Developing a design response

Jordan Evans
Blog post 9

The brainstorming and mind mapping sessions, undertaken both individually and collaboratively with my group, allowed for a distillation of an abundance of research that had been accumulated over the preceding weeks.

The 5 W’s task, outlined in my previous blog post ‘Why is the deadliest mental illness the least funded and most ignored?‘, was an incredibly useful task in allowing me to refine my focus area within the topic of mental health. It enabled me to engage and critically reflect on the key insights that I had made through my research and recognise which of these insights I was the most passionate about. I found it difficult to filter through the broad research that I had previously undertaken with an overarching perspective on mental health, and then to condense it into one tiny focus area. This was because I had discovered so many interesting and thought-provoking aspects of this topic, so choosing just one proved a challenge. However, each of the five questions gave clear direction with specific and refined goals, which helped me to identify a distinct and detailed issue within such a large and complex context.

From this task, I defined my issue as:

“males and females (18-24) struggling with anorexia nervosa find it difficult to access care for treatment due to low funding and priority in Australia’s health care system and high, ill-advised requirements for admission.”

By creating a clear problem statement, it then helped me to focus my ideas for possibilities for a design response. Which brings us to our group brainstorming session. Guided by this identified niche issue, the group brainstorming session attempted to explore and deduce potential interventions through the vehicle of emergent design practices. In doing so, my group made the decision to divide our map into the three areas of practice – generative design, service design and data visualisation. This reminded us to keep our minds open to each of the areas and avoid getting caught up and focusing on a single practice, instead forcing us to engage with each.

orig-brainstorm
My group’s brainstorming map of possible design responses that target my problem statement.

 

Unfortunately, there was not a lot of class time to complete a thorough brainstorming session for each of the problem statements within our group. I was the last member of my group to talk through my issue and brainstorm ideas, (map pictured above) so things were quite rushed as the class was wrapping up – meaning not many ideas were produced. However, this face paced task still allowed for a nice transition between research and the process of beginning to form design solutions. Working collaboratively with my group provided a diversity of viewpoints and thought processing, which sparked ideas that may not have been addressed if the mapping process had been undertaken individually. This proved helpful in expanding my mindset and design thinking to consider a range of practical applications that was needed in order to formulate a broad set of outcomes.

Once home I re-mapped possible design solutions in regards to my problem statement, expanding upon things that were mentioned in the group session and working off these concepts to produce new ideas.
brainstorm-of-possible-design-responsesbig

Having produced five possibilities for a design response targeting my problem statement, I chose my favourites and endeavoured to explore how these ideas could be implemented and work to intervene with the problem of difficult access to care for those suffering from anorexia.

Draft design proposals:
1) A visualisation of the harmful effects of anorexia contrasted against the effects of a physical illness that is taken seriously to raise awareness and understanding of the complexities and seriousness of the disease, and to challenge society’s perceptions that physical illnesses are more important and serious than mental illness.anorexia-vs-diabetes

2) A data visualisation of a timeline of what happens to someone’s body suffering from anorexia, and at what point they receive treatment and diagnosis. Contrasted against a timeline of a physical illness, with side effects and point of diagnosis. This data visualisation strives to highlight the disparity between how mental and physical illnesses are viewed and approached in our health care system.anorexia-vs-diabetes-timeline

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