Design, Develop, Create

Monday, 13 May 2019

A typical day for software development (Silicon Republic article)

Jenny Darmody's article from Silicon Republic (2019: link)
"What does a software developer do on a typical day?" inside Verizon Media (

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Seminars - Methods in Use and visiting MBA class

A open invitation to two seminars taking place this week; one today at 2pm (Tuesday 23 April) and tomorrow at (Wednesday 24 April).

The first invitation via Prof. Séamas Kelly (UCD)
Dr Veeresh Thummadi (researcher at Lero | The Irish software research centre) will present a CITO seminar, Tuesday 23 April 2:00-3:30pm (room E117, Smurfit). The seminar will be entitled:
"Method-in-use variation during methodology use: A multiple case study of agile and waterfall information systems development projects”
An abstract for the talk and Dr Thummadi’s bio can be found at the end of the message..
The second invitation from Prof. John Mooney (Pepperdine) who has specifically invited our MSc Digital Innovation class to take part in a short series of MBA seminars with visiting US MBA students from Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business.
Wednesday 24 April 9:00-1:00pm (room N204, Smurfit)
* 9:00-9:45am Prof. Damien McLoughlin (UCD) on B2B and/or B2C marketing and customer service for the EEA market
* 10:00-11:15am Neil O'Herlihy (Director of Go To Market Operations at Google) is coming in to facilitate an interactive workshop on market strategies for EMEA.
* 11:45-1:00pm
Prof. Eamonn Walsh (UCD) presenting his excellent lecture on "tax havens" and the realities of the Irish tax situation for US MNCs.
I hope you are able to take advantage of these sessions.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Wireframe and Mockup Tools

Popular Wireframe and Mockup Tools
InVision Studio, ( provide a pre-recorded demo session that runs for about 31 mins The app is available to faculty and students via an early access program; free for students and teachers. To get early access, you'll need to register by using your university email address when you create an InVision account:

Monday, 1 April 2019

Study Trip to Brussels/Leuven 2019

Hi everyone

Welcome to the study trip. I look forward to meeting you all at the Irish College in Leuven (the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe -- known to all as the Irish College).
See on Google Maps

Plan to arrive and check-in to the Irish College, Leuven on Monday 18th March any time from 7am onwards.


Our first session starts at 12.00 midday in the Irish College. Prof. Stijn Kelchtermans, from KU Leuven's Faculty of Economics & Business will be presenting on Technology Platforms.

The second session starts at 2.30pm also held in the Irish College. We'll be running a short workshop on Information Economics - the micro-economics of digital and information goods.

After this we will walk to the Health House showcase installation in Leuven for a tour at 5pm. The Health House showcases the future of health and care based on scientifically validated content and anticipating the impact that technology will have on this in future scenarios.


We start the day with a tour of the Living Tomorrow hub, a startup campus for innovative enterprises and where visitors can experience installations or imaginings of their products and services. The goal of Living Tomorrow is to help envisage, experiment and present how technology mediated changes may radically improve the quality of our future home, life and workplace.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Louis le Brocquy's "Brendan The Navigator" and the Etherium DAO

A video by Alice Rekab, UCD College of Business Artist in Residence, that explains the background and inspiration for an artistic installation that links the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business with the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. The piece draws on both FinTech innovations (the Etherium DAO: a distributed, decentralized autonomous organisation model based on the blockchain architecture) and the Louis le Brocquy tapestry "Brendan The Navigator" that hangs in the atrium in Blackrock.
Alice Rekab from Parity on Vimeo.

Most Business Schools have a rather indifferent, even ambivalent relationship with the Arts.
Is it for profit or not? Is it a thing that can be managed, contrived, manufactured? Does entertainment, performance, Art, Dance, Music, Film, Cinema, Videogames, even Sport, distill down to simple profit or loss? Is it mere business, a system or process? What about passion, belief, vocation?

