Designing in the human context

first_imgThat particular Monday morning began with a deceptively simple direction: “Focus on one person, and stay in a straight line with them, while remaining within the bounds of the circle.”A frenzy of movement and laughter ensued, and each iteration of this team-building activity ended in a comical confrontation between two people — just as likely roommates as a professor-student pair. More than just an icebreaker, though, the scene was a primer in human dynamics: a first lesson in engineering design.For a week in January, 40 students from a variety of backgrounds — comparative literature to computer science — engaged in a “design thinking” workshop led by IDEO, an internationally renowned design consulting firm. Throughout, the human element was key — How do people actually use a product? — as was a certain amount of ad-libbed fun.By midweek, the second-floor conference room of Maxwell Dworkin looked as though it had been hit by a tornado. Sticky notes covered the walls and dry erase boards, scattered with phrases, concepts, and ideas: “Huge!,” “Turtle backpack,” “Imagination pod,” “Mentor program,” “Kung fu video,” and more. Glue guns, markers, and poster board littered the floor; spaghetti and tape spilled into the adjacent lounge.The course, “jDesign,” was among many programs available to students during Optional Winter Activities Week, the jam-packed conclusion to Winter Break at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).“Design is about making decisions, often in the face of uncertainty.”“JDesign” was spearheaded by Gu-Yeon Wei, Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and associate dean for academic programs at SEAS, with support from Joseph Zinter, a former design preceptor at SEAS (now at Yale University).“Design is about making decisions, often in the face of uncertainty,” Zinter said. “It’s like running a race where the course keeps splitting. Each fork is a decision.”“The good designer adheres to a process — a set of tools and techniques that guides them in the decision-making process,” Zinter said. “JDesign is about teaching those tools and techniques.”Students were assigned to seven groups and asked to create and present a “starter kit” for a person with some goal. One group decided to make a toolbox for a high school graduate transitioning to college; another designed items that the homeless of Harvard Square could use to stay warm during harsh winters. Throughout the design process, each team was urged to consider human factors; one team devised a lovable stuffed turtle to help an overwhelmed sophomore select a concentration at Harvard.Intertwined with formal presentations by IDEO on topics such as human-centered design and visual thinking were brainstorming sessions, role-playing games, construction projects, and man-on-the-street interviews.Siyabulela Xuza ’12, a South African student who participated in the course, noted the impact that the workshops had on him as an aspiring engineer.“Academically, it’s given me a paradigm shift,” he said. “I’ve been given tools to know how to approach problems by considering human factors — putting humans at the center, and also really asking myself questions about the day-to-day things that we do.”“I came in here thinking that I knew how to design on the world, imposing solutions,” Xuza added, “but learning about humans throughout the design process taught me how to design in the world.”Emi Nietfeld ’15, a freshman with an artistic background, particularly enjoyed the opportunity to program using Arduino, a hardware-software combination designed for people at all skill levels.“It was awesome to see that there’s this whole world out there just meant to empower people to build stuff,” she said. “I really like that we had ideas and made them right away.”The workshop was led by David Goligorsky and other IDEO employees and facilitated by graduate students from SEAS and the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The faculty and facilitators integrated seamlessly into the design teams, learning just as much from their energetic teammates as they contributed in expertise.Wei hopes that the inaugural workshop will continue to inspire “channeled innovation” in the students who participated.“I was really impressed by the creativity and the energy,” he said. “Everyone evolved throughout the week from what they thought they were going to work on, on day one, to what they actually ended up working on and presenting on day five. I’m hoping we can all take what we learned throughout this week and apply it to what we do, whether it be research, whether it be courses, [or] continuing on to design new projects.”The workshop pushed beyond the traditional perception of engineering as a math-centric, technical domain, emphasizing that effective engineering design is informed by (and resides within) the context of the humanities and social sciences.Said Nietfeld: “There’s the product side of things, and there’s the story side of things, and we did both [during jDesign], but the story was so important. You could’ve had a loaf of bread, and if you told the right story about it, everybody would be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s so cool — it’s a loaf of bread!’”“For an engineering program, jDesign was pretty progressive,” said Zinter. “SEAS is pushing hard against the conventional engineering paradigm, and that’s pretty rad.”Besides Wei, Zinter, and Goligorsky, major contributors to the course were Brad Crane (GSD/IDEO), Jawn Lim (GSD), Faye Hayes (GSD), Nathan King (GSD), Avi Uttamchandani (design preceptor at SEAS), Conor Walsh (assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at SEAS), and Beth Altringer (visiting lecturer on innovation and behavior at SEAS).The course was supported by the Harvard President’s January Innovation Fund for Faculty. <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2D0KSARstA” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/S2D0KSARstA/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

