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SHiFT design camp

SHiFT 2016 - Day 3

14 June 2016

Today I got to hear a lecture from Lauren Purkhiser, “a designer who does research” at Lextant. In her lecture, Lauren states, “To make things happen, designers must have various knowledge bases—of materials, manufacturing processes and even more importantly, of their users.” It seems that without a  better holistic understanding of the end product/user/consumer relationship, only small tweaks can be accomplished as opposed to giant milestones in design. Now, also coming from a design field I can agree with that. If the brief/research you are given is superficial at best, this can only make the design go so far in the eyes of the consumer. I was always taught the number 1 rule of design is to know your audience, and know them very well. FYI, she also rides and fixers her own motorcycles. #prettyawesomeinanybook.

After Lauren’s lecture, we took a field trip to Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller. This centers around the theme for this years Shift which is designing for the disabled. Despite her many initial disadvantages, Helen Keller was able to acquire many skills that most of us will never be able to achieve. She wrote two autobiographies, graduated college, raised money for charity, spoke out loud to her audience during speeches. And knew five different languages. More than impressive by any standards. You have to ask yourself who’s really is the one with the disability, the person with a ability never pushed to the limits or the person who decides that they have no limits?

After the field trip, we tool a team-based research exploration into the wilderness to bare witness to some of Mother Nature’s design principles. It took several minuets to start seeing them but natural design evidence is really all around, you just have to start to know what your looking for. 

So to recap, in order to better understand your end user/consumer, a designer needs to not just do the research (that will get you far but not all the way) they also need to have a understanding of that consumer as a whole person and not just data on a sheet.

After dinner campers had to present their finding to the camp. Again, not as a presentation but, as a performance. They were some of the down-right funniest performances I’ve seen. Not really professional but far better in quality and content as far as I’m concerned. I think my abs still hurt from laughing so hard. 

Tuesday Night:

And Muscle Sholes has the Swampers………..

Got to hear Bob Wray of the Swampers. The cat is a musical legend who has “played with so many stars that it’s a shorter list to say who he hasn’t played with.” He spoke for a while on his countless collaborations with so many rock legends. However, it wasn’t the names that really stuck with me but it was the man. Now I’d seen Tom since Sunday and knew who he was but I didn’t really know WHO he was. Let’s say I knew of him. Who he is really is probably the coolest and humblest person I have ever got the chance to meet. (And funny as well). This is a guy who again, made rock history but doesn’t bat an eyelash at helping serve dinner to the campers, take out the trash and even give free music lessons. We had such a great time with him and letting anyone come up on stage and jam with him. My words can’t do any of it justice believe me. It was truly inspiring.

An I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention Mama Fay’s Chilli!!!!! Mic drop!

For more information or to contact SHiFT, please go to shiftdesign.us