Monthly Archives: September 2015

Design Thinking Forward – Session 3: Define

In this session, I emphasized the interrelationship between psychology and design thinking, and how important this relationship especially in the first two phases of design thinking: Empathize+Define both distinguish Design Thinking clearly from other innovation methods (more than Ideate/Prototype/Test) – if practitioners don’t show any proof for doing this, they don’t do design thinking. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Define POV means finding the point-of-view for the problem – from the user’s perspective. We mainly use interviews to extract this user perspective – but we are generally not aware of how much we understand from the interviewee answers because our perception is subject to filters. In psychology, these filters are called cognitive biases. We are usually not aware of how much selective perception determines the degree of bias that can completely change the outcome of an interview. When I am looking for my opinion in the other’s answers, that’s the confirmation bias. When I’m asking somebody with high self-esteem in a doubtful way, I’m inducing the interviewee’s self-serving bias, resulting in self-enhancement. What we want instead is to dig down from the surface of wishes and problems to level of basic human needs. Human needs are heavily researched, but I feel most people are ignorant about the fact that Maslow’s hierarchy model is out-dated in psychology! So once we digged down enough until we can hear the interviewee talking about needs, we are ready to extract this information into an empathy map. The content should cater to needs, meaning what does the user do/think/feel about the personal situation of need fulfillment. Then, we can use this information to model a persona. Many people describe a persona far too detailed and just by imagination, not research – that’s why I tell my students, a good criterion for detail level is if you can derive the persona’s need from its description. From here, crafting a POV is easy – just insert the persona, need and constraints in the Stanford formula User+Need+Insight. Finally, each team could define a POV in the form “How might we help the <persona> to fulfill <identified need> in a world where <insight>”. Eh voilà!

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Design Thinking Forward – Session 2: Empathize

#gallery-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 100%; } #gallery-2 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-2 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

This week, I realized the first session implementing my conceptualization of future design thinking (which I call “design thinking forward”): Psychology lecture preceding design thinking exercises.

The psychology topic was motivation and emotion. Preceding the emotion lecture, I made the students experience an exercise for emotional memory that is taught in acting schools.

After the lecture, the students had to switch gears from an intellectual & listening mode to a talkative & interactive mode. So I gave them a warmup activity they really liked: Looping around some else for three times – three rounds with three winners.

#gallery-3 { margin: auto; } #gallery-3 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-3 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-3 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Looping 1 Looping 2 Looping Winners 2

After getting physically active (arousal was an important part of the emotion lecture), I did the whole interview training with students standing up. That allowed them to be more active (see top picture).

At the end, some students came to me saying they really learned a lot – emotion explained in “logical” terms, and interviewing with practical hints. So although most people felt exhausted, it was quite a new learning experience for them…

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Design Thinking Future started!

As I announced last week, I really finally started a new big thing: The future of design thinking. Even though it sounds pretentious at first sight, I truly believe it will really transform that what we today think of design thinking once we understand its current limitations.

I am lucky enough to share this new experience with two professors who really embrace the spirit of design thinking as you can see in the following picture: On the left, Prof. Jieun Kwon of Sangmyung University’s Emotion Engineering factulty, and on the right, Prof. Sven Schelwach from Hongik University’s International Design Institute (IDAS).

The students were quite quick to catch up the playful atmosphere – as you can see here… 


And this atmosphere took over in the design thinking exercises…

All in all, I am impressed how much the students love the design thinking spirit and playfulness! Looking forward to my next lectures…


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Brainwave detection by facial micro movements

Can you detect your heart rate, respiration rate, and your brainwaves just by analyzing your face? Yes you can!

Recent research has find high correlations between minimal movements in the face and certain physiological and brain behavior. As you can see in the picture, the left screen shows the eyes and mouth highlightened in my face – they are analyzed for micro movements. The right screen shows my heart rate and respiration rate, calculated from my micromovements. A quick verification – both correct!



On the next picture, you see how the brainwave information is visualized. Technically, the information was fed into a plugin of windows media player. The visualization is certainly neet, but doesn’t allow you to see any brain patterns intuitively. So personally, I was more impressed with the speed and accuracy of recognition.

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Brainwave detection of visual recognition (ERP)

Brainwaves can be detected when performing a complex cognitive task like visual recognition. In this moment, there is a change in brainwave signal known as Event-Related Potential (ERP). To detect these brainwaves, you don’t need your head connected full of electrodes any more like in the early days of EEG – it is sufficient to wear these light googles I am wearing above my glasses.

It The screen exhibits six animation characters, the last one is “the thief” which you must detect. Then you watch the screen for 20 seconds displaying the characters in quick random sequence. Every time you “the thief”, you need to count. You are then scored by the timely performance of recognition. As you can see, I made it with an excellent score of 97/100 – but to be honest, my first try was at 58!

In the last picture, right of my face, you see the inventor of this high-tech gadget, Jung-Nyun Lee. He does his Ph.D. at Emotion Engineering faculty of Sangmyung University, supervised by Prof. Jieun Kwon.


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Creative Open Campus (CoC): Korea goes creative

On 10 Sep, the Creative Open Campus (CoC) had an open day: Government officials, business people and the creator of the CoC initiative, Prof. Mincheol Hwang from Sangmyung University got together to announce this initiative to the public.

What is the Creative Open Campus?

The CoC goals are to bring creative minds together from three fields – engineering, humanities and design – to invent and implement new products in human-centered design. In essence, it is large-scale program for design thinking. That’s why I got interested

Two points of the CoC are remarkable and distinguish them from many other initiatives:

First, the Campus is open to everybody, independent from your academic status. In this regard, the CoC is also a social initiative on the grounds that everybody can be creative, therefore everbody should be supported.

Second, the Campus emphasizes the implementation of real products after ideation. So design thinking should not just lead to many new ideas but also to something technically working, at best integrating high-tech from the most recent research.

There was a show room exhibiting some of Prof. Whang’s work in his faculty of emotion engineering. I was thrilled by three applications that all emerged from his recent research, see below.

Show cases of research by Prof. Mincheol Whang and Prof. Jieun Kwon

#gallery-4 { margin: auto; } #gallery-4 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-4 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-4 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Brainwave detection of visual recognition (ERP) Brainwave detection by facial micro movements Mirroring facial movement to avatar








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Design Thinking Future in Seoul

Tomorrow, I will start an unprecedented experiment in design thinking: A course combining fundamentals of psychology and design thinking tools & techniques. I am very happy I can do this at Hongik University, Korea’s Nr. 1 University in design, in combination with the Emotion Engineering faculty of Sangmyung University.

This course is a follow-up of a workshop I gave at Hongik University on 29 May 2015. Here is a photo of the host, Prof. Sven Schelwach and me.

Sven invited me to lead his 35 students in a 6h fast forward design thinking workshop – quite a challenge given that I was the only coach. However, the students really surprised me in every aspect: Their English was excellent, their teamwork was very good in each of the seven teams despite age differences, and their discipline allowed them to release their energy even until the very end. You can believe it better when you see some snapshots of this workshop:

So I am really looking forward to this new experiment. It is exciting because it contains challenges on multiple levels: First, students from different universities will mix in teams. Second, there will be age differences of several years to span. Third, the course is in English, hard for some students. And last but not least, I will try to release their creative thinking processes despite all the above-mentioned challenges.

On the other hand, both Sven Schelwach and Jieun Kwon are professors who have the right mindset for design thinking – I experienced them both as very encouraging and motivating to the students. So with their support, I think we can tackle this challenge. Or as Koreans say: Fighting!

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