NCAA cancels all postseason championship events in response to coronavirus spread

first_img Published on March 12, 2020 at 4:53 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @MikeJMcCleary Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img In response to the “evolving COVID-19 public health threat,” the NCAA has canceled all postseason winter and spring championship events, the association announced Thursday afternoon.A decision was made “to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the statement read.The announcement follows 24 hours of continuous ripples cast across the sports world, beginning with the suspension of the NBA season after a player tested positive for the novel coronavirus and a teammate did the next day. Atlantic Coast Conference president John Swofford held a press conference this morning declaring that the ACC Tournament will remain as scheduled, albeit with limited fans present. Syracuse beat North Carolina 81-53 Wednesday night to advance to a matchup with No. 3-seeded Louisville. The game was scheduled for 9 p.m. Thursday prior to the cancelation in the early afternoon.MORE COVERAGE: NCAA cancels all postseason championship events in response to coronavirusA look the chaotic 2 hours that led to end of ACC tournamentACC cancels men’s basketball tournament amid spread of coronavirusInside the confusion at the ACC tournament amid coronavirus restrictionsACC suspends spring sports amid coronavirusWhile both the Syracuse men’s and women’s basketball teams were unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament, the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams ranked No. 1 and No. 4 in the country, respectively. Syracuse’s softball, rowing, tennis and track and field teams were also in the middle of their seasons, which were suspended by the ACC and ultimately Syracuse this afternoon.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs of 11:57 a.m., NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championship committee announced that a decision was made to not allow any fans, including family, into the venue — emphasizing the need to limit attendance to “1/3 of the venue capacity.” Syracuse men’s lacrosse had risen to No. 1 in the IL rankings for the first time since 2017 behind a five-game winning streak to begin the year. Loyola transfer Chase Scanlan and senior midfielder Jamie Trimboli paced the new-look Syracuse offense under Pat March with 18 and 15 goals, respectively. The women overcame an early-season loss to Stony Brook with a six-game winning streak. Emily Hawryschuk is second in the nation with 39 goals as well as a 4.88 goals per game average.last_img read more

GiG divests Highroller.com to focus on core brands

first_img Transitioning GiG faces B2C and B2B declines closing tough 2019 February 18, 2020 Related Articles GiG completes B2C unit offload to Betsson  April 9, 2020 Share Robin Reed – GiGIssuing a market filing Stockholm-listed Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has confirmed that it has reached an agreement to divest its Highroller (Highroller.com) online casino property to Ellmount Gaming Ltd for a total consideration of €7 million.As part of the agreement, Ellmount will become a B2B customer of GiG services, continuing to operate Highroller utilising GIG’s platform, front-end and managed services provisions.Disclosing transactional terms, GiG will receive payment in monthly instalments over a contract period of 48-months.GiG launched Highroller in 2017 as a proprietary brand seeking to engage wider gaming audiences with gamification and customisation features.  The Stockholm enterprise discloses that Highroller generated revenues of €1.4 million and  EBITDA of – €200,000 for the first six months of 2019.Moving forward, GiG governance confirms that the company will focus on operating the four core brands of Rizk, Guts, Kaboo and Thrills.Updating the investors, Robin Reed, CEO of GiG details: “The sale of Highroller is a confirmation of our discipline and focus as we are growing Rizk.Com to become a Tier 1 casino operator in select markets. Through this agreement, we gain increased cash flow, a strong B2B partner and Highroller will get the marketing muscle and focus it deserves. The brand was launched only two years ago and with this sale, it has returned three-digit ROI for GiG. I am looking forward to seeing the brand prosper in the hands of very capable owners, empowered by our full suite of products and services.” Submit StumbleUpon Share GiG divests B2C arm to Betsson AB for €31 million February 14, 2020last_img read more