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Reflection Social + Sustainable, Soumitri Varadarajan Lucy Fraser, s3203390 1


Content

Lucy Fraser RMIT Industrial Design March 2010

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Who is Lucy Fraser?

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Design Beliefs

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Areas of knowledge

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Methodology

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Skill set

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Past design moments

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Future design moments

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Contacts

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Who is Lucy Fraser?

I am an industrial designer who learns from the past, has a vision for the future and who seizes the present as an opportunity to make it a reality. My fourth and final year of studying Industrial Design at RMIT will be the culmination of years of design passion, experience and growth. This reflection describes my design existence and gives you an idea of why it is so. It shows you where I have been, what I have done and what I hope to do.

Note: All images and drawings are my own unless otherwise credited

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Design Beliefs Clever design I always keep this in mind while I’m working. It reminds me to research thoroughly so I can understand the brief or scenario and encourages me to be smart when thinking of a solution, making sure it is a practical and long term one. Clever design also means having a sense of humour. A witty design will interest people and get them to invest themselves. Collaborative design Over the course of my design life, I have worked in a whole range of fields, from ergonomics to retail to psychology to business. Working together with experts in the field (whether they have studied the topic or have years of experience) gives me a depth of understanding I cannot design successfully without. I believe that the design journey cannot be a solo one, we will always be learning and applying the knowledge to our process. Empowering people Industrial design has a powerful impact on it’s surroundings. Though this influence continues to be used for evil (mass consumption and waste, child labour, exclusive design), it can have a positive impact that is just as powerful. One design for good (not just good design) has the opportunity to give millions of people the tools to improve their lives. KISS (keep it simple, stupid) The best designs are the simplest ones. This goes hand in hand with clever design. If someone can pick up a product or enter a system and understand what’s going on without having to read instructions or be told, then this objective has been achieved. Local Design This came up in an interesting discourse between Emily Pilloton and Bruce Nussbaum, the topic matter being “Are humanitarian designers the new imperialists?”, and I have found it in my own experience. If a designer is to create a long term and practical solution, they must have an intrinsic understanding of the environment. This cannot be gained from research at a desk or parachuting into a foreign country for four weeks. Ultimately I think the best case scenario is designing for your own back yard. 4


Areas of knowledge

Social sustainability This has been my focus for the last three years. I discovered the concept of designing with a positive social impact and since discovered that it is practically a movement, there are communities supporting and practicing it. In a paper proposal I co-authored, we defined ‘socially sustainable innovation’ as: ...design and invention that empowers individuals and groups to advocate, facilitate, catalyse and realise positive change in the present and future of their community. I believe that in the future, every practitioner will be expected to work in a triple-bottom line sustainable manner (financially, ecologically, socially). It would be amazing to work with a team of people of various disciplines on socially sustainable projects anywhere in the world, either self driven or client driven.

Social enterprise On my journey of discovering social sustainability I recently stumbled across social enterprise at a DESIS (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) meeting. There was a speaker from ‘Social Traders’, a government and privately run organisation that supports Victorian social enterprises. They have also worked with QUT (Queensland University of Technology) to develop FASES, a database of Australian social enterprises that are currently trading, it is a wonderful resource. I have always been interested in small businesses, and I can see many opportunities where design and social enterprise can collaborate and produce something beautiful. I am looking into how this could become regular behaviour, for example a design consultancy that specialises in social enterprise.

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Methodology

Blogging When I have a lot of things happening, I have found blogging to be a great way to record events. If I act quickly, I can also capture thoughts and ideas that have been buzzing around my mind during the day. This documentation of thoughts and events allows me to remember things I usually would not, and take ideas further than I usually would. My blogs are a continuous reference that I use months after the event. Blogs The blogs of other people offer me a similar insight. They keep events and ideas fresh and commonly provide a personal opinion about one topic or another. There are blogs that I read daily (the beauty of a blog is that it is ever changing) for inspiration or education and ones that I discover through research for individual projects.