The role of an artist-in-residence is more often not well understood. Some think the role is to produce work commissioned by the host. It is not. In our case the artist and the college were here to learn about each other and in so doing, reveal aspects of each other that may otherwise be overlooked. How does commerce appear to the artist? An artist is an entrepreneur of sorts so might empathise with other entrepreneurs, but what is artistic about cost accounting, consultancy, financial technology?

A utilitarian view of the Arts is often adopted. Art and artistic performance can be captured or rendered into commodity forms like images, recordings, copies. These things can become objectified, become sought after objects of desire. But the production of art itself, the creative act, does not typically lends itself to being controlled, managed or manufactured.

The consumption of Art too is equally uncertain.
The experience of Art involves encounter.
The creative artistic act is confronting.
Art is puzzling, it challenges us to think, rather than seeks to produce consensus or efficiency or profit.

The University, like Art, holds a privileged place in society. Like Art, the University it is not so much a property as it is a state of mind. Consider this quote from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.
"The real University... has no specific location. It owns no property, pays no salaries and receives no material dues. The real University is a state of mind. It is that great heritage of rational thought that has been brought down to us through the centuries and which does not exist in any specific location. It's a state of mind which is regenerated through the centuries by a body of people who traditionally carry the title of professor, but even that title is not part of the real University. The real University is nothing less than the continuing body of reason itself." p 143
Founded on the values of the enlightenment (the Age of Reason) the University as an idea is the belief in and responsibility for education, for science itself, for preserving and generating new knowledge.

"The primary goal of the Church of Reason, Phaedrus said, is always Socrates' old goal of truth, in its ever-changing forms, as it's revealed by the process of rationality. Everything else is subordinate to that." p 145
Yes there are paintings in the halls, statues in the grounds, art expressed through the design of landscapes, buildings, and machines. Universities, even Business Schools, are used to display, as containers for Art. But the paintings on our walls become invisible over time, they fade into the background.

The Louis le Brocquy tapestry "Brendan The Navigator" that covers the high wall about the fireplace of the entrance atrium at UCD's Blackrock campus had become invisible. The deliberate green-gold graduation fills what would otherwise be a vast white space. That was until Alice saw within its depiction an allegory of trade and commerce. Saint Brendan's journey to the New World was a navigational and logistical triumph but one inspired by a trade of ideas and the desire to explore. It represents exploration, revealing the unknown, encountering the new. It was a making a connections between the New and the Old World. Commerce is trade, most often of things but also of ideas.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Course feedback 2018

"Design, Development, Creativity was the subject which interested me more to take up the Master’s in Digital Innovation course at Smurfit Business school."
"Overall the Module was very helpful in understanding the mantras of Design, Development, Creativity in the world of systems development. The book club, case-studies, exercises, readings (frameworks, life-cycles and design methods), research term paper and self-reflection of the lectures would help me place myself in a better position when any systems development challenge arises in front me." (1)

"The aim of this course, in my opinion, was to raise awareness of newcomers on how to behave towards digital software project, promoting a managerial way of thinking and embracing change."
"What struck me the most was the notion of creativity which can be brought in the center of the project development"
"The dynamics of fast failing, and the autonomy let to teams which allow them to work the way they think to be the most efficient is a great creativity lever in my opinion and helped me consider digital projects out of conventional industries."
"Soul of a New Machine was a very painful exercise to me at the beginning, because I am not a great book reader and I did not feel any personal interest in the story context, nor felling represented by the characters of the storyline... But when we started to raise the different concepts in sessions, and discussed them during class sharing, the real aim of this activity started to emerge in my mind. I started understanding this book as a picture of an innovative early digital project management, with all its implications, led by an idealist deprived of communication skills. The discussion regarding the Adventure game, acting as a cultural bond between people helped me to consider the real meaning of establishing a company culture, and its importance, especially in highly demanding projects. I valued the parallels we could make between this kind of management, where overwork was widespread, and the more agile vision of modern software projects."
"I better took this module as a way to explore creative business areas, in the frame of digital management, and how software development life cycles are apprehended, not only as a tool, but supporting a mindset." (2)

