All competencies can be seen here, what did I learn for every competency.

Design and research processes

Cultural interventions
At the start of this project we began to do some research in Woensel because that was the advice from our coach. This research was unfunded and not really informative because we didn’t knew where we were looking for. This is something I am going to change the next time when I start at ta project, first determine what do we want to accomplish. Furthermore we needed a target group to focus on but that took a lot of time because of the project description. This project was focused on the cultural aspect and there was no clear direction to go to. I learned that eventually it doesn’t really matter what target group you chose, every target group has it pro’s and con’s. You should be able to design for anything and anyone. Off course when the project description gives you a target group it would be different.

The iterative process we’ve had in the project was disturbing and demotivating. This was due to the unfinished phases. We’ve started with a research phase but we actually almost never ended it. There was no real hard conclusion because we or I was afraid to take a choice. To say where we we’re going to. Also this brought us into trouble for the final exhibition because we needed a product to deliver and only research is not an excellent product. This did me realize, make your phases clear and not too long. This will help you to continue with the project and will help you to improve the final deliverable because you’ve simply got more time to work on it.


Social cultural awareness

Cultural interventions
This project is really aimed at the Social Cultural Awareness part. I learned several important things. At the street I had an interview with someone and I realized that I never can understand and know other cultures, by looking to my own reference. I have to dive into the other culture to know all the important things. Otherwise I’m just making prejudices based on wrong parameters.
In a presentation I realized that especially as a designer you have to look real carefully to all you thoughts about other cultures, on what evidence is every statement about them based. For example, it is really simple but you have to realize it, when you take young children a few black and a few white they don’t make a distinction. Why should we make it? I can’t think of one reason. Most people know that you shouldn’t discriminate but what if you take that away, don’t even think about discrimination. They are the same, really!

In a video about smart city’s where Adam Greenfield was giving a lecture he told a story about Willie Sutton. Willie Sutton was a bank robber and when someone asked him “why do you rob banks?” He answered “Because that’s where the money is”. This realized me that this statement is applicable at so many things. Also on this Social Cultural aspect. You have to design something where there is need for it. Of course there are exceptions but I think that this is really important for most new designs.  

Future of research

Because of this small assignment I dived into companies and realized what their cultural part was, why are giving people a like, to a company with a simple design, or an online shop who becomes an offline shop? This is interesting for me to take it with me with new design challenges into the social cultural awareness part. I realized that there is another Social Cultural Awareness. The one of the business man who are afraid of innovation and flexibility because they are afraid to lose what they have. That’s one of the reasons startup companies are often so good. They have nothing to lose and totally go for the new and innovative products.


Form and senses

Cultural interventions
Before the mid-term exhibition there wasn’t that much to do with form and senses in our project but for the mid-term exhibition we made a prototype so people could see how it would be placed and to help people to get a visual in their head. I guess I’m not the only one who finds it important to have a picture in my head about the situation.

Furthermore when we were thinking about form and senses I found something real interesting, the past. The past can bring back memories and feelings that were special. They can bring Goosebumps or tears in your eyes. Emotion is great to have for a product. I know that this is extremely hard to realize in your product but well I need something to aim for.

For this assignment I had a meeting about form and senses and I had to prepare something. I started to think and I couldn’t think about anything useful for or project so I decided to make something special for this expert meeting. I wanted to improve the feeling about the drink water bottle everyone has in their bag. I used foam to test it myself which experience is better than the existing ones. This was new for me to test a product for how it feels, right now I know that this is an important part of design you have to take every aspect into account to deliver a total product that fits the user the best.

Out of Office video
For this video it was important that the sense was right. It needed the sense of the presentation given at that moment. I’m not quite sure if that worked out as planned, or if this was the intention of Out of Office. I learned that sometimes you need extra raw material from the presentation or from a different location to make the video more attracting to see.

Double exposure, canon vs Nikon
Also with this video it was important to get the story clear. The sense is really important. When is it going to be thrilling or when is it over. Music together with video has to deliver emotions to you as watching person. In this production it was hard to say how I wanted it because it was a group project but I would have done it differently. When there is action I would have cut some shots and more switching between cameras and perspectives. This will increase the tension of the viewer.

Teamwork and communication


Cultural interventions
This project was different than what I was used to. We were placed in this team together and at almost all other projects I’ve done I worked with people I knew. This has a huge advantage but also a disadvantage. You know the people and know what you can expect from them but also you don’t know how I would be with others and what the effect would be if you would work with ‘strangers’. Well this happened right here and it was informative. I learned that especially at the start of a study there are people not at their right spot so you have to deal with different interests. Also motivation and hobbies are different and you have to take that into account. But on the positive side I was surprised by the new and interesting points of view and that’s the biggest advantage when you are working with others. You shouldn’t prejudice anything they are saying and you should think twice about everything they say because their way of thinking can be totally different than yours so you don’t directly understand the essence of what they mean.

Out of Office video
For Out of Office I was asked to make a video about their presentation, I did this together with Yannick Brouwer. This video should communicate the style of Out of Office. This is new for me and a whole new challenge. First you have to get a feeling with the company after that you should edit it in such a way that others can see what the environment is about the presentation. I realized that it is not easy to edit video in such a way to cover the style of a company next time I will take notes before the shooting so I can adept the raw material to what I need instead of shooting and after that look for the right pictures to include. Also for communicating the steps between the final deliverable I have to find something that works good for the company and for myself. Now we used dropbox, skype and vimeo but there has to be a way that is easier for the company.

Double exposure, canon vs Nikon

This movie was mostly promoted by use of twitter. This was the first time a noticed and experienced how a viral works and can be generated. This is real handy when you want something to get published but you don’t have the money to buy some advertorials at websites. Also the whole making of this project was mostly done by use of skype, an online forum and email. Cause of the open project everyone had to be involved but some decisions had to be made so there is also a team who makes the decisions. For me it was good to learn how teams and tasks are divided to increase the efficiency.

