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ENTREP 7020 Design Thinking

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ENTREP 7020 Design Thinking

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Course Code: ENTREP7020
University: The University Of Adelaide

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Country: Australia

While the blog is built throughout the term, the reflective report is to be developed towards the end of the term, as it requires you to present a critical self-analysis and reflection of your learning as a result of experiencing Design Thinking activity within this unit. The self-analysis and reflection must consider your personal development, as well as the development of your knowledge of Design Thinking topics. As a conclusion, students are to develop an action plan of key events and activities that they can undertake over the next 6 months to acquire any knowledge, skills and behaviours identified as requiring development. 

Reflective writing practice is an essential learning strategy that allows individuals to learn from their own academic and professional experiences. Using this strategies, students and professionals can reflect upon their observations and develop ideas by linking their knowledge upon it and explore their own ideas regarding their experiences (Gould & Taylor, 2017). Studies by Taczak and Robertson (2017) showed that reflective writing helps to develop meta-cognition among individuals, which can support their learning process and professional development. Their studies also show that such practice also helps to develop analytical skills of students and professionals as it allows them to reflect upon their own thinking process and how they feel about specific experiences as well as why they think in such a way. This practice helps to identify the key assumptions and preconceived ideas that influence the thinking process of both oneself as well as others. Such conclusions have also been supported by the studies of Beech et al. (2017) who pointed out those reflective practices such as journal or blog writing can improve learning among students and professionals and develop a better insight upon their learning experiences (Carey et al., 2017).
The aim of this reflective report is to reflect upon my academic journey, presenting a critical self-analysis and reflection on my learning experiences as a result of experiencing Design Thinking activity within this unit with a consideration of my personal as well as knowledge development through the unit of Design Thinking topics. Based on this an action plan of key events and activities will also be developed which I can undertake in the next 6 months in order to acquire more knowledge, skills and behaviors for further development.
Personal Development:
Through my engagement with this unit, I was able to identify some of my key strengths and weaknesses which influenced how I was able to complete the unit to achieve the learning outcomes. Working on the design thinking activities, I had the opportunity to work within a group of students which allowed me the chance to utilize my knowledge in a more effective manner. This also helped me to understand strategies to best use my strengths and also how to overcome my weaknesses based on which I could develop an action plan for further development and improvement (Cox, 2017). Discussed below is an analysis of my strengths and weaknesses which I was able to identify as a result of experiencing the Design Thinking activities.
Critical Thinking:  This is the ability to analyze how and why an individual thinks in a certain manner and how show evidence of the important ideas. This process helps to overcome personal biases and helps an individual to evaluate their thinking process in a self directed, self monitored, self corrective and self disciplined manner. According to Stupple et al. (2017), critical thinking helps to achieve higher order of excellence and development of effective communication for representation and outlining of ideas and concepts of an individual. Through my engagement with Design Thinking activities, I was able to develop amd implement critical thinking on the concepts that were learnt in the unit in order to understand how to utilize them effectively in the activities (Kong¸2014; Jacob et al., 2017).
Willingness to learn new things: This is an important aspect for any learner as it makes them more receptive to identify and learn new ideas and knowledge and thereby developing their own understanding and knowledge base. This also allows students to improve themselves through academic and professional development. I have shown my willingness to learn new things by my ability to gain ideas from others while working in a group in the last class assignment. This has helped me to understand different perspectives of other students and identify new information or insights which were different from my own. It is also opined by Adnan et al. (2017) a willingness to learn can help professionals to develop learning, improve interpersonal skills and interactions as well as improve personal attributes such as creativity, problem solving skills, intellect and analytical skills (Coelho et al., 2015). Thus through my willingness to learn I was able to promote development of my skills and knowledge.
Observation Skills: According to Larssen et al. (2018), effective learning is supported by good observations through which individuals are able to identify important ideas and concepts which promote learning among individuals and capture evidence of learning. According to the authors, the process of observation can be used as a tool by learners to promote effective learning (Gurwin et al., 2018). During the design thinking activities I was able to use by keen observation skills to collect primary data in the form of participant and non participant observations which helped me to develop strong insights on the learning process.
