Research Hunting Grounds and 80 Hours

August 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Since we last spoke I’ve been working at collecting research on a few areas of interest. The two that have risen to the top at this point are “Local Government Innovation” and “Design as Vocation.” I’ve been seeking out information within these two content areas and have come across interesting concepts, themes, theories, and facts within each. Key themes that have emerged from each are “Design Thinking” and “Design 4.0,” which are core subjects of my curriculum at Herron. That seems to be a good sign because I did not start my research there and came to the concepts organically in my research.

Let’s look at some areas of interest and themes in each topic:
Local Gov’t InnovationInterest: funding; innovation vs optimization. Themes: programs and services.
Design as VocationInterest: design education; social transformation design; compare/contrast design with other professions’ vocational opportunities/work. Themes: use of resources/skills for common good; calling to solve a social problem(s).

This seems to be a good start and will hopefully offer a fertile hunting ground for thesis research questions. However, I need to do more research to gain additional understanding of these topics and continue sensemaking. In this effort I went to the IUPUI library today and checked out a few books, one of them titled “Design for the Real World,” written by Victor Papanek, which I believe is the original “design for the common good” book and started the social innovation movement.

Reflecting on my process over the past week I have decided that I need to establish a formal work schedule; office hours if you will. Last week I allowed personal commitments – carpet installation (and a bad installation process) as well as an out-of-town wedding (Columbus, Ohio is a cool place) – to get in the way of conducting proper research. I’m endeavoring to remedy letting personal commitments prevent me from putting in the necessary work at any point in this process (while still keeping true to my family and friends). As I discovered today, I have about 80 hours of free time a week; surely I can commit a large portion of this time to thesis work.

Thesis Ownership 101

August 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

This morning was the first thesis seminar for 10 hopeful 2011 Indiana University Herron School of Art + Design MFA Visual Communications graduates. To begin the class, instructor Lee Vanderkooi wrote on the whiteboard: process ≠ outcome. He explained that simply following the given process will not equal a positive outcome.

“I will fail you and not lose sleep over it.” – LVK

As mentioned in another class, it is important for us to take ownership of our experience rather than simply being in attendance. This will lead to the best results for us, both in the work we produce and in what we gain from the experience. The thesis project may be the penultimate example of the need for student ownership.

After being given the particulars for the course we were split into three groups that will meet weekly to discuss our progress and act as a support group sounding board for one another.

Our assignments for this week are to establish a blog (✓), have our first group meeting, and to determine our “content interests,” identify possible “ways of working” on the thesis, and establish our “future goals” for the outcome of this thesis process.

I have a list of content interests established (collected over the last six months or so) to start my thesis journey but still need to flesh out that are and begin exploring the other two; the real work begins now for this thesis owner.

Where Am I?

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