"One key feature of class was for all the students to participate in the dialogue. Active participation from the class was essential, and it helped us get comfortable with speaking up our opinions on the discussions in class and get over the anxiety of openly sharing our views."
"I was a bit overwhelmed by the fact that there were so many methodologies one could follow while pursuing research [but] I found it very informative, and this later helped me form my design and methodology strategy for the Term paper for this module... [although] I was far from the actual realisation of the term paper as this was my first research paper in a long time, the last one I did was during my bachelor’s eight years ago which was more technical than design based. This part of the module was one of the hardest for me. Although we were given complete freedom to choose the subject of our liking for the term paper I was finding it hard to come up with an interesting topic."
"I learned that there is always a room for improvement in products and a careful analysis can bring out usability issues in otherwise user-friendly and seemingly perfect products. Also, one might have a lot of ideas, but it is their practicality and usability that decides how useful they are in real life." (4)

"Overall, the feeling remained that this course was a bit rushed and the concepts were not always clear to me. I asked myself why that was and realized that I can personally understand concepts better if I have an overview of the interconnections and basic theories used and how they interact. I can more easily connect and understand concepts when I go from a macro- to a micro-view."
"I focused on the difference between design thinking and innovation. When you think of Design Thinking as a strategy for innovation – the choice of the first semester's modules (managing strategy & innovation, business inquiry & design development and creativity) come together rather neatly."
"What you need to keep in mind as a product designer is that you don’t only build the “thing” but also the “thing of things”, thus how your creation fits into the existing world of product/services that are important for your creation."
"Sketching what user experience of a product should always be the first step to design. How does a product guide its users through the whole process?"
"the second part of the Lego robot designing process was the programming exercise. In this exercise, we had to program the previously build Lego robot into doing a specific set of steps – a task. It was interesting to see how the physical and the software design parts are connected and how different the limitations and hurdles are for each. I learned how hard it could be to design something virtually for the real world. Different types of communication affect the design (both physically and virtually) enormously. You have to think carefully about how to set up communication within the team to get your product to work well."
"When designing physical or virtual products that not only are customer- centric but also fit in the context it is important to aim to find a sweet-spot between planning/process and responsive development."
"I wish we could have gone more into detail when it comes to the actual usage of these methods and frameworks. Many of the exercises were a good opening to the subjects, as they made them more relatable for people who did not have any work experience, due to the short period of the course if sometimes felt like half of the lesson was missing or rushed. However, through this feeling of “missing” something, I developed an interest in these subjects by myself, which possibly lead to deeper insights into the subject." (5)

"I have never created or managed a blog before, so this was a new learning experience for me...
The video assignment was also a unique experience for me. Similarly to my blog, I had no prior experience in this area. I have never had to create a video like this, so this assignment was challenging but also helpful for developing my skill set."
" I considered the most beneficial aspect of the module for my learning to be the class exercises. Although their purpose wasn't always immediately apparent, I enhanced my understanding of the theory and developed my thinking and social skills by completing each of these exercises."
"The building exercise was unique because it was the only group I was in that didn't work cohesively as a team. The team became disjointed and uncoordinated as the exercise progressed. This experience taught me different lessons than activities where my group worked successfully as a team. When I reflected on the experience, I was able to determine what we did wrong and what the causes of our mistakes were. " (6)

"The Lego exercise of assembling a robot by working in a team was quite the experience. The activity demanded good communication skills, understanding each other, picking up an ongoing task with the aim to add and build on it, coming to a consensus to avoid hitting a road-block and fast execution while being cheerful and positive about the whole process. We were unable to assemble our robot in the prescribed time and that’s when Allen said to us, “You get to learn more when you fail."
"Allen made the whole process of learning feel more like a cumulation of fun activities where-in we had to be inquisitive while doing or carrying out the activities and inquire into what we learned that day with the tool of self-reflection. I found this way of teaching particularly innovative and something out of the box because it propagates a student to develop his capacity to make sense of things by his own which instils a sense of personal or individual responsibility and accountability and makes one feel it was them who came up to a conclusion but if pondered upon a little further, it was really Allen who was illuminating the path of discovery all along by the means of various activities. A highly well-structured course module which forces one to really “think” in order to “perceive” and “understand”." (7)