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Connecting Part of my design research is always contacting people who know more than I do about the topic at hand, or have skills in the area. As I mentioned previously, industrial design cannot be a lonely profession, I find that connecting with people can excite and educate both parties. Even a quick email saying, ‘I see you are currently working on this, I’m doing a project that touches on this too,’ can result in the circulations of ideas and a good dose of constructive criticism. Hanging out Though I only recently discovered that this is a ‘thing’, I have previously used this technique in past projects. I have loitered in workshops, pretended to be a customer and had a go at being an amputee. I am looking forward to taking this further with some ‘deep hanging out’, with social enterprises. Jotting Mostly I find this useful for product design, I jot down ideas as they come, wherever I may be. I like sketching loosely and quickly, getting the idea in as few lines as I can. I’m practicing for my ‘paper napkin’ moment Outdoors I find I often start to feel stifled after hours of work at my desk. Relocating my work outdoors, or going for a walk get my brain functioning again. I find that if I’m taking a break I’ll still be mulling things over and the change in atmosphere can help me find something that I knew was there but couldn’t get at before. Sharing Bouncing ideas off other people, whether they be my lecturer, design idol, friend, mother, employer... I always find new things come out of a conversation with somebody other than myself. I’ve been living with this design process for weeks, a fresh look with new eyes can be wonderful. Visual journal In addition to blogging, I keep a visual diary. Journal writing gives me nightmares, but a newly turned page, a glue stick and some crayons get my juices flowing. This is where all my 3D inspiration goes. 7


Skill set

Computer Aided Design I am proficient with the Adobe suite, Solidworks and Rhino. I am very eager to use 3D printing technology as it gets better and faster with a wider range or materials, and so I hope to keep my Solidworks and Rhino skills up to scratch. Documentation This is a tool I use to help me organise my ideas and gather my thoughts. It keeps me on track, and is always good evidence of my process after the project is complete. I usually keep a visual diary of some kind (soft copy or hard copy) and put everything into a folder. Ideation I like to think of myself as an ideas person. I love trying to see things differently and applying my KISS and clever design beliefs. It’s very rewarding to find a concept that is unexpected but that solves the problem well. Interviews and surveys I have learnt from experience how to make a person feel comfortable talking to me and how to find out more information than the questions strictly ask for. Getting people chatting about their opinions and observations is always enlightening, and usually has direct effects on my design direction. Model making Planning and making a model is quite therapeutic. It’s great to just work with my hands and the technical side of my brain for a while. I become very attached to my models and hate to through them away. I would like to improve my knowledge of materials, so that I can be more aware of their applications and manipulations. 8


Presentations Verbal presentation is a skill I am lucky to have. I am able to talk about my projects and clearly explain what I was trying to achieve and why. I also enjoy answering questions about my projects. I have quite a distinct visual presentation style; it is very clean and crisp. I would like to play with this a bit more, use the graphics to seduce the viewer rather than just convey information. Research I love diving into research, immersing myself in more tabs than fit in my browser, more books than I can carry and more pdfs than I can organise. I undertake a healthy dose of first hand investigation and find these the most enlightening. I’m looking forward to some ‘deep hanging out’ in my major project. Sketching My sketches easily convey my ideas to others and myself. They are rugged and squiggly, a style that I enjoy, and they are practical. Technical drawing When it comes to technical drawings, I am dedicated. I will use tracing paper to alter lines, perspective, shapes until I am satisfied. I hope to get faster at my technical drawings, my aim is to be able to quickly draw cylindrical shapes with correct perspective. Wacom I have been seeing so many exciting wacom illustrations around the place that I can’t wait to give it a try. Writing When it comes to a topic that I’m interested in, I love writing about it. In high school my english essays were adequate, but my art essays got full marks. I enjoy fighting with a concept until I have my own understanding, and conveying this to an audience. 3D Printing I have previously 3D printed models and jewellery, and I have since discovered that you can 3D print chain, something that I really want to investigate. My brother has built a MakerBot and my godfather has developed a ceramic 3D printing business, so I can see great possibilities for collaboration in the future. This ring is printed from the mesh shown on the previous page.

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Past Design MomentSocial Innovation

This topic was covered with three projects. 100 Mile Diet The concept was to eat only food that was from a 100 mile radius from your home. We kept a diary of what we ate, where the food was made and where we purchased it. This is where my visual journaling skills came in very handy. I kept a daily record of my eating behaviour in hard copy (shown below).

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Case Study: Rose St Artist Market I have been fascinated by markets since my teenage years. I always had dreams of selling my hobby jewellery at a market stall and even went to the local market to apply. This led me to discover how complex the whole system was. I would need to invest a significant amount of money and time into insurance, not to mention the regular stallholder fee. At 15 years old, this was beyond my reach, but the dream never died. For my case study I went and talked to Rose St co-founder and director, Adam Ferrante (pictured top of previous page). He was very chatty and I learnt a lot about the struggles of starting a business from scratch, the hard work, experience, luck, legal battles and government grants that make it possible. This also allowed me to understand why it is so hard to attain a market stall. I’ve always been interested in small business, so I absorbed every detail.

