In our second session I introduced the project the students will undertake with MA Design Products students from the RCA. We were then joined by tutor Noam Toran, who described some of the briefs (translation for non-designers: project starting points) given to the platform (translation: teaching context in an MA) he teaches at the RCA, and showed some of the work students made in response. We then asked the MBA students to create a brief for the MA students to design a service. As anticipated, the writing of a brief lead to a set of discussions about how to engage with designers; the purpose(s) of this kind of document in these engagements; and the likely responses from designers.
Students worked in small groups and came up with five briefs which have now been sent to the RCA (where they may be modified to meet the educational goals of the college):
- Financial Liberation (about reinventing the relationship of people with their money: a service for people who do not have much money and are excluded from credit, mortgages and financial institutions)
- Invisible Friend (a service to make you feel like you have a friend, but delivered by a team of people, whom you never meet, delivered through different interfaces or service elements)
- Companion Provider (a service so you can hire a person to do friend-like things with you)
- Service, Disservice (aiming to re-invent existing, often badly designed services such as flying economy or the UK post office)
- Safety for Sex Workers (a service to support sex workers when negotiating with clients)
Several of these are clearly very high level - presenting opportunities for both sets of students to explore to what extent design practice/thinking can contribute to radical or incremental innovation. Only one brief specified that the service should make money; in their language and analysis, several demonstrated a desire to respond to social needs (rather than analysing business opportunities).
The MBA students are keen to see what artefacts the MA students will make in response to these ideas. More soon.