"It was always important to me to draw links between the different concepts, methods, articles and 'The Soul of a New Machine', as well as to other modules in this programme. Regardless of whether it is reflected in my exam, it helped me first to summarise the major frameworks and methods concisely (as seen on the picture below) and then to create connections to other readings using the different coloured Post-Its. For example, the pink stickers represent connections to 'The Soul of a New Machine' and provide a 'heat map' that shows which concepts and passages from the book have the most similarities." (8)
My study wall (source: student 8)
"This module has developed my ability to think like a Product Owner... gathering and prioritising user requirements, managing a product backlog and acting as a broker between the customer and the development team."
"Prior to this course, I was somewhat sceptical of the value of games and their contribution towards experiential learning. This module, however, has really developed my appreciation for the value of games and there significance both in a learning capacity and within the culture of teams in software environments. The tangible nature of games, such as Planning Poker and Battleship allowed me to immerse myself in the experience and discover the key learnings for myself, which was something I appreciated. It made the delivery of the module far more exciting, and allowed for better classroom discussions."
"With all of my professional experience coming from a more traditional business discipline, perhaps it is somewhat more common to have a clear leader or authoritative figure which oversees a particular function or team. However, I have since discovered that teams can function just as effective in a manner which embraces equality... When producing a digital product or service, such as software, I have also learned that the process is very much collaborative and democratic in its approach. I had previously not been aware of the level of collaboration and communication that was required... [yet] there is no perfect method on how to best produce and manage digital products." (9)

"I have learned how to deal with stress and ambiguity, while also coming to appreciate the art of simplification and presentation. During our first stand-up meeting, my deliver of my work was pretty poor, effectively undermining my hard weeks graft the week prior to class. As the meetings progressed week on week, I became more confident in my presenting skills and capabilities, learning how to effective present a topic in a clear, concise and simple manner. The term paper was an extremely stressful project in terms of topic selection, research design, data gathering and data evaluation. The experience of having to deal with this stress and frustration has developed me both as an academic and as a researcher. I have also learned to adapt and redesign research design on the go, so as to best fit my topic of enquiry." (12)

"System development is not only a technical process but an organizational behavior consisting of processes that configure, construct, create, develop, deploy and maintain the smooth operation and management of a high-tech system. Therefore, the primary challenge lies in collaborative processes rather than technical solutions." (13)

"My key learning is that it is definitely worth it to step out of one’s comfort zone and to try out what one is capable to reach. During this module, I got to know lots of new concepts and theoretic knowledge but throughout practical exercises I found out how to apply them for me and took new perspectives and approaches for my future. Working with people from all round the world with diverse amount of working experiences also had a sustainable influence on my changed perspectives and new understandings... This semester was like a journey including the exploration of new topics, development of new viewpoints and struggling with the unknown." (14)

"In this module, I’ve learned to appreciate the skills of a mediator between business-minded people and the engineers & tech guys. Being able to decipher the language of these two different fields makes for a competitive advantage to be a significant contributor in this aggressively evolving tech industry. As future leaders in this field, it is important to comprehend how the organization’s culture and, more crucially, its people play a role in its growth and success." (16)