Business Plan Taking the market concept further, I created a business plan with the help of the RMIT School of Business. My idea was to create a market stall that was run by students and sold student work. We are always making models and prototypes that look striking and are often functional too. I believed that they could be bought as sculptures or furnishings for the home. Each one would come with some information about the designer, and when a product sold, a commission would be taken for stall hire etc, with the majority going straight back to the students.

Applied to this project

I worked with fellow ID student Sophie Bain to beef up the idea, creating fliers (shown to the right) and asking around our peers for interest.

Design beliefs- Areas of knowledge- Methodology- Skill set-

BURSTING WITH

Got skills to pay the bills?

Hassle us!

Eager to break into

Lucy: lucy.fraser

the design industry?

student.rmit.edu. au

Supply Lucy or

Sophie: s3195033

Sophie with your

student.rmit.edu.

goods and we’ll do the

au

hard yards for you!

60 Rose St, Fitzroy Every Saturday 11am - 5pm www.rosestmarket.com.au

Collaborative design, empowering people, KISS, local design Social enterprise Connecting, jotting, visual journal Documentation, ideation, interviews and surveys, research, writing 11


Past Design MomentQantas Cup

Looking into ergonomics, we were given the brief of design a cup. I narrowed this down to an airliners passenger cup, as I was flying between Melbourne and Sydney quite a bit at the time so had access to samples and user experience. I was in first year for this project so I was still fascinated by Droog designs and loved their attitude. I wanted to apply this to my project; something that was witty, made the user smile but was extremely practical at the same time.

Applied to this project

I based the cup on Qantas’ existing cup, which at the time was a basic paper cup with the kangaroo logo, so I knew it would fit into the trolleys and tray and carry the hot and cold drinks required. Then I applied a sense of humour!

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Design beliefs- Areas of knowledge- Methodology- Skill set-

Clever design, KISS Ergonomics Jotting, sharing Documentation, ideation, presentation, research, sketching, model making


Past Design MomentThe Social Studio

This was my first introduction to socially sustainable industrial design and working for a client. It was a very eye opening project. Initially we ideated with interior design students, investigating the cross over of these disciplines that a mobile store creates. We then broke up into two industrial design teams and created the two best proposals. Our client, The Social Studio, is retail space that also has a workshop where refugees train to earn a textiles degree with RMIT. The store sells clothes and accessories made by the staff and students from donated fabric and unsold clothing. The cafe next door is also run by the refugees who cook a specialty from home every day. In our bike building teams, we worked well together. We had leaders for different targets, such as CAD models, documentation and production. This meant we only needed to focus on our own tasks, knowing that others were taking care of theirs. This also made delegating easier. Regular meeting with target managers and the client made sure everybody knew what stage the project was at and what needed to be done. It was wonderful to be working for a business that makes a profit but also profits the community. We used design as a tool to set their next business venture and, even better, the bikes are actually used as intended by Social Studio.

Image credit: Raph, The Social Studio 13


Applied to this project

Photo credit: Image, The Social Studio

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Design beliefs- Areas of knowledge- Methodology- Skill set-

Clever design, collaborative design, empowering people, KISS, local design Social sustainability, social enterprise Blogging, connecting, hanging out, jotting CAD, documentation, ideation, interviews and surveys, presentation, research


Past Design MomentInformal Urban Practice Once I discovered socially sustainable design, I couldn’t stop. This studio investigated the relationship between members of society and the space around them. The interaction was fascinating to observe. So many social norms exist that you are unaware of until you question them. For example, lying down in the middle of a shopping center is frowned upon but there is no law against it. We pushed these boundaries by setting up ‘idea markets’ in public spaces (shown below), running free badge making sessions in the park (above). The reactions ranged greatly. Parents and teachers were happy to keep their kids entertained, museum staff reported us to security (he let us stay), many questions were asked and photographs taken, a homeless man moved us on from his spot and a lot of people wouldn’t approach us or wouldn’t stop talking to us. We collected a vast amount of information, artworks, experiences and observations. We learnt a great deal about what happens when you blur social boundaries.

