Our first meeting or how to put yourself in the shoes of our “customers”
From 14 to 16 December 2022, the first meeting of our project consortium was held in Bratislava, Slovakia. This meeting was related to the project activity called “Concept design”, which focuses on defining the concept of Inclusive Design Thinking materials that we will work on during the following months. The meeting was attended by 19 participants, especially lecturers of technically-oriented subjects from 8 institutions.
On the first meeting day, lecturers presented their teaching experience and their courses. This activity aimed to get to know each other better and identify the current way of teaching technically-oriented courses at the universities and used materials in the teaching process.
Lecturers who presented their courses
- Maria Carmen Bachiller Martin (Technical University of Valencia)
- Marianna Zichar (University of Debrecen)
- Ildiko Papp (University of Debrecen)
- Henrietta Toman (University of Debrecen)
- Ivana Slosic (University of Zagreb)
- Matea Zovko (University of Zagreb)
- Martina Schwarz-Geschka (Wilhelm Buchner University)
- Catherine Sable (IMT Atlantique)
- Peter Marton (University of Zilina)
- Jozef Kostolný (University of Zilina)
- Veronika Krasnohorska (Eggztra Innovations)
- Tomas Grunwald (Eggztra Innovations)
For the next two days, our meeting was more focused on hands-on experience. Veronika Krasnohorska and Tomas Grunwald from Eggztra Innovations first explained the basics of design thinking and its phases to us, and then we started working on assignments.
Since our project aims to enhance the creation of inclusive innovative solutions, in the “understand” phase, we tried to empathize with our customers (blind people, physically disabled, older people) to find out what problems they may experience in a situation such as travelling. Therefore our task was to get from point A to point B via public transport in the shoes of our assigned personas and think about their feelings, problems and frustrations.
“Feeling incompetent, dependent on others, ashamed when asking for help…”
Thanks to this experience, we realized that for us such a simple thing as moving between two places can be challenging for other people and the need of safety, infrastructure, assistance, and sufficient communication is crucial to ensure the quality of life of these groups of people.
In the next activity, we worked in teams to create personas of our students based on our combined experience. We tried to define their needs, what frustrates them and what they wish for with regard to our challenge:
“How can we help students identify and meet special needs and perspectives of inclusive users (groups), when developing a product, service, process…?”
After creating personas, we will focus on testing them in real conditions. In an upcoming semester, we will compare our personas with our students and discuss their needs, frustrations, wishes, and expectations connected to the learning process to help us to create suitable study materials on inclusive design thinking for lecturers and students.