"The importance of ethics in software design was obvious in the course, while not having a specific section, did stand out when discussing Tom’s West, from the Soul, Mushroom management style and Machiavellian treatment of his development team. It was in some ways a light bulb moment. I could find perfect parallels with scenarios [I] witnessed directly in a High-Tech environment: the engineering culture, the creative fervour, the overpromising and setting up unrealistic deadlines, the extreme efforts and long hours, all the way to politics and seeing a brilliant and innovative team, similar to the Eagle project team, being blown to pieces after they delivered impressive results. [At the time] I was quite puzzled by some of these experiences, but I have [better] understanding of the volatile environment of High-Tech now."
"I really enjoyed the creative design part in the exercises of writing a blog on some of the learning experiences from the course and preparing a video presentation of the term paper. However, I was a bit uneasy about having this content posted on the internet, it is a weird feeling to know your thoughts are out ‘in the wild’ on the internet, out of your control to some degree." (19)

"A big part of our class is to become a researcher ourselves and dig into a certain topic, writing a professional research paper, including a research question, methodology, collecting data, discussing findings and coming up with an insightful conclusion."
"All in all, I was really surprised about the class, being much more interactive and full of hands-on exercises than any other class I've attended so far. Plus, these tasks really make you think and reflect about your current way of working and thinking." (20)

"my work experience [as a software engineer], though I worked on multiple technologies, had exposure to testing, business analysis etc., I intuitively knew that I lacked a lot of skill set which hindered my professional growth. Design, Development and Creativity module was, in fact, one of the strongest reasons for me to choose Digital Innovation for my Masters. I was highly impressed by the description of the module and found it in perfect alignment with my immediate future goal of getting into a product management role."
"When I was in the middle of experiencing these aspects of the IT industry, it was difficult for
me to make sense. Now as a third person, when I look at Data General and IONA and keep
them as reference points to compare my own experiences, I feel that have developed a
holistic understanding of an organisation as a mesh of leadership, processes, teams,
friendship and other human factors. I think what I have learnt prominently from these case
studies will be more useful for me when I step into leadership roles in the future."
"I do feel that the course had a lot more to offer and I say that by looking at
Allen's blog. We just touched the tip of the iceberg this time. I would have perhaps preferred
to have this course run a bit longer like Skills for Business Enquiry, to make the most out of
it. Nevertheless, I am excited to go back to the workplace and put into use all that I have
learnt here. " (21)

"The weekly team meetings and the video presentation have increased my ability to reach this level of professionalism in delivery. In my opinion, I have built upon many skills including data collection [with Optimal Workshop], knowledge sharing, critical thinking, current research analysis, presentation, brainstorming, sketching, inter team communication, videoing and editing; and many more, while also undergoing an intense learning experience." (22)

"At first when hearing the title of this module I was worried that it was going to one of my least favourite modules since I would not consider myself to be creative and would say that I struggle with design thanks to a lack of artistic ability. I can happily say that this module was one of the most enjoyable ones I have had in my academic career as well as one of the ones that i have been the most engaged and vocal in." 
"This module has made me realise concepts that I have interest in and also introduced me to new concepts. I’ve been under the impression that failure is a negative outcome. But in reality, within innovation failure is just an outcome but does not have to be bad. That with failure one can find ways to reconfigure and produce the outcome one was looking for. The faster one fails the faster they will create a better product. Since innovation deals with creating products that help make our daily lives be easier being outrageous can actually help in the creation of those products. When ideas are outrageous there is a process of trial and error that results in a ‘tamer’ idea that is a success." 
"After finishing reading The Soul of a New Machine for the first time I could see the obvious connections as to why it was a required reading for this module but at the same time help like a lot of the technical jargon created some confusion on other themes in the book. During the class discussion it helped dissect the book further as well as get insight from the course instructor. Our classmates also assisted in getting a better understanding since all of us have different experiences and could add to the discuss and bring other points of views. At first, I did not like the book but found that the discussion of the book was one of my favourite portions of the module." (24)