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Applied to this project 16

Design beliefs- Areas of knowledge- Methodology- Skill set-

Collaborative design, empowering people, KISS, local design Social sustainability Blogging, connecting, hanging out, sharing Documentation, ideation, interviews and surveys, presentation


Past Design MomentPaper Abstract

In 2011 I deferred university and went to live with my family in Sydney. I wanted to keep the ball moving with my design interests so my lecturer Soumitri Varadarajan introduced me to Mariano Ramirez of the University of NSW, who was planning to write a paper for the Eco Design 2011 Conference in Japan. We defined socially sustainable innovation with the following: Socially sustainable innovation is design and invention that empowers individuals and groups to advocate, facilitate, catalyse and realise positive change in the present and future of their community. It provides long-term solutions to problems, not quick fixes, and does not sacrifice environmental or financial sustainability in order to do so. Socially sustainable innovators consider as many stakeholders as possible, and have an in depth understanding of the people most affected. Innovators work collaboratively and creatively across disciplines, with humility and a lack of prejudice. They use this knowledge and understanding to find a solution that is relevant to the main stakeholders and one that will work for them over time. We worked together on an abstract to submit. It was titled “Product design awards: do they support socially sustainable innovation?�. For the proposal I investigated the plethora of design competitions and picked out the socially sustainable ones, calculating what percentage of entries filled this criteria. I discovered that only one third of design competitions and awards make reference to social sustainability in their competition description or evaluation criteria, but that this number has improved in the last five years.

Applied to this project

I was working on the paper with Mariano from India, which made communication a challenge. Ultimately this meant that I could not continue and Mariano completed the paper himself. However, it was a very enlightening experience that I hope to repeat in the future, whilst honing my communication skills. I could definitely see myself getting into industrial design writing, whether papers or articles.

Design beliefs- Areas of knowledge- Methodology- Skill set-

Collaborative design, KISS, local design Social sustainability Connecting, jotting Documentation, interviews, research, writing 17


Past Design MomentBMVSS

In July 2011 I went on a study abroad semester to the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. It was an intense experience and one that has left a great impression on me. Please see my blog www.designahmedabad.wordpress.com if you wish to find out more. With fellow RMIT exchange student Rooya Rasheed and NID student Hannelore Dekeva, I undertook this project with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS). The organisation is a supplier of prosthetic limbs with no charge to those in need, based in Jaipur but with stations all over north India and mobile stations as well. We were focusing on the Jaipur foot, a prosthetic foot that is the cheapest every produced (US10). Initially it was a system design project, we planned to visit the Jaipur centre and map and improve their service system. When we arrived, however, we were informed what needed doing was an overhaul of their foot sizes. We set off to discover what standard foot sizes there exist in India and the world, only to discover that there is only very basic information, and there was a lot of confusion when different sizing standards were compared. This led to a research project where we aimed to collect data to determine the dimensions of the average size 9 Indian foot. We managed to gain access to a 3D body scanner, but this again supplied only basic information about the feet, so we set about measuring feet by hand. We had a wonderful amount of data at the end, and the project will span over this year also. We were also working with a client, and we had conflicting ideas of what needed to be done. Despite our differences we were still able to work together and achieve a great deal. It was thrilling to wander through the workshops and document the process that the staff and patients go through to have the prosthetic limb fitted and individually made. There was a freedom of information that does not exist in Australia, so this project allowed us to go into greater depth than I ever have before. 18


Applied to this project

Photo credit: Hannelore Dekeva

Design beliefs- Areas of knowledge- Methodology- Skill set-

Collaborative design, empowering people, KISS, local design Social sustainability, social enterprise Blogging, connecting, hanging out, jotting, sharing CAD, documentation, ideation, interviews and surveys, research, sketching, writing 19


Future Design MomentsIndustrial design and social enterprise

Over 2012 and into the future I am interested in: * Designing with local social enterprises * Designing with local enterprises to help them become socially sustainable Or perhaps to cover all my bases: * Forming a design consultancy specialising in socially sustainable industrial design

I hope to use all my experience and knowledge that I have gained in the past design moments to make sure this project is something big and something that works in the real world. My starting point is www.socialtraders.com.au and their FASES (Finding Australian Social Enterprises) initiative.

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Thank You

For more information please go to: www.lucyfraser.com.au www.designsss.wordpress.com www.designahmedabad.wordpress.com Or contact me on: Mobile +61 411 799 078 Email lucy.j.fraser@gmail.com

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Lucy Reflection  

Review of my past actions and present skills.

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