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Beazley Designs of the Year 2019 / How Might We?

One of the many impressive displays at the Design Museum.

Our Course Director, Janja Song, gave us a fun and thought provoking assignment for this class. To help us get a better of understanding of problem-solving and simplifying solutions. As part of the assignment our start up group had to go to the Design Museum in Kensington. We had to go to the Beazley Designs of the Year 2019 Exhibition as a team. After observing the exhibition we each had to choose 3 designs we found to be relevant and poignant to our team. We then had to create a presentation detailing why we found these designs relevant and identify what issues the designs are addressing. One of the main points of the assignment was to come up with a “How Might we” problem-solving angle for each design.

Erkal, Gabriel, Sujin and I went to the Design Museum on a Tuesday morning. We looked at the permanent exhibition first and then proceeded to the Beazley Designs of the Year 2019 Exhibition downstairs at the Gallery. There were many interesting and intelligent designs in this exhibition. After much discussion, we decided on three of the designs we felt to be the most relevant to us. These were Nuatan – a plastic made from plants; Catch – a low-cost, portable HIV detector and PriestmanGoode – designs which reduce waste on airplanes.

I was responsible for the Catch part of the presentation. HIV is a massive problem in Africa which results in millions of deaths every year. There is a lot of stigma surrounding the disease, but also a lot of expense and humiliation involved in the testing process. Although the product is still new and needs to be distributed more widely, the idea behind it is incredible. The Catch HIV detector was designed by Hans Ramzan and is portable as well as easy to use. This helps many people who have difficulties in getting to hospitals and clinics due to poor transport infrastructure. It also assists with the humiliation of going to testing centres where staff are poorly trained in dealing with matters of this nature. Ultimately it should reduce deaths and the spread of this destructive disease.

From what I had learnt about the product and why the designer developed the product, I came up with a ‘How might We’ question and a design brief for the design. The question was, “How might we help identify HIV early before it becomes AIDS in an intuitive and user-friendly manner?”; and the brief, “Design a product for communities in Developing Nations to diagnose HIV before it develops into AIDS”.

Our presentation went well and all the members of our team presented strongly. In the past I have experienced severe anxiety about speaking in public. But the course has made me a lot more comfortable in talking to groups of people. I am glad to be learning more skills which are not necessarily about knowledge. Presenting is very important even if you have a small business. Every meeting or encounter with a potential client can be seen as an opportunity to present your business in the best way possible. I am happy to be feeling more comfortable speaking to more than three people.

Catch – The HIV Detector. Designed by Hans Ramzan. Photo courtesy of the Design Museum

Published by fortysomethingrebirth

I am a South African from Jo'burg. I love football, music (mainly from the Caribbean) and design. I am currently studying a Masters of Managing in the Creative Economy at Kingston University in London.

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