"It was very useful to bookend the module with Soul of the New Machine. Upon first reading, the book was a bit difficult to follow for me as it felt like there was a lot to filter through conceptually. However, after highlighting and discussing the main points in class, my secondary review for the exam was very insightful as many of the concepts really came to light. I also saw many connections between the other readings and the content of the book. I had not previously thought too deeply about the structure and culture of development teams as the teams of engineers I have been around have been more structured and aligned with strict business processes, which was not as evident in Soul. Culture is hard to replicate because of so many influencing factors, but there are common elements among the company cultures in Soul, IONA, Pixar, NASA and even Spotify; a thirst for innovation, empowering the creatives, and unity around a specific goal. The dynamics of the teams with internal competition for resources and the tension between headstrong determination to put a product out the door and the burn-out experienced by many of the engineers were what allowed Eagle to reach completion and what drove many at the company to say they found ‘self-fulfilment’ through their participation in the project. " (25)

"In [my field] the customers often and mostly have requirements that are too specific, customised and application focused. In other words, what they wanted, mostly doesn’t exist as off-the-shelf technology. Some requirements are feasible through inventive combinations of existing technologies. Most requirements are either not feasible or need complete innovation. This is often the trouble in [this field] and any other such emerging technologies. Potential customers are not fully aware of the capabilities and limitations of the technology and its scope." 
"Interestingly, it was the first time I have ever referred to a blog while preparing for my exams or in fact as a learning material for a course (including my first year of undergrad, this would be my seventh year of university education). I found this method slightly odd in the beginning but now I see that the blog not only functions as the pseudo text-book but is in fact a constantly evolving and updating form of a text. This would not have been possible with a conventional text-book." (26)

"in some cases, I would have found it helpful if there would have been a few more ‘classical’ lectures. Especially for fundamental concepts and frameworks like project management approaches and software development lifecycles, it would have been beneficial to discuss these concepts in class to create a common understanding." 
"The exercises and discussions throughout the module were very valuable in developing the first understanding of software development and their related approaches to organise and manage digital projects. This impression has further evolved through reflecting on the course and writing this learning log. For me, it was a comprehensive introduction into the field of relevant methodologies, that will be beneficial for later roles in the software development environment." (28)

"My preconception was that the organisation developing a software decided what was needed based on their perception of the market and its ‘gaps’. However, during the module, I began to see that design can and should begin with the user, where requirements are gathered in the beginning, from the individuals for whom the software is intended. Furthermore, I learned that this should be an in-depth process, where the requirement is mapped to the individual to whom it relates, rather than vaguely stating that a specific function would ‘probably’ be needed. In collecting data for my term paper, I also saw the diversity in the requirements of multiple people of the same profession, learning that to form a more accurate list of requirements for the software, numerous user perspectives must be sought. As my understanding on the importance of clear user requirements and their traceability grew, so did my understanding of autonomy and motivation among the development team and how the more specific the requirements become, the less room there may be for creativity. In some senses, I began to think of the relationship as inverse...
...I now feel that when managing ICT development projects, it is important to balance user requirements with creativity and the team’s need for autonomy as designers and engineers."


Monday, 19 November 2018

Day 4

Soul of a New Machine (link)
The Requirements/Design Exercise (link)
Planning Poker Scenario (link)
Estimating User Stories Exercise (link)
Retrospectives - using Alan Kelly's dialog sheets (link)
Battleship as a metaphor for Plans or Planning (link)

Parameters of Development (link)
Is SPI the problem? (link)
Frameworks for Control (link)
The Rise of Agility (link)
Kanban (link)
Agile Development at Guidewire (link)
Software, Systems Development, and Life Cycle (humour - link)
The Rise and Fall of Waterfall (humour - link)

The IONA Case (link)

Overview of Readings
The ISO and SDLC in the workplace (link)
Don't disrespect rigour (link)
Embrace Change (link)
Agile critique and comparison (link)

Homework Readings: 

  • Henrik Kniberg and Anders Ivarsson. Scaling agile@ spotify with tribes, squads, chapters & guilds. White Paper, 2012.
  • Yoo, Y. et al (2006) From Organization Design to Organization Designing
  • Bringing it all together (link)

