Learning – it is, by far, the most important aspect of education. Call me Captain Obvious, but, so many students simply want assignments to be handed in, exams to be passed and the degree to be over.
And we aren't called out on that enough. You hear, "You pay a lot to be here so pay attention." But, what about the fundamental of it all? What about learning.
From Assessment 2, I realised I had gotten ahead of myself. I had an idea and a problem that I was passionate about, but I hadn't critically evaluated whether the idea was the best solution for the issue at hand. It's hard to learn to accept that an idea you're excited about won't work.
The problem is that 80% of donated clothes are sent to landfill and that can sit for 200 or more years while methane is emitted into the air as they decompose (McCarthy, 2018).
To solve this issue, I wanted to create a company that takes those unsellable clothes and upcycles them. Since many items are sellable but simply outdated, altering its shape and cut would allow the item to come back to life.
Unfortunately, there were many loopholes in this plan.
Questions began to arise, "How do I determine what clothes are used in our company?" "What happens when clothes can't be upcycled?" "How will this work when so many clothes are becoming 100% polyester and therefore terrible in quality?" "How am I going to make something that is old... feel and look new?"
It's impossible to guarantee the answer to these questions. While The 5 Why's method prove my intent to be compassionate – the real question is if this solution is viable. Thus, I had to ask myself to look further and seek a more concise and thought out solution.
When I conducted my survey I gained valuable insight into my demographics perspectives on donating clothing, the information supported my idea but never challenged it. This was quite dangerous in the sense that I didn't stop to critically evaluate my plan form a business perspective – sure, it was desirable and responsible, but again, the idea was far from viable.
I believe one of my biggest mistakes was not talking to people about my solution. I spoke openly and frequently about the problem that I was tackling then a quick mention of what my solution would be. But I never asked for people's opinions or for them to ask questions – meaning I was set in stone. And it wasn't until Assessment 2 feedback that I realised that my solution wasn't viable.
My final solution is a not-for-profit organisation I’ve named The People’s Pillow. As we’ve come to learn, 80% of clothes donated to charity is unable to be sold and therefore sent to landfill. Whether these clothes are too old, out of style or of lower quality The People’s Pillow provides a desirable, responsible and viable solution.
The People’s Pillow works with charities such as Saint Vincent De Paul’s Society and The Salvation Army each and everyday to bring the humble pillow to those who need it most.
Unsold clothing items are donated to The People’s Pillow and we use those unsold clothes to create filling for pillows and cushions that are then donated to those without homes and Australians in need.
The first piece from this concept is The People’s Pillow poster which is to the right.
The second is the website which can be found here. Type in the code ‘tpp’ all lowercase to access.
The Double Diamond method has taught me to think outside the box through critical reflection. It has pushed me to question my ideas in order to bring better ones to the surface – something I used to never do.
Another valuable lesson is to allow others to critique my ideas freely as their critiques will ultimately help you in the long run even if it causes short-term stress or confusion. It's much better to receive constructive feedback earlier on and to accept the downfalls of your ideas before you're too far in. This will ultimately allow room and potential for a better project.
With the help of others, I'm able to understand other perspectives I hadn't thought of which is incredibly helpful as sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes to look at your work, especially when analysing your work for gaps and holes.
The structure of the Double Diamond method is certainly helpful as it allows us to move through challenging tasks with direction and guidance. However, I find that I vear off the road and take my own direction when needed. I think this is a good thing as we all design differently. While I love structure and need structure, to begin with, my real design methods are back and forth. I rewrite tasks, reorganise my thoughts and regather aspects of the assignment quite frequently as I often think of new areas to focus on or better ideas to bring to light.
That's Design Thinking – always different for everyone. I'm still in the process of understanding my own design thinking strategy and what works best for me. The Double Diamond process has helped me in recognising the different types of design thinking that are out there. But now I'm looking inwards to find what I already do and what works best for me. This is a continual process and even now that I have finished these assignments I'll continue to reflect on how I design. This will allow me to become a better designer and work more efficiently and creatively with each new challenge and each new task.