Finding a problem is always a Problem

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These two weeks, my team of design thinking was formed as Team Syder.  The task of four of us was to find out the problems happened in our lives and try to find the concept of solution. However, it’s very difficult because I’m too satisfied with my life to find a problem. Thus, we planned to walk in the street to observe passersby and try to find a problem out.

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First of our discovery is the difficulty of choosing when go shopping. “How is it?” “How about this, and this?” Nowadays, people often ask questions about opinions. Due to the choice of overload, modern people need to make a lot of decisions every minute. Which chair is more suitable for my industrial loft-style room? Which way do I look more energetic? According to the study, only 3% of customers actually buy everything when they are chosen to be crushed. Although this decision is related to personal clothing, it will be more difficult to choose. For example, it takes a lot of time when you need to decide the colour of your shoes or the style of your coat. In addition, most people still can’t make a decision at the end of the shopping trip. If there’s an app that could be used as a voting system to make people decide easier, we could change the way that people make decisions or even ask for opinions.

However, it’s a little bit difficult for us to make this idea into a product because none of us could do the coding, so we give up this idea and turn to another one: the direction in the subway. We found that the direction sign in the London subway is always confused and hard to find. Sometimes it’s harder to find a sign than to find a way out.  Besides,  a person who is not tall enough could often be blocked by others and would spend lots of time finding the directions. Thus, we came out an idea which was to use the colour of each line in the London subway to draw conspicuous direction lines on the floor. It could be used by just a glance, and following the colour would make people never lose their ways. This idea could be used in many places like a hospital or a theatre as well.

We presented this idea in the class and received lots of feedback. Most of the feedback told us that the idea looks great, but it’s confused to calculate the budget and the returns. The most difficult question we have been asked was “how to make this idea reach the business level”. At that time I just realised that a good idea is not necessarily a good business idea. Then, because it’s complicated to make London Passenger Transport Board apply a build–operate–transfer project to alter the direction sign for the tube, we finally gave up this idea too. One of the other ideas was about the portable smoke ash bin, but it was given up because there might be some concern about encouraging smoking or some ethnically mortal problems.

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While we were frustrated, the class mentioned about lean startup which is an entrepreneurial methodology, its core idea is to first invest in a minimalist prototype in the market, and then through the continuous learning and valuable user feedback, the product is quickly iteratively optimized to adapt to the market. Depends on the lean canvas, we’re going to rethink our idea an make it looks great again.

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