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Viability, Ideation, and Prototypes

With a month left in the semester, Colleen Miller reports on second-year students’ Thesis progress. After guest lectures, critiques, and many hours spent in the ideation stage, students are now testing and tweaking prototypes.

The past three classes of Thesis Development welcomed guest lectures and critiques from Manuel Toscano and Despina Papadopoulos. We’ve moved from the research phase on to the viability and ideation phase, and this is where it starts getting interesting. Manuel discussed viability in the marketplace and how to create frameworks for mapping our projects’ opportunities. By discussing how his company, Helsinki Group, maps to the Business Model Canvas, we began visualizing the business models for our thesis projects. Cost Structure, Channels and Revenue Streams? That’s right. A thesis idea must not only differentiate by contributing new knowledge to the field of interaction design, it must also demonstrate its viability to market. In small groups, we were tasked to articulate the goals of our projects by creating an opportunity map. Every time we discuss with others, we gain further insights from classmates and come closer to creating a shared understanding.

Sketches for Kristin Graefe’s “Digital Legacy” project
Sketches for Kristin Graefe’s “Digital Legacy” project

Sketches for Kristin Graefe’s “Digital Legacy”

Having these frameworks in mind, the class was now armed to try a prototype with potential users of our projects and presented them to the class. We are now at the point where the first prototypes need testing, tweaking and analyzing, and new prototypes are forming from the findings of the first round.

With Jennifer Bove at the helm, either in-person or live in class via Skype, the passion of the proposal phase combined with the research gatherings are now leading us into creative solutions that will carry us through to the final project build for next semester. Our ideas are on their way to being innovative, meaningful, grounded, viable, story-telling and well-designed. There’s no turning back now!

Colleen Miller, Class of 2011

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