Friday, 16 November 2018

Day 3

Soul of a New Machine - continue reading and discussion (link)
The Activity Checklist - additional reading for requirements capture and fieldwork (link)
The Standup Meeting - progress on research project - field studies (link)
Creative Problem Solving - artefacts for thinking (link)
Spaghetti Cantilever - design/build challenge (link)
Retrospectives - using Alan Kelly's dialog sheets (link)
Build the thing right - (link)

Requirements (link)
Evaluation (link)
Implementation (link)
Maintenance (link)

The IONA Case (link)

Overview of Readings
Royce I (link)
Foote & Yoder (link)
Sawyer (link)

Homework Readings: 
The ISO and SDLC in the workplace (link)
Don't disrespect rigour (link)
Embrace Change (link)
Agile critique and comparison (link)

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Organising, planning and structuring your writing project

  • Gingko is a free tool which helps you to structure a project and break down your work into more manageable components. 
  • Evernote is a free tool for note taking, organising, and archiving. It will also allow you to clip web pages and attach files to your notes.
  • MindMup is a free mind mapping tool to help with brainstorming, creating presentations and document outlines.
  • Scrivener is a licensed (for fee) application environment for writers. You use it to design and organise your writing with cards (for notes), folders (to store sources and various objects), and text. A scrivening is a composite document that encapsulates all the text documents.

Massive Online Open Courses get real...

After decades of hype and speculation surrounding the potential for digital technology and online services to transform the delivery of third level education appears to have made an impact. FutureLearnCoursera, and edX are setting the standard for public, open, accessible University style education available to almost anyone with an internet connection and, if needed, local material, tools, resources to follow the courses. Coding is particularly well addressed by providers like CodeAcademy through the use of web based run-time environments that do away with the need to install complex tool chains. There is also room for subscription based for profit offerings like Udacity and Udemy in the commercial space, satisfying the demand for specialised training services directed towards proprietary packages and industry skill qualifications in 'trending' or 'buzz' areas like Bitcoin, Blockchain, Data Anaytics, Design Thinking, Big Data, and for tools like Photoshop, Salesforce, and SAP. Some providers like the Khan Academy and straddle the divide between free/open, and for-fee education.

Khan Academy
Codecademy: Learn to code

Monday, 5 November 2018

Day 2

Soul of a New Machine (link)
What is a System?
Constructing System Descriptions (link)
The Avalanche Case (link)

Build the Right Thing (link)
Read Moggridge Expressing Experiences in Design
Essence of Design (link)
Importance of design (link)
Importance of sketches (link)
Wireframe and Mockup Tools (link)
Research Topics Exercise

Scholarly Search

Writing the literature review
A literature review is not a summary of "what you've learnt from what you've read". Rather, consider the challenge to be writing a 'problem oriented narrative'. A simple problem-oriented narrative has three parts. 
Beginning, middle, end.
Problem, framing literature, resolution. 
Identify an overall issue and gradually introduce scholarly works, develop an integrated framework, arrive at a clearly focused question.

Accessing academic literature
Search for related prior research that would inspire and inform your next steps. Select and refine relevant keywords for this search. The following databases index academic (peer-reviewed research) publications.

  • The DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) (link) - a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. 
  • Google Scholar* (link)
  • Scopus* (link)
  • Web of Science* (link)
  • Elsevier* - also hosts some open access journals (link)
  • SAGE Publishing* - also hosts some open access journals (link)
  • Springer* - also hosts some open access journals (link)
  • Routledge* - also hosts some open access journals (link)
  • JSTOR* - also hosts some open access journals (link)
  • Project MUSE* - a public index/catalogue (link)
* Search functions and file access to search results may be restricted to registered users or computers on campus networks.

If you find (potentially) interesting articles but cannot access them freely you should consider contacting the author(s) directly by email. Introduce yourself and reason for seeking access to a copy. Many authors will respond generously to such requests from students and share drafts or pre-press copies.

