Camila Casas – Uruguay

Landing on Chilean land

During my first week in the middle of Andes range, everything has been  thrilling and new to me: a huge town, the language and culture mix, large quantities of people everywhere and the sound of a city that never sleeps.

Catholic University and DUOC UC gave us a nice welcome and showed us the San Joaquín Campus.

After that, our first theory class began. It was in charge of Constanza, the professor, who helped me to refresh my knowledge about the work method, possible tools to be applied and the way we must approach the project.

Besides, the Chilean students showed us their condensed projects, which are still in process. It was very useful to help us figure out the way we will should develop and face the problem.

Apart from that, we had class at Duoc, in charge of Professor Andrea, and this one had a different approach. We had a workshop to face a problem that was proposed during class. The challenge to solve it just in a single instance, applying the contents and methods given to us previously.

This instance was very fulfilling, because  it allowed us know each other and be closer, both personally and as a team.

The engine started up!


Initial approaches

This week has been diverse and intensive, we had to organize our team, try to figure out the way to approach the investigation and define the kind of activities and research we should make.
Since the beginning, one of my greatest fears about working in a team was that I didn’t know if I would be able to communicate and convey my ideas, because my English language has been out of use since a very long time. I think that after almost past two weeks here, the limitations of the language disappeared and my fear faded away!



Group dynamic

Before starting the research, and our field research, Joni proposed a way to know each other better, that we specify our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and made a personal F.O.D.A. I believe that it was a useful addition to the way we work, in order to enhance and support each other as a team.

To begin with, we had our first meeting with the counterpart, that was an instance that didn’t give us valuable data, was a little hard and we felt a little discouraged…
Anyway, we overcame this limitation and tried to feel confident again.

Besides, during the week, we visited nine parks of different context and styles. In those parks, we conducted interviews to both elderly and secondary park users. These activities were a little complex, because both of us were the only ones who could speak Spanish. Anyway, Victoria and I made a good team, and we could complement each other in order to approach to the people.Sin título-2-01-01

In addition, we divided the theoretical research, and due to my expertise, my task is to know deeply the design of the parks (in a broad sense of the word), about some Chilean metropolitan parks. In the research that I been, one of the things that caught my attention the most so far is the concept of “Caretakers of the park”. In some parks there have been created some groups of people, over the age of 60 years old, as an honorary position, that want to collaborate to keep the park in good conditions. They are in charge of chores like the maintenance and the attention of the people that are in the park, it seems to be a very positive initiative to highlight.

Finally, in respect to the research and the development about the project, I believe that due to my expertise, design, the way to approach this, is very familiar to me, because I have done lots of works in this way. The methods used like the design thinking make me feel self-confident and I believe I am able to contribute from this place in our group.


First delivery!

This week was our first delivery which made the work a little tense due to the pressure of getting on well with the times.

While we did manage to some extent, From my point of view I think it would be important to devote more time to further research  beacause these will be the foundation of our Project.

During this week, we mainly have analyzed all the information we had generated so far. In addition, something that has taken us a long time is to organize the information to be able to show it in a clear and concise way.

From these first contacts we have had with the elderly, I have the question of how to really feel in the shoes of the user, and I believe that to generate a complete empathy with them, perhaps it would be good to spend some days living with them.

During class this week, one of the tools that was new to me and that I found very valuable was coding and decoding which was very useful! It is also something that I found interesting and helpful to apply in the study of my degree thesis, as the method I was using was not as effective as I thought it would be. In addition, another tool that I would like to highlight that has been very useful for us, due to the type of subject matter we have been dealing with, is the creation of “People”, which allowed us to be very clear about the different types of archetypes, and I believe that when the time comes to project, they will be of great value.

While for our first delivery  we managed to define 3 possible opportunities, we must continue in further research we have done so far; read more pappers, conduct more interviews, and spend more time with our users.


After the crisis, comes the light

This week was pretty tough for our group. Most of it has been in a bit of a crisis, trying to reformulate our opportunity. Although it is normal and an intrinsic part of the process, when you have times to meet they are a bit complicated…

Since this “crisis”, we have realized that focusing our project from the positive place, that is working with the people who come to the park, was not being very useful, so I took the initiative to interview older people who do not attend, to obtain relevant information to help us reorient ourselves.

Fortunately, the data obtained was very useful to us, and allowed us to reorient ourselves and conduct new, more focused interviews, new searches for information on the Internet, and so the new opportunity would come to light!

Something I would like to highlight this week, is that after these new interviews more focused, I was very happy to get closer and get to know these people, I think I am now closer to understanding their feelings and thoughts.

Now, our new opportunity, with this change of direction, motivates me and makes me believe that we are approaching a more real problem.


We started creating!

Once again, we have made another week of our project a reality.

Difficult, but more and more entertaining because you have to start creating! Until now, uncertainty, for some, not being used to dealing with it, has been a bit difficult for them to manage and let themselves flow. Anyway, I think that these next few weeks we’re all going to feel safer!

Time… although it is usually not on our side, and there are tasks that take a lot of dedication, such as doing the analysis from the interviews, reading and rereading them, doing their coding and decoding… I think it is something that pays off and is worth all the time spent on them. I believe that the more analysis and research, more ground, more confidence and security in the projection.

Also, we have not had time to work on the communication-design of the presentation so I hope that for the next delivery we can organize and have more time to work on it.

