a completely different challenge, or even find out that their target customers aren’t fans of some features included, there is an opportunity to revisit other pieces of the design process to make changes and adjustments.
Taking a bird’s eye view of my journey within the Office of Scholarship & Innovation, there were MANY points where I had to pause and circle back – not just in my work but like… on a meta level. I’m no expert on self-awareness, but I try my best to see how things are interrelated and connected. So, I tried to use the design process on myself this year. I started this role at the beginning of my second year of business school and right before I made the biggest purchase of my life so far. #homeowner These last 13 months have been an opportunity for me to wayfind for myself and leverage the design process to tackle wicked challenges of my own, both personally and professionally.
Without the guidance, support, feedback, and advice of my colleagues, I wouldn’t have learned what I learned or been able to make the changes necessary to navigate my way along The Oregon Trail without getting dysentery. As new information popped up or we went in a different direction, I learned to use that information to pivot. Rather than drowning when things were confusing or unclear, I was excited to build resources and tools to navigate these complex and ambiguous situations. Instead of pulling over in the dark and giving up, I became the foglights that allow you to see the upcoming turns and help to take you where you need to go.
There is no final destination or endpoint for me. The design process itself is an iterative one. If you ask me to tell you how I know I’m finished doing something, I’ll tell you never. There will always be an opportunity for me to learn, to improve, and to refine based on new information, new experiences, and new variables. Huge shoutout to #oofsi for the last 13 months of learning more about myself, improving who I am, and refining the prototype of the next iteration of my better self.