Ability to work in a group: Different studies have shown that study groups can significantly help in the development of learning during which individuals can share their knowledge and learning in a form of a mutual learning  or peer-to-peer learning approach which can include the studies by Eriksson (2017), Zhang et al. (2017), Vilsmaier et al. (2015) and Boud et al. (2014). Through effective group work, I was able to focus on the problems related to the café and was able to define and identify the problem using 10 tools that were were able to identify during week three and develop a plan for group work.
Communication Skills: Communication skills are of vital importance to work in a group which helps in effective transmission of knowledge and ideas and thus helps in both personal anf group performance (Vermylen et al., 2017).  Throughout the design thinking activities, I was able to use my communication skills to work in a group and develop my understanding of the main concepts of the activity.
Technical Skills: Technical skills are necessary to understand technical concepts related to the the design thinking process and understanding the technologies which can ensure a quality product development. During the week six of the activities were introduced to technologies such as 3D printing and additive layer manufacturing with which I had a significant challenge to completely master. Because of this I also had difficulties in the design process to implement these technologies in the activities (Gordon et al., 2017).
Time Management: Studies by Grissom et al. (2015) have shown that effective time management is essential for improving the productivity and effectiveness of individuals in their job roles. This can help an individual to complete their work in a time bound manner and help them to follow a controlled schedule and thus deliver a project in a timely manner (Kerzner & Kerzner, 2017). During the unit activities, I often struggled to manage my time, as a result of which several activities ended up taking a lot of time to complete and affected the productivity as also increased a sense of stress on me and my team members.
Problem Solving: According to Özsoy and Ataman (2017), effective problem solving is necessary for the learning process, and helps in the internalization of knowledge, connecting existing information with new situation to find solutions to various problems. In the design thinking activities, me as well as my group faced difficulties overcoming several problems we faced throughout the unit.
Data Analysis: This is an important ability that helps individuals to make sense of data through effective analysis and visualization of the data to make a meaning out of it (Hazen et al., 2014).  During the unit activities, ineffective data analysis led to misleading information (during the 9th week), which significantly affected my performance as well as that of the entire group. This also delayed the preparation of the prototype.
Knowledge management:
I was able to reflect upon my learning that I acquired on every week of the Design Thinking activities through the weekly blog entries. These blog entries allowed me to identify the key learning outcomes, how I was able to achieve them and the challenges I faced during the activities (Fidalgo-Blanco et al., 2014). Based on these overview I was able to effectively manage my own learning and knowledge and this helped me to develop my understanding of my concepts and theoretical knowledge and how I was able to implement them in the activities. Discussed below is the knowledge I gained from each week, as outlined by the weekly blog entries and how it was useful for me.
Week 1: In this week I was able to reflect upon my mindset and understand how individual mindsets can influence how an individual deals with the external factors. I also understood how communication was vital to support sharing of the ideas and correlating mindsets between the team members and reach a common understanding and direction for the activities of the team. This helped me understand the role of individuals in the design phase and how they can effectively design the project. On by first blog post, I mentioned “individuals behave like a designer and try to solve the issues in creative, innovative and distinctive manner” which shows how individuals can help the design phase of the activity (see appendix 1). I also learnt the significance of active listening which enabled effective sharing of knowledge and ideas within the group, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individual opinions and also improve involvement of all the members in a more effective manner.
Week 2: In this week, I learnt about the strategies of problem identification in organizational management. This is an essential strategy because it helps individuals to identify issues faced by the organizations and the causes of failures in an organization. i also was able to identify different types of DT tools to identify organization challenges and solve them. I also used my observation skills effectively I was able to identify effective strategies to overcome the challenges and find solutions to them. This has been implied in my second post where I mentioned “After observing thing minutely, I have learnt to point out all the possible solutions of the issue” (see appendix 2).
