Professional Practice - Blog Twelve

The Birdhouse project was concluded today with each team making their final presentation to the year group.  

On reflection I feel as project leader I did my best to make the weekly tasks manageable and tailored to the skills of each individual.  I also gave flexibility and adapted to the needs of my group such as re-arranging meetings so as many of the group could attend as possible. This was important to me because I was keen for every member to feel involved and valued, not just by me but the whole team, to help drive their motivation.

An improvement I would have liked to make is for the group to have maintained their enthusiasm further into the project.

I felt as though there was great drive in the days running up to the Pitch Presentation, however, following that day a few team members became sluggish with completing their tasks either late or to a low standard. The impact of this was some later tasks, such as setting up a projector to simulate a real creative disruption within the campus, were not able to be completed due to the knock-on effect.

I believe one cause of this may have been that the group knew this task was a pass/fail element of the module. This could have allowed members to believe they could sit back and relax after the Pitch Presentation had been conducted; they had shown initial work and effort which in their eyes was enough to get by.

What I was pleased with was the way the team came together the day before the final presentation to allow all team members to pass the task. After being let down by some in the group, by not completing tasks on time or at all, it could have caused fragmentation within the team and, resulted in an unfinished final outcome for everyone.  I would like to thank Connor with all his support during this last week, especially his work on collecting the materials for, and development of the final presentation.

Overall I was happy with how my team's presentation was conducted. Talking through the development process and concluding with our final outcomes for the project definitely helped the audience understand the role of each team member as well as the design choices we made along the way. When listening to other presentations this was something that I felt was missing from a couple of the teams, with them putting emphasis on the final outcome it did not allow time to explain the concept behind the visuals fully.

Our final presentation can be seen in the pictures below when my group was presenting to the audience earlier this morning.  

Throughout the day I listened to the different groups present their final outcomes for the Birdhouse project and made some observations about the differences or similarities in approach.

I noticed how six out of the ten groups that presented used either an app or QR code, excluding stand-alone websites, which shows that there is a definite trend for designers wanting to incorporate the digital into their work.  I do not remember any group having a particularly strong focus on print based design which to me seems a shame and if I had the opportunity to do this project for myself this is an element I would like to look at in more depth. I believe a project brief requirement such as using paper-based materials, could produce more varied and creative end results.  

However, what was varied was the spaces groups had chosen to use. There was a mix of both indoor and outdoor spaces across multiple campuses with some groups, such as Flip the Bird and the Bus Stop App, extending ideas both campus and university-wide which was great to see. From a design point of view, this shows considerations had been made not just for one use or space but the project was designed holistically, a great skill to have.

Having listened to all the teams a point of difference, my team could have incorporated, would have been if we had been able to set up a physical projection or present in the same style as our pitch with a video. No other group did this, with all of them using a powerpoint type software it would have made our presentation concise and professional whilst standing out from the other groups.

From this week I will be working with The Potty Plotters to create a map of an allotment site. This will be printed into guides in preparation for a launch of The Growing Academy and Starter Plots at the Ashbourne Road District Allotment Site.

Initially, when Julia and Elaine asked me to get involved I was not sure about the workload due to the event being very close to university deadlines. However, I contacted an Illustrator friend to see if she would be interested to work with me on this project so we can both have the opportunity but importantly meet project deadlines at the same time.

Helena said yes so we are set to begin the project with a site visit and photoshoot next week in preparation for illustrations to be done and designs to be put together the week after. I am really looking forward to this as from an academic point of view it will help to improve my project management and team skills on an external live project but it is also something I am going to really enjoy working on.

Another exciting event coming up is the Woman Who Awards 2019.  I attended the awards a couple of years ago and was already planning to go the Awards Lunch in June, due to being a finalist as an associate member of Socially Shared, who are finalists in the Network category this year. However, I have had an email to say that I was secretly nominated and have been selected as an individual finalist in the Rising Star category!  

I am over the moon with the news, especially as I did not know I had been nominated, let alone been selected as a finalist.

The event itself will be another fantastic opportunity to network with women from across the Midlands but most importantly this achievement, of being nominated and reaching the finals, gives me confidence that the steps I have already taken are in the right direction and, are helping to stand out and be remembered by those I develop connections with.

Details of all the Finalists and Categories for the awards are listed on the Woman Who website here:

Moving forward I would like to continue to grow my network of contacts, focussing on making valuable connections with people by sharing knowledge and skills in return for the same in exchange. I would like to increase my exposure as a designer by taking part in a competition, so I will explore local opportunities and then perhaps move on to industry or region-wide events moving into next year.

I am excited for what this summer has to offer in the form of an internship with a new local company as well as events I have in the diary including the Wildside Festival which I will be volunteering at and, the Socially Shared Women in Business Conference on Wednesday next week. It will be a day for learning, catching up with existing connections and building new contacts in a friendly atmosphere.  

Fingers crossed for a double win and the Woman Who awards and successful projects over the coming months.

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