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Shopping Center Reflections April 28, 2009

Posted by raymondbraun in Uncategorized.

Thursday’s class was fantastic! I was impressed by the high quality of each team’s presentations, especially given the relatively short amount of time we were given to complete the project. It was interesting to view how each team approached the assignment; everyone’s presentations were incredibly diverse in the way they presented their findings and recommendations.

Team Chumbawamba, I want to commend you on an especially exceptional presentation! I loved the way you utilized multiple forms of multimedia to convey your message (you took the initiative to create a modified version of the Victoria’s Secret website, you uploaded a video to YouTube to provide an “undercover” shopping experience for the class, and you used multiple photos to simulate what it might feel like walking into the store). I also liked how you created a brochure to further demonstrate your point. Your ideas for improving the Victoria’s Secret shopping experience for male customers were not only innovative, but also logistically feasible. 

I was also impressed by the Nike team’s recommendations for improving the dressing room experience. I think this technology could work in a ton of stores, not just Nike, and would truly modernize the shopping experience. You should consider developing this technology and selling it to different stores!

Personally, I enjoyed working with my team, Dynamix, on enhancing the Sprinkles experience. My favorite part of the assignment was consulting with Sprinkles employees and managers to create innovative and creative ideas that were “doable” and would still fit within the culture of Sprinkles. I am confident that we could successfully implement our recommendations in Sprinkles tomorrow if we were put to task!

I also realized through this assignment that no store is perfect, and companies should constantly be looking for ways to improve their brand and the customer experience through consulting with “fresh eyes.” Even if we had been assigned to improve a store that many people consider near perfect (Apple, for example), I’m sure we still could’ve generated several problems and solutions! 



1. johnshinozaki - April 28, 2009

Continuing with the Shopping Center project reflections from the d.EXTREME team….

Having a team of five can be challenging. The biggest challenge was finding time to get together and meet. That is why I was pleased to have had Tuesday’s class time to meet up at the shopping center and work as a team.

Also, having a team of five can be a challenge in balancing and monitoring the different personalities in the team. Referring back to one of our previous exercises with the “hats,” my d.EXTREME team, definitely has a diverse mix of character. We have a team that owns great skills of prototyping, generating wild ideas, articulation and synthesis. When the d.EXTREME team met up for our one hour Tuesday jam session, these skills became vital. (The d.school facilities was also a tremendous help!)

Since most of my team members have never been exposed to the d.school, I have an exciting opportunity to share with them what “design thinking” is about. During our brainstorm sessions, I explained what a POV (point of view) is.


Through iterations, our Godiva POV became:

“Boring, slow female Godiva worker dressed in black needs a new way to chocolate dip strawberries to attract customers.”

The elements in our POV show a very descriptive user, a specific need, and the insightful problem that was discovered. This POV was our focus point as we scoped out wide, wild ideas for prototypes.

Taking a combination of techniques from d.school and Lunarr.com fellow, we chose our brainstorming ideas that we liked best and “shared” why we liked it. Usually at the d.school we just vote, but the Lunarr.com fellow explained to me the importance of voting and sharing your reasons. This sharing of reasons and details actually gives more depth to the ideas, hence completing two objectives in a brainstorm, scope and depth. This is very challenging to achieve short bursts of brainstorm session. (I think usually people treat brainstorms for just scope without paying attention to depth)

Once the best ideas were filtered out, another brainstorm iteration happened. Note, I did my best to be visual on a white board drawing pictures. Being visual while brainstorming is a technique the d.school highly recommends and is something I am still working hard at mastering.

During brainstorming, the techniques that I tried paying attention to were:
– keep an eye on POV and controlling urges to digress away
– encourage building off of team member ideas
– encourage specific detailed ideas, avoid abstraction
– draw ideas, not just write
– encourage the silent thinkers in the group to think out load
– a say a joke here and there to make people laugh!

Finally the brainstorming marathon came to an end and the architectural challenge of building a prototype out of scrap began. This was very fun. The whole d.EXTREME team floated from the white board “huddle room” to the “prototyping room.” We started grabbing sheets which could be table cloth, red bubble wrap which could be rolled up into strawberries, green pipe cleaners for the stems, black scrap foam board for the trays, …grab a cardboard and red marker and make a Godiva sign! At this moment, there was much chatter, laughter, and hammering going on – the sounds of an awesome prototyping session.

Trying to multitask, towards the end of prototyping session we tried coming up with presentation material.

“Let’s state the problem we witnessed at Godiva.”
“Then let’s discuss our process of developing solutions.”
“How about role playing the situation observed in Godiva?”
“Shall we demo our prototype with another role playing act?”

As the hour came to a close, the prototype and presentation was done and the d.EXTREME team dispersed from the d.school. Any unfinished touches to the presentation was fined tuned in scripting it out in back and forth emails, and also meeting early before Thursday class to practice.

In closing of the Godiva Shopping Center project, the d.Extreme team is living up to their name with short, fast, high energy innovation experiences.

2. mcomeara - April 28, 2009


I really enjoyed how your group integrated the prototyping and brain-storming process into your classroom presentation. Because each group is outfitted with different personality types and varying academic backgrounds, it’s always interesting and useful to learn how other teams think through a problem. I also thought it was clever how you integrated your final project company (d.school) into this assignment.

One thing I found super useful for the assignment was prepping beforehand. Each member of our group did an exploratory run-around the mall the prior weekend. Two really good things evolved out of this process. First, by visiting Sprinkles during a period of high mall-goer volume, we were able to quickly pinpoint the traffic flow issue. Second, by traveling through the store individually we were able to think-up our own problem statements before reporting back to the group. In this way, our group was able to accumulate more ideas from the get-go than if we first explored the store as one unit.

My biggest take-away from the assignment was in developing my critical eye for observation. Design problems are everywhere! And for some reason the most ubiquitous design flaws/opportunities are often the least obvious (e.g shopping carts, buzzers for trial rooms). From this project and other MS&E 277 experiences I’ve learned that great need-finding requires astute observation and novel perspectives. In the future I intend to approach my routine experiences with a fresh face, noting at least one new observation on each occasion.

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