Week 1's Blog : The Marshmallow

In this week’s seminar, we were introduced to the importance of design thinking. From my point of view, design thinking is a process to ensure the design incorporates a human-centered approach. Design thinking integrates empathy, creativity and rationality to obtain an innovative design. As designers, it is important for us to empathize and understand the user’s needs. Designing can be summarized into 3 main steps which are understanding, exploring and developing. With understanding, we as designers should define the problem and the needs of the end users. Once the problem has been defined, then comes the exploration phase whereby we brainstorm ideas as well as build prototypes. The final stage would be developing the idea using the concepts and prototypes. Design thinking is actually a problem solving tool that uses both creative and analytical methods to formulate a solution. This tool is not subjected to designers but also people of other fields.

For this week’s class activity, we did the marshmallow challenge. The marshmallow challenge is a challenge to build the tallest freestanding structure in 18 minutes with a marshmallow balancing on top using no more than 20 spaghetti sticks, 1 metre of tape and 1 metre of string. We were put into teams of 3 to complete this challenge. As a team, we decided to build a cubical base with a pyramid sitting on it to hold the marshmallow. We thought the structure would be strong enough to hold the marshmallow but we underestimated the weight of it. One of the setbacks during the process was that the tape was not able to hold the spaghetti sticks in place. This resulted in the collapsing of the structure. 

What I learnt from this activity is that every element that is involved in the design should be encountered for to ensure the success of the design.

We decided to build a cubical base with a pyramid sitting on it to hold the marshmallow.
The structure did not hold long enough because we underestimated the weight of the marshmallow.

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