CIID adventure

As I sit at the Copenhagen airport, watching people passing by with their past and future travels in their heads, I’m trying to sum up the month that I spent here. I came to Copenhagen on the 4th of July to take the Summer School in Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design.

So many things happen during this month! So many stories, interesting people, experiences, hard work, challenging projects, so much fun!

sarah1

First week was definitely the most intense. In five days we designed a service, including all stages: research, research analysis, brainstorming, prototyping, testing the prototypes and presenting the final concept. We worked in teams of 3-4 people with different backgrounds. In our class there where people form 15 different countries! I was so tired after this week that I slept through most of the weekend. The speed was so high! We timeboxed every step so we keep our productivity all the time and don’t get too much into details. We did research and prototype testing in the field, we talked to strangers, we asked them questions about their travel experiences, we introduced them to our ideas. It was unbelievable how people in Copenhagen are open to design, innovation, changes. Not only Danes but also tourists and visitors. I had some previous experiences with working in field in Poland, Paris and on Iceland, mostly while making projects connected with photography. Because of that I didn’t find it difficult to reach people. I love this feeling when you realise that every small expirience from the past improves your skills. I’m very happy with the result of our work, I had an amazing team and we all felt that we did a great job!

“When you let people participate in the design process, you find that they often have ingenious ideas about what would really help them” – Melinda Gates

And on friday we all went to Toldboden – a lovely restaurant by the seaside 🙂

Next week was all about Backends, APIs and User Interfaces. I’ve learned programing in coffee script. It was odd, after the previous workshop, to swich to sitting by the computer all day long but I knew that it’s the only way to learn the basics of programing. I have to say that it was very satisfying, to achieve the small goals  step by step and build something with a completly new language.

The third week, Workability class tought me a lot about team work. I’ve discovered how important it is to know as much as possible about co-workers, their skills and hobbies. I finally learnd how to give and get feedback and how to deal with critique.
It was hard to understand what I’ve actually learned right after the workshop  (it was all about soft skills) until th 4th week started and we were assigned to new groups in Design for Social Impact workshop. Suddenly it was so easy to start the work, organize our work flow, norm, timebox, communicate.

aga

Social Impact was a summary of all previous workshops that I took here. We designed a service for actual clients – collectives tackling some of the toughest problems around the planet. My (amazing!) team was working on the case of women enterpreneurs in Ecuador. We were challenged to help them learn the basics of finance managment. We talked with the clients on Skype, they gave us a brief and introduced us to the field research that they did. By the end of the week we had to present our proposition of service and suggestions of prototypes that they can use. They will pick the ideas that they like the most and take the prototypes to Ecuador.

“Empathy in design focuses on user as a person, not just a customer” – Ralph Caplan

Almost every day at CIID I’ve been meeting new people. Every dinner or lunch we had conversations about design, working in the filed of design, differences in our counties, traveling, dreams, plans, goals. Never have I ever been given so many important advices, valuable comments. My confidence after this month is much higher, I believe that what I do makes sense, I know how to set my career. Also it’s amazing how many smart and amazing women I’ve met here! We discussed the difficulties of the business for women around the world. Obviously we decided to build a international association of power-women working in design.

And that’s it. Time to go home. I’ll go back to this adventure in my future posts for sure.

11221558_10153376103405519_3252668141159969227_o