Week 3: In this week I was able to learn about the fundamental steps to solve the problems which we were able to identify on the previous week which we learnt during the workshop sessions. I also learnt the five steps in the process of design thinking, namely, empathy, definition, ideate, prototype and implementation and was able to understand how creativity can be used to design effective solutions, which was outlined on my third post “Again on the stage of Idea, the designer had to start generating the idea that was really a creative feeling where we got an opportunity to think out of the box for reaching a possible idea.” (see appendix 3).
Week 4: In this week, I was able to learn about value networks and how it can be mutually beneficial to organizations by allowing effective sharing of information and knowledge. This helped me to effectively gather primary and secondary data for effective design and implementation. This was outlined in my fourth blog entry where I stated “Value networks set up a connection between the individuals of an organization interacting to benefit one another” (see appendix 4).
Week 5: In this week I was able to learn the significance of ethics in professional work, and how it helped to ensure ethical practice in the collection and analysis of data, abiding the ethical guidelines. I understood how these guidelines prevent scientific misconducts and supported reliability of the study which is important when one is working with confidential data, which I mentioned on my fifth post “Ethical issues arise once you start the research with people or trying to access confidential information of a company” (see appendix 5).
Week 6: In this week I was able to learn about technologies such as Computer Aided Designing (CAD) and Additive Layer Manufacturing which helped to design the prototype for the project through rapid prototyping process.  I also learnt about the types of prototypes and strategies to test prototypes and how it was important for the project, which I mentioned on my sixth blog entry as “It can be said prototype testing for reduction of the risk that a design may not perform as intended cannot always eliminate all the risks” (see appendix 6).
Week 7: In this week I was able to understand how prototypes helped to eliminate most risks in a design and help in quality product development. I also faced significant challenges in time management in order to meet the project milestones on time and how a time planner could be helpful for effective management of time, which I mentioned on my seventh blog entry as “In this process, we all learned the importance of time management where we ended up building a time structure to help us effectively tackle the task” (see appendix 7).
Week 8: In this week, I was mostly engaged in data analysis work, and comparing the data from different studies to find a definite pattern. I also learnt how effective data analysis could help to better understand data; however I faced challenges in data analysis. This lead to stress and nervousness among my group, which I mentioned on my eighth blog entry as “During the process of presentation, I was a bit nervous and tensed and as I observed most of my group members also felt more the same” (see appendix 8).
Week 9: In the final week, I understood that even though we faced some challenges during the project, were still were able to successfully complete the design because of good team work and effective use of technology. Even though I tried my best to engage everyone, there was a lack of complete engagement of the members and effective time management which delayed the project, which I mentioned on my ninth blog entry as “At the end of the project, time management issue was also bit of a problem in meeting the required deadline”.
Reflective writing practice is an important strategy for learners which can help them to enhance and support their learning process by reflecting upon their learning experiences, and connecting them to their existing knowledge to develop the depth of their understanding. In the given report, I reflected upon my learning experiences through the unit of design thinking activity and how that has contributed to my personal as well as knowledge development. By reflecting upon my learning experiences and weekly blog entries, I was able to identify my strengths and weaknesses, based on which I could develop and action plan for the next 6 months which has also been outlined next. Overall I feel that the project of design thinking was very effective in the development of my knowledge and skills to manage and design projects which I can use in my professional career.
Action Plan:

Developmental   Needs

How will I learn them


Developing Technical skills

Through on job and off job training

1.     Enrolling for certification programs
2.     Working on internship programs

Improving Time management skills

By learning to utilize time in a more structured way and using time tables to manage work.

1.     Attending workshops on time management
2.     Working on Internship programs

Improving problem solving skills

By learning the usage of problem management tools to identify and resolve problems

Working on Internship programs

Using effective data analysis skills

By learning various data analysis methods.

1.     Enrolling in data analysis courses
2.     Attending workshops on data analysis
3.     Researching academic literature
4.     Reading books

Developing communication skills

By communicating more with a diverse group.

1.     Attending workshops and seminars
2.     Giving lectures and presentations

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