With respect to these times, sometimes it becomes a little difficult for me to be the only one who manages adobe programs, has the link with the Chilean elderly population and to be able to analyze them (due to the language), and knows a little more about the methodology… but I think that little by little, particularly this week, we have been able to face this situation a little better.

With regard to our first sketch of the opportunity, ‘Together hour’, promoting intergenerational interaction together with a change in the perception of space in the city, in which the elderly leave a mark and feel relevant in this city, in this time and in this space, is something that motivates me a lot. I think it’s a path that even though it takes time to develop, it’s an idea that can work!


Solutions and presentation to the countrepart

This week has been a busy one, we had two main objectives: to better define our solution and to make the presentation for our counterpart.

Regarding the development of the solution, we have spent a lot of time, as we wanted to take into account and consider all possible insights and aspects. These moments were a bit difficult because we were going back and forth, not knowing exactly which way to go. Finally, after a great brainstorming, and other tools, we managed to sketch the solution that we thought was the most appropriate.

This presentation, I think it was the best one we’ve made so far, it was difficult to get away from it and put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t know anything about the project. Sometimes when you are so far into the project, summarizing the whole process and the research in 3 minutes becomes a difficult task, because you end up questioning yourself, which is really the most relevant thing?

This week, also we were able to better organize ourselves in the division of tasks and this allowed us to arrive more on time for our presentation. In this one, the return of the counterpart gave us relevant information to be able to continue the development of the project. While our proposal covered many stages, the counterpart believes that we should focus primarily on the journey from home to the park, which we were initially going to focus on. Therefore our next steps are in that direction!


Hard week…

This week was pretty discouraging…. we spent more time on solving the delivery, or doing the mock ups, (instead of stopping to think about your goals first), or developing our solution… I think we haven’t made any progress this week…

Although it seems to me that the resolution to generate an experience from the moment they decide to go to a park is the right one, a personalised, intimate activity, where the elderly people feel at home on the move as at ¨home¨, a welcoming, trustworthy and safe place, where they begin to create links between the people in their neighbourhood, I believe that we have been left at a loss….
In this last part of the process we lost a relevant part of the experience, the instance in the park, so I think it doesn’t make complete sense…

I think that sometimes the returns, the meetings with the counterpart, etc., ended up confusing us and we quickly lose the common thread… personally, I don’t know if it’s because of a specific topic of the group or because of interdiscipline, but lately I feel too limited and with too little freedom and control of the process.

A part from that, I’ve always been used to working with a log of the whole process, and in this case, I don’t know about the dynamics of our work, I’ve forgotten to use this methodology. At this moment I feel that I am missing a fundamental tool…. only now do I become aware of the relevance of this tool.
Many times we end up forgetting or leaving aside relevant points, approaches, or ideas during the process…


Almost last week

This week I really struggled to find the desire… I think that many factors influenced this demotivation, but one of them is that I don’t feel comfortable with the proposal…

However, the dynamics of dividing up some tasks to do individually was something that worked better this week than others.

To begin with, we finished defining the solution including activities in the park, a theme that we had lost the previous week, and it was necessary to solve.

We also made some changes to the proposal, in fact it was hard to get to it, and I don’t really know if it was the right one but it was the way we decided to go.

We adjusted details of how it was to be developed, such as logistics, business model, design, etc.

Next week we should focus on our next and final delivery, I think we have a few weeks of hard work and definition coming up…

Last Thoughts

Last week of intense work and stress where the relations between the group were more tense…. I think that in the team we had some complications, which were difficult for me, and it was hard to overcome, but going home and working calmly on the assigned tasks helped me to recover.

To conclude this stage, I can see that this experience was very rich and I am very happy to have been able to be part of this project:

  • To know the approach to design in other faculties, countries and cultures, as well as their different academic and methodological realities and approaches.
  • Find personal strengths and weaknesses I didn’t know about.
  • To strengthen my desire and strength to continue growing and learning
  • Learn from my partners, in terms of managing personal relationships in a team.
  • To become aware of the importance and relevance of knowing how to show the projects
  • Better develop my field research skills, for example, such as in interviews.
  • To get closer and deeper into the reality, thinking, and feeling of the elderly, which I am passionate about and very useful for the research I am doing on this population in my country.

In addition, although my English is limited in my case, I learned that in the face of the need and pressure of being the only possible way to communicate, one resolves, in practice, and over time, one’s command of the language improves and one feels more confident.
This experience gave me the guideline of the importance of deepening the study of the language and improving it.

Also, I can also see some things that were not so positive in the project, and that I think it would be important to take into account in the next instances of LAPASSION:

On the one hand, the commitment, conviction and companionship of the students, I believe is fundamental for a good development in this type of projects.
On the other hand, even if the person is this way, not all students from different disciplines have a profile that can be developed and adapted to this type of project…. I believe that at least a basic knowledge of the Design Thinking methodology or having a creative capacity, as well as the possibility of adapting and thinking in different ways and methodologies of working, are essential elements for interdisciplinary teamwork to work and give better results than in unidisciplinary work teams. Otherwise, I think they end up being counterproductive….

Once again I am deeply grateful for the possibility of having been part of this project, and I hope that it will continue to be carried out and develop in a better way each time. I really hope more students can believe, share, grow and enjoy these instances!