Self-directed and continuous learning

Cultural interventions
In the expert meeting about self-reflecting I’ve learned that it should be personal, it is all about me. Also the self-reflection is not for the assessor. Well maybe a little bit, but most important it is for me. By use of the self-reflection I’m able to improve myself, to see where the weak points are, what I’ve learned, why some things went wrong or good and to give new inspiration.

I realized that before on VWO I wasn’t used to self-reflection. I’ve done some things but I never reflected it in such a way as we have to do right now. I’m convinced that this type of self-reflection is hard to master but great to use.
In the expert meeting he told us something about “AH” the expression you have when you realize something you’ve never realized before. I realized (an AH moment) that this was great to have. This are important steps in my development because they let me think different on new ways so my mind gets wider and I’ve got more possibilities to reach when looking for something in my brain.

I learned in the past weeks that self-reflecting is great and especially in combination with errors/mistakes. As soon as I make a mistake and you start reflecting it you learn from it. In my daily life there are so many mistakes but as you start to love them they are becoming much more attractive and useful.

HTML tutorials
I followed several online HTML5 tutorials to increase the knowledge to build my own websites, also with use of Adobe Fireworks. This was new for me and I liked it. It is not on the original code based way but more on a visual way. This is real handy when you need a sketch up for a website or a not so important website. 

Dutch Design Week
Of course I’ve been to the Dutch Design Week to increase the awareness of my social part but even more to train my attitude to think about other ideas, to evaluate them, to see new markets and analyze that. It is mostly an training about a vision I have that if you stay up to date with the newest innovations you have to do less research to come up with new ideas for a project and you can act quicker.

Designing business processes

Video Out of Office
When we we’re shooting this video there were several questions to us if we had a business card or something to get in touch with us because maybe they had an order to make another video. Also from our coach and director of Out of Office I’ve learned that you can become a brand of yourself. This is handy for promotion and to be recognized.

Future of research
This taught me how to analyze existing innovative companies in certain markets. After that to abstract their most valuable parts and reflect it on the situation in a different scenario at a different company. It also made me realize how a research can be done if you are a company and you need new information. This is a great way to get new insights as a company, ask students to come up with ideas and information cause you can’t be in every market and up to date with every innovation.


Ideas and concepts

Cultural interventions
When we started with this project we started to do some research. I didn’t liked this way of working. I’ve learned in the expert meeting User focus and Perspective that there are 2 types of people those who start reading the design brief and come up with an idea and those who first need to do some research and then generate an idea. The research is limiting me in the start, if I want to look for things that aren’t existing the research is obstructing. Offcourse after you’ve got an idea you have to do some research about the idea to support it.

Furthermore in a lecture about ideas and concepts I learned the main difference about prototypes and a design. I think it is important to know this cause you have to know what you’re talking about. A prototype is something to make clear how your concept works. A design is about the looks of your concept.

A small ah moment during the project is about a moodboard. A moodboard is perfect to give an overview of your research/location/project but it is also perfect to give you new inspiration throughout the whole project just by looking at it.

Workshop cinema 4D
At this workshop I’ve learned how to make a realistic 3d product/environment which is great to use to make a final deliverable when you are unable to make a real object you can feel.


Integrating technology

At this assignment I learned how to make a circuit when you have an rough explanation of what It has to do. So abstracting information and analyze it to the right parts you need like a resistor, capacitor, led, transistor, wires, etc. I learned how to write and read an electronic circuit and maybe even more important how to discuss about it with someone who has experience in this field. I noticed that you can do so many things and so many things can go wrong that I have to do many more assignments to get the idea that I understand it all but in the mean time I will ask questions when I don’t get it. Something I should do more often.

Cultural interventions
In our project we used Kinect from the Xbox360 to scan a person in real time and translate the 3d image into a new 3d image of a character. This was all to illustrate the principle of a 3d character in the train of the person sitting next to the window. At the exhibition there were so many people walking around that Kinect sometimes froze and didn’t know where user1 was. This did me realize that the final exhibition needs some additional changes to show how things could work in real.

Descriptive and mathematical modeling

At this assignment you get a complicated situation and out of that situation you have to abstract one clear electrical circuit. Also I had to unravel the principle patterns and mechanics of the parts I was working with. Why do I have to connect an LED in series with a resistor.
Also an understanding of systems and their parameters was new for example the water cooker we had to build. The water cooker used a parameter, the potmeter to set the value when the heating element should turn on or off.


User focus and perspective

Cultural interventions
For research we were doing interviews at the street with people and the first one went as planned all the questions were answered. When I looked at the information I realized that the information was useful but not really what I needed. But I couldn’t really say what I missed. This learned me that interviewing isn’t the hardest part. Setting up the question is. How to come up with all the questions you need to provide you with the right information for the project. This is hard but I now know take your time to set up real careful all the questions otherwise you are wasting your time.
The next interview the same day was more productive but mainly because it wasn’t a real interview. I asked a security guard if he had some time for me. His first answer was no but when I walked next to him he started to talk and after 40 minutes I said goodbye and thanked him for the information. This conversation was real useful for my own knowledge about other cultures and how users are using products in different cultures but also for the project. I realized that for an interview it isn’t really important how the interview goes as long as you get the information you need.

Also in the video about the lecture of Adam Greenfield he told something about CCTV’s. The CCTV’s weren’t working because they destroyed the existing safety net. People took less responsibility for others because they assumed that the CCTV’s we’re taking the responsibility for the situation. This realized me that when you want to integrate a product into an existing situation with users you have to be real careful to don’t damage the situation and or to make it worse.