Another tack to take. Assuming that the article/chapter/section/publication sought is not the only relevant research dealing with this topic in the research world, you can conduct a forward citation search, that is, search for articles that cite this one. Searching forward ("cited by") approach is also a good way of the paper's impact and of identifying similar current research publications.

Exercise: Analysing a design

Establish and understanding of the interplay between implicit and explicit aspects of high tech designs. To reveal hidden assumptions, expectations and prior knowledge that are necessary conditions of successful technology use. This exercise is adapted from Sharp et al. (2007).

Analyse a TV remote control (5 minutes).
Ask yourself the following questions:
  • What do I recognise when I inspect the device initially?
  • Do I perceive feedback when I use the device (sound, clicks, weight, surface texture etc)?
  • What is the device's context for use?
  • Is anything missing?
  • What goals does the device addresses?
  • I have a goal; does the device facilitate or get in the way?
  • Consider other modalities for achieving the same goal (e.g. talking, old phone, mobile phone, Skype). 
  • What is explicit and what is implicit?
  • What is usable (or conversely unusable)?
  • Do I need further explanation to understand some aspect?
  • How can I learn about what something does?
  • How do I know where I am (in the system)?
  • Where am I in the process?
  • What do I feel about using this device?
  • What are my impressions about this device?
  • Who can work with this device? Easily?
  • Is it easy to make a mistake?
  • What are the consequences of making a mistake?
  • Can I recover from the mistake easily?
  • Do I feel comfortable experimenting with the device?
  • What happens if it breaks?

For example refer to 'Adopting Technology' (Chapter 4 - Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge) (Moggridge, 2006).

Open the floor to discussion of the group's analysis of the devices (15 minutes).
From the discussion make sketches of user experience(s) on the white board.
Is user experience a goal in itself?
What are the dimensions of user experience?
  • Features
  • Aesthetics
  • Feelings
  • Affection
  • Desire
  • Love
  • Frustration
  • Functionality
  • Speed
  • Risk
  • Feedback
  • Certainty
  • Invisibility
  • ...
  • ...

Consider water taps:

  • Explicit and implicit knowledge
  • Learnt conventions
  • High risk versus low risk
  • Safe versus playful

What is a learnt property of the object and what is a learnt convention or social? e.g. red versus blue, left versus right hand side.

Moggridge, B. (2006) Designing Interactions, Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT Press.
Sharp, H., Rogers, Y. & Preece, J. (2007) Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, Wiley.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

More research methods anyone can use

A pointer to an article by Emily Esposito (at - link)

Emily outlines four research categories: primary, secondary, generative, evaluative.
I feel that these categories map more or less closely across the IDEO categories of: look, ask, learn, try

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Writing a precis

Patterns for a basic précis:
  • Sentence 1:Name of author, genre, and title of work, date in parenthesis; a rhetorically accurate verb (such as "claims," "argues," "asserts," "suggests"); and a THAT clause containing the major assertion or thesis statement in the work. 
  • Sentence 2: An explanation of HOW the author develops and supports the thesis, usually in chronological order. 
  • Sentence 3: A statement of the author's apparent purpose, followed by an "in order to" phrase. 
  • Sentence 4: A significant quote from the paper used in a sentence.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018 - methods for research projects

More information about research methods?

Review 'designing with people', an archive of user research and design methods hosted by at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art.

As a researcher/analyst our job is to observe others in the field, gather traces/evidence, learn from or have our subjects teach us, inquire, prototype, test ideas etc. The various research attitudes (look, ask, learn, try) are simply categories for organising our methods, nor are they necessarily applied in fixed/specific order sequences.

Choose the right methods for your project

The i-design project developed four practical research guide frameworks focusing on: people, activities, methods and ethics (link).

i-design is a joint initiative of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design Royal College of Art, the Engineering Design Centre University of Cambridge, the Well-being Institute University of Cambridge, and the Loughborough Design School University of Loughborough.