What's Happening in IPO

15 May 2018

What is Good Design - A Practicum Course Generating Innovative Ideas

It’s no doubt that innovation is the key to success in future. To provide students with hands-on experience in generating innovative ideas and design to solve real life problems, IPO brings in a new course “What is Design and How to Design” instructed by Ms Luisa MOK. Luisa started her first career in practicing industrial design and begun her teaching journey in 2011 in National University of Singapore (NUS) and Aalto Design Factory at Aalto University, Finland. She infuses research methods in anthropology with design aiming to formulate a design research process to identify real-life problems. Her doctoral research focuses on strategic design and sustainability transitions.   

The course was started by telling what good design is with real life examples. Students were then divided into 4 teams to conduct design research on particular companies, namely Tesla, Dyson, Toto and DJI x Adidas. Each team was required to propose new design addressing real life problems yet to align with the company’s visions and technological strength . Through the design process, students were taught to identify and re-define real life problems for people who are in real needs; to generate ideas by breaking common sense and removing assumptions; to develop ideas into new and useful concepts; and finally how to solve identified problems by their design.

At the final presentation, each team brought along their hand-made prototypes to demonstrate how their design solved problems and why their design was good design.

Instead of advancing charging technology, Tesla team identified the real life problem of Tesla drivers waiting to charge at car parks. After building three full-sized prototypes to test with Tesla drivers on-site, the final design added values to Tesla’s supercharger by showing the charging time prominently at the top of the charging station and providing additional information to drivers like mall map to clearly locate restroom and where for a cup of coffee that are immediate needs of drivers while waiting ,

Dyson team expanded Dyson’s product range into kitchen and created a smart rubbish bin for dormitory kitchen. Without doing fieldwork, the team would not realize the real problems of trash overflow at midnights, smelly fish bone sticking to the bin bottom and instant noodle catching in the sink sieve. Finally, the rubbish bin has a fullness indicator and will be locked up if it’s full to solve overflow problem. It can remove odor by Dyson’s vacuum technology.  It also adds a compost bin to share the load and decompose organic trash.

Toto team designed a feature above the toilet bowl to show water consumption and motivate household members to save water while flushing toilet.

DJI x Adidas team developed an external device which can be attached to most backpacks to lessen the weight and reduce shoulder pain caused by heavy backpack.     

The audience was amazed by students’ innovative ideas and impressed by the high usability of their design.

The course will be offered in every Fall Term as common core course.  You are welcome to join this design journey and unleash the power of innovation in you.           

  • Tesla team presented their prototype with a real Tesla at HKUST carpark

  • The prototype of Tesla supercharger can show charging time

  • It can also provide additional information to drivers like mall map, locations of restrooms and cafes, etc

  • Dyson team created a smart rubbish bin for dormitory kitchen

  • It can decompose organic trash like banana peels

  • Toto team upgraded the toilet with feature showing the water consumption

  • They wanted to remind user to flush toilet with lesser water

  • DJI x Adidas team developed an external device to lessen the weight and reduce shoulder pain caused by heavy backpack

  • The team proposed an app for finding out the most suitable position